Board & Staff
Board of Trustees
Craig Battle, Founder
|Michael Smith, VP of Operations
Hearst Magazines Digital Media
Vincent Giordano, Executive Director
New Jersey Education Association
|Rebecca Spar, Esq.
Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard, P.A.
|Mark Huang, Esq.
V.P., Corporate Counsel, Prudential
|Clifford G. Stewart, Esq.
The Law Office of C. Gregory Stewart
|Jeff Venezia, Architect
President, Design Ideas Group
|Gregory Little, Esq.
Partner, White & Case
|Junius Williams, Esq., Director
Abbott Leadership Institute
|Glenn Schroeder, Esq., SVP
Educational Testing Service
David Sciarra, Esq.
David Sciarra oversees and directs ELC programs and activities. A practicing civil rights lawyer since 1978, he has litigated a wide range of cases involving socioeconomic rights, including affordable housing, shelter for the homeless, and welfare rights. Read More
Since 1996, David has litigated to enforce access for low-income and minority children to an equal and adequate education under state and federal law and has served as counsel to the plaintiff students in New Jersey’s landmark Abbott v. Burke case. He also conducts research, writes, and lectures on education law and policy in such areas as school finance, early education and school reform. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated magna cum laude in 1978 from Temple University School of Law.
Elizabeth Athos, Esq.
Elizabeth Athos’ law practice focuses on issues related to special education, residency, school discipline, bullying, and New Jersey school funding. Read More
Elizabeth joined ELC in 1997, after working as a Legal Services attorney in New Jersey. She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Mount Holyoke College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. In 1990, she was awarded the Ronald B. Atlas Outstanding Attorney Award by Legal Services of New Jersey.
Danielle Farrie, Ph.D.
Danielle Farrie maintains an extensive education database and conducts analysis to support litigation and public policy for ELC and partner organizations. Read More
Before joining ELC, Danielle conducted research in the field of urban education on such topics as school choice, racial and economic segregation, and reactions to racial integration, and coauthored peer reviewed articles on parental involvement among low-income families. Danielle has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Temple University.
Molly Hunter, Esq.
Director, Education Justice
Molly Hunter is a nationally recognized expert on issues of school funding litigation and reform. Read More
Molly directs ELC’s Education Justice program, which offers technical assistance to a nationwide network of education advocates, advocates for improved federal education policies, analyzes and disseminates information on research and policies, and convenes conferences and meetings to promote equal educational opportunity.
Prior to joining ELC, Molly directed the National Access Network at Teachers College, Columbia University, practiced education and employment law in New York City, and represented plaintiffs as a member of the team litigating New York’s quality education case, Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) v. State. She received a J.D. from New York University’s School of Law and a B.A. from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Director, Secondary Education Reform Project
Stan Karp works to monitor and support implementation of effective middle and high school reform in New Jersey’s urban districts and to engage a broad group of stakeholders, policymakers and the public in efforts to reduce dropout rates, increase graduation and college participation rates, and narrow gaps in educational achievement and opportunity. Read More
Stan comes to ELC from his staff position in Paterson, New Jersey, where he taught English and journalism for 30 years. Stan is also an editor of the school reform journal Rethinking Schools and has published widely on school reform and educational policy.
Policy & Outreach Director
Sharon Krengel oversees communications and legislative, press and community outreach for ELC. She also coordinates the statewide education advocacy network, Our Children/Our Schools. Read More
Prior to joining ELC, Sharon served as Director of the Coalition to Preserve Public Education, an organization of NJ public school districts seeking to change the state's charter school funding law. She also worked as a freelance journalist and an editorial and communications consultant to non-profit organizations and for-profit firms.
Wendy Lecker, Esq.
Senior Attorney, CFE Project
Wendy Lecker oversees the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), a project of ELC. Read More
Wendy was a staff attorney at CFE in New York. She has also worked as a consultant in education finance and policy for The Rural School and Community Trust and Connecticut Voices for Children. She is currently an education columnist for Hearst Connecticut Media Group. Before joining CFE, Wendy was a staff attorney at both the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division, in the Bronx, and at My Sister’s Place, a domestic violence agency in White Plains. She also served as the Assistant Legal Director and House Counsel for the American Jewish Committee. Wendy has a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from New York University. She is the former president of the Stamford Parent Teacher Council.
Ruth Lowenkron, Esq.
Ruth Lowenkron’s practice focuses on special education law at ELC. Read More
Ruth has been active in the field of disability rights since 1981, working at Untapped Resources, Inc., in New York City; the Community Health Law Project in East Orange, New Jersey; and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Inc., in New York City, where she was the director of the Disability Law Center. She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1981, and her law degree with the inaugural class of CUNY Law School in 1986. She has taught disability law at CUNY Law School and Seton Hall University.
Theresa Luhm, Esq.
Theresa Luhm works closely with the executive director to oversee programs, activities and fundraising at ELC. She also participated extensively in the most recent Abbott v. Burke litigation. Read More
Theresa has a B.A. with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from Rutgers-Newark School of Law. Prior to joining ELC, she worked as a research analyst at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
Aimee Roche works directly with parents and guardians who contact ELC for legal assistance. Read More
Prior to joining ELC, Aimee worked as a Community Organizer at La Casa de Don Pedro, where she was also responsible for implementing outreach and recruitment for the Abbott preschool program. Her efforts resulted in the enrollment of 2,182 preschoolers into Abbott Preschool programs in Essex County in 2002-2003.
Fundraising and Event Coordinator
Cynthia Batista manages day-to-day administrative operations and oversees ELC's fundraising efforts and annual events. Read More
Prior to joining ELC, Cynthia worked for La Casa de Don Pedro, where she helped low-income families qualify for home energy assistance.
Jitendra Vakani oversees accounting, financial operations, and retirement and insurance plans at ELC. Read More
Jitendra has a B.A. and a Master’s degree in Accounting & Auditing from India.