School Members

Michael Catlyn
Vice-Chairperson of Brooklyn Charter School

Michael Catlyn is the Vice-Chairperson of Brooklyn Charter School in Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn, District 14. Brooklyn Charter School is the first charter school authorized by New York City Department of Education and Michael has served on the Board of Trustees since its inception in 2000. Currently, Michael is an employee of the law firm of Cahill, Gordon and Reindel. Prior to joining the Board of Trustees, Michael Catlyn served as Confirms Specialist for ADP, verifying stock trade transactions. He also served as a Traffic Manager for Ivy Sales Corporation for 8 years. Michael’s affiliation with the Board of Trustees of Brooklyn Charter School began as a parent representative until he became Chairman of BCS in 2005 until 2008. Since 2008, Michael serves as Vice-Chairperson and Chair of the Audit and Finance committee.


A native of Barbados and father of four children, Michael is a school-reform and community activist serving on numerous committees and Boards including the School Leadership Team of Bard High School Early College, Bed Stuy Piranhas at Bedford Stuyvesant YMCA, Coalition of Community Charter Schools (initial Board) and the Education and Youth Committee of Community Board 3. In addition, he has met with numerous elected officials and education reformers to advocate for charter schools and has contributed to an op-ed article in the New York Post on educational opportunity for underprivileged students in NYC.

Stacey Gauthier
Principal of The Renaissance Charter School

Stacey Gauthier is the Principal of The Renaissance Charter School, a Pre-K-12 conversion charter school and one of the oldest charter schools in New York City, located in Jackson Heights, Queens. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts where she received her Master's' Degree in Educational Administration. She received her undergraduate degree from NYU's School of Business. Ms. Gauthier also pursued graduate studies in Anthropology at Hunter College; a passion she has brought to educational programming at her school.


Prior to joining Renaissance's staff in 1997, Ms. Gauthier's professional experience included working as an administrator for a prominent labor union and as a department head at a major museum, both of which have greatly informed her work as a school leader. She was also a member of the team that wrote Renaissance's initial charter application. Ms. Gauthier has been extremely active in charter school advocacy and educational reform heading up various committees and initiatives. She is the recipient of several awards and fellowships including a 2013 Blackboard Award for Outstanding Middle and High School Leader, a 2012 Cahn Fellowship from Teachers' College and was Hunter College's Geography Educator of the Year in 2008.

Franklin J Headley
Principal of VOICE Charter School

Franklin J Headley is founder and Principal of VOICE Charter School. He has over 20 years of experience in education and school leadership. Always an advocate of learning, he was valedictorian of his rural high school and the first in his southern New Jersey family to attend college, earning his A.B. in History from Harvard, magna cum laude, and was awarded a summa cum laude on his thesis on John Ruskin. He continued his graduate studies as a Jacob Javits Fellow at Columbia University and the University of London, completing M.A. and M.Phil degrees in European History and Victorian Art and Architecture. 


After falling in love with teaching while instructing students in Columbia University's core curriculum and working with GED students, Mr. Headley began his career in public education, earning masters degrees in Education and Educational Administration and Supervision at City College and Baruch College, respectively. His tenure as fourth grade teacher  in the Bronx earned him two Fulbright Memorial Fund Master Teacher Awards. He then served, through a New Leaders for New Schools Fellowship, as assistant principal in Jamaica, Queens. He has served as a mentor, instructor, and adviser for various teacher and leadership development programs including NYC Teaching Fellows, New Leaders for New Schools, and the NYC Charter Center's Emerging Leaders Fellowship. In 2016, he was named by the Kennedy Family and Schools That Can the Robert F. Kennedy Urban Educator of the Year. 


Mr. Headley co-founded VOICE Charter School in Long Island City, Queens, in 2008 with the belief that all students are capable of achieving at high levels in all subject areas.  Mr. Headley is active in many community, museum, and interest groups and has been an alumni interviewer for Harvard University for 20 years. An avid photographer and traveler, he has visited all 50 states and over 50 countries.  He serves on the boards of the Coalition of Community Charter Schools, the Jacob Riis Settlement House, and the Victorian Society of New York and works on advisory committees for the Center for Educational Innovation and the Varsity Boys and Girls Club of Queens.

Ron Tabano
Executive Director at John V. Lindsay Wildcat Academy

Ronald Tabano has over 40 years experience in education beginning his work as a 6th grade teacher, moving to teaching social studies and ELA at the middle and high school levels, eventually becoming an Assistant Principal. He then worked in the community creating job opportunities for struggling adolescents and was a founding member of both Wildcat Academy, opened in 1992 under the NYC DOE, and the first Second Opportunity School (SOS) in the Bronx, opened in 1997. Ron also started the first New Beginnings School in 1999 in Queens. As CEO/Principal of Wildcat Academy, Ron led the school through its charter conversion process in 2000. Ron is a recognized leader for his work with over-age, under-credited high school students.

At-Large Members

Stephen Fall Riff
Executive Director of Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation

Stephen Falla Riff is the Executive Director of the Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation (Innovation) and is an attorney specializing in nonprofit organization and education law. At Innovation, he focuses on on charter school governance, operations, finance and business issues, provides advice and counsel to the school’s Board of Trustees, and is a member of Innovation’s School Management Team, where he works hand-in-hand with the Principal, Vice Principal, and Director of Student Life and Community Engagement to collaboratively govern the school.


Prior to joining Innovation, Steve spent two decades practicing public interest law, starting his career as a litigator specializing in housing and social welfare issues, and then transitioning to a corporate and tax law practice in support of community economic development. Steve has wide-ranging experience in training law students and lawyers. He is also a public speaker and writer on topics in nonprofit law, affordable housing law, and community economic development.  Steve is an editor of the Nonprofit Compliance Checklist, a toolkit for nonprofit organizations, which he compiled together with staff and students from Columbia Law School. The Checklist is available on the New York State Bar Association website.

In his personal life, Steve is married, has an adult daughter, and resides in Jackson Heights, New York. His passions include reading, food and bicycles.

John Harrison York
Executive Director of Future Leaders Institute Charter School

John Harrison York is the Executive Director of Future Leaders Institute Charter School in Harlem, District 3. Originally founded in 1999, Future Leaders Institute converted from a district school into a charter school in 2005. Mr. York holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to joining Future Leaders Institute, Mr. York began his career as a management consultant at Deloitte Consulting.  During his time at Deloitte, Mr. York began volunteering at Future Leaders Institute, completing multiple operationally-focused projects at the school, including revamping FLI’s Summer Academy program and creating new data management and analysis systems. Since assuming the role as Executive Director at Future Leaders Institute in 2015, Mr. York has been heavily involved in advocacy work on behalf of the school.

Richard Lee
Executive Director of Academy of the City Charter School

Richard Lee is the Founding Principal of Academy of the City Charter School in Woodside, NY, a school that is as diverse as the Borough of Queens. Previously, Richard was the Division Coordinator for seven years for grades 1–4 at The Bank Street School for Children. Richard has organized, led and presented in various workshop including NYSAIS, DOE and NAIS. Most of these have been about Children of Color affinity groups and Social Studies curriculum. Richard is Asian-American and feels strongly about the presence of administrators who reflect the community that they serve. 

Lisa Parquette Silva
Headmaster at The New American Academy Charter School

Lisa Parquette Silva has been the Headmaster of The New American Academy Charter School (TNAACS) since it opened in the fall of 2013. A product of the New York City public school system, she is a life-long educator with over 30 years experience. Before becoming Headmaster of TNAACS, Ms. Silva worked as a Master Teacher in The New American Academy flagship school, PS 770, a New York City public school, for two years. TNAACS is one of three schools, two public and one charter, following The New American Academy model created by it’s founder Shimon Waronker.


At PS 770 she was member of that school’s Educational Leadership Team who along with the Headmaster made educational, curricular, policy and hiring decisions. Ms. Silva helped design the organization’s career ladder and was instrumental in the creation and implementation of a teacher self-reflection tool based on Danielson’s Framework for Teaching. Ms. Silva worked for the New York City Department of Education for 28 years. She has taught elementary, middle and high school students. Ms. Silva has worked as a Literacy Specialist, a Staff Developer and an English Department Chairperson, where she was responsible for the supervision and development of her teacher colleagues. Ms. Silva has designed and implemented school wide curriculum and assessments to target effective literacy instruction for a variety of stakeholders in multiple schools. Ms. Silva currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband of 28 years Orlando and her three children, Orlando, Ryan and Isabella.

Walter Sanchez
Editor and Publisher of The Queens Ledger / Brooklyn Star Community Newspaper Group

Walter has been the editor and publisher of The Queens Ledger / Brooklyn Star Community Newspaper Group since 1986. He is a founding member of the Journalism Program’s steering committee at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, is on the executive committee of the Queens Botanical Gardens and is the President of the Variety Boys & Girls Club in Astoria. Since 2001 Walter has coached Varsity Tennis at Msgr. McClancy High School, Men’s and Women’s Tennis at St. Joseph’s College. Walter lives in Maspeth Queens, is a graduate of Fordham University.

Christine Nick
Senior Manager, Education & Outreach with the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation

Christine Nick is Senior Manager, Education & Outreach with the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as Assistant Executive Director of the New York City Coalition of Community Charter Schools and taught high school in New York City. She is a former music journalist, her work has been featured in Metal Edge and The Aquarian Weekly.