Administrative Team

Rodney Fuller

Chief Executive Officer
Rodney brings to the Boys and Girls Club of Newark a wealth of experience and success in fundraising, youth and community development, education, volunteerism, board and staff development, strategic planning, and executive leadership of youth-service organizations. Rodney is an accomplished community leader and nonprofit executive with more than 20-years experience.  He is the former Executive Director at Public Allies New York and has successfully led a number of other organizations in New York. He is a recipient of the Union Square Award, is a Robert Bowne Foundation Research Fellow and is the recipient of many other academic and civic awards. Rodney has been an adjunct professor at Hunter College, Marymount Manhattan College, Ramapo College of New Jersey, and Yeshiva University.  Rodney is presently in the dissertation phase of his PhD at Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work.


Cynthia M. Banks

Vice President of Operations
Cynthia has served the Boys & Girls Club of Newark with distinction for over 25 years in several leadership roles, though no single title could ever contain the full force and scope of her impact on the children who have been in her care. She has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2009 Ms. BGCN Award, and selection as a 2011 Professional of the Year for Outstanding Service by the Garden State Chapter for her work with women and minority professionals. Cynthia currently serves on the Youth of the Year Committee for Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey, working with colleagues from across the state.


Catherine Plymel

Director of Culture
Catherine has been a part of the Boys & Girls Club since 2014 and started as an intern while attending Rutgers Newark. After her internship she joined the team and has been hard at work ever since. Catherine completed her Bachelors of Arts in Public and Non Profit Administration and is pursuing her masters in Public Administration and Non Profit from Rutgers Newark with a concentration in leadership. She has over 5 years of experience in organizational leadership and is passionate about harvesting a healthy, happy workplace with real emphasis on a strong organizational culture.


Diana Lynn Zeller

A valued BGCN finance department employee since 1976. In 2007, Diana developed an innovative means of tracking grant-related staff allocation, a system that has proven instrumental in our own recordkeeping and has been adopted by other Clubs throughout the state. Diana was named a BGCN employee of the Year in 2011, and in 2006 was recognized at BGCA’s Leadership Conference for 30 years of service.


Jessica Faith

Director of Development
Jessica Faith has spent over 10 years in fundraising and management for non-profit organizations focused on education and youth development. She was most recently the Director of Development at Friends of the Children in Harlem before joining the team at The Boys & Girls Club of Newark in April of 2016. Jessica is also an infant and toddler specialist and facilitates courses for nannies and parents interested in implementing the RIE® methodology. She lives in Brooklyn.


Ameer Washington

Development Associate
Ameer Washington grew up at BGCN, having joined the Club as a six-year-old in 1989. By his senior year in high school, he was elected Keystone Club President and Youth of the Year for the state of New Jersey. Ameer went on to earn a bachelors degree in economics from Temple University, and then returned to the Club to hold numerous leadership positions in the organization, including coordination of BGCN’s first school-based site at First Avenue School. He currently serves as BGCN’s Development Associate.

Gardan Speights

Director of Community Wellness and Teen Services
Gardan Speights is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 10 years of experience in the field of mental health with a focus on child/ adolescent behavioral health. She has a bachelor's of Arts in Psychology and Black Studies from SUNY New Paltz, and a Master's in Social Work from Columbia University. Gardan has worked with adults with developmental disabilities and co-morbid mental health challenges, in the jail system, and in one of the largest inpatient behavioral health hospitals in NJ. She has also co-facilitated programming for the Tyrone D. Franklin Technology Center in Westwood, NJ, and is excited to continue helping families stay healthy at BGCN. 

Program Team


Adam Cox

Director of Engagement
Adam Cox has been part of the Boys & Girls Club of Newark family since 2011 and has brought hundreds of college students to BGCN every March for Alternative Spring Break as the co-founder of Break A Difference.  Adam joins the BGCN with nearly a decade of experience managing individual, student and corporate volunteers for a variety of non-profit and corporate partners. He is excited to bring his passion for service to the Boys & Girls Club of Newark and help Newark’s kids reach their full potential.


Rosa Arenas

Clubhouse Manager
Roselle “Rosa” Arenas has been a part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark family for over 25 years. She was first a member and then joined the BGCN staff as a camp counselor. Her responsibilities grew within the organization, leading our team as the Clubhouse Manager. Rosa is a dedicated long-term employee of the Boys & Girls Club of Newark and is passionate about the care and nurturing of the Clubhouse members and their families.


Chris Crockett

Teen Services Manger
Chris is a Newark native who studied Marketing and Criminal Justice at Boston College and Rutgers University of Newark. He joined the BGCN two years ago in order to follow his dream of working in education, and being a mentor and positive male role-model to young people from Newark. Chris is also a professional martial arts teacher and personal fitness trainer, and a history and culture aficionado. He has three young sons.


Stephanie Rojas

Team Academy Site Coordinator
Before joining BGCN, Stephanie worked as a team leader at Good Shepherd Services in the Bronx, where she created lesson plans and curriculum for students between the ages of 5-13. Over a year and a half ago, she the chose to work at BGCN because when she was younger she also attended after school and it helped her learn about herself in ways in which school didn't - she wants other children to have the same experience. As site coordinator, Stephanie leads a small staff in developing and implementing innovative after school programing at a Newark charter school.


Samantha Hendy

Life Academy Site Coordinator
Sam Hendy has been part of the Boys & Girls Club of Newark family since 2014. She has worked with both Newark Public Schools as well as KIPP NJ's after school programs. Sam has over a decade of experience in training development and quality assurance, which contributes to the quality of service BGCN is renowned for providing. She is dedicated to ensuring that our children, families and the community of Newark get the support they need to lead successful lives.


Mushir Poole

Spark Academy Site Coordinator
Mushir Poole graduated from Saint Vincent College in Pennsylvania with a Bachelors in Business Marketing. After graduation, Mushir worked as a marketing consultant for Excela Health. His work at Excel focused on promoting healthy habits among middle and high school students. Before joining BGCN, he mentored and taught at a drug and sex offender rehab facility. Mushir is committed to nurturing young people and enriching the community he has lived in for two decades.


Shantonette Crawford

Membership Coordinator
Shantonette has been with the Boys & Girls Club of Newark for the past six years. An integral member of the BGCN team, she has served a number of different functions at the administrative level, including managing the Club's office and coordinating with all our parents to ensure the successful enrollment of their children.

Global Health Corps Fellows

Gigi Ady

READY Family Wellness Center Manager
Gigi Ady was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She attended California State University, Fullerton, where she received her B.S. in health science and minored in Women's Studies. As an undergraduate, Gigi served with AmeriCorps, working one-on-one with at-risk preschool children. Gigi recently graduated from the University of Southern California with her MSW and MPH. During graduate school, she helped establish The Ladybugs Movement, a non-profit campaign in L.A. to increase homeless women's access to hygiene products. At BGCN, she supports the provision of mental and behavioral health services, as well as dental and vision care, at the Central Ward Clubhouse. 

Bethel Habte

Communications and Development Coordinator
Bethel graduated with a B.A. in sociology, Africana studies minor, and conceptual foundations of medicine certificate from the University of Pittsburgh, where she held a variety of writing-based positions. Prior to joining BGCN as a GHC fellow, she worked on media arts and communications for Pitt's Center for Urban Education and served as an associate manager at Family House, a nonprofit organization providing affordable accommodations for patients and their families. At BGCN, she works on a number of communications and development efforts, as they relate to marketing, messaging, and fundraising.

Youth Development Specialists

Clubhouse YDS

Tiffany Brown

Geraldine Code

Farrakhan Durant

Clem Farrar

Tamika Muhammad

Elijah Plant

Barbara Redway

Yvonne Reeves

Gionah Johnson

Malik Covington

Shane Faiteau

Omatayo Dickson

Johnesse Collins

Rakiyyah Ben

Sana Lewis

Natasha Munford

Tammy Williams

Najah Batem

Constantentine Morgan

Anthony Colado - Lifeguard

Teen Services Specialists

Jovan Sylvester

Jason Cejour

STEM Coordinator

Vaughn Crosby

Clubhouse Staff

John E. Wilson

Ana Marrera De Sanatana

Team Academy

Deidra Lee-Spells

Stephanie Rojas

Robert Reddick - Sub

Takaj Wheeler

Seek Academy

Karina Cosme

Natasha Santiago

Kiyla Gettys

Rakeita James

Vanessa Germain

Raven Williams

Raquelle Outlaw

Zia Johnson


Life Academy

Kairah Davis

Dorothy Isler

Aliyah  Lewis

Kelin-Toya McMillan

Carl Snead

Nagerrah Ingram

Chanelle Russell

Spark Academy

Vanessa  Deraville

Alberta Billups

Angelic Wilson

Moquette Lott

Whitney Hatcher

Amira Outlaw

Javier White

Board of Trustees


Officers of the Board

Cynthia Benjamin, President
Vice President and Chief of Staff to CFO, Prudential Financial

Thomas R. Valen, Board Chair
Partner, Gibbons, PC

Kathleen Barnett Einhorn, Vice President & Treasurer
Partner, Genova Burns


Jason Sobel, Vice President & Secretary
Of Counsel – Real Estate, Sills Cummis & Gross P.C.

Sharad D. Madison, Vice President
CEO, United Building Maintenance

Members of the Board

Joseph F. Accardo Jr.
Deputy General Counsel, PSEG Services Corporation

Sam Boraie 
Vice President, Boraie Development LLC

Heather Daur
Managing Director, Head of Multi-Asset Sales,  HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.

Daniel M. Fontaine
Vice President Retail Market Manager, Essex Region, TD Bank

Lissa Jean Ferrell
Chief Executive Officer, LJF Consulting

Stephen Gilbert
Lawyer, Retired

Michael Gilfillan
President, Brick City Sports Capital


Kate Gratto
Vice President, HR Service Delivery, Prudential Financial

Michael Gruber, DMD
Dentist, Gruber Dentistry

Charlie Rubin
Executive, MCJ Amelior

Cecil Sanders
President, C.H. Sanders Construction Co.

Marla S. Smith
Principal, Berkenkamp Realty Group, LLC

Dean Thompson
Vice President of Finance, Enterprise Holdings

Troy E. Glover
President, AMEX Assurance Company

Kelly Thompson

Young Professionals Council


LaShaun E. Skillings, YPC Co-Chair

Princess Williams, YPC Co-Chair
SPARK Academy

Franklin Barbosa, Jr. 
Trenk, DiPasquale, Della Fera, & Sodono, P.C.

Allyson Cook

Jennifer De Los Angeles 
Board of Education

Dianiris Lebron
Wake fern Food Corporation

Ghatul Abdul
Seton Hall Law

Diana Houenou
ACLU of New Jersey

Albert Chen
Seton Hall Law

Mouna Moussa
NJIT/ Armand Life Ink, LLC

Al-Lynn Symmons
Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.

Elizabeth Coulter
Murphy for Governor

Franklin Barbosa
Trenk, DiPasquale, Della Fera & Sodono P.C.

Kiran Gill
PARS Environmental 

Bill Schramm
Logan Circle Partners

Lawrese Brown
Brown Coaching and Consulting, LLC

Through networking events, social outings, meaningful volunteer opportunities and fundraisers, the YPC focuses on bringing additional resources to BGCN and the kids they serve.To learn more about how you can become a member of BGCN’s Young Professionals Council, please email Ameer Washington at, BGCN’s Development Associate.