| Management Team
The Management Team
Founder and CEO
In the late 1970's Mr. Solomon Igel , an 8th grade teacher, realized that children and families were struggling in elementary school because of an inadequate education during their early childhood years. In 1981, Mr. Solomon Igel, established the first licensed early childhood educational center providing professional services to 78 children in Williamsburg. During the next two decades Mr. Igel established centers throughout Brooklyn and Staten Island and Yeled V’Yalda developed into a multifunctional organization which provides education, social, health and nutrition services to thousands of children and families from all ethnic groups in Brooklyn and Staten Island. In addition, he focused on helping children with special need mainstreaming them into regular classes by providing Early Intervention and Special Educational Services.
In 1998, Mr. Igel became CEO of YVY and as such he implements the strategic goals and objectives of the organization. He provides direction and leadership toward the achievement of the organization’s philosophy, mission, strategy and its annual goals and objectives. Mr. Igel fosters a success-oriented, accountable environment within the organization. His management skills and leadership has built a powerful strong management team that has created YVY’s strong credibility in the field of early childhood and community services.
Mr. Igel believes that the success of the organization is built on good governance and a strong decision making process. The dedicated Board of Directors is an elected body that includes professionals, parents and community liaisons. The governing body and the parent policy council are ready to undertake challenges and develop solutions so that, “no child is left behind.”
Under his stewardship the organization has navigated and secured many different funding sources, and YVY was ultimately able to become a” one stop shopping” for children and families. The organization constructed new facilities to house new Head Start classrooms, WIC, a medical center and many other services and programs.
The vision of Solomon Igel has been the forefront and the foundation of YVY. The leadership and the management team are building the structure on his foundation. The governing teams of policy makers are clarifying the mission and providing the support to secure the stability of the organization.
Ruth Akerman, Esq., J.D.
Director of Compliance and Legal Affairs
As Director of Compliance, Ruth Akerman oversees and manages the day-to-day operation of YVY’s Corporate Compliance Program. As such, the main focus of her activities at YVY involves devising, implementing and maintaining YVY’s corporate compliance procedures, policies and operations to ensure that YVY continues to provide services to our communities in accordance with the highest standards of efficiency, professionalism, ethics and law.
As an attorney admitted to practice law in New York (2005), New Jersey (2004) and Florida (2005), Ms. Akerman also serves as in-house counsel and Director of YVY’s Legal Affairs. Ms. Akerman assists in drafting documentation and contracts for all YVY divisions and programs. She also advises, and works collaboratively with, all YVY departments on clarifying various legal topics and areas that may involve agency operations, governance and management, as well as consults and confers with independent counsel.
Ms. Akerman graduated cum laude from Brooklyn Law School in June 2004 and graduated magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Psychology, from Brooklyn College, CUNY, in 2001.
Executive Director, ACS Head Start Director
Naomi Auerbach joined YVY as Director of Education in 1982, having completed a Master’s degree in Special Education, and holding permanent New York State Teaching Certification in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. In that role, she coordinated services for the handicapped and the referral of children with special needs to the appropriate agencies. She has been the program’s Executive Director since 1991, and directly supervises the administration of all YVY educational programs, including the conformance of program content to relevant governmental agency standards. She managed the expansion of the Headstart programs to sites throughout Brooklyn, from the original 1 to the current 17. She is also responsible for coordination of activities with the Board of Directors and the Policy Council and acts as the liaison between YVY and New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).
Chief Financial Officer
Rebecca Gutman,CPA, is our Chief Financial Officer since 1994. She is in charge of all financial activities at t Yeled v’Yalda. She supervises the accounting department functions including payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and In-Kind services and prepares required federal, state and local financial reports. She and her staff monitors tracks and reconciles cash flow of bank and grant funds. She regularly monitors financial areas to assure compliance with requirements of Head Start. Mrs.Gutman supervises the team of 3 CPAs and 22 bookkeepers with responsibility for a budget in excess of $60 million. She oversees work of the Accounting Department which checks for accuracy and compliance. She answers questions and provides guidance and evaluates performance. Mrs. Gutman attends regularly- Audit committees, Board of Directors, Policy Council and executive meetings. Her team is responsible for planning and preparing budgets for all of our Head Start sites as well as all Federal Administration for Children and Families(ACF) and NYC Administration for Children’s Services(ACS) reports. She also prepares and submits regular financial reports to the CEO, Head Start Directors, Board of Directors and Policy Council/Committee, which are specially structured to be easily understood by lay leadership.
Comptroller and Budget Officer
Jonas Friedman, a Certified Public Accountant, serves as Comptroller / Budget Officer of Yeled V’Yalda. He joined the organization in 2002, and his accomplishments include the development and implementation of the agency-wide budget and variance reports, comprehensive cost allocation policies and plans and other financial monitoring and control systems. He is in charge of developing, monitoring and controlling the agency-wide budget as well as the grant, program and component budgets. He prepares budget and financial reports for the Audit and Finance Committee, Board of Directors, Policy Council and management. He attends and reports regularly at the governing body, management and executive meetings, and communicates and coordinates with financial auditors and the budget and finance staff of grant-awarding organizations. In addition, Mr. Friedman assists the Chief Financial Officer in overseeing the financial operation of the organization, and acts on CFO’s behalf in her absence.
Director, Federal Programs
Wayne Goldberg is the Director of the Head Start/ Early Head Start Federal Grantee Programs. From its’ start in 1996 he was responsible for initiating, managing, leading, and growing this program, which today serves 574 children/ families and 378 infants, toddlers and expectant mothers, He also manages the Universal Pre Kindergarten and Day Care programs which have grown to serve over 500 children in collaboration with Head Start. His expertise and accomplishments as a Head Start Director were recognized by his selection as a Head Start-Johnson & Johnson Executive Management Fellow at UCLA.
Mr. Goldberg has a long career in the public sector and human services. Before coming to YVY in 1995 his career included having been Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Management Operations, NYC Human Resources Administration /Agency for Child Development , and extensive leadership experience with government funded social services at the state, university, and community based organization levels. He holds master’s degrees in social/educational psychology and in public administration. Mr. Goldberg provides leadership throughout the program and agency, including budget management, staff selection and training, external grant reporting, program assessment and quality improvement.
Chaim Szanzer, MaEd, SAS, SDS
Director of Special Services.
Chaim Szanzer is YVY’s Director of Special Services. In that capacity he administers the organizations Special Education Department and the Early Intervention Department. Mr. Szanzer is recognized as a veteran educator and administrator who has served in various capacities in the field of education for the past 35 years. Mr. Szanzer has been a faculty member of Long Island University and an adjunct faculty member at Kingsborough Community college and Touro College.
Mr. Szanzer holds a masters degree from New York University and is certified by the New York State Department of Education as a School Administrator (SAS). In that capacity Mr. Szanzer has secured approval from the New York State Department of Education for Yeled V’ Yalda to operate the SEIT, Pre School Evaluation and Special Education program, its Early Intervention Program, and the newly chartered Yeled V’ Yalda School. Furthermore, Mr. Szanzer was responsible for the successful submission of Requests for Proposals to the New York City Department of Education to be awarded contracts for Related Services for developmentally delayed children.
As director of Special Services for the last 15 years Mr. Szanzer has provided leadership and direction so as to insure quality of service, continued growth and expansion of services, and program integrity and compliance with governmental and regulatory mandates.
Director, Disabilities Program
Mina Sputz joined YVY in 1993 as an Education Director. In 1995, she assumed the position of Disabilities Coordinator, overseeing YVY’s programs servicing children with disabilities. She has played a key role in shaping the organization’s Special Education and Early Intervention Programs to better serve Headstart and Early Head Start children and their families. With the growth of the program, Mrs. Sputz became Disabilities Director of Operations. Currently the department has numerous additional contracts with the Department of Education to provide special education related services as well as Safe Drug Free School Community Act services to well over 5,000 students. Mrs. Sputz oversees the overall operations of these programs as well as Quality Assurance and Continuing Professional Training for therapists and parents so that therapists grow professionally and to assure maximal improvement in the children they service. Mrs. Sputz holds NYS certification as a Teacher of K-6, Teacher of Reading, Teacher of Special Education and also holds certification in School Administration and Supervision.
Kreindi Myers, MsEd
Director, Autistic and Pervasive Development Delay Services
Kreindi Myers is the Administrative Director of the Applied Behavior Analysis/Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention [ABA/EIBI] Programs in both our Boro Park and Williamsburg facilities. She is a Special Education Itinerant Teacher [SEIT] Supervisor who provides trainings to parents, staff and therapists on a variety of special education topics. Kreindi is a licensed School Building Leader [SBL]. She has a Masters degree in Special Education and a Bilingual Extension. Kreindi has many years of experience in preschool special education, with intensive background in providing services to children diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Garey Ellis, M.D.
Director, Health Services Initiative
Garey Ellis, M.D. is the organization’s Director of Health Services Initiatives and Community Partnerships. His areas of expertise include wellness education, health policy and public health. Before joining YVY, he served as Medical Advisor to the Commissioner of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Dr. Ellis serves as a liaison to the diverse communities served by YVY in all health-related programs. He has helped YVY to plan several new initiatives to tackle important community issues such as asthma, diabetes and obesity.
Dina Lipkind, MS, RD, CDN
Director, Nutrition Services and Eat Well Play Hard
Dina Lipkind is the YVY Director of Nutrition Services and the Program Director for the Eat Well Play Hard Program for prevention of childhood obesity in Brooklyn, NY. Dina is a registered dietitian with a B.S. in Health and Nutrition Sciences from City University of New York at Brooklyn College and received a graduate degree from New York University in Clinical Nutrition and Food Service Management. Dina has over 17 years of experience in public health, clinical nutrition and individual nutrition counseling, specifically in pediatric nutrition. She has lectured widely on various nutrition topics including GI wellness, food allergies, pediatric feeding issues, diabetes, and weight management. Dina represents YVY on the Brooklyn Food and Fitness Task Force a partnership of the District Public Health Office of the NYCDOH. Dina is an active contributor in the nutrition community and belongs to the American Dietetic Association and Greater New York Dietetic Association.
Isabelle Barriere, PhD
Director, Policy and Research for Education
Isabelle Barriere, PhD is the Director of Policy for Research and Education. She has received interdisciplinary research training at the University of London (UK), the University of Toulouse (France), the Child Neuropsychology Unit of the Salpetriere Hospital in Paris (France), and Johns Hopkins University in developmental psychology of language, neuropsychology, and education. Her research that has been supported by European (e.g. UK ESRC) and American grant-giving organizations (e.g. NSF) and disseminated in the peer-reviewed literature focuses on the acquisition of different languages, bilingual development, early literacy, typical, delayed and atypical development, intervention and the link between theoretical research and education policies and clinical implications. Dr Barriere facilitates the conduct of research and intervention projects at Yeled v’Yalda and advises the management team on education and research policies. In collaboration with Dr Garey V. Ellis she directs YvY Multilingual Development and Education Research Institute.
Nechama Stolzenberg, MPA
WIC Program Coordinator
Nechama Stolzenberg has been with Yeled v’Yalda since 2000 and has more than two decades of healthcare administrative experience. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA; Specialization in Non-profit Administration) with Pi Alpha National Honors from Baruch School of Public Affairs, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Management (BS; Concentration in Public Administration) from the State University of New York.
Nechama oversees all functional aspects of the Yeled v’Yalda WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program and has been responsible for the administration and overall management of the program since the inception of the YvY WIC program in 2004. Under her leadership, YvY WIC has established many diversified and innovative projects while implementing comprehensive quality assurance systems and high standards of care.
In addition, Yeled v’Yalda WIC has been recognized as a model agency in New York State and has grown from servicing 2,500 participants to providing services for more than 10,000 participants at two YvY Brooklyn sites.
Based on a recent nomination by her colleagues and peers, Nechama currently serves as a board member/provider on behalf of the Metropolitan NYC WIC Association.
Michelle Goldkrantz, LMSW
Director, Facilitated Enrollment
Post college Michelle was accepted as a scholarship student to Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work. She was well liked by her peers who voted her Class Representative which allowed Michelle to speak at the Wurzweiler graduation addressing NYC officials, Wuzweiler alumni, and administration, fellow graduates and guests. In May 2003, Michelle graduated with a Masters of Social Work, MSW.
In July of 2003, Michelle began working in Yeled V’Yalda’s Early Intervention Program as a Service Coordinator. Michelle earned her License in Social Work in September of the same year which earned her the title of a License Masters of Social Work, LMSW.
In August of 2007 Michelle was offered the position of Program director of Yeled V’Yalda’s Facilitated Enrollment Program. Under Michelle’s leadership, enrollment increased roughly 350% within the first year and has been increasing ever since. In July of 2009 Michelle was once again afforded the opportunity to take the reins of a new Yeled V’Yalda program in addition her responsibities with the Facilitated Enrollment department. The new program is Healthy Families.
Michelle looks forward to the coming years at Yeled V’Yalda and what her future there holds.
Director, Property Management
Martin Schwartz has been with YVY since 2001. He became Director of Property Management in 2005. As director he is responsible for the Health and Safety and maintaining a well designed environment for the staff, children and families at each of the Agency’s centers throughout Brooklyn and Staten Island. He is always accessible and flexible to the property management needs of the organizations 22 sites from general maintenance to design planning of all the facilities.
As director he ensures compliance with Head Start Performance Standards 1304.53 and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Code Article 47. He interviews and makes all staffing decisions for custodial and maintenance staff. Mr. Schwartz negotiates leases and ensures that all Health and Safety licensing are in place. He represents the organization as the owners’ representative on all renovation and construction projects.
Mr. Schwartz reports directly to the CEO, oversees all facilities staff, and interacts with Site directors to ensure optimal facilities support.
Gitty Lichtenstein, MsEd
Director, Human Resources
Gitty Lichtenstein,M.S.,Director of Human Resources, has been part of YVY since 2001. She has directed the Human Resources department since its inception in 2004. In her capacity as Human Resources Director she manages a centralized H.R. Department that oversees recruitment, selection, retention, termination, personnel records, legal compliance, compensation, benefits, and long-term staffing strategies. Her responsibilities include development and administration of personnel policies and procedures, pay structure and job classification, programs for employee development, safety, health, and morale.
She maintains and complies with personnel-related governmental record keeping and administration and maintains the integrity of confidential employment and business information. Mrs. Lichtenstein is responsible for the employee staff newsletter and employee socializations. She is always accessible and responsive to the human resource needs and concerns of management and employees.
Mrs. Lichtenstein works closely with executive management, senior management and supervisors at YVY., in order to ensure proper HR management for all employees at YVY.
Director, Infomation Technology
Sam has been with Yeled V’Yalda since 1997. He has revolutionized the IT department by introducing automated systems to track and monitor all aspects of the organization. This includes programmatic, fiscal, and compliance. Samuel developed the Yeled Anywhere Program allowing our therapists to use PDA’s in the storing, accessing, and transmitting of information. Additionally he has the departments focus to be proactive in forecasting the needs of the organization and plan how to create the infrastructure to meet them. Sam is responsible for maintaining the technological base of the organization and seeing to it that it is on the cutting edge. The IT department has benefited from Samuel’s vision, sense of purpose, and dedication to excellence.
Program Director/Education for the Early Head Start Program
Devorah Barnett is the Program Director/Education for the Early Head Start Program. She has been with Yeled V”Yalda since 1993. Devorah has a Masters in Early Childhood Education and is New York State certified in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. She is a graduate of the training Institute of WestEd, the Program for Infant and Toddler Care,(PITC)
As Early Head Start program Director, she maintains quality standards of education for children and families, through supervision and ongoing monitoring of center base and home base options . Devorah provides in service training for staff and oversees CDA training for new staff. She is responsible for the development and implementation of a developmentally appropriate learning environment for infants and toddlers. Devorah collaborates with other content area specialist in planning staff training , and parent education opportunities for families with pregnant women and their babies from birth to age three.
Janie Freidman, BS R.N.
Janie Friedman joined YVY in 1998.
She graduated Hunter College/ Bellevue School of Nursing with a BS, RN degree. She has many years of experience in clinical, public health, school and camp nursing. Janie is certified as an American Red Cross First Aid and CPR instructor, and Infant Massage instructor.
As EMP coordinator, she developed a program for pregnant women to service the unique culture of the community. As well, she is the health coordinator for all H.S. and E.H.S. sites. Janie is the chairman of the very active Health Advisory Committee and also collaborates with many community agencies.
All of YVY’s management staff bring not only the necessary education credentials and experience that qualifies them for their responsibilities but also the highest commitment to serving YVY children and their families. They identify with the agency's values and objectives, as well as help shape them.