Board & Staff
Paul E. Moran, CPA, CGMA, ADR, PFS, Chair
Partner, Yarlas, Kaplan, Santilli & Moran, Ltd.
President & CEO
Dr. Warren Simmons, Vice Chair
Executive Director, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University
José V. Monteiro, Jr., Treasurer
Vice President, Business Banking, Webster Bank
Sylvia Natale, Secretary
Saikon Gbehan, Executive Committee
Attorney, College Crusade Class of 2001
Dr. Irving Schneider, Executive Committee
Robert W. Britto-Oliveira
Academic Advisor, Talent Development Program, University of Rhode Island, College Crusade Class of 2001
Colleen Callahan, Ph.D.
Director of Professional Issues, RI Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals
Mary Chinn, CPLP, PHR
Director, Training Delivery – East Coast Operations, Cox Communications
Donald J. Farish, Ph.D., J.D.
President, Roger Williams University
Fla Lewis III
Principal, Weybosset Research and Management, LLC
Associate Vice President of Advancement & External Relations, Rhode Island College Foundation
Jim Purcell, Ed.D.
Postsecondary Commissioner, Office of the RI Postsecondary Commissioner
First Vice President, Investments, Merrill Lynch
Compliance Officer, RI Public Transit Authority; President, NAACP Providence Branch
Stuart M. Yarlas, CPA, MBA, MA
Yarlas, Kaplan, Santilli & Moran, Ltd.
Emeritus member of the board:
Hon. O. Rogeriee Thompson
Justice, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
College Crusade Class of 2004
President & CEO
Andrew Bramson is responsible for setting overall goals and operational priorities that advance The College Crusade’s mission. For the past 15 years, he held senior leadership positions at The Providence Plan, serving as Development Director, Deputy Director, and most recently as Director of DataSpark, a cornerstone initiative of the organization that connects data and people to inform, empower, and inspire innovative decision making. Previously, he was Senior Planner for the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission in Duluth, Minnesota. Andrew serves as a board member of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University, is a trustee of Temple Beth-El, and was previously on the Advisory Board for Youth in Action. Early in his career, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Hungary, where he taught environmental education and advised nonprofit organizations. A graduate of Leadership Rhode Island’s Class of 2015, Andrew holds a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an M.A. in Management from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota.
Senior Vice President of Operations / RI GEAR UP Director
William Formicola leads, plans, and directs internal daily operations at The College Crusade. As RI GEAR UP Director, he also oversees our GEAR UP budget, individual programs and management information systems, and a team of three program managers. He has over 30 years of experience leading major educational and workforce development initiatives, including 15 years at The College Crusade. Bill holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Roger Williams University and has completed extensive graduate coursework in public administration at the University of Rhode Island.
Executive Assistant to the President
Jill Carr provides daily administrative support for the President and CEO of The College Crusade and functions as office manager. She has worked for The College Crusade for 19 years.
Program Operations Coordinator
Linda Viveiros performs diverse day-to-day functions relating to program operations at The College Crusade and provides continuous vital support to the Senior Vice President for Operations and the Integrated Services Team. Before joining The College Crusade, she ran her own printing company. Linda graduated from the Executive Assistant program at Gibbs College. She has worked for The College Crusade for 10 years.
Support Services Coordinator
Tempestt Bui provides administrative support to our Integrated Support Services team and assists in the effective delivery of our college-readiness programs for middle school and high school students. She also coordinates special programs such as our competitive robotics team. Tempestt previously served as a College Crusade Advisor at both E-Cubed Academy and Davies Career and Technical High School. She has also worked as an AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteer at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. A former Crusader, Tempestt graduated from Woonsocket High School and then attended St. John’s University, where she earned a B.A. in Public Administration with a minor in Philosophy of Law.
Director for Postsecondary Transition and Success
Maria Carvalho is responsible for the development, implementation, and administration of The College Crusade’s postsecondary transition and completion initiatives. She oversees a team of College Advisors who serve Crusaders enrolled in a number of our state’s institutions of higher education. Maria also oversees The College Crusade’s dual enrollment program and other initiatives focused on helping Crusaders make a smooth transition to postsecondary education. Maria was involved in developing and implementing the Access & Persistence Program with the RI Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and Community College of Rhode Island and is a member of the program’s Advisory Board at each of the state’s three postsecondary institutions. She is also a former Regional Council Member at Large for the College Board. Maria received the Leader in Action Award from New England Counselors of Color Bridging Access to College (NECCBAC). Previously, she served on the College Goal RI FAFSA Completion Planning Committee. As a result of this successful effort, she was invited to attend the FAFSA Summit at the White House hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of the Reach Higher Initiative. Maria holds an M.Ed. in Adult Education from the University of Rhode Island and a B.S. in Human Services from Springfield College. She has worked for The College Crusade for 20 years.
Family Engagement Coordinator
Candace Harper is responsible for engaging, empowering, and educating College Crusade families so they can advocate for their child’s success and social development and support their child’s readiness for postsecondary education. She coordinates all family workshops, activities, and events with the support of the Family Engagement Assistant, Family Liaisons, and staff. Prior to joining The College Crusade, Candace taught fourth and fifth grade at the Community Preparatory School and also worked in Development at the Providence Country Day School. She holds a B.S. in Communications from Northeastern University.
Supervisor of Middle School Programs
Ranika Reyes coordinates the daily operations of our middle school Advisory staff. Previously she served as the College Crusade Advisor at Woonsocket Middle School and at Gilbert Stuart Middle School in Providence. She has also worked for the RI Mentoring Partnership as an AmeriCorps volunteer, for the RI Key Program, and for CVS corporate headquarters. A former Crusader, Ranika graduated from Classical High School and earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Rhode Island.
Jessica Rivera provides supports and identifies resources for Crusaders to ensure a smooth transition from high school to postsecondary education. She also assists Crusaders who do not immediately transition into postsecondary education with solutions to admission deferments. Jessica previously served for several years as a College Crusade Advisor at Central Falls High School. She was also employed as Program Coordinator for a workforce program at Nickerson Community Center. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island.
Associate Director for Integrated Support Services
Lauren Schechtman is responsible for strategic direction, management, administration, and implementation of all College Crusade middle school and high school programs, grants, and collaborative initiatives. She ensures that our college and career readiness programs meet GEAR UP goals and objectives and oversees our middle school and high school Advisory. Lauren is Vice President of the Board of Directors for Segue Institute for Learning. She is also a member of the Providence School Department Community Partners committee and the Central Falls Square Mile Coalition. She has extensive experience in youth program development and administration, including several years as Program Coordinator for Times2 Academy and 14 years with The College Crusade. Lauren holds a B.S. in Social Work from Florida International University.
Associate Director for Admissions & Family Engagement
Laurel Shepard is responsible for building student membership in The College Crusade. Throughout her 20-year tenure with The College Crusade, Laurel has assumed a variety of roles and responsibilities as elementary school program manager, community relations specialist, director of program services, and associate director of mentoring programs. Prior to joining The College Crusade, she managed Community School programs and served as the Education Resource Specialist for the City of Cambridge, Mass. Laurel also coordinated environmental and adventure education programs for Thompson Island Outward Bound. She is past president of the board of directors for the Northern RI Cooperative Extension and a graduate of Leadership Rhode Island. Laurel holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Suffolk University and an M.A. in Human Services Management from Lesley University.
Family Liaison Assistant
Enma Velasquez works with the Family Engagement Coordinator to deliver programs, workshops, and other events for families of Crusaders. She provides Spanish translation at family workshops and presentations, supports a staff of Family Liaisons, and communicates daily with families of Crusaders. Enma also administers The College Crusade’s Khan Academy online math tutorial program. Enma began her career with The College Crusade as a Family Liaison in 2008 and joined the full-time staff in 2011. Her son and daughter are high school Crusaders.
Supervisor of High School Programs
Chanda Womack coordinates the daily operations of our high school Advisory staff. Previously she served as the College Crusade Advisor at Central High School. She has also worked as a teacher for Providence Summerbridge and as a loan officer in the banking industry. Chanda is Secretary of the Cambodian Society of Rhode Island. She holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Rhode Island and is currently completing a master’s program in Secondary Education, with a concentration in Math, at the University of Phoenix.
Meet our school-based College Crusade Advisory staff.
Meet our College Crusade Family Liaison staff.
Robert J. Oberg
Vice President for Development & Communications
Bob Oberg directs development activities for The College Crusade and supervises our communications and grant-writing staff. Bob oversaw communications and development for The College Crusade between 1993 and 2002, and before rejoining our management staff in 2007, he spent five years as director of operations and senior communications strategist for Im-aj Communications and Design. Bob serves as a member of the state’s College Access & Success Work Group and chairs a subcommittee on expanding support services for students. He is an alumnus of Leadership Rhode Island and past vice chairman of The Rhode Island Rivers Council. Bob holds a B.A. in English Literature from Providence College and was awarded a graduate fellowship in journalism from the Poynter Institute.
Marketing & Communications Officer
Karen Donovan communicates the mission, vision, and spirit of The College Crusade with materials designed for print and for the web. She also writes CruBlog, manages our alumni relations programs, and serves as liaison with members of the media. Karen has over 30 years of experience as a professional writer and editor, including 10 years as an account executive for a public relations agency in Providence. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Hobart & William Smith Colleges and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Emily Winchell helps to plan, coordinate, and implement The College Crusade’s fund development program. Her work includes grant writing, special events, donor cultivation, and other fundraising activities. Emily has a background in political management, and prior to joining The College Crusade she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Paul Cuffee School. She currently sits on the Development Committee of the New Leaders Council Executive Board. Emily holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rhode Island College and an M.P.S. in Legislative Affairs from The George Washington University.
Nicholas Alves ‘11
Development & Alumni Relations Assistant
Nicholas Alves supports our development staff in devising a comprehensive strategy for alumni relations and reaches out to College Crusade alumni to invite them to join our alumni association. He meets with the Alumni Board, builds and maintains a database of alumni information, and helps to plan and implement alumni events. He also helps to develop creative and effective fundraising appeals to our alumni membership. An alumnus himself, Nick graduated from Davies Career Tech High in 2011 and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Rhode Island College.
Chief Financial Officer
Irene McCormick directs the financial affairs of The College Crusade. She is responsible for setting our financial plans and policies, our accounting practices, and the conduct of our relationships with lending institutions and the financial community. She also ensures the maintenance of our fiscal records. Irene has over 30 years of experience in finance and has overseen The College Crusade’s finances for 19 years. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Roger Williams University.
Martha Ahern serves as The College Crusade’s staff liaison with the RI Higher Education Assistance Authority in the administration of our scholarship program. Prior to joining The College Crusade, she worked in the banking industry for 15 years. Martha holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from Bryant University.
Brenda McMahon handles day-to-day financial operations for The College Crusade, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll, in addition to human resources. Brenda was previously employed at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island for 12 years and has extensive experience in accounting and finance. She holds a B.S. in Accounting and a M.B.A. from Providence College and subsequently earned a B.A. in Elementary/Special Education and M.S in Special Education, also from Providence College.
Associate Director for Data Evaluation
Annajane Yolken oversees data and evaluation at The College Crusade to inform development, implementation, measurement, and communication about the impact of student and parent programs. Prior to joining our staff, she served as Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation Manager for Thundermist Health Center, where she oversaw program evaluation and program management for clinical and community-based health programs. She has also worked on evaluation projects in the fields of HIV and Hepatics C research. Annajane holds an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health and an A.B. in Human Biology from Brown University.
Ron Cardoza oversees intake of our student and program data from a variety of sources and provides data to internal and external partners. He also provides application development and programming support to our organization. Prior to joining The College Crusade, Ron was employed as a DBA/Programmer for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He holds an M.A. in Finance & Taxation from Bryant University and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Roger Williams University.
Computer Technician/Help Desk Specialist
Jorge Hernandez provides The College Crusade and its associates with support by managing and maintaining computers, including peripherals and software. Jorge has over 10 years of combined technical and networking experience, has an A.S. in Computer and Information Science from New England Institute of Technology, and has obtained networking certification at the Community College of Rhode Island.
Yolanda Infante provides data entry and maintenance services for The College Crusade’s extensive student tracking database. Before joining The College Crusade, she worked in case management for a job counseling service.
Antonia Urena serves as primary data entry specialist for data collected as part of the Crusade’s extensive program survey administration efforts. Other duties include the generation of evaluation survey reports, maintenance of Advisor caseload reports, updating Crusader records, and entry of program attendance and admissions data. She previously served as College Crusade Admissions Assistant.