Eduardo LaGuerre, Chairman, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Neighborhood Association for Inter-Cultural Affairs, Inc. (NAICA). He was the co-founder of N.A.I.C.A., a not-for-profit community based organization that incorporated in 1974 and has since been successfully serving Bronx County residents by providing an array of social services and housing programs, community development and construction of affordable housing units as well as legal representation to tenants facing eviction or having housing code violations. He is a business executive and housing developer with over thirty years of varied experiences in corporate and not-for-profit administration, housing management, community development as well as in the administration and development of educational programs. As a housing developer, he has been responsible for the construction of affordable housing units as well as private home ownership opportunities. In 2003, he was the co-developer and sponsor of a 63 unit affordable housing development, Carmelo Acosta Plaza, located in the Bronx, New York City. He serves as the President of the Carmelo Acosta Housing Development Fund Corporation that holds a majority ownership in the project. As the co-developer and sponsor of East Clarke Place II, an affordable housing development located in the Bronx, construction was started on the 102 unit project that will also house a day care center. He is the President of Westchester Triangle Housing Development Fund Corporation. In July 2005, construction began on two buildings consisting of a total of 194 units of affordable housing development. The site will include fifteen thousand square foot of space that is designated for social service and day care programs.
Mr. LaGuerre is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Charter School of Educational Excellence. He raised capital and administered the rehabilitation of a building to be used as a school site. Presently, he is working with the New York City Board of Education in the development of the Charter High school for Sports Management. The school will provide an Intermediate and High School curriculum that will prepare students for careers in the sports industry. As a Trustee of the Foundation for a Greater Opportunity, Mr. LaGuerre plays a key role in the funding of educational programs in the New York Metropolitan area. The Foundation funded the construction of the Carl Icahn Charter School and will provide the funding to construct three other charter schools in New York City.
Mr. LaGuerre is the Vice-President of the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of New York State, Inc., a statewide membership organization dedicated to revitalizing urban and suburban communities. This year, he is the Chairman of the State-wide Neighborhood Preservation Conference.
Mr. LaGuerre was the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent in School District 1 and District 12, New York City Board of Education and Executive Director of the Dave Winfield Foundation. He serves as a Trustee of several not-for-profit corporations. His achievements reflect his dedication towards the delivery of social services, housing and educational programs and the improvement of the quality of life.
Mr. LaGuerre holds a Master of Science Degree from the City University of New York and a Bachelors of Arts Degree from SUNY, Stony Brook University. He currently resides in the City of Yonkers, New York with his wife Sobeida, two daughters, Amelia and Eleana and his son Eduardo.
Nadine Burns-Lyons, Secretary, has been a member of CSEE board since its inception. Ms Burns-Lyons is currently the Director of Food Service at The Sharing Community, Inc. in Yonkers, NY. Ms. Burns-Lyons has long been an advocate of quality public education and served on the Yonkers Education 2000 committee on science curriculum and educational assessment. She also was a member of the Yonkers City Council President’s Task Force on Education. Her other community activities included United Way of Westchester/Putnam – vice chair of ongoing support, President of The Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus-Yonkers chapter, and Yonkers chapter NAACP – Treasurer. Ms. Burns-Lyons received her BS in Nutrition and Food Science from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, is a licensed Life, Health, & Accident insurance agent, and is pursuing a Masters in Business Administration.
Sobeida Cruz, Trustee, works for the New York Power Authority (NYPA) as Director of Public and Governmental Affairs, the Lower Hudson Valley. Her division, based in the White Plains office, supports NYPA initiatives in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Bronx counties. It reaches out to the community by sponsoring local events and participating in community organizations and education programs, and through contact with local officials and business customers in the regions. Ms. Cruz also is the Power Authority’s liaison for environmental justice issues, working to address environmental justice needs in communities near NYPA facilities, helping to implement the NYPA environmental justice action plan, and developing a longer-term strategy. Before joining the Authority in 1983, Ms. Cruz was elected by the members of Community Planning Board #1 in the South Bronx as the first female district manager. Her responsibilities included preparing the district’s capital budget and monitoring the delivery of services from city agencies to a community of 120,000 residents. Ms. Cruz was the recipient of the National Fellow Program representing the North Eastern Region of the United States. It included a one-year internship in Washington D.C. at the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House. She co-founded in 1974 the Neighborhood Association for Intercultural Affairs Inc., an agency that provides housing preservation and development as well as social services and advocacy in the South Bronx. She co-founded in 1995 the 100 Hispanic Women Inc., a women’s organization that mentors, empowers and advocates for Hispanic women. She is president of the 100 Hispanic Women, Westchester Chapter. Ms. Cruz also is a co-founder of the Charter School of Educational Excellence in Yonkers for grades K-6. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hunter College in New York City and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. Ms. Cruz currently resides in Yonkers with her husband, Eddie, and two daughters, Amelia and Eleana.
Jim Killoran, Trustee, has been with Habitat for Humanity for more than 20 years, serving on Boards of Directors in New York City, Paterson and Newark, New Jersey, Litchfield, Connecticut, Worcester, Massachusetts, and Westchester County, New York. He became Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Westchester in 2000, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. He has worked extensively with the homeless and with issues of low-income housing, and strongly believes Habitat for Humanity is a real and viable solution for ending poverty, especially during this time in history. Mr. Killoran has worked to involve faith communities, municipalities, schools, universities, businesses and individuals in the struggle for decent housing. Prior to Habitat Mr. Killoran worked at starting up five mental health programs in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. In addition to the 50 homes completed flood rehabs completed and during the floods of 2007, Habitat has completed, in Westchester, Mr. Killoran has brought Habitat groups to N. Ireland, Mexico, El Salvador, New Orleans and South Central Los Angeles, to build. Habitat now has more than ten thousand volunteers a year on its sites in Westchester alone and internationally is in the top 14 homebuilders in the world today. Mr. Killoran is on the Board of Directors of the International Fuller Center for Housing. He has been honored by Westchester County and the City of New Rochelle for his efforts with housing and relief efforts, as well as by New Rochelle PBA. Mr. Killoran was honored by the New Rochelle Lions Club and St. Ann’s Church of Ossining, the Kiwanis Club and named the alumni of the year at St. Joseph College. He has been honored by the Pregnancy Care Center in New Rochelle as well as The Sharing Community in Yonkers. Mr. Killoran currently hosts a Spanish speaking radio show on WVOX; first Wednesday of every month from 7-8pm. Jim was named to the NYSERDA GREEN ADVISORY BOARD ON BUILDING CODES and has helped lead the building of Green Homes since 1997, culminating with a Zero Energy Home kickoff in 2009, as well as passive solar designed flood home in Mamaroneck. He is also blessed with two wonderful sons, Daniel and Joseph. Mr. Killoran has recently returned from Haiti and has made a commitment to build one hundred homes there. Mr. Killoran holds a Masters degree in Divinity from Seton Hall University and is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Maine.
Carlos Medina, Trustee, served formerly asthe Superintendent of Community School District Four in East Harlem, New York. Under his leadership, the District was cited as the national model for public school choice and the small school’s charter school movement. Mr. Medina worked in Chile for several years to develop a center for Latin-American policy in the field of education and crime prevention. He was also appointed by former Governor Cuomo to serve as Commissioner for a State Commissioner studying Youth Crime and Violence and the Reform of the Juvenile Justice system. He presently works for the Center for Educational Innovation Public Education Association (CEI-PEA) as Director of Special Projects.
Dr. James Stenerson, Trustee
Cindy V. Lopez, Principal at the Charter School of Educational Excellence in Yonkers, NY. She was born in Yonkers, New York, the second child of immigrants from Latin America. She lived in Brazil for 17 years, and while there attended the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Mrs. Lopez joined CSEE in August 2007 as a 4th grade teacher and then became the Assistant Principal in 2011. Her primary focus has always been to help all students achieve their educational goals and to help teachers become better equipped to meet the many demands related to student achievement.
Mrs. Lopez has worked hard at implementing the school’s curriculum, organizing school events and fundraisers, ensuring that students, staff and families have what they need to be part of a safe and committed working community. Mrs. Lopez understands the value of community involvement in a child’s education and actively seeks to increase the relationship between school, home, and local organizations. Having two children of her own, Mrs. Lopez has a great deal of respect for parents and students with the understanding that we can only achieve a child’s success in education if school and home work together.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Mrs. Lopez worked as a healthcare administrator for 15 years. During that time, she used many effective strategies to run a successful program that led to the overall growth of the organization. Mrs. Lopez received her Master of Science Degree in School Building Leadership and School District Leadership from Mercy College. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Childhood Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science. She has received many academic awards and is a McNair Scholar with a published paper.
Cindy Lopez currently resides in Yonkers with her husband Paul Lopez and their daughter Kristina. Their son, Mr. Paul Lopez Junior is a Social Studies Teacher.
Mr. Ismail Ibrahim, PTO President