Board of Trustees & Director’s Council

Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees supports school leadership with legal, financial and strategic guidance, and holds our school accountable for results.

Josh Wolfe, Chairman

Josh Wolfe is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Lux Capital, focusing on investments in nanotechnology, semiconductors and life sciences. He manages Lux Capital’s investments in Nanosys and Cambrios, and serves on the Board of Directors of Crystal IS and Lux Research. Before forming Lux Capital, Mr. Wolfe worked in Salomon Smith Barney’s Investment Banking group, where his experience included a $4 billion hotel merger and a defense against an unsolicited LBO. He has also worked in capital markets while at Merrill Lynch on its Financial Futures & Options/Government Strategy desk and at Prudential Securities in its Municipal Finance department.

Mr. Wolfe graduated with distinction from Cornell University with a BS in Economics and Finance. Widely recognized as one of the preeminent minds in nanotechnology and finance, he has been invited by the White House and Canadian Government to advise government organizations on funding strategies.

Mr. Wolfe is a co-founder of The NanoBusiness Alliance, a columnist with Forbes Magazine, and editor of the monthly Forbes/Wolfe Emerging Tech Report.

Joseph Talia

Bio coming soon!

Joe Herrera

Joe Herrera recently served as the Deputy State Director at Families for Excellent Schools, a nonprofit education advocacy organization. Joe also serves as Co-Chair of the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative which seeks to reduce incidents of gun violence in the Coney Island community. He has a degree in Business from Interboro Institute and attended Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs. He began his career as a community organizer in 2009 working to improve educational outcomes and advocate for safer schools and communities.  After starting a school based advocacy committee at Coney Island Prep, he went on to develop local neighborhood chapters of parent advocates in Fort Green, Crown Heights, Brownsville and Coney Island. He worked with community members to establish a Cure Violence program in Coney Island and spearheaded campaigns that has resulted in more funding and resources for public charter schools throughout NYC. Joe currently lives in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn with his fiancee, two sons and daughter.

Shona Pinnock

Shona Pinnock is a Human Resources professional bringing almost 20 years of experience in various industries, including Publishing, Real Estate/Property Management, and Legal. She currently works for Consumer Reports in a dual role where she is the HR Business Partner to the Content, Legal, Research, Testing and Insights Divisions. She also drives Consumer Reports’ award winning Diversity and Inclusion efforts.

Most recently Consumer Reports has been honored by Digiday as an organization “Most Committed to Diversity and Inclusion”. Her strategies include focused diverse talent acquisition strategies, leveraging affinity groups as a resource to the business, and ensuring the cultural readiness of the organization. As an HR professional she uses a real world approach to solving organizational challenges. She believes that organizations thrive when they support the development of the individual. She helps develop and integrate effective people management skills throughout the organizations she supports.

Shona is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. She is an active member of the Westchester Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She is also a member of the Girls Justice Court Initiative, Board of Trustees of Coney Island Prep Public Charter School, Sister to Sister International and The Violet Torch Foundation.

Nkonye Okoh

At J.P. Morgan, Nkonye Soetan heads the Private Bank/Wirehouse and Latin America distribution for Structured Investments Distributor Marketing (SIDM). Her team is responsible for distributing cross asset structured products (market linked notes and certificate of deposits) and over the counter derivatives to distributor clients (i.e. Private Banks and Broker Dealers) in the Americas. Nkonye joined SIDM in 2006 and has held a variety of sales roles within the team.

Through JPMorgan’s Employee Engagement and Volunteerism and Corporate Responsibility programs, Nkonye has worked as a Pro-Bono Consultant for Detroit Parents Network and Women’s World Banking.

Nkonye has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Princeton University. She also holds Series 7, 63 and 24 designations. She sits on the Board of Directors for Coney Island Prep Charter School and Business Outreach Center Network.

Samantha Tweedy

Samantha Tweedy is the President of the Black Economic Alliance Foundation – the nation’s leading organization harnessing the collective expertise and influence of Black business leaders and allies to build generational wealth for the Black community.

Samantha brings two decades of experience building and leading transformative racial and economic justice initiatives at the intersection of the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. She was the first Chief Partnerships and Impact Officer at the Robin Hood Foundation, one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty organizations. She developed and directed the Power Fund to invest in nonprofit leaders of color and the High-Quality Schools Fund to support innovative school models for New York City’s most under-resourced communities.

Samantha brings a unique mix of on-the-ground and executive experience to her leadership. She served as the first Chief Advancement Officer at Uncommon Schools, a network of over 50 public charter schools serving historically disadvantaged students of color who go on to graduate from four-year colleges at higher rates than students from the wealthiest American households. She also founded and directed an elementary school that won the National Blue Ribbon School Award for its success in closing racial and socioeconomic opportunity gaps.

After graduating from Yale Law School and Duke University, Samantha began her career as an attorney at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where she worked on landmark school equity litigation to close the public school spending gaps that disproportionately impact students of color and practiced commercial litigation.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Samantha lives in Bed Stuy with her husband and two children, Stokely and Evers.

Julie Goran

Julie Goran is a Partner in the New York Office of McKinsey & Company. She focuses on serving financial intuitions and clients across industries on issues of organization, strategy, marketing, and operations. Julie is a leader in McKinsey’s Global Organization Practice, focusing on helping clients transform their organizations to reach their strategic aspirations. Julie leads McKinsey’s Business Analyst program in North America, and the New York Office Pro Bono Committee.

Julie obtained a B.A. from Yale University, cum laude, and a Juris Doctorate from New York University School of Law, magna cum laude, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif. Julie is a 2015-2016 David Rockefeller Fellow. She lives in downtown Manhattan with her husband, Doug, and her two sons Logan and Justin.

Jacob Mnookin

Upon graduating from Middlebury College in 2002, Jacob Mnookin joined Teach For America, and began his career as a professional educator at Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey. During his time at Arts, he taught 9th and 10th grade English, served as the senior class adviser and as the faculty adviser to the National Honor Society, and coached varsity baseball.

After teaching for three years, Mr. Mnookin made the difficult decision to leave the classroom to pursue a graduate degree in public affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. Upon graduating from Princeton, Mr. Mnookin received a fellowship from Building Excellent Schools, a full-time, comprehensive training program in charter school leadership that trains individuals to design, found and operate high-performing urban charter schools.

Mr. Mnookin decided to focus upon the Coney Island community because of his conviction that its diverse and extraordinarily talented student base was not being adequately served by current options, and that there was a longstanding need for a college preparatory public school in the community.

Mr. Mnookin served as Executive Director until 2019, and joined the Board of Trustees in 2020.

Brian Buckmire

Brian G Buckmire is a Homicide Public Defender at the Legal Aid Society. He represents indigent clients faced with various crimes in Brooklyn. He is also a host at Law and Crime Trial Network and Legal Contributor for ABC where he analyzes major trials around the country as well as legal and social justice issues. He graduated from Washington and Lee School of Law with a JD and was named the Best Oral Advocate. He graduated undergrad at CUNY Queens College with a BA in Political Science and a Minor in French. While at Queens College, Brian played DII soccer as a Center Back where he was an All American.

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Brian loves all things Toronto. Toronto Raptors, Tim Hortons and Drake. Brian and his wife and Doberman, Khaleesi, now live in Brooklyn.

Director’s Council

Our Director’s Council coordinates volunteer, enrichment, and fundraising activities that support our scholars, including workplace visits, our annual non-fiction exhibition, and our famous dodgeball tournaments.

Christapher Benson

Bio coming soon!

David Houlihan

David Houlihan is the Senior Director of Operations at DREAM – a youth development organization that operates a Pre-K-9 school as well as summer and after-school programs. He oversees DREAM’s Information Technology, Facilities, School Operations and Administration departments. Prior to arriving at DREAM, David served as an Intern for the United States Trade Representative’s Office where he researched, analyzed and provided recommendations for President Obama’s trade advisory committee. David also worked at Coney Island Prep as a Director of Operations, where he planned and executed school expansions and improved the operations department’s ratings from 60% to 100%. David holds a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University, a Master of Science of Teaching from Pace University and a Bachelor of Arts from New York University.

Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith works as an attorney under the General Counsel for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in its World Trade Center headquarters. Prior to joining the Port Authority, Jonathan spent over three years as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, New York. Outside of the Director’s Council, Jonathan serves the community through his involvement with Minds Matter of NYC, an organization that provides high achieving high school aged students from underprivileged backgrounds with mentors, tutors, SAT prep courses, and college preparation.

Alex Katen-Narvell

Bio coming soon!

David Berman

David Berman works as an attorney at the law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP where he has experience representing individuals and organizations in cases involving housing discrimination, false arrests, malicious prosecutions, and excessive force by police and correctional officers, the abuse of children and persons with disabilities, First Amendment free speech, and other constitutional questions at both the trial and appellate level.  Prior to joining ECBA, David clerked for the Hon. Cheryl Ann Krause of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Hon. Allyne R. Ross of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  David holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Juris Doctor from Stanford University Law School. 

Megan Boswell

Bio coming soon!

Divya Agarwal

Bio coming soon!