Beth Breger, Executive Director
Beth Breger joined LEDA as its Executive Director in September of 2009. Most recently, she served as the director of special projects in the Office of Student Enrollment Planning and Operations at the New York City Department of Education (DOE), where her responsibilities included developing and implementing enrollment policy reforms and managing enrollment issues for special population students. Prior to working at the DOE, she served as the director of the School Connection Center at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), where she launched a school admission office for court-involved students, the first of its kind, in partnership with city and state juvenile justice agencies. Before CASES she spent eight years working at the Open Society Institute (OSI), the foundation funded by George Soros. While at OSI she founded the Urban Debate Program and the New York Urban Debate League, initiatives that successfully reintroduced policy debate to underserved school districts throughout the country. She also managed the foundation’s educational grant-making. Beth received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brown University and a master’s in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Euriphile Joseph, Deputy Executive Director
Euriphile Joseph joined LEDA in September 2014 from her role as a project manager for New York City’s HHS Connect. Prior to her work with the city, she was the chief operating officer of ReServe, Inc., a national organization that leverages the talents and passions of retired adults to have an impact on their communities. At ReServe, she worked to expand the organization into five cities across the country and brokered partnerships with community-based organizations, foundations and public institutions to strengthen ReServe’s impact. Before ReServe, Euriphile served as a special assistant to the president at the After-School Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to giving all kids expanded learning opportunities that support, educate and inspire them. Euriphile has also served as a fund development consultant for the Eagle Academy Foundation. Euriphile has a Master of Arts degree in analytic philosophy from Tufts University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in philosophy and political science from the College of the Holy Cross.
Rebecca Ervey, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives
Rebecca Ervey joined LEDA as its Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives in April 2017. Prior to her work at LEDA, she worked at Prep for Prep for over ten years, most recently as Director of Professional Advancement, overseeing career programming and corporate engagement for 400 internship and full-time job placements with 170 companies annually. In addition to her work at Prep, Rebecca has extensive workforce development experience, including managing a tech internship program with CUNY schools, coordinating worker retraining, welfare to work, and public housing outreach programs with Bellevue College (Seattle, WA area), and serving as a job counselor with Washington State’s Employment Security Department. Rebecca received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from New York University.
Joseph Lee, Development and Communications Officer
Joseph Lee joined LEDA in 2013 and provides support across a spectrum of development and communications efforts, including fundraising, database maintenance, event planning, grant proposals, organizational literature, website design, social media, and public engagement. He has previously worked for several nonprofit organizations that address a range of issues, including religious tolerance, mental health, homelessness, employment training, and access to the arts. Joe received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Brown University.
Vanessa Rodriguez, Operations Manager
Vanessa Rodriguez joined LEDA as its Operations Manager in June 2017. Prior to joining the team, Vanessa worked at Prep for Prep for over 5 years, most recently as the Finance Assistant. Vanessa is a graduate of Hunter College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning & Economics.
Iris Early, Director of Recruitment and Admissions
Iris Early joined LEDA in November of 2008 as a recruitment and admissions officer and became director of recruitment and admissions in 2011. In her role at LEDA, Iris has helped define LEDA’s recruitment and admissions strategies and works to develop partnerships with schools and community-based organizations across the nation to identify and recruit LEDA Scholars. Prior to LEDA, Iris worked with organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the National Conference for Community and Justice in Los Angeles. She brings her passion for racial justice and human rights to her work at LEDA. Iris graduated from Haverford College with a bachelor’s degree in political science, a minor in sociology, and a concentration in Africana studies.
Sayra Alanis, Community Outreach Officer
Sayra Alanis is a LEDA Cohort 6 Scholar and joined the LEDA staff in September 2015, first as the Program Assistant, then transitioning to her current position as Community Outreach Officer. Her work focuses on cultivating LEDA’s partnerships with community-based organizations and assisting in recruitment and admissions. Sayra received a B.A. in Spanish and Portuguese and the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality from Rice University, where she conducted feminist-engaged research at Rice’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and managed the university’s IT help desk. Sayra has also been a member of LEDA’s summer staff – in 2014 as a Resident Mentor, and in 2015 as a College Guidance Coordinator. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in higher education administration.
Tara Gellene, Senior Director of College Pathways
Tara Gellene directs LEDA’s college guidance and writing programs. Prior to joining LEDA full time in 2014, she taught writing and literature courses at Columbia University, Barnard College, and New York University. She holds a Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University.
Jessica Macias, College Guidance Counselor
Jessica Macias joined LEDA in June 2017 as a College Guidance Counselor and supports Scholars through the college admissions process. She comes to LEDA from Amistad Achievement First High School in New Haven, CT, where she worked as a College Counselor for two years. She has also taught English as a Teach For America Corps member for several years in Miami. Jessic received her B.A. from the University of Miami in Broadcast Journalism and Latin American Studies.
Jahnelle McMillan, College Guidance Counselor
Jahnelle McMillan came to LEDA in June 2016 as a College Guidance Counselor and supports Scholars through the college admissions process. Prior to joining the LEDA team, she was an admissions officer at Prep for Prep for the PREP 9 program, of which she is also an alumna. She has also served as a Customer Services Representative at Metroplus Health Plan, an Academic Tutor with Figure Skating in Harlem, and a staff member in the Pre-College Division of Kaplan Test Prep. She has also worked as an independent college admissions consultant. Jahnelle received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature/Letters from Colgate University.
Vynessa Ortiz, Director of College Success; Director of Residential Life
Vynessa Ortiz first came to LEDA in the summer of 2014 when she served as the Director of Residential Life. She joined LEDA full-time in May 2015 as the Director of College Success and of Residential Life. Vynessa has served as a data analyst in the Student Affairs Research & Assessment office and a case manager in the Office of Student Conduct at Pennsylvania State University. She has also served as an academic adviser, residence life coordinator, director of the Women’s Resource Center and Director of the residential academic mentoring program at Humboldt State University. Vynessa has a B.A. in political science and ethnic studies from Humboldt State, and an M.S. in higher education from Penn State.
Josh Rosenthal, Director of Curriculum and Facilitation; Senior Program Officer
Josh Rosenthal joined LEDA in 2007 as a facilitator for the Aspects of Leadership course. In his role as director of curriculum and facilitation, Josh oversees the curriculum and faculty of the Aspects of Leadership course—the central academic component of LEDA’s Summer Institute. As senior program officer, Josh supports all LEDA programs, especially recruitment and scholar support, in addition to overseeing Aspects of Leadership marketing, outreach and business plan development. Josh began his teaching career at St. John’s University in New York while doing Ph.D. work in sociology at The New School for Social Research. Prior to joining LEDA full time, he taught sociology, ethics and public speaking at Coyne College in Chicago. Josh holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in sociology, culture and society from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Linh Tran, Program Assistant
Linh Tran joined LEDA in 2017 and provides administrative support to all components of the LEDA Scholars Program including recruitment and admissions, college guidance, college success, and the Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute. Linh graduated from Georgetown University, where she studied Government and Women’s and Gender Studies with a concentration in International Relations. Passionate about social justice and gender equality, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy or international affairs.