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Board & Staff

Board of Trustees

Craig Battle, Founder
Tucker Capital
Michael Smith, VP of Operations
Hearst Magazines Digital Media
Vincent Giordano, Former Executive Director
New Jersey Education Association
Rebecca Spar, Esq.
Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard, P.A.
Mark Huang, Esq.
V.P., Corporate Counsel, Prudential
Justice Gary Stein (Ret. NJ Supreme Court) 
Pashman Stein
Helen Lindsay
Education Activist
Clifford G. Stewart, Esq.
The Law Office of C. Gregory Stewart
Gregory Little, Esq.
Partner, White & Case
Jeff Venezia, Architect
President, Design Ideas Group
Edward Richardson, Executive Director
New Jersey Education Association 
Junius Williams, Esq., Director
Abbott Leadership Institute
Glenn Schroeder, Esq., SVP
Educational Testing Service


David Sciarra, Esq.
Executive Director

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.
Senior Attorney

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.


Shira Baron, Esq.
Equal Justice Works Fellow

Shira Baron is an Equal Justice Works fellow, sponsored by the Norflet Progress Fund. Her work focuses on using litigation, advocacy, and educational outreach to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline as it impacts Newark’s students. Read More

Prior to joining ELC, Shira served as a math and science teacher in Chicago and New York. She received a B.A. with honors from University of Michigan and a J.D., cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law.


Danielle Farrie, Ph.D.
Research Director

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.


Monete Johnson

Research Associate

Monete Johnson assists with data collection and analysis to support litigation and public policy for ELC and partner organizations.  Read More

Prior to joining ELC, Monete worked in multiple research assistant roles at Rutgers University including at the Race, Neighborhoods, and African-American Health Lab. She also worked as a leadership fellow at SquashBusters, Inc in Boston, MA. Monete received her B.A. in Sociology and Economics from Trinity College (CT) and Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.


Stan Karp
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.


Sharon Krengel
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

Wendy Lecker oversees ELC's work in New York.  Read More

Wendy was a staff attorney at the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (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.


Jessica Levin, Esq.

Skadden Fellow

Jessica Levin's work as a Skadden Fellow focuses on legal advocacy for English Language Learner (ELL) students, particularly in the areas of special education, school discipline, bullying, and school admissions.  Read More

Prior to joining ELC, Jessica served as a law clerk to the Honorable Carlos F. Lucero of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. She received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Cornell University, an M.Phil. in Comparative Government from the University of Oxford, and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School.


Theresa Luhm, Esq.

Managing Director

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.


Amanda Morgan, Esq.


Amanda Morgan oversees ELC’s work in Nevada on school funding.  Read More

Previously, Amanda practiced civil rights law with a non-profit organization in Las Vegas, working on high-profile cases and advocacy related to the prevention of school violence and discrimination, protecting disability rights, access to appropriate sex education, and improving police practices. She has also worked as a child abuse advocate in the Nevada public schools and has acted as an educational surrogate for foster children with special education needs.

Amanda earned a B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a J.D. from the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV. She clerked at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, working in the special education advocacy division.


Aimee Roche
Intake Coordinator

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.


Cynthia Batista
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

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.