Who We Are

Doug Friedlander, Executive Director

In his role as the Executive Director of the NYCCLS, Mr. Friedlander oversees all aspects of the initiative including program development activities, policy research and advocacy, coalition building, and grant writing. In addition, she works on developing sustainable partnerships with community-based organizations, program and service providers, elected officials, city agencies, and private sponsors.

Doug Friedlander was born and raised in New York, finishing high school in a New York City suburb. He later graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in physics. After working as a senior consultant and lead technical trainer for a company that produced application troubleshooting software, Doug left New York City and with his wife, joined Teach for America in Arkansas. After his teaching responsibilities ended, he led the formation of the Boys & Girls Club of Phillips County, Arkansas. Under his leadership, the club raised more than $2 million in its first three years and has written several successful grants to state organizations since its opening in June 2006.

In 2017, with a return to the east coast and New York City, Doug was hired to lead CLS and its ongoing efforts to share its successful model with other districts in New York State and beyond.

Christine Schuch, Associate Executive Director

In her role as NYCCLS Associate Executive Director, Ms. Schuch oversees many programmatic and strategic aspects of NYCCLS.

Prior to her role as Associate Executive Director, Ms. Schuch was the Director of Policy at CLS for five years. Before joining CLS, Ms. Schuch worked for six years at the law firm, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP as a Litigation Document Analyst. Ms. Schuch has a Bachelor’s from Knox College and earned her JD from City University of New York School of Law.

CLS Board of Directors:

Karen Alford, VP of Elementary Schools, UFT

David Appel, MD, Director, Montefiore School Health Program

Reverend Henry Belin, Bethel AME Church

Kathleen M. Cashin, PhD, Member of the Board of Regents at New York State Education Department

Reverend Matthew Heyd, Church of Heavenly Rest

Caitlin Lucchino, Partnership for New York City

Kimberly Williams, President and CEO, MHA-NYC


CLS Staff:

Wanda Torres-Mercado, Director of Strategy and Operations
Giovanna Romero, Director of Program Support
Lila Ezra, Director of Mental Health
Marisol Pena, UFT Education Liaison
Theresa London-Cooper, UFT Education Liaison
Taryn Cheeks, Program Manager
Tenisha Swift, Program Manager
David Ng, Administrative Assistant

CLS Community School Directors:

Allison Brown
Altovise Green
Amy Kui
Carly Ayala
Charlene Corbett
Cindy Lomonaco
Frank Cutrone
George Yates
Katie Savage
Laurel Girvan
Makeda Peters
Mia Martinez
Ramon Lopez
Rasahn Staley
Robert Perkins
Sandra I Perez
Savanity Davis
Shell Lewis
Tanish A’see

CLS Social Workers:

Doreene Ng
Jarrod K. Alexander
Keeshan Defay
Tamika Abdullah