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Katie Isaak Ginsberg — Founder, Executive Director

Ms. Ginsberg launched CELF in 2003 after she saw the need to educate young people about the links between human health, poverty, consumption, conflict and the environment.

With twenty years of experience in program design and management, marketing and business development, Ginsberg works with leading experts from around the world to bring best practices in sustainability education to K-12 educators and schools. Under Ms. Ginsberg’s directorship, CELF’s client base has grown from a start-up organization to over 2,500 schools nationwide. Today CELF programs have reached more than 8,000 teachers and 800,000 students.

Ms. Ginsberg presents at a broad range of seminars, conferences and courses on sustainability and on re-orienting education through place-based and project-based education. She was a featured presenter at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. She served as Chair of the County Executive’s Westchester Climate Change Task Force for the education sector, which developed a blueprint to integrate sustainability across the campuses, curriculum and communities of Westchester, NY schools.  Ginsberg has a BA in Psychology from Northwestern University.

Victoria Garufi — Director of Education

As Director of Education, Vicky is responsible for guiding CELF's educator team in the planning and implementing all professional development programs. Prior to joining CELF, Vicky spent12 years at the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB) in Yonkers. There she designed, implemented and oversaw all K-12 environmental education programs focused on the Hudson River. She provided outreach to connect school districts, community groups and Hudson River organizations to develop partnerships with CURB.

Vicky is most passionate about teaching and learning through connecting children and teachers to the environment. She has collaborated on several educational initiatives which include: the development of the Three Rivers of Yonkers curriculum designed for 4th and 5th graders in the classroom, creation of a climate change resiliency program for high school students focused on coastal implications, and support of a research grant on student assessment titled the Importance of Field trips and Cultural Awareness in Education.

Vicky holds a BS in Psychobiology from Long Island University's Southampton College and currently completing her Master of Science in the Art of Teaching from Sarah Lawrence College (expected graduation spring 2018). She is the subject area representative for environmental science through the Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS) and serves on the advisory board for the Regional Environmental Educators Forum. She also enjoys being a mentor to graduate students in the field of science and education.

Lisa Mechaley — Educator

As a CELF educator, Lisa collaborates with other education staff on the design, implementation and delivery of professional development programs. Prior to joining CELF, Lisa spent more than fifteen years teaching middle school science, served as education director for the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, worked as a staff developer through Bank Street College, and developed and conducted environmental programs for Hudson Valley conservation and educational organizations.

Most recently, Lisa worked for the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, developing and presenting the River of Words program -- mixing poetry, art and watershed science -- in the region’s schools. Through personal experience, she has come to appreciate how creative writing and drawing have deepened her connection with the natural world.

Lisa holds a B.A. in Biology with an Environmental Specialization from Central Connecticut State University and an M.S. from Southern Connecticut State University in Elementary Science Education. She is on the education advisory board of Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary and a board member of the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society. Lisa is also a certified yoga instructor.

Ann Hempelmann — Educator, California Program Manager 

As the CELF California Program Manager and Educator, Ann works with teachers and administrators to incorporate sustainability principles into their schools’ curriculum and school cultures; provides professional development programs; and supports CELF’S expanding presence in California.

Before joining CELF, Ann worked with Western Washington University’s Facing the Future program as lead author of their sustainability text and activity guide series, Big World, Small Planet. The series provides high school students with a semester’s worth of sustainability principles, thinking strategies, real-world activities and nature connection reflections.

Ann served as President and Chair of the Board of The Farm School, an independent elementary school. Previously, she worked for Southern California Gas Company as the Air Quality Program Manager, helping major businesses reduce their air emissions and conserve energy. With over twenty-five years of experience in the environmental and education fields, Ann has conducted dozens of training workshops for teachers, school boards, and other professional audiences. Ann is also a Certified Permaculture Designer.

Ann has a Masters of Education in Educating for Sustainability from Antioch University, NewEngland and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Long Beach.

Joan Gaylord — Director of Communications 

As Director of Communications, Joan revels in the opportunity to combine three of her passions—education, sustainability, and effective communication. Whether in print or online, she spreads the word about CELF’s initiatives working with teachers from New York City to Los Angeles.

Joan brings to this position 25 years of professional experience. She worked for five years in the communications department of Pace Law, supporting its world-renown environmental law program. Prior to that, she reported on education policy at the state and local levels as a newspaper reporter in Westchester County and Norwalk, CT. She has worked as an environmental educator at the Mianus River Gorge Preserve in Bedford, NY, a ski instructor at Windham Mountain in the Catskills, and an art teacher at the Katonah Museum in Westchester. In addition, her articles and photographs have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor and The Wall Street Journal.

Joan holds a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University as well as additional credits in graphic design and photography from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. She also studied calligraphy at Carnegie-Mellon University and was once a full-time calligrapher.

Jennifer M. Sheehy — Finance and Business Manager

Jennifer is responsible for all the financial operations of the organization including financial reporting, budgeting, compliance and risk management. Prior to joining CELF, Jennifer was the Director of Finance and Development at the Housing Development Fund in Stamford, CT where she was responsible for their loan portfolio management, financial reporting and grant writing among other duties. As the Controller of the Loan Syndication and Trading Association in New York City, Jennifer had the opportunity to bring the accounting function in house, writing the accounting policies and procedures as well as the HR manual for the organization. She also participated in the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services year-long Leadership Institute designed to develop future executive talent in the non-profit sector.Before entering the non-profit sector, Jennifer spent ten years in finance and operations for a large health insurance company.Jennifer is a long-time community volunteer including nine years as a member of the Junior League of Northern Westchester where she served three years on their Board of Directors.

Jennifer’s educational background includes an MBA in Finance and Statistics and Operations Research from the NYU Stern School of Business and an undergraduate degree in Economics from Yale University.