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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 4,000 schools nationwide. Today CELF programs have reached more than 13,000 teachers and over 1 million 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 spent 12 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 a Master of Science in the Art of Teaching from Sarah Lawrence College. 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.

Jennifer M. Sheehy — Finance and Business Manager

As the 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.

Jennifer Bancroft — Communications Manager

As the Communications Manager, Jennifer is responsible for Digital Marketing, Media, and PR at CELF. Prior to joining CELF, Jennifer worked in the retirement services divisions of Morgan Stanley and MassMutual, was a real estate broker with Warburg Realty Partnership and more recently was a Digital Marketing and Communication Consultant at DDR PR.

Actively involved in her community, Jennifer has a strong non profit background having served as the President of the Junior League of Northern Westchester, Co-Chair the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions-Eastern Region, chairing Roaring Brook School School Enrichment Program and currently is the volunteer coordinator for the Mount Kisco Child Care Center. 

Jennifer possesses hands-on experience with various technology platforms and devices, and has a strong passion/background for motivating teams and encouraging relationship building among others.  Jennifer holds a BA in Political Science from Ohio University

               

Nicole Abys-Smith — Summer Intern

As a Summer Intern, Nicole is responsible for updating the CELF website, preparing and tracking digital marketing and media and assisting in the 2018 CELF Summer Institute. 

Nicole attends George Mason University, majoring in Marketing and writes for George Mason's branch of The Odyssey Online. Nicole is passionate about social media and the various platforms that come along with it and hopes to deepen her knowledge in digital marketing and social media influence.

Nicole graduated from Fox Lane High School in 2017. During her time at Fox Lane she was active in the Youth in Action club, Editor of the school newspaper and a member of National Arts Honor Society.

Kaveri Gowda— Summer Intern

As a Summer Intern, Kaveri is helping with the 2018 CELF Summer Institute as well as organizational tasks and social media.  Her passion for environmental science and advocacy sparked her interest in CELF’s cause

Kaveri is an environmental science major at Northeastern University and serves as the media specialist on the executive board of Northeastern’s South Asian Cultural Organization.

Kaveri graduated from Briarcliff High School in 2017, where she was editor-in-chief of the school’s literary magazine. She was co-president of the National Honor Society and also participated in the Tri-M National Music Honor Society.