Bronx Letters Foundation
The Bronx Letters Foundation is made up of a diverse group of professionals with varied backgrounds including education, finance, law, marketing, publishing, and philanthropy. Our strictly volunteer Board raises funds to support extracurricular programming at the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters.
Through our efforts we provide the financial support for a school newspaper, a literary magazine, writing and acting residencies, SAT prep, and college visits. We offer a host of other extracurricular opportunities through partnerships with a variety of institutions, organizations, and companies in NYC and beyond. Together with the principal the foundation board decides which programs we can fund each year. We also support the school by researching grants and programs.
In addition to producing our annual Chefs’ Tasting Benefit and Fun(d) Run, board members are active volunteers at the school and participants in many school-sponsored events including Annual Student Exhibitions, College Essay Writing Night and the College Fair.
Co-Vice Chair of Programming
Karen has been a Vice President of the Corcoran Group, specializing in the sale of residential properties in Manhattan, for over 17 years. Prior to working in real estate, Karen worked for the Metropolitan Opera in performing arts management and as the Associate Producer for their television series. Karen joined the Foundation in January 2012.
Reagan is Senior Vice President and Publisher of Little Brown. Previously, she was the founding editor of Picadou USA at St. Martin's Press. Writers Reagan has worked with include Kate Atkinson, Judy Budnitz, Oscar Casares, Elizabeth Crane, Rachel Cusk, Tony Earley, Joshua Ferris, Caitlin Flanagan, Tim Gautreaux, Elizabeth Kostova, George Pelecanos, Ian Rankin, Joanna Scott and Lisa Selin Davis.
A graduate of Yale University, Jennifer has been Vice President and Executive Editor at HarperCollins since 2007. She served previously as Editor in Chief at Henry Holt. Her list is comprised of equal parts fiction and nonfiction, and her tastes are eclectic. The fiction writers she has worked with include Paul Auster, Tessa Hadley, Daniel Silva, and Michael Chabon; nonfiction authors include Mary Karr, Caitlin Moran, and Peggy Orenstein. Jennifer lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.
Toni Bernstein, a 1984 graduate of Tufts University is an active volunteer in support of education. In 2003, Toni helped to found the Advisory Board for The Bronx Academy of Letters. Toni has remained involved with this cause since it's inception. In addition to board work, she volunteers with students at Bronx Letters. Toni also tutors students each week at PS 182 in Harlem through a program called Reading Partners and has recently joined the board of The Shield Institute, an organization that works to enable children and adults with intellectual and developmental challenges to lead full, meaningful lives. Toni is the mother of 3 adult children and has been happily married to her husband Seth for 28 years.
Brandon Cardet-Hernandez is a passionate educator who believes in social justice through high quality educational opportunities. He is focused on closing the achievement gap by concentrating on teacher development/support, creating classrooms that are rigorous, engaging and student-centered and by using students' histories and experiences to further engage learning. He is the Principal of The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters. He is also a Co-Founder of Project Nathanael, a non-profit that supports a free co-ed elementary school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti through teacher development, resource management and capacity building and serves on the New York Advisor Board of Let’s Get Ready.
Jodie is an ardent supporter of public schools and has had three children in the schools in her neighborhood of Westchester. She is an active board member of Sanctuary for Families, the leading provider of comprehensive domestic-violence services in NYC, and has successfully run its annual benefit since 2002. Jodie graduated from Tufts University in 1984 and spent the next thirteen years in various brand-management and marketing positions with Coach, Liz Claiborne, The Gap, and Macy's. Jodie is a founding member of the Bronx Academy of Letters Advisory Board.
Elizabeth is a seasoned marketer who most recently served as Chief Marketing Officer for Dstillery, a leading marketing technology firm. Prior to joining Dstillery, she held marketing and events positions at Alloy Media + Marketing, Scholastic and Radio City Entertainment. She takes an active role in the NYC public education community through her efforts with PENCIL and as a director of the Bronx Letters Foundation. She holds a BA in Art History from Dartmouth College.
Co-Vice Chair of Outreach and Development
With a B.S. from NYU, Lisa spent ten years working for Merrill Lynch Futures in their New York, Chicago and Tokyo offices. After raising four children, both in the U.S. and Japan, Lisa went back to school to study creative writing at Manhattanville College where she received her M.F.A. She has written for The Japan Times, CNN, Metropolis Magazine and for the past year she wrote a weekly column called “The Westchester Wanderer” for Hometown Media. She has helped dozens of high school seniors at various schools around the world with their college application essays.
Co-Vice Chair of Programming
Susan Kahn is a political scientist who has worked in journalism, taught in universities, worked at the United Nations, and in foundations. She is actively involved in New York cultural organizations and a political activist.
David Kuhn, Founder of Kuhn Projects, worked for many years as a magazine editor. He was the Editor in Chief of Brill’s Content magazine from 2000 to 2002, prior to which he was Features Director at The New Yorker, where he also edited “The Talk of the Town,” “Shouts & Murmurs,” and more than a dozen non-fiction special issues. Prior to joining The New Yorker, David worked at Vanity Fair as Arts Editor and a Senior Editor for seven years. He received his BA from
Wendee joined the Bronx Letters Advisory Board in 2009. She is a seasoned international executive with more than two decades of luxury brand development experience. She is Founder and President of TLX Partners, a consulting firm providing strategic business development services for companies seeking to leverage their brand point of difference. TLX Partners specializes in identifying brand growth opportunities through licensing, international expansion, product development and marketing enhancement. Clients include Tory Burch, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Ghurka, and Tracy Reese. Prior roles include management positions at Tiffany & Co., Coach, Movado, Judith Leiber and Tumi. Wendee holds a BA from Dartmouth College.
Jenny McPhee is the author of the novels The Center of Things, No Ordinary Matter, and A Man of No Moon. She is co-author with her sisters Martha McPhee and Laura McPhee of Girls: Odinary Girls and Their Extraordinary Pursuits. She has translated several works from the Italian, including most recently Primo Levi’s story collections Natural History and A Flaw of Form included in The Complete Works of Primo Levi. Together with her sister Joan Sullivan, the school’s first Principal, she was a founding member of the Bronx Academy of Letters. She is currently the Director of the Center for Applied Liberal Arts at NYU’s School of Professional Studies.
Chair of Finance
Deb joined the Bronx Letters Advisory Board in 2008 and has served on the Endowment and Education committees. She is a finance professional currently working as a senior director in investor development for Fitch Ratings. She has previously worked in structured finance roles at Morgan Stanley, XL Capital Assurance and JPMorgan Chase and performed accounting and special projects work for the CFO and COO of gourmet grocer Citarella. In addition to her work with BAL, Deb volunteers as a member of the Board of Advisors of Siena College.
Peter Picard is a writer, producer, entrepreneur, small business owner. He sits on the board of several charities for children: The Rockhouse Foundation, The Russian Children's Welfare Society, GAIN (co-founder), and The Bronx Letters Foundation.
Co-Vice Chair of Outreach and Development
Amanda is an Account Executive at Dstillery, a leading advertising technology company in New York. Dstillery specializes in creating custom audiences for brands to help them find new customers. Prior to joining Dstillery, Amanda worked at Beanstalk, a brand licensing agency, on brands including HGTV, DIY Network and US Army. Amanda is passionate about public education and giving back to the community. She graduated with a BA in Psychology and Visual Arts from Union College and is currently pursuing her Master's in elementary education at Hunter College.
Samantha is a digital media innovator- currently chief revenue and marketing officer for SheKnows Media, a New York City-based women's media company that believes in 'women inspiring women'. Formerly of Recyclebank a company that uses social gaming dynamics to encourage green action among mainstream consumers. Samantha is responsible for advertising products, revenue generation, and corporate marketing and brand development.
A frequent presenter and commentator for business and trade media, Skey’s speaking events include annual Ad Week panel moderation, the Gamification Summit of 2011, GreenBiz State of Green Business Forum 2011, the Physic Ventures-Edelman Social Media Summit 2011, SheStreams 2011, OMMA Global New York 2011,[ Gamification Summit 2011 and ad:tech conference 2011. In an authored Advertising Age article, Skey advised companies on how to reach millennial moms. She said that this generation of mothers (those born after 1980) are wallet-driven activists who consider both family health and environmental sustainability when making purchases. “The Millennial mom has different expectations for the brands she supports and demands transparency and authenticity both from the brand's on- and offline efforts.”
Skey helped develop Riddler, one of the web’s first real-time, multi-player, reward-based gaming sites at Interactive Imaginations. She has served in management positions at The Walt Disney Company and CNET, was the chief marketing officer at Passenger, Inc. and is a member of the founding executive team of Alloy Inc., where she served as executive vice president of strategic marketing. Skey sits on the boards of ad:tech, The Earth Adoption Agency, SmartyPants Ltd., YouthNoise and The Bronx Letters Foundation
Skey holds a BA in comparative literature from Hamilton College.
The founding principal of the Bronx Academy of Letters, Joan currently serves as Deputy Mayor of Education for Los Angeles. In this role, she oversees the mayor’s education policy agenda, working closely with the superintendent and board president to transform the nation’s second largest school district. She also oversees the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a non-profit turnaround organization that is accelerating student achievement at scale within the district’s lowest performing schools. Before founding Bronx Letters, Joan worked on Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential campaign, documenting her experiences in a memoir, An American Voter (2002). She began her career working for the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a NYC agency charged with investigating police misconduct. Joan is a graduate of the Broad Fellowship for Education Leadership; she holds a M.S. in School Leadership and a B.A. in American Studies from Yale College, where she earned All-American honors in lacrosse.
Kim is a founding partner of InkWell Management, a literary agency. Her clients include Kate Atkinson, Anthony Bourdain, David Chang, Lena Dunham, Amity Gaige, Gabrielle Hamilton, Sophie Kinsella, Eloisa James, Peter Meehan, Julie Orringer,Yotam Ottolenghi, and Lionel Shriver. She has represented several books on education, including Stephen O’Connor’s Will My Name Be Shouted Out: Reaching Inner City Students Through the Power Of Writing and Alife Kohn’s The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and Tougher Standards. A graduate of Brown University, she is a member of the Authors Guild and the editor of two anthologies, including: Don’t Try This at Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World’s Greatest Chefs. Kim is a founding member of the Bronx Academy of Letters Advisory Board.