Our People


Tom Roderick, Executive Director

Tom oversees all Morningside Center’s programs. During his 27-year tenure as executive director of Morningside Center, Tom has helped build the organization from a one-person operation to a stable mid-sized nonprofit. In 1985, Tom co-founded the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program. In 2002, he created The 4Rs (Reading, Writing, Respect and Resolution). Tom’s early experience teaching in East Harlem is the basis of his book, A School of Our Own: Parents, Power and Community at the East Harlem Block Schools. He has a Bachelors degree from Yale and a Masters in Education from Bank Street College of Education.


Tala Manassah, Deputy Executive Director

Tala joined Morningside Center in early 2009. Prior to joining our staff, Tala was the Founding Executive Director of the Middle East Children's Institute (MECI). In 2008, MECI was recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative, and became one of CGI's Member Commitments. She is the author of "From Rage to Interlocution" included in the anthology A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in New York City (Syracuse University Press, 2002). Tala earned her A.B. in Philosophy and A.M. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. 


Lillian Castro, Director of Operations 

Lillian oversees administration of Morningside Center’s work in schools as well as our PAZ after-school programs. Before joining Morningside Center in 1997, she was coordinator of the Center for Collaborative Education’s Coalition Campus Schools Project and a community school board member. She has a BS degree from Empire State College.



Sara Carrero, Communications Associate

Katrena Dennard, Business Assistant

Leslie Dennis, Program Associate

Chenelle Francis, Business Assistant

Larry Garvin, Director of Finance

Yaritza Hernandez, PAZ Program Manager

Doris Lo, Program Associate

Ann Mathews, Human Resources Director

Laura McClure, Director of Fundraising and Communications

Adam Torres, Program Director, PAZ @ PS 214 Elementary School After-School Program

Joseph Yabyabin, Human Resources Assistant



Ava Daniel

Javier Diaz

Nelly Espina

Emily Feinstein

Edwin Figueroa

Tara Fishler

Mariana Gaston

Bruce Gill

Emma Gonzalez

Joyce Griffen

Janice Marie Johnson

Joseph McCarthy

Kristin Page Stuart

Marieke van Woerkom 

Christopher Vermillion

Elizabeth Young



Contact Us