African Dream Academy

Empowering African Children Through Education

African Dream Academy Foundation Board of Directors (ADAF)

Natasha BergreenNatasha Bergreen
- is the principal of her own design firm that focuses on interior design and events. She has been in practice since 1985 and has participated in numerous charitable events as a chair, event coordinator and/or event designer, including co-chairing the first African Dream Academy Foundation's benefit concert. She studied at The Parsons School of Design and went on to further her design concentration at Sotheby's and The Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Her work has been published in The New York Times, House Beautiful, Harper's Bazaar, Metropolitan Home. In addition, she has made guest appearances on Lifetimes "Our Home Show" and has participated in the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse. as well as many other Showhouses around the country. She resides in NYC with her two young boys.


Jacquline L. CurielJacquline L. Curiel
- is currently a director of the Supervisory Board of the Maduro & Curiel Bank in the Netherlands Antilles, a very prestigious position in the local banking community of the region. She is also a shareholder in several Venezuelan companies, one of which is the distributor of main brands of cosmetics and perfumes, such as Chanel and Carolina Herrera. Formerly Mrs. Curiel was in the employ of Citibank N.A., where she started her career and, over a period of 12 years, reached senior executive positions. Currently she also is a sponsor of the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Hispanic Society, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Queen Sofia Institute, and many others. Mrs. Curiel holds a BS degree in Administrative Services and an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. She has also studied at the London Business School, where she studied international business and finance, and has also pursued a Ph.D. in International Relations. Mrs. Curiel lives in New York City with her daughter and is fluent in English and Spanish.


Daryl Davis, Esq.Daryl Davis, Esq.
- is ADAF's Acting Corporate Secretary with the same duties and powers as the Corporate Secretary Rev. Tom Smith. He is Counsel to Leo Law, a national business law firm, and is a Co-Founder of the Huntsville Aeronautics Company, a space technology and commercialization organization. Mr. Davis graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Morehouse College and earned a law degree from the Yale Law School, where he was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship for Public International Law (focusing on sub-Saharan Africa) and edited the Yale Law & Policy Review. Following Yale, he worked at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (Voting Rights Division) and served as judicial clerk in the chambers of the Honorable Chief Judge Joseph W. Hatchett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Prior to his current roles, Mr. Davis practiced law with Davis Polk & Wardwell; Boies Schiller & Flexner; and Doman Davis. He also has an active pro bono practice advising non-profit organizations and representing immigrants, many from African countries, seeking protection under asylum and UN conventions.


The Rev. Samuel R. EndersThe Rev. Samuel R. Enders
- is Founder and Executive Director of the ADA School (opened September 2012) and the Children's Health Clinic at ADA (opened April 2016). On October 10, 2017, he was elected a congressman of District 6, Montserrado County, Liberia, to serve a six-year term. Rev. Enders is a pastor from his home country of Liberia West Africa and has served as a minister, youth leader, community leader, and has worked with the United Nations, the Red Cross, and the Liberia Council of Churches for many years. He is a graduate of Anderson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Organization Leadership, and of the Anderson University School of Theology with a Masters of Divinity degree.


Inzata FofanaInzata Fofana
- is an entrepreneur who recently founded a company which produces of a line of skincare products made of all natural ingredients called D'Amony. Her past experience includes working in sales and advertising for the Palmolive Division of Lever Brothers Corporation in her native country of Cote d'Ivoire. Inzata has also worked for the Vinegar Factory in charge of Cashiers Training and as an assistant teacher at la Croisette French Language Center. She studied at the Lycee Classique d'Abidjan, is fluent in French and English, and has been living New York City for the past 20 years with her husband and two daughters.


Karen L. GainesKaren L. Gaines
- is a Co-Founder and the Executive Director of Photography Collections Preservation Project (PCPP), a not-for-profit organization, whose mission is to secure the cultural legacy of 20th century photography. She also currently works as an appraisal consultant with Penelope Dixon Associates. In 2016 she was an Exhibit Producer for the Smithsonian Museum of American History and an Assignment Editor of Barack Obama: The Official Inaugural Book. Ms. Gaines is a graduate of Tufts University with a BFA degree from the Museum of Fine Arts in Bedford, Massachusetts and is an MS Candidate in Information Studies from Pratt Institute in New York City. She holds a Certificate of Compliance in the Uniform Standards of Professional Practice Appraisers Association of America.


Christine GarrisonChristine Garrison
- is currently a teacher with the Life Adjustment Center teaching children with special needs and also a very active volunteer for the African Dream Academy Foundation and the Brick Church Summer Steps Program. During her career Christine has worked extensively with children combining her interests in theater and education. For approximately seven years years she traveled with several children's theater companies, including the Shoestring Players and Creative Arts Team under the direction of New York University, performing plays and workshops designed for children. She has also performed with the Castillo Theater and worked as a manager at the American Museum of Natural History, both in New York City. Christine received her BA in Liberal Arts/Political Science from Wilberforce University in Ohio, the first- established HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). She is also the recipient of a certificate in Drama from the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York City.


Kathleen L. KaaschKathleen L. Kaasch
- is Acting Treasurer of the Board. She has been an accountant at Euclidean Capital, LLC since 2010, having previously worked in another family office, Ivor & Co. Much of her professional life was spent working in non-profits, including 20 years at The Brick Presbyterian Church as accountant and then Church Administrator. She followed that with a period in Florence, Italy doing freelance accounting work for American companies and organizations. She has a BS degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and an MS degree from Columbia University, both in economics.


Heidi LeiserHeidi Leiser
- is an independent consultant specializing in contemporary art. In 2006 she launched her own company, Les Arts Lulu. LLC. Her background is financial (Black Rock Financial Management, Sumitomo-Mitsui, and Dexia Bank). She earned a BBA, Finance, from The Lubin School of Business (Pace University), and an MA, Art Business, from Sotheby's Institute Of Art (University Of Manchester). She has served on various non-profit committees in New York City focusing on art and education. She has lived in Kenya, teaching school in Nairobi.


Blanche Goble MansfieldBlanche Goble Mansfield
- has worked at The Nightingale-Bamford School from 1981 until the present, and since 1985 as Head of the Lower School. During that time, she has been responsible for 225 students from kindergarten to fourth grade and 25 faculty members with whom she works on curriculum and professional development. From 2000 to the present, she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Community School at Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to her professional career, Blanche attended Smith College in Massachusetts, where she received an A.B in American Studies, and she later took graduate courses at Bank Street College of Education in New York City.


Oliver T. MosesOliver T. Moses
- is the Senior Managing Director of MTS Health Investors, LLC, a New York-based private equity fund that focuses exclusively on healthcare. Prior to joining MTS in early 2006, Mr. Moses was a founding partner of MBF Healthcare Partners and, previously, a Director in Merrill Lynch's healthcare investment banking group. Mr. Moses joined Merrill Lynch in 1994 and was responsible for advising leading healthcare companies on mergers, acquisitions, and capital structure strategies. Prior to investment banking, Mr. Moses was a securities analyst in Merrill Lynch's equity research department, where he provided coverage of companies in the healthcare service industry. Mr. Moses holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College. He currently serves on the board of directors of HealthHelp, LLC, Woodbury Health Products, Vital Decisions, and myNEXUS, AGSHealth, and MDsave.


Richard RippeRichard D. Rippe
- is Managing Director and Economist at Evercore ISI, where he contributes to the Firm’s daily and weekly economic reports, both for the U.S. economy and for international economies. His prior experience includes the position of Managing Director and Chief Economist at Prudential Securities, a subsidiary of Prudential Financial; the position of Senior/Chief Economist at Baker Weeks, Inc., which merged with Dean Witter to form Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc.; and as a teacher at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. Mr. Rippe is a past President of the National Association for Business Economics and a past Chairman of the Conference of Business Economics. He currently serves on the Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Committee and the Economic Advisory Panel of the New York City Office of Management and Budget. He is also an Elder of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City and has served as a Church Trustee. Mr. Rippe holds an AB degree in Economics (magna cum laude) from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University.


Kurt W. Roeloffs, Jr.Kurt W. Roeloffs, Jr.
- is ADAF Chairman Emeritus of the Board. He is an independent investor/entrepreneur after retiring from his position as the Global Officer of Deutsche Bank's $55 billion real estate investment management division. Mr. Roeloffs holds a B.A. from Columbia College, Columbia University, and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He and his family currently reside in Cambridge, England, while he is pursuing graduate studies in theology and business ethics. He is an ordained Elder of the Brick Presbyterian Church in the City of New York, a Director of Auburn Theological Seminary, and a former Trustee of Japan Christian University Foundation.


The Rev. Thomas SmithThe Rev. Thomas Smith, Ph.D.
- is ADAF Corporate Secretary as a resident of the State of Indiana where the Foundation is incorporated. He is a minister of Word and Sacrament . He has served as the pastor of the Presbyterian Chapel of the Lakes in Angola, Indiana, continuously since 1986 when he was ordained. Rev. Smith has also served as an adjunct teaching assistant in philosophy since 2002 for Trine University, Angola, Indiana, and since 1997, provided mediation services in a peacemaking ministry on behalf of the social justice needs of children for several courts in northeastern Indiana. Rev. Smith holds professional licensure in the State of Indiana as a Clinical Social Worker, as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and as a registered Family Law Mediator. He is a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and a Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Rev. Smith is married to Diane (Lewis) Smith, and they have five (5) children and seven (7) grandchildren.


Kathryn SmerlingKathryn Smerling, Ph.D.
- is a family therapist with a Ph.D. from Fordham University and Masters Degrees from both Cornell University and NYU. She has also completed the Extern Program at the Ackerman Institute for the Family and a certification from the National Institute for Psychotherapies. Dr. Smerling is a contributor to CNN, Fox News, and ABC News. She has also written articles for Vanity Fair, NY Post, and Hamptons House & Garden. Random House published Kathryn's "Instep", an early childhood curriculum for the State of New Mexico. Presently on the staff of Mount Sinai Hospital, she is the psychologist for the OB/GYN department, working with residents and interns as they face new challenges. Her practice is in NYC, where she lives with her husband and son.


Lydia SpinelliLydia Spinelli, Ed.D.
- Is Vice President of the Board of ADAF. She has been the Director of the Brick Church School since 1983. She has a doctorate in education (Ed.D.) from Teachers College, Columbia University. She serves on the Accreditation Commission, the Professional Development Committee, and the Council for Professional Learning and Collaboration of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). She is the founder of Summer Steps, a program that seeks to prepare low income students for New York City independent school kindergartens and a member of the Board of Early Steps, an organization that promotes racial diversity in New York City independent schools.


Gracey StoddardGracey Stoddard, LMSW
- is President of the Board of ADAF. She is a certified social worker, who worked from 2008 - 2013 as Caseworker and District Representative of Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney of the 12th District of New York. She is also a current Elder in the Brick Presbyterian Church in the City of New York where she serves on various committees. She is a graduate of the Laurel School, Sweet Briar College and the Columbia University School of Social Work.


Richard B. StrykerRichard B. Stryker
- is an assistant treasurer of the Board of ADAF. He is an entrepreneur and managing partner of Stay in Your Home Group, a real estate firm located in Brooklyn, New York. The firm helps homeowners modify their mortgages and retain their homes. He has over 16 years in the real estate brokerage field and was formerly CEO of Baltia Realty and Development Corporation of Jamaica, New York. Mr. Stryker is an Elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Jamaica, where he currently serves as a Co- Chair of the Men’s Closet Project and the African Dream Academy Committee. He has a BS degree in Business and Marketing from Thomas State University and a Certificate in Banking from Magna Institute of Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Stryker is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Board of Realtors and the New York State of Realtors. Born in Monrovia, Liberia, Mr. Stryker and his family came to the United States as refugees in 1990 during Liberia’s first civil war.



Members of the Board of Directors serve on a voluntary basis and independently of any other professional or organizational affiliation.

Donate Now

There is no better gift than to brighten a child's future.

Volunteer

The African Dream Academy needs volunteers. Click here to find out how to get involved.