Our Staff

Some Morningside Center Staff & Staff Developers at a gathering
Some Morningside Center Staff & Staff Developers at a gathering


Salaried Staff

Cassie Schwerner, Executive Director. Cassie’s life work is dedicated to making positive social change at the intersection of racial justice and public education. Cassie came to Morningside Center in 2018, after two decades at The Schott Foundation for Public Education, most recently as Senior Vice President of National Partnerships. At Schott, Cassie was immersed in many of the same social and racial justice issues that are at the center of Morningside's work, including fostering restorative practices and ending discipline policies that disproportionately target students of color. Before Schott, Cassie was a research and editorial assistant for Jonathan Kozol, working on his books Savage Inequalities and Amazing Grace. She serves as a trustee of Kozol’s Education Action Foundation and is a board member of New York Appleseed. Cassie has a Bachelor’s Degree from Earlham College and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Boston College, where she specialized in social movement theory. She is a proud mother of two New York City public school students, Ezra and Vivian.

Tala Manassah, Deputy Executive Director.  Since joining Morningside Center in 2009, Tala has led the development and rapid expansion our collaborative effort with the NYC Department of Education to introduce restorative practices into the NYC public schools. Tala served on Mayor De Blasio's Commission on School Climate and Culture, and on Chancellor Carmen Farina's advisory council on social and emotional learning. Before coming to Morningside Center, 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. Tala has a Bachelors degree in Philosophy and Masters in the Humanities from the University of Chicago. 

Sara Carrero, Communications Associate

Lillian Castro, Director of Operations

Daniel Coles, Senior Program Manager

Katrena Dennard, Assistant Controller

Leslie Dennis, Program Associate

Sully Diaz, Director, PAZ @ PS 24

Larry Garvin, Chief Financial Officer

Yaritza Hernandez, PAZ Program Manager

Doris Lo, Program Associate

Ann Mathews, Human Resources Director

Laura McClure, Director of Fundraising and Communications

Joseph Yabyabin, Human Resources Assistant


Staff Developers 

Eugenia Acuna

Mamzelle Adolphine

Hanaa Arafat

Jonah Braverman

Victoria Cheng

Ava Daniel

Javier Francisco Diaz

Nelida Espina

Lorraine Falchi

Emily Feinstein

Tara Fishler

Mariana Gaston

Makeda Gershenson

Andrea Gibbs

Emma Gonzalez

Dionne Grayman

Joyce Griffen

Janice Marie Johnson

Janet Kyle

Iris Laurencio

Ife Lenard

Lucy Matos 

Joseph A. McCarthy

Lauren Neidhardt

Anmarie Paul

Sebastian Robins

Abir Saleh

Jenny Seaquist

Marieke van Woerkom

Elizabeth Young

Marisa Zalabak