OUR MISSION

The New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence supports our school system and its extraordinary, diverse student body through advancing equity, excellence and inspiring all public school students.

OUR VISION

The New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence partners with the City School District of New Rochelle and engages the broader New Rochelle community to develop, fund and implement high-quality educational and enrichment programming that enhances the school experience and helps students thrive and succeed along their educational journey.

OUR VALUES

Integrity

support honest and open relationships

Empathy

cultivate positive, caring interactions

Accessibility

open to all regardless of race, class, or ability

Respect

emphasize positive self-image and acceptance

Confidence

empower our next generation to succeed in college and career

Innovation

foster opportunities beyond the District budget

Creativity

provide space and time for reflection and expression

Community

forge bonds across the diverse population of New Rochelle

Volunteerism

encourage and facilitate civic engagement

OUR VALUES

Integrity

support honest and open relationships

Empathy

cultivate positive, caring interactions

Accessibility

open to all regardless of race, class, or ability

Respect

emphasize positive self-image and acceptance

Confidence

empower our next generation to succeed in college and career

Innovation

foster opportunities beyond the District budget

Creativity

provide space and time for reflection and expression

Community

forge bonds across the diverse population of New Rochelle

Volunteerism

encourage and facilitate civic engagement

OUR HISTORY

Established in 1998, the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence was forged in an alliance between the Superintendent of Schools, members of the Board of Education and community leaders to enhance the New Rochelle tradition of excellence in education.

One of more than 3,000 communities nationwide that have private foundations to address the dramatic increase in the cost of public education, the Fund sought to support programs and activities that fall outside the normal operating budget.

The Fund operates with a streamlined staff that relies on volunteers to carry out its mission. The Board of Directors is comprised of parents, staff, community leaders, the Superintendent of Schools, school administrators and a Board of Education representative.

Meet Our Staff

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Sabrina L. Toback

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Sabrina Toback has twenty-five years of experience in the non-profit arena, specializing in strategic development. She has worked at cultural icons including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the 92nd Street Y, and the World Science Festival. Sabrina was involved in the formation of the avant-garde Lincoln Center Festival, started the first formal corporate sponsorship program for the 92nd Street Y, and was a critical inaugural team member for the World Science Festival, which drew 250,000-plus attendees to venues across New York City in its first year alone.  A cause close to her heart, for years Sabrina spearheaded the American Express National Performing Arts Fund, creating innovative and philanthropic partnerships with arts organizations for the company across the country. Looking back, Sabrina is eternally grateful for the enriched, diverse learning experience she had in the New Rochelle public school system. She is incredibly excited to give back to the community as Executive Director of the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence. Born and raised in New Rochelle, she is a proud graduate of NRHS, Tufts University, and a current member of the New Rochelle community. In her spare time, Sabrina is an avid scuba diver, traveler, classical violinist and drummer.

Laura Heiss

Laura Heiss, '71

CONSULTANT, MUSEUM OF ARTS & CULTURE

Raised in New Rochelle, Laura Heiss is a product of the school system in more ways than one. After dropping calculus in her senior year at NRHS, she transferred into ART 101 and the rest is history. She retired in 2017 after 40 years of teaching New Rochelle students how to be better artists and loving every minute of it. Laura believes the best Museum exhibits are the ones that give directly to the students. Most of the current shows have featured artists that share their techniques and passion with the students as well as the staff. Laura is married to Bob and has two kids and a sheepdog, Rosie. She is on the board of the Mamaroneck Artists Guild and chairs the annual, “Young Artists on the Rise” show that features artists from New Rochelle High School. She is also on the board of the Harbor Island Park Conservancy in Mamaroneck which is home to her. Her favorite hobbies are painting and skiing. Fun fact: Laura has won the Turkey Trot for the past four years!

Meet Our Staff

sabrina11.18

Sabrina L. Toback

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Sabrina Toback has twenty-five years of experience in the non-profit arena, specializing in strategic development. She has worked at cultural icons including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the 92nd Street Y, and the World Science Festival. Sabrina was involved in the formation of the avant-garde Lincoln Center Festival, started the first formal corporate sponsorship program for the 92nd Street Y, and was a critical inaugural team member for the World Science Festival, which drew 250,000-plus attendees to venues across New York City in its first year alone. A cause close to her heart, for years Sabrina spearheaded the American Express National Performing Arts Fund, creating innovative and philanthropic partnerships with arts organizations for the company across the country. Looking back, Sabrina is eternally grateful for the enriched, diverse learning experience she had in the New Rochelle public school system. She is incredibly excited to give back to the community as Executive Director of the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence. Born and raised in New Rochelle, she is a proud graduate of NRHS, Tufts University, and a current member of the New Rochelle community. In her spare time, Sabrina is an avid scuba diver, traveler, classical violinist and drummer.

Laura Heiss

Laura Heiss, '71

CONSULTANT, MUSEUM OF ARTS & CULTURE

Raised in New Rochelle, Laura Heiss is a product of the school system in more ways than one. After dropping calculus in her senior year at NRHS, she transferred into ART 101 and the rest is history. She retired in 2017 after 40 years of teaching New Rochelle students how to be better artists and loving every minute of it. Laura believes the best Museum exhibits are the ones that give directly to the students. Most of the current shows have featured artists that share their techniques and passion with the students as well as the staff. Laura is married to Bob and has two kids and a sheepdog, Rosie. She is on the board of the Mamaroneck Artists Guild and chairs the annual, “Young Artists on the Rise” show that features artists from New Rochelle High School. She is also on the board of the Harbor Island Park Conservancy in Mamaroneck which is home to her. Her favorite hobbies are painting and skiing. Fun fact: Laura has won the Turkey Trot for the past four years!

Meet the Board

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Hon. Deirdre Polow

VICE PRESIDENT
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Tom Livaccari

TREASURER

Tom Livaccari began his career in wealth management in 2002 with the mission of bringing a different perspective to managing the financial affairs of ultra high net worth clients. Chosen to be part of UBS's Private Wealth Management Group, an elite group of 300 advisors out of the 6,700 at the firm, Tom focuses on providing clients with holistic financial planning, sound advice and an investment strategy tailored to fit the specific objectives of each client. Tom began his career as an accountant and later a technology consultant at Arthur Anderson. He later co-founded and helped build one of the world’s first end-to-end internet consulting firms and was part of the senior management team that took public and then sold the business to a major telecom company. Tom's background in accounting, consulting and as an entrepreneur, gives him a unique perspective on the needs of clients and their families.Tom has an M.S. in accounting from the NYU Stern School of Business and a B.S. in finance from Boston College's Carroll School of Management. Tom lives in New Rochelle with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two daughters, Anna and Christina. He enjoys skiing, triathlons, sailing and coaching travel soccer. He is a board member of the Boston College National Alumni Association, former President of St. Augustine Church, former board member of Larchmont Shore Club and co-founder of the Media & Technology Advisory Group.

jonathan stark

Jonathan Stark

SECRETARY

Jonathan Stark joined the Fund’s Board in November 2016. He has over ten years of professional experience working in the area higher education administration. Currently, he serves as Columbia University's Data Science Institute’s Chief Administrative and Operations Officer, where he has oversight of the Institute’s financial & grants management, human resources, academic administration, and day-to-day operations. Prior to joining the Institute in 2013, he served as the Columbia Engineering's Assistant Dean of Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Affairs (2011-2013) and Student Affairs Officer (2005-2011) for the Office of Graduate Student Affairs. His expertise includes academic administration, student development and advising, conflict resolution, university admissions, event planning and management. Jonathan holds a B.A. in Psychology from Western CT State University, an M.A. in Applied Organizational Psychology from Fairfield University, and an M.A. in Higher Education from Teachers College of Columbia University.  He is currently pursuing his Ed.D. in Higher Education Management at the University of Pennsylvania. In his spare time, Jonathan performs regularly as a bassoonist and clarinetist with a number of local community orchestras and music ensembles.

DSC_9215_Dr. Feijoo

Dr. Laura Feijóo

Superintendent of New Rochelle Schools

Dr. Laura Feijóo became the Superintendent of Schools for the City School District of New Rochelle on Nov. 1, 2019, bringing almost 30 years of experience as a teacher, principal and high-level education administrator. In the New York City Department of Education, she most recently held the position of Senior Supervising Superintendent, reporting directly to the Chancellor. In that capacity, she oversaw all superintendents in the nation’s largest school system, with 1.1 million students. She has also held the title of Senior Superintendent in the Office of Equity and Access, which focused on ending long-standing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities by addressing opportunity gaps among historically underserved students. On the state level, she is a past President and serves on the Executive Board of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. At Queens College in her home borough, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in special education and a specialist diploma in educational leadership. She earned her doctorate degree in educational leadership from New York University. At home, she has made celebrating cultures an important aspect of her children’s upbringing, teaching them both English and Spanish, and exposing them to the richness of their Ecuadorian and Italian heritages.

iliana fleischman

Iliana Fleischman

Iliana Fleischman was born and raised in New York City. She attended Hunter College graduating Cum Laude as a double major in English Literature and Journalism. After college, she worked in the fashion industry in sales and production for several well-known designers and retailers. She is now a proud resident of New Rochelle, where she is raising her family, and works as a full time real estate agent focused on lower Westchester County. Iliana is thrilled to be a part of the New Rochelle Fund to help pay forward all of the amazing opportunities she received as a child in the public school system and is excited to help continue the work of helping to offer meaningful programs that enrich and empower New Rochelle's students.

meri hilton

Meredith A. Hilton '72

Meredith ('Meri') Adler Hilton is a graduate of NRHS, holds a B.A. with honors from Trinity College, Hartford CT, and a J.D. from Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, NYC, where she served as Managing Editor of its Law Review. She has worked in publishing for newspapers and trade journals and as a corporate attorney in Manhattan. Meri began working with the Fund in its first year, as Co-chair of Poetry Out Loud and a member of the first Carnegie Hall concert committee. She joined the Fund board in 2000 and was elected chairperson in 2002. She served in that capacity until 2012 when she and Steve Silverman became Fund co-chairs. Meri is currently the Emeritus Chair. She also sits on board of Student Advocacy and is a past board member of The Guidance Center of Westchester and the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency. Meri is married to Ken Hilton, proud mother of 3 sons who are all alumni of NR public schools.

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Linda E. Kelly

A graduate of Wellesley College, Ms. Linda E. Kelly enjoyed a successful forty-two year career in the City School District of New Rochelle as a teacher and administrator. Upon receiving a Masters Degree from Columbia University, Teachers College, she joined the New Rochelle High School History Department as a teacher of World History. She began her career in administration as Assistant to the Principal and then Associate Principal of New Rochelle High School. She then moved to central office as Assistant Superintendent, then Associate Superintendent. In 1991, Ms. Kelly was selected as Superintendent of Schools. She served in this capacity until her retirement in 2006. During her superintendency, many exemplary programs were developed including the Barnard Early Childhood Center, the Campus School: alternative High School program, Magnet programs at Columbus and Trinity, P.A.V.E. and smaller learning communities at New Rochelle High School. Numerous community partnerships enriched the curriculum and the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence was established. Significant grants were secured that added new and additional dimensions to the instructional program. Many awards were bestowed on the District for its students numerous achievements and multiple programs offerings including Blue Ribbons from the U.S. Department of Education and a rating by School Match that placed the District among the top in the United States. Ms. Kelly continues to be involved in a broad range of community activities and has returned to serve again as a Board member of the NR Fund, an organization of vital importance to our schools and community.

Jennifer King

Jennifer King

Jennifer King has worked in international financial services for almost 20 years in New York, Duesseldorf and Moscow. She is currently an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley as Head of Core Compliance for the US Banks. At the office, she volunteers as the national diversity chair for compliance analyst recruiting and was the prior co-chair of the national recruiting team for three years. She has been an active member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the Women’s Committee.
Jennifer has lived in New Rochelle since 2011 with her husband, two cats and three children who are enrolled in New Rochelle public schools: a sixth grader at ALMS, and third and second graders at Webster. Jennifer has served as various fundraising and event chairs for the Webster PTA, including co-president and President. She is a former president and current board member of her homeowners association.

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Aina Lakis

Lauren Pekats

Lauren Pekats, '85

Lauren Goldstein Pekats (NRHS Class of 1985) was raised in New Rochelle, attended Roosevelt Elementary School, Albert Leonard Junior High School and NRHS. A 1989 graduate of the University of Michigan, active community member and volunteer, Lauren is thrilled to give back to the people and places that added to the person she is today. Lauren's children, Sam and Harry, are following in her footsteps as current students in the New Rochelle schools. She is a proud New Rochellean, proud NRHS graduate and proud NR Fund board member.

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Hon. Amy Moselhi

New Rochelle Board of Education, President

Amy Moselhi is currently serving as the President of the Board of Education City School District of the City of New Rochelle, of which she has been a member since 2017. A civil engineer by trade, Amy is the CEO of United Structure Solution Inc., a Brooklyn firm that designs and installs high-end ornamental metal work and glass. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and her masters in Civil Engineering and Management from Columbia University.

rich relkin

Richard S. Relkin

Richard Relkin is the Director of Media Relations for John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Before working at John Jay, Richard served for 12 years as Director of Media Relations at St. Francis College. In that role, he was responsible for telling the College’s story by securing coverage in local, regional, and national media, issuing press releases about special events and achievements as well as producing video spotlights on students and faculty. In addition, Relkin published Terrier, the alumni newsletter, oversaw the College’s website and social media channels, and taught various courses in Communication Arts. Before joining St. Francis College, Relkin worked as Director of Communications for the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA). He also worked for more than eight years in TV news, moving from WLEX in Lexington, Kentucky to WESH-2 in Orlando, Florida and finally NY1 in New York City where he finished his TV news career as Executive Producer of the morning show at NY1. Previous to working in TV, Relkin self-published the internationally distributed magazine, Comic Culture, which focused on the then growing body of non-superhero comic books. He earned his MPA from Baruch College and his undergraduate degree in Literature and Rhetoric from Binghamton University.

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Albert Tarantino, '69

Meet the Board

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Hon. Deirdre Polow

VICE PRESIDENT
Fund logo purple fleur only

Tom Livaccari

TREASURER

Tom Livaccari began his career in wealth management in 2002 with the mission of bringing a different perspective to managing the financial affairs of ultra high net worth clients. Chosen to be part of UBS's Private Wealth Management Group, an elite group of 300 advisors out of the 6,700 at the firm, Tom focuses on providing clients with holistic financial planning, sound advice and an investment strategy tailored to fit the specific objectives of each client. Tom began his career as an accountant and later a technology consultant at Arthur Anderson. He later co-founded and helped build one of the world’s first end-to-end internet consulting firms and was part of the senior management team that took public and then sold the business to a major telecom company. Tom's background in accounting, consulting and as an entrepreneur, gives him a unique perspective on the needs of clients and their families.Tom has an M.S. in accounting from the NYU Stern School of Business and a B.S. in finance from Boston College's Carroll School of Management. Tom lives in New Rochelle with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two daughters, Anna and Christina. He enjoys skiing, triathlons, sailing and coaching travel soccer. He is a board member of the Boston College National Alumni Association, former President of St. Augustine Church, former board member of Larchmont Shore Club and co-founder of the Media & Technology Advisory Group.

jonathan stark

Jonathan Stark

SECRETARY

Jonathan Stark joined the Fund’s Board in November 2016. He has over ten years of professional experience working in the area higher education administration. Currently, he serves as Columbia University's Data Science Institute’s Chief Administrative and Operations Officer where he has oversight of the Institute’s financial & grants management, human resources, academic administration, and day-to-day operations. Prior to joining the Institute in 2013, he served as the Columbia Engineering's Assistant Dean of Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Affairs (2011-2013) and Student Affairs Officer (2005-2011) for the Office of Graduate Student Affairs. His expertise includes academic administration, student development and advising, conflict resolution, university admissions, event planning and management. Jonathan holds a B.A. in Psychology from Western CT State University, an M.A. in Applied Organizational Psychology from Fairfield University, and an M.A. in Higher Education from Teachers College of Columbia University.  He is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Higher Education Management at the University of Pennsylvania. In his spare time, Jonathan performs regularly as a bassoonist and clarinetist with a number of local community orchestras and music ensembles.

DSC_9215_Dr. Feijoo

Dr. Laura Feijóo

Dr. Laura Feijóo became the Superintendent of Schools for the City School District of New Rochelle on Nov. 1, 2019, bringing almost 30 years of experience as a teacher, principal and high-level education administrator. In the New York City Department of Education, she most recently held the position of Senior Supervising Superintendent, reporting directly to the Chancellor. In that capacity, she oversaw all superintendents in the nation’s largest school system, with 1.1 million students. She has also held the title of Senior Superintendent in the Office of Equity and Access, which focused on ending long-standing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities by addressing opportunity gaps among historically underserved students. On the state level, she is a past President and serves on the Executive Board of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. At Queens College in her home borough, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in special education and a specialist diploma in educational leadership. She earned her doctorate degree in educational leadership from New York University. At home, she has made celebrating cultures an important aspect of her children’s upbringing, teaching them both English and Spanish, and exposing them to the richness of their Ecuadorian and Italian heritages.

iliana fleischman

Iliana Fleischman

Iliana Fleischman was born and raised in New York City. She attended Hunter College graduating Cum Laude as a double major in English Literature and Journalism. After college, she worked in the fashion industry in sales and production for several well-known designers and retailers. She is now a proud resident of New Rochelle, where she is raising her family, and works as a full time real estate agent focused on lower Westchester County. Iliana is thrilled to be a part of the New Rochelle Fund to help pay forward all of the amazing opportunities she received as a child in the public school system and is excited to help continue the work of helping to offer meaningful programs that enrich and empower New Rochelle's students.

meri hilton

Meredith A. Hilton '72

Meredith ('Meri') Adler Hilton is a graduate of NRHS, holds a B.A. with honors from Trinity College, Hartford CT, and a J.D. from Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, NYC, where she served as Managing Editor of its Law Review. She has worked in publishing for newspapers and trade journals and as a corporate attorney in Manhattan. Meri began working with the Fund in its first year, as Co-chair of Poetry Out Loud and a member of the first Carnegie Hall concert committee. She joined the Fund board in 2000 and was elected chairperson in 2002. She served in that capacity until 2012 when she and Steve Silverman became Fund co-chairs. Meri is currently the Emeritus Chair. She also sits on board of Student Advocacy and is a past board member of The Guidance Center of Westchester and the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency. Meri is married to Ken Hilton, proud mother of 3 sons who are all alumni of NR public schools.

admin-ajax 2

Linda E. Kelly

A graduate of Wellesley College, Ms. Linda E. Kelly enjoyed a successful forty-two year career in the City School District of New Rochelle as a teacher and administrator. Upon receiving a Masters Degree from Columbia University, Teachers College, she joined the New Rochelle High School History Department as a teacher of World History. She began her career in administration as Assistant to the Principal and then Associate Principal of New Rochelle High School. She then moved to central office as Assistant Superintendent, then Associate Superintendent. In 1991, Ms. Kelly was selected as Superintendent of Schools. She served in this capacity until her retirement in 2006. During her superintendency, many exemplary programs were developed including the Barnard Early Childhood Center, the Campus School: alternative High School program, Magnet programs at Columbus and Trinity, P.A.V.E. and smaller learning communities at New Rochelle High School. Numerous community partnerships enriched the curriculum and the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence was established. Significant grants were secured that added new and additional dimensions to the instructional program. Many awards were bestowed on the District for its students numerous achievements and multiple programs offerings including Blue Ribbons from the U.S. Department of Education and a rating by School Match that placed the District among the top in the United States. Ms. Kelly continues to be involved in a broad range of community activities and has returned to serve again as a Board member of the NR Fund, an organization of vital importance to our schools and community.

Jennifer King

Jennifer King

Jennifer King has worked in international financial services for almost 20 years in New York, Duesseldorf and Moscow. She is currently an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley as Head of Core Compliance for the US Banks. At the office, she volunteers as the national diversity chair for compliance analyst recruiting and was the prior co-chair of the national recruiting team for three years. She has been an active member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the Women’s Committee.
Jennifer has lived in New Rochelle since 2011 with her husband, two cats and three children who are enrolled in New Rochelle public schools: a sixth grader at ALMS, and third and second graders at Webster. Jennifer has served as various fundraising and event chairs for the Webster PTA, including co-president and President. She is currently President of her homeowners association.

Fund logo purple fleur only

Aina Lakis

Amy-Moselhi-226×300

Hon. Amy Moselhi

Amy Moselhi is currently serving as the President of the Board of Education City School District of the City of New Rochelle, of which she has been a member since 2017. A civil engineer by trade, Amy is the CEO of United Structure Solution Inc., a Brooklyn firm that designs and installs high-end ornamental metal work and glass. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and her masters in Civil Engineering and Management from Columbia University.

Lauren Pekats

Lauren Pekats, '85

Lauren Goldstein Pekats (NRHS Class of 1985) was raised in New Rochelle, attended Roosevelt Elementary School, Albert Leonard Junior High School and NRHS. A 1989 graduate of the University of Michigan, active community member and volunteer, Lauren is thrilled to give back to the people and places that added to the person she is today. Lauren's children, Sam and Harry, are following in her footsteps as current students in the New Rochelle schools. She is a proud New Rochellean, proud NRHS graduate and proud NR Fund board member.

rich relkin

Richard S. Relkin

Richard Relkin is the Director of Media Relations for John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Before working at John Jay, Richard served for 12 years as Director of Media Relations at St. Francis College. In that role, he was responsible for telling the College’s story by securing coverage in local, regional, and national media, issuing press releases about special events and achievements as well as producing video spotlights on students and faculty. In addition, Relkin published Terrier, the alumni newsletter, oversaw the College’s website and social media channels, and taught various courses in Communication Arts. Before joining St. Francis College, Relkin worked as Director of Communications for the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA). He also worked for more than eight years in TV news, moving from WLEX in Lexington, Kentucky to WESH-2 in Orlando, Florida and finally NY1 in New York City where he finished his TV news career as Executive Producer of the morning show at NY1. Previous to working in TV, Relkin self-published the internationally distributed magazine, Comic Culture, which focused on the then growing body of non-superhero comic books. He earned his MPA from Baruch College and his undergraduate degree in Literature and Rhetoric from Binghamton University.

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Albert Tarantino, '69

OUR EMERITUS BOARD

Donald Bakalor ’48
Hon. Noam Bramson ’87, Mayor of New Rochelle
Scott Cohen ’84
Hon. Barry Fertel, Member, City Council
Sonny Hagendorf
Audrey Mlotek
Brian Rosner, Esq.
Stephen B. Silverman, '80
Marlene Tutera