Our Team

GRAHAM BROWNE, FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Forte Prep Founding Team is led by Founder and Executive Director Graham Browne who is a 2015 Building Excellent Schools (BES) Fellow.  Mr. Browne is a proud graduate of Brown University and Yale School of Management with an academic background in urban studies, education, and nonprofit management, and a professional background in education policy advocacy with the Education Equality Project and nonprofit management consulting in the education practice at the Bridgespan Group. Through the BES Fellowship, Mr. Browne completed two intensive Leadership Residencies, working alongside the leaders of some of the most successful charter schools in the country. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey by hardworking Caribbean parents who immigrated to this country to seek better opportunities, he experienced the great power of education to change the trajectory of a child's life.

“I feel very fortunate to have had a series of transformational educational experiences. As an eighth grader, I received a scholarship to attend a top private high school due to a little skill and far too much good luck. I felt like I received a golden ticket that I did not deserve, because this kind of opportunity is not guaranteed for the vast majority of students, especially first-generation Americans and low-income students of color who often look like me. For too many students, demography determines destiny. Forte Prep is designed to create a better future for all students who attend. Together, as a community, we can build a school that defies the norm and allows every student to excel in college preparatory high schools and use their leadership and voice to change the world.”

He has also completed graduate coursework with Bank Street College of Education as part of the Venture Consortium’s Urban Education Semester. Through the program, Mr. Browne served as an assistant fifth grade teacher at P.S. 20 - Anna Silver School in Manhattan, NY in 2006

Karina Hwang, Founding Operations Manager

Karina Hwang, Founding Operations Manager, joined Forte Preparatory Academy in January 2017. Karina graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Sociology. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education.  Karina immigrated to the United States with her family when she was ten years old.  She joined New York Cares, New York City’s largest volunteer network, in 2009. She became a Team Leader there, and throughout the past eight years, she has led a total of eight different NY Cares Children’s Education projects, including Saturday Improvement Academy, a project whose mission is to close the achievement gaps for children from low-income families. Karina is also passionate about animal rights and welfare. She resides in Queens, New York with her rescued pets: two bunnies, four guinea pigs, a dog, and two cats.

As Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I believe this to be true. Therefore, high quality education is not optional or negotiable. It is one of the main reasons why I jumped at the opportunity to be part of the Forte Prep Team, and its mission to prepare every student to “excel in college preparatory high schools and use their leadership and voice to change the world.”

Lenny Herrera, Outreach Intern

Lenny Herrera, Outreach intern for Forte Prep, is recent graduate from Binghamton University.  He has been interested in education since he joined his speech and debate team in high school. As a debate instructor he has taught with the New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL) and the communications department at the California State University, Fullerton. His father is the owner of a small Mexican restaurant in Sunnyside, Queens which has inspired his interests in working with startups and community based organizations like schools. He is a music geek and enjoys reading philosophy on his free time. 

I was born and raised in Queens, NY. I’ve always wanted to give back to the community that has given me so much over the years. Forte Preparatory Academy’s vision as a startup charter school is an innovative approach to modern education and I look forward to seeing it succeed.

Forte Prep Board of Trustees

Forte Preparatory Academy Charter School (“Forte Prep”) is governed by a Board of Trustees. The Board assumes the ultimate authority and accountability for all matters of school governance and administration. The Board ensures that all provisions of the charter are fulfilled in a manner consistent with the spirit and letter of New York State Charter Law. The Board oversees financial management of the school, review of audit methods and findings and compliance with sound fiscal management. The Board has the responsibility for hiring and evaluating the performance of the Executive Director and delegate all day-to-day management functions and responsibilities to the Executive Director. 

 

RICHARD CELESTIN 

is a solo practitioner, Adjunct Professor, and motivational speaker, providing services under his educational consulting business, Richard Celestin Consulting Group, LLC. Under his LLC, he develops and provides legal skill development, self-awareness, youth empowerment, and consequential thinking programs to elementary and middle school students in Queens and Brooklyn. Richard also serves as a consultant for various organizations seeking to develop youth-based programs within the community, practices various areas of the law, and is an adjunct professor at John Jay College and LaGuardia Community College.

Lisa Friscia, (Vice Chair) 

is the Senior Director of Democracy Prep Public Schools’ Leader U, where she is responsible for recruiting, hiring, and coaching Democracy Prep’s internal leadership. Previously, Lisa was the Assistant Superintendent of High Schools for Democracy Prep and the founding Principal of Democracy Prep Charter High School. Lisa taught history at Democracy Prep as well as M.S. 137 for over seven years of her career. Lisa earned her B.A. in American Studies and Economics from Amherst College, her M.Ed. in Social Studies Education from CUNY-Queens College, and her M.Ed. in Education Leadership from Teachers College of Columbia University.

Madifing Kaba, (Chair) 

is a Manager in PwC’s Banking & Capital Markets Advisory consulting practice. He also serves as the Chairman of the Steering Committee of The Opportunity Agenda, a New York-based nonprofit. Madi emigrated from Paris to pursue higher education in the United States and earned a B.Sc. in Finance from the University of Illinois and both an M.Sc. in Public Policy Analysis and an M.B.A. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Charlotte Neuhaus

is an Associate Executive Director at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens where she coordinates the implementation of various Delivery System Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP) projects.  The DSRIP initiative aims to reduce the number of avoidable hospitalizations, particularly among Medicaid beneficiaries, by 2020.   She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Williams College, and a Masters of Health Science in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Daniel Ostroff-Moskowitz, (TREASURER) 

is a Director of Operational Excellence at the New York Marriott Marquis where he currently manages a project that analyzes business demand and identifies and corrects inefficient processes. Daniel started his professional career in New Orleans where he was the Staff Accountant for the Stuart Hall School for Boys and later the Senior Assistant Director of Finance of the New Orleans Marriott. He earned a B.A. in Finance and anM.Acct. in Accounting and Finance from Tulane University. 

Kyle Robinson

is a Director in PwC's Advisory consulting practice, focusing on various Financial Services (FS) clients. Kyle assists his clients in developing and implementing strategies to address Regulatory and Technical challenges across the FS Banking & Capital Markets industry. His client experience includes deep background in middle & back office brokerage operations, business process outsourcing (BPO), acquisition planning, fund accounting, financial product controls, Dodd Frank, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), and Common Reporting Standards (CRS). Kyle attended Stevens Institute of Technology where he earned a B.S. in Business & Technology, and a M.S. in Technology Management. 

Alexie Rothman, (SECRETARY) 

is a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. In this capacity, she works on a variety of litigation matters in both state and federal court. She also devotes a significant portion of her work to pro bono cases, where she is able to provide direct legal services to families and individuals in need of legal support. Prior to law school, she spent two years in the classroom through Teach For America, teaching 7th grade English.  Alexandra earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.

Board minutes

October 30, 2016

November 16, 2016

December 14, 2016

January 11, 2017