Learning Community

The Family Success Institute Learning Community

New Jersey boasts countless local leaders who have developed positive community initiatives. They are parents and grandparents, leaders of nonprofits and state agencies, as well as leaders of local neighborhood initiatives. They invest their time and talent in laying the foundation for family success in their communities.

Many of these remarkable leaders have joined FSI to form a Learning Community. This collaborative group shares information, experiences and inspiration to form positive strategies for collective impact. Their services draw both direction and strength from place-based community mobilization, and are achieving better outcomes for children, youth and families.

Our members connect often in bi-monthly meetings, as well as in individual work groups, where they develop policy recommendations and devise goals to support specific issues that affect New Jersey families.

Watch previously recorded meetings here

Members of our Learning Community have included:


Carlos Rodriguez

President & CEO, Community Food Bank of NJ

Kathleen Roe

Executive Director, Parents Inc.

Doreen Finley

Program Director, Parents Inc.

Rhonda A. Lewis

Executive Director, Greater Newark LISC

Gerard Costa

Director, Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health, Montclair State University

Kathleen Mulcahy

Associate Director, Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health, Montclair State University

Jill Wodnick

Doula & Breastfeeding Educator, Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health, Montclair State University

From Bergen

Rose Zeltser

Senior Vice President Planning and Program Development – Children’s Aid & Family Services

From Camden

Diana Cooper-Vanderlip

President/CEO, Community Planning & Advocacy Council

Richard Stagliano

President/CEO, Center for Family Success Services

Merilee Rutolo

Chief Operating Officer, Center for Family Success Services

Megan Lepore

Director of Development & Sustainability, Center for Family Services

Barbara Ann Johnson-Stokes

Parent Member, First Comes Health

From Essex/Newark

Barbara Dixon

Chief Program Officer & Executive Director of the South Ward Children’s Alliance, Brick Academy

Dominique Lee

Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Brick Academy

Beverly Lynn

CEO – Programs For Parents

Ronald Chaluisan Batlle

Executive Director, Newark Trust for Education

Rasheba Stevenson

Director of Early Learning Strategy, Newark Trust for Education

Victoria Hernandez

Executive Director, Ironbound Community Corporation

Keri Logosso-Misurell, Esq.

Director at Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition

Mary Long

Administrative Assistant, Greater Newark Healthcare Colition

Sean LaCon

Founder & Executive Director, Blessed Ministries Inc.

Lisa LaCon

Co-Founder & Director, Blessed Ministries Inc.

From Hudson

Alex Forrester

Chief Strategy/Innovation Officer, Rising Tide Capital

From Passaic/Paterson

Carolyn McCombs

Executive Director, New Destiny Family Success Center, Inc.

Robert Guarasci

Founder & CEO, New Jersey Community Development Corporation

From Mercer

Marygrace Billek

Director of Human Services – Mercer County Department of Human Services

From Middlesex

Gloria Aftanski

President & Chief Professional Officer, United Way of Central Jersey

Stuart Grant

Senior Vice President, Community Investment, United Way of Central Jersey

From Monmouth

Jeffrey Schwartz

Director of Human Services, Monmouth County of NJ

Colleen Verriest

CEO, Family & Children’s Services

Mary Pat Angelini

CEO, Preferred Behavioral Health Group

David Stout

President, Brookdale Community College

From Union

Debbie-Ann Anderson

Director of Human Services, Union County of NJ

James Horne

President & CEO, United Way of Greater Union County

Janus Solutions

Gena Haranis

Senior VP, Consulting Services, Janus Solutions

Family Success Institute

Tom Blatner

Board President, Family Success Institute
[email protected]

Jeanne Warnock

Board Treasurer, Family Success Institute
[email protected]

Charlie Venti

Board Philanthropic Liaison, Family Success Institute
[email protected]

Timothy L. Carden

Director, Family Success Institute
[email protected]

Loredana Henry

Community Liaison, Family Success Institute
[email protected]

Eliza Fink

Communications Director
[email protected]

Erica Harris Devalve

Director of Strategic Initiatives
[email protected]

Kathleen Roe

Board Member
[email protected]


Lauren Lilacon

Policy Director, Office of the NJ First Lady

Christine Beyer

Commissioner, NJ Department of Children & Families

Cary Booker

Assistant Commissioner for Early Childhood, NJ Department of Education

Retha Onitri

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

Bari Mattes

Community Member

Juan Carlos Nordelo

Legislative Director, Office of Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez

Dr. Candice Dias

Director of Research and Evaluation, Camden Promise Neighborhood (Center for Family Success)

Cecilia Zalkind


Christine Idland

Special Assistant to the Commissioner, NJ Department of Children & Families

Maria Vizcarrondo

President/CEO. Council of NJ Grant Makers

Thomas Owens

Executive Director, Newark Mentoring Movement

Mark Dinglasan

Executive Director,
CUMAC: Feeding People and Changing Lives

Adele LaTourette

Director, Hunger Free New Jersey

Evan Delgado

Director of Programs, Turrell Fund

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