Theresa Agonia was born and raised in Central Falls, Rhode Island. She is Luso-American, with both of her parents originally from Viana do Castelo in Minho, Portugal. She became the first member of her family to graduate from college, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Media Communications from Roger Williams University. She is a board member for the Central Falls Alumni Association and the Providence Performing Arts Center. She currently lives in Cumberland and is Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Jorge Elorza in the Capital City of Providence, Rhode Island. In August 2015, Theresa was crowned Miss Rhode Island USA 2016.
Our Amazing Board
Chace Baptista is a former founder of a non profit agency, an avid reader of the New York Times and out of the closet nerd. His experience spans a variety of fields from communications, to non profit management, and strategic planning. Chace now runs a boutique marketing firm. A graduate of Providence College, you can always find Chace reading at a local cafe or on a basketball court faking injuries. Chace’s passion area is in empowering people to use data to tell inspiring stories and make better decisions. Chace currently serves on our Board's governance committee.
Garry Bliss is a beekeeper, loves opera, collects old games and typewriters, and refuses to give up his biggest, boldest dreams. He was born and raised in Providence and has worked in and on the edges of government for the past twenty-three years. Garry finds ways to make complicated, ambitious projects come true and is passionate about creating opportunities for all children and youth to achieve their biggest and boldest dreams. Garry is the father of two children who are rapidly turning into adults. Garry's current position is as Program Director for the Medicaid Accountable Entity with Care New England's Integra Community Care Network and he currently serves as the CYC's Board Chair.
Dana Borrelli-Murray is the executive director of the Highlander Institute, where she is working to improve the educational landscape for all learners. Dana's leadership at the Highlander Institute focuses on research, design, incubation, and implementation of educational innovations. A native Rhode Islander, Dana holds graduate degrees in anthropology (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) and urban education policy (Brown University) and is driven by issues of culture, class, and equity in educational systems. She lives in Cranston with her husband, Colin, and daughter, Scout.
Magali Garcia-Pletsch is originally from the U.S./Mexico bordertown of Laredo, Texas, but has called Providence her home for the last six years. Growing up in a bicultural environment on the border, Magali has always had a passion for "crossing borders" (literally!) and connecting people across those boundaries, whether geopolitical national borders or the less visible boundaries that exist in our own backyards. She currently works in the Feinstein Institute for Public Service at Providence College, coordinating the community work-study, global service-learning, and EXPLORE! programs. As a relative newcomer in the state, she enjoys eating her way through Providence, as well as getting to know the underrated Rhode Island coast. She is also an avid Friars and San Antonio Spurs fan, enjoys rummaging through any old bookstore, and loves to travel anywhere and everywhere. Magali currently serves as a part of our Board's governance committee.
Dan Gertrudes is living the dream by nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit. Prior to his current work, he spent nine years at Textron Inc. in leadership roles connected to finance, investor relations, and corporate development. In 2010 Dan launched GrowthLab, a consultancy that helps small, entrepreneur-driven start-ups in Providence, Cambridge, and New York learn to play in bigger sandboxes by helping them articulate business strategies, write executive summaries, and craft investor pitch decks. Dan lives in Providence, dotes on his family, especially his daughters who attend Providence public schools. He served admirably on the Providence Public Schools Parent Advisory Council and sees all of our children and youth as startups with unlimited potential. Dan currently serves as the Board's Treasurer.
Maher has served in the public education sector throughout his career, with a focus on improving opportunities for students in urban districts. He comes to Providence from Mass Insight Education, a nonprofit organization that focuses nationally on school improvement and district transformation. Prior to his work at Mass Insight, Maher worked as a teacher, principal, district administrator and public school advocate in many leadership capacities. Maher spent a significant portion of his career in Baltimore City, and has worked with districts across the country to identify sustainable and scalable solutions to improve student outcomes. He holds a Graduate Certificate in School Administration and Supervision from Johns Hopkins University, and a Master of Public Administration from New York University. He earned his bachelor's degree from the College of Wooster in Ohio. Superintendent Maher serves as an ex officio member of our Board.
Winsome Stone has lived in Providence since graduating from Clark University in Worcester where she earned a B.A. in sociology with a minor in criminal justice. She went on to earn her M.S. from Salve Regina University in administration of justice. She is a single mother of a daughter enrolled in a Providence charter school. Winsome is the network care manager at the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, providing oversight and ensuring that each child and family is receiving the appropriate services. Winsome currently sits on the South Providence Evidence2Success community partnership table, as both a representative of the Department of Children Youth, and Families andas a member of the South Providence community.
Dulari Tahbildar is a graduate of Brown University with a B.A. in public policy and urban studies, and a graduate of MIT with a master's in city planning. Her work as executive director of Breakthrough Providence is centered on educational equity and social justice, particularly in low-income communities of color. She has earned certificates at Columbia Business School's Institute for Non-Profit Management and Hunter College's Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, and she participated in a doctoral research practicum on community organizing for school reform at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. In her free time, Dulari enjoys cooking tasty grain-free meals, singing karaoke, and practicing yoga with her toddler son.
Heather Tow-Yick is the Chief Transformation Officer with Providence Public Schools. Prior to this, she served as a Vice President with Teach For America and the founding Executive Director of Teach For America – Rhode Island. She’s spent time on the Human Assets team at Teach For America to support over 10 regions and senior leadership on achieving their staff culture, retention and diversity priorities, and with the New York regional team to train and develop corps members at their pre-service training and throughout the two-year commitment. From 2003-2005, she worked as the special assistant to former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, and worked as a strategy consultant at The Bridgespan Group. She started her career in education with Teach For America as a corps member in 1998 in the South Bronx where she taught middle school English and US History.
Raymond Two Hawks Watson
Raymond Two Hawks Watson was born and raised in Providence, growing up in the city's Mt. Hope and Fox Point neighborhoods. He attended Providence public schools, graduating from Classical High School in 1997. Raymond graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a B.A. in political science and from the University of Rhode Island with a master's degree in community planning. Raymond serves as Pomham Sachem of the Historic Mashapaug Nahaganset Tribe and in 2016 received the Rhode Island Foundation's 2016 Innovation Fellowship which includes a total of $300,000 over three years to expand multi-cultural tourism and improve cultural cohesion.
Cynthia Weaver is a senior associate with Casey’s Evidence-Based Practice Team, she works to expand the use of programs backed by scientific evidence when serving vulnerable kids and families. Before working at Casey, Weaver served as an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work. She also founded and ran a consulting company that developed and evaluated services for children and youth facing a variety of challenges. Weaver earned a doctorate and master’s degree in social work from the University of Alabama and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Alabama. Cynthia's leadership to the evolution of the Evidence2Success initiative in Providence has been critical and long-standing.