The Staff

Ebony D. Grace

Chief Executive Officer


Ebony D. Grace is the Chief Executive Officer at NJSACC. Prior to joining NJSACC in 2014, Ebony worked for the New Jersey Department of Education responsible for providing programmatic/budgetary oversight and technical assistance for 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Even Start Family Literacy program grants, assisting with implementation of quality out-of-school time programs, ages birth through adulthood. For over ten years, Ebony worked at various Upward Bound programs assisting first-generation students in their goals to graduate high school and obtain post-secondary education. Ebony graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Psychology from Temple University and a Master’s degree in Family Therapy from MCP Hahnemann/Drexel University. She also has experience as a practicing family therapist providing therapeutic services to individuals, families, couples and adolescents.


In 2015, Ebony was accepted as a White-Riley-Peterson Policy (WRP) Fellow at The Riley Institute at Furman University. In partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the WRP Fellowship is a 10-month, national program designed to equip graduates with a real-world understanding of policy-making for afterschool and expanded learning.


In July 2019, The National Afterschool Association welcomed Ebony as one of two newly elected Board of Directors members, serving a three-year term.


Ebony also has a diploma in Baking and Pastry from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. She and her husband live in southern New Jersey with their two dogs.

Adam Cruz

Chief Operating Officer


Adam Cruz is NJSACC’s Chief Operating Officer. He is a certified Adobe Captivate Specialist, a published author and a digital technology guru. For many creative professionals around the world, Adam has become their “go to” guy, building social media awareness for small business owners, artists, and educators. In addition, Adam has facilitated various career and music related workshops to school age children throughout the state, teaching the importance of literacy, passion and creativity.


In 2018, he published a music business-related book, entitled “Free the Music Business: Tips & Tales from an Indie Music Nerd,” about his experience running a disco label at the turn of the millennium.


In 2019, the Newark Arts council selected Adam as one of their ArtStart 2019 grantees, issuing a mini-grant to adapt his book into a one-day music business conference for artists and creatives to network and engage in such topics as: artist health & wellness, financial literacy, current music business matters and more.


The Mixtape Sessions Music Conference was held at the Newark Public Library on Thursday, August 1, 2019.  Evaluation and assessment tools were provided by NJSACC.


Adam earned his BA in Creative Arts & Technology (specializing in Music Technology) from Bloomfield College. He currently resides in Bloomfield, NJ with his wife and their three beautiful children.

Tim Conkling

Communications Coordinator


Tim Conkling is NJSACC’s Communications Coordinator, overseeing the infrastructure of our communications, website, and social media apparatus. Prior to joining NJSACC, Tim worked in a variety of capacities. His freelance career started in 2006 as a colorist for several comics and children’s books, including Veggie Tales. In 2011, after earning an associate degree and branching out to provide website design services, he formed Graphic Rehab as his personal creative brand.


Tim spent the next years working while earning a bachelor’s degree from Ramapo College in Communication Arts with a concentration in Visual Communication Design. He spent his time there developing practical skills and taking as many creative classes as possible.


In 2015, he began teaching his own painting classes and creating online instructional videos for participants. The Paint and Sip style to these classes attracted local communities and resulted in over 40 original paintings and demonstrations. His work in this regard led to a current part-time role teaching classes at a local studio.


In 2021, Tim taught himself how to program and run concert lighting equipment, photograph live music events, and develop his promotional art and design skills even further. Through continued experience and networking, Tim has earned a residency as Lighting Designer for The Homestead in Morristown, a beloved bar, restaurant, and live performance venue.


Tim resides in Long Valley with a blended family and their dog Lucky. His hobbies include snowboarding, exploring and the occasional juggling act.

Kandece Francis

Quality Coach and
Administrative Assistant


Kandece Francis is NJSACC’s 21CCLC Quality Coach and Administrative Assistant. In this role, she provides support to the NJSACC staff in managing day-to-day operations through event support, database management, communication, and general office support.

With over fifteen years of administrative experience and supporting senior executives, Kandece also has considerable experience in Program Management, grant management, youth development and cultivating student enrichment activities. Kandece developed a strong passion for youth advocacy while working for the Boys and Girls Club where she transitioned from the CEO’s Executive Assistant to Program Manager. During this transition she also served as the advisor to the teen run leadership program.

Kandece was born in Harlem, NY and raised in Queens. She joined the military when she graduated high school and served four years active duty in the United States Coast Guard.

Tyneisha K. Gibbs

Director of Policy
and Youth Advocacy


Tyneisha K. Gibbs is NJSACC’s Director of Policy and Youth Advocacy. In this role, she leads the agency’s policy work and continues the work of our 21CCLC technical assistance grant for NJDOE’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

She earned her BA in Psychology with a double minor in Social Work and Multicultural Studies from Rider University, a Certificate in Non Profit Management from The College of New Jersey and a certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from Rutgers Business School – Institute of Ethical Leadership. Tyneisha is also a graduate of the Rutgers Business School- Institute of Ethical Leadership’s Victoria Emerging Leaders Program. She believes learning is a lifelong process and is dedicated to expanding learning opportunities for others.

With over ten years of Youth Development, Management and Supervision experience, she believes, “Unorthodox methods of Education can break generational cycles of mental enslavement.” Her life’s passion is dedicated to uplifting our communities through education and access to resources.

In 2019, The Riley Institute selected Tyneisha to participate in the White-Riley-Peterson (WRP) Policy Fellowship. A partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the WRP Fellowship is a 10-month, national program designed to equip graduates with a real-world understanding of policy-making for afterschool and expanded learning.

She was born in Newark, NJ and raised in the Jersey shore town of Neptune, NJ. She began her career as a teacher during the day and a Director at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County. In addition to being passionate about her career, she is a phenomenal wife and an amazing mother to her daughter.

Jessica Heiberg

Director of
Program Services


Jessica Heiberg is NJSACC’s Director of Program Services. She organizes trainings, provides technical assistance to afterschool programs throughout the state, and coordinates NJSACC’s annual afterschool conference. She has spent her career working with children. Prior to joining NJSACC Jessica worked in a child care center before becoming a site coordinator for an afterschool program and a summer camp. A native of Westfield, New Jersey, she earned her BA in Women’s Studies from Douglass College at Rutgers University. She lives in Fanwood with her husband and three children.

Arlyn Jimenez



Arlyn Jimenez is a Quality Coach for NJSACC’s Quality Coaching initiative. She strives to work towards positive transformation for youth and urban communities. Arlyn graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Communication. She has volunteered for over five organizations and nonprofits in Middlesex County dedicated to the advancement of youth development and capacity building among communities.


As an AmeriCorps member, Arlyn helped to mentor youth, write grant proposals, build partnerships with local organizations and organize community events. Arlyn’s experience with afterschool programs spearheaded in New Brunswick where she facilitated and coordinated afterschool programs, and continues on with NJSACC.


A native of the Dominican Republic, she enjoys an array of hobbies including dancing, surfing, playing the drums, and exploring ways to live a zero waste lifestyle.

Patricia Pugliese

Technical Assistance


Patricia Pugliese is a Technical Assistance Specialist for the Quality Coaching Team at NJSACC. Patricia began her career in out-of-school time (OST) programming while still in high school, working in an after school program as an activity specialist. A child of immigrants and native New Yorker, Patricia has worked in all five boroughs with vulnerable youth and their families. With over 20 years of experience in the field of OST programming and youth development, Patricia is passionate about opportunities and services being equitable for and accessible to all. Patricia has held a variety of positions including program director (21 st CCLC elementary school age program), program officer, multi-site supervisor and senior director of youth and community programs. Her love for professional development led Patricia to co-chair the Training and Development Committee while working with the Police Athletic League. As a seasoned trainer and facilitator, Patricia enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion for the field.


Bilingual in Italian, Patricia had the opportunity to complete some of her early education in Italy. Patricia earned a BA in Sociology with minors in Children’s Studies and Physical Education from Brooklyn College. Patricia completed the Leadership Caucus and the High Performing Managers Institute with Community Resource Exchange as well as the Partnership for After School Education’s, Landit Women’s Leadership Program. Patricia is the proud mom of four: two boys and twin girls who keep her very busy!

Dagmar Wojcik

Quality Team Director


Dagmar Wojcik is NJSACC’s Quality Team Director. A lifelong learner, she enjoys sharing both what she’s learned and new experiences with kids of all ages and youth services providers. A former youth, teen, family, summer camp, and international programs director for the YMCA, Dagmar also spent several years being mostly mom to two beautiful daughters and working/volunteering with youth, family, and community programs. In her spare time, Dagmar enjoys spending time with family, lots of outdoor activities, and reading. Fun fact – the Wojciks are beekeepers and have a couple of hives at their home in Sussex County!


Dagmar has been a consultant and trainer with NJSACC since 1999 and is delighted to have joined the NJSACC team full time in the summer of 2019.

The Board of Trustees

The NJSACC Board of Trustees is comprised of diverse leaders from the nonprofit, for-profit, and public sectors who are dedicated to the organization’s mission. Serving on the NJSACC Board of Trustees is an extraordinary opportunity for an individual who is passionate about access to high-quality out-of-school time opportunities for children and youth in New Jersey and the professionals that serve them.

Celeste Banks

Director of Government Programs, Retention, and Recruitment, Irvington Public Schools


Celeste Banks is currently the Director of Government Programs, Retention, and Recruitment for Irvington Public Schools. She also holds the role of Grant Writer/ Consultant for the Township of Irvington.


Celeste began her career in public education at a very young age. At the age of 22, she accepted a position as an Art Teacher for P.S. #41 in Jersey City, NJ. During her 13 years of teaching, Celeste knew that she could more effectively meet the needs of her students if she were to take on a leadership role. In 2016, Celeste accepted a position as Professor In Residence (PIR), for William Paterson University (WPU). Her role as a PIR for WPU gave her great leadership experience by allowing her to act as a STEAM education consultant to teachers at Paterson Public Schools. In 2018, Celeste was then hired as a Supervisor of Title I and Chapters 192-193 for the Essex Regional Educational Services Commission. This position changed the trajectory of her career in public education by introducing her to the world of grant writing and federal funds management. In 2020, Celeste accepted the position of Supervisor of Government Programs for Irvington Public Schools (IPS), and in 2022 she became the Director of Government Programs, Retention, and Recruitment. In 2023, she became a member of the Township of Irvington Team as a Grant Writer and Consultant.


While holding these roles, she has brought over $7 million in grant funding combined to IPS and the Township of Irvington. Likewise, she manages all ESEA and ESSER funds for IPS totaling more than $52 million.


Celeste resides in East Orange, NJ with her three children, Madison (18), Cassidy (14), and Sky (3), and their dog Sam. She continues to actively teach as an art teacher through her business The Painter’s Palette NJ

Justin Brant

Senior Product Marketing Manager, Protestant, at Ministry Brands


Justin Brant is the Senior Product Marketing Manager, Protestant at Ministry Brands. Prior to joining Ministry Brands, Justin was a marketing leader at BlueJeans by Verizon. Justin also has an extensive, nearly 15-year career in the Ed Tech field including time at Scholastic as the Senior Product Marketing Manager for Scholastic’s Summer & After School learning solutions, marketing executive positions with the British Medical Journal as well as Taylor & Francis, along with being the Senior Manager of Marketing & Recruitment for the Marion P. Thomas Charter School. Justin became interested in NJSACC as a way of giving back to the community that helped raise him and to stay connected to the New Jersey education arena.

Justin holds a B.A. in History from Seton Hall University and an M.S. in Management from the University of Phoenix. While at Seton Hall University Justin was initiated into Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated where he is still active to this day with the northern New Jersey graduate chapter. In Justin’s personal time, you can find him in the gym, traveling, along with participating in many acts of community service.

TJ Coakley

Harrison Township Extended Care Programs & Summer Camps / Healthcare Information Technology


TJ oversees operations of two licensed extended care programs and a Summer Camp in Harrison Township, Gloucester County. TJ’s family also owns and operates OKKA-Mullica Hill, a family-focused martial arts program in his community.


TJ has a significant technical and process management background having worked 27 years in the Healthcare Information Technology field. TJ is an active member of his local business community and co-founder of Main Street Business Advocacy (MBA) a pilot program to support small business in Gloucester County.


TJ has a Bachelor’s in Computer Science, and Masters in Business Administration from Villanova University. He enjoys contributing to the success of children and families in his community and the success of fellow small business owners.

Melissa Conklin

School-Age Child Care (SACC) / Student Enrichment Programs (STEP) Coordinator, Cherry Hill Public Schools


Melissa is the School-Age Child Care (SACC) & Student Enrichment Programs (STEP) Coordinator of Cherry Hill Public Schools. She currently oversees twelve school-age childcare programs, that serve close to 900 students. Melissa also oversees summer programming, a Holiday SACC program, and a Family Friendly Program, serving over 1200 school-age students during out-of-school-time.


Since she was a college student, Melissa has worked as a school-age childcare provider for children in schools. She progressed over the years and eventually held the position of coordinator for numerous programs in Central New Jersey.


She enjoys teaching staff members how to support school-age children in their learning while providing them with care in a secure setting. She joined NJSACC in 2001 and throughout the years developed a network of amazing people working in childcare for children in the school-age range.


Melissa earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and communications from Rider University. She carried on with her studies and has taken several courses in educational leadership.


In her free time, she likes to spend time with her husband, high school-aged son and two dogs. In her spare time, she spends time thinking of ways to change the décor in their house, and during the summer, enjoys time at the beach.

Michael Fletcher

Chief of Staff and Director, SEEDS-Access Changes Everything


For more than two decades, Michael has been committed to providing access to high quality education to youth in historically under-resourced communities. His work with school districts and educational nonprofits, coupled with his experience in student support services and human capital management, has allowed Michael to study the education sector and scale impact from local to state levels. Michael is currently the Chief of Staff and Director, Administration at SEEDS-Access Changes Everything. Prior to this, he served as the Director of Talent Acquisition and Certification for the BRICK Education Network, the first and only Black-operated charter management organization in the state of New Jersey.


He holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a certificate in African American Studies from Princeton University and a master’s degree in Education Leadership, Policy, and Management from Seton Hall University. Michael is active on several nonprofit boards, including the Princeton-Blairstown Center and Newark Emergency Services for Families, and is an Executive Committee member (and past President) of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.


He is an alum of SEEDS-Access Changes Everything, Education Pioneers and the Emerging Human Capital Leaders Initiative, and a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Robert Foster

Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Clifton


comin soon!

Suad Gacham

Director of Family and Children’s Services, Bergen Family Center, Englewood


Suad has devoted the last 12 years of her career to expanding and improving out of school time opportunities. She is currently the Director of Family and Children’s Services, Bergen Family Center, in Englewood, NJ. As a result of her leadership, the Club Ed Afterschool Program has grown to serve approximately 1000 students across 6 public school districts. Since 2003, her mission in the nonprofit sector has been to increase prospects for children and families in socioeconomically challenged areas.

She has experience in designing, generating, and implementing curricula for students in grades K to 12. Her experience also includes professional development for teachers and childcare workers. Suad join the NJSACC Board to help support out of school programming because she believes that families should have a safe and affordable place where their children can grow socially, emotionally, and academically.

Krista Glynn

Child Care Service Area Director for
Catholic Charities Diocese of Metuchen


Krista is a Child Care Service Area Director for Catholic Charities Diocese of Metuchen. She currently oversees 17 child care programs in four counties that serve approximately 1300 children including early learning centers, before and after school programs, and summer programs . Krista has worked for Catholic Charities for over 20 years and has volunteered her time with a focus on improving the quality of child care services both statewide and nationally. Krista has been instrumental in expanding her child care services over the years in both school age programming and the preschool sector. Her preschool center is a 3 star Grow NJ Kids program while nine of her school age programs previously received national accreditation through the National Afterschool Association (NAA).


Krista has a Bachelor’s in Education and Art and received her Master’s in Business Administration in 2016. She has been a dedicated board member for many years and involved with NJSACC since 1999. Krista continues to focus on improving her programming in an effort to meet the needs of the families her organization serves and recognizes the importance of quality school age care in the out of school hours.

Yolanda Greene

Associate at the Taylor Law Group LLC


Yolanda is an Associate at the Taylor Law Group LLC in the firm’s Education Law practice group. As a member of this practice group, Yolanda handles a variety of matters related to special education, general education, and employment and labor.


Before joining the firm, Yolanda was an educator for nearly twenty years, serving as an elementary teacher and administrator in Essex County, New Jersey. She is an active member of her community and has served as an adult educator for parents, school administrators, and aspiring teachers. In addition, she has served as a court-appointed mediator for various county vicinages in the New Jersey’s Superior Court.


While in law school, Yolanda served as an advanced clinical law student in the Rutgers Education & Health Law Clinic, where she was successful in obtaining necessary supports and services for the Clinic’s clients. She also served in the school’s Entrepreneurship Clinic by providing legal assistance to emerging entrepreneurs. Additionally, she expanded her knowledge through several key internships while at Rutgers. These included a Maida Fellowship at ACLU-NJ; an internship at Rutgers Office of the Vice President and General Counsel; and an internship at Essex County Superior Court – Criminal Division with the Hon. Siobhan A. Teare, J.S.C. Yolanda completed her last year of law school, as a Rutgers Eagleton of Politics Institute Henry J. Raimondo Graduate Fellow with a placement at the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services.

Joseph Licata

Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lower Bergen County


Joseph J. Licata is the Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lower Bergen County since January 2016. He has been working in the Boys & Girls Club Movement since 2009, serving the organization in various capacities from intern to Director of Resource Development & Special Projects, and presently as CEO. Joseph has completed Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business’s Advanced Leadership Program at the Management and Executive Levels. While working at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lower Bergen County, he has focused on modernization, resource development, board development, increasing program quality, increasing organization reserves, increasing organization efficiency, and increasing the use of technology. He is a 2024 and 2019 National Service to Youth Awardee from Boys & Girls Clubs of America for his 15 years and 10 years of Service in the Boys & Girls Club Movement. He was also the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lower Bergen County’s 2012 Staff Member of the Year, and in 2010 he was the organization’s Volunteer of the Year for his time as an intern. One of his most rewarding experiences as the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lower Bergen County happened in 2024, when one of his organization’s members was named the New Jersey Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey.


Mr. Licata is a former President of the Garden State Chapter Professional Association, an organization that supports Boys & Girls Clubs Professionals with recognition, professional development, and networking. He is also an active member of the Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey, which advocates for Boys & Girls Clubs at the State Government level and Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey, which works to raise private dollars and other supports to Boys & Girls Clubs in the State.  Joseph is also the Co-Founder and President of Lodi Cares, Inc., a nonprofit educational foundation that provides college scholarships to Lodi students. He was also an elected member of the Lodi Board of Education from 2009-2016, serving as Vice President from 2009-2011 and President from 2011-2016.


Joseph is a 2006 Graduate of Lodi High School, where he was President of the Student Council and National Honor Society. Joseph has always considered the Lodi School System to be a major impact on his life and has made a pledge to serve the Community and Children of Lodi by helping to make the school system a better place.


Mr. Licata attended Seton Hall University, graduating with a BA in Political Science in 2010 and a Master of Public Administration in 2011. While at Seton Hall, he learned the value of Servant Leadership, which explains his commitment to volunteerism and community service.  Joseph was a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and received the Experiential Education Award from the College of Arts & Sciences and the Career Center in 2010.


Joseph currently lives in New Jersey with his wife Nikki, 6 year-old daughter Noelle, 2 year-old son Nico, and mini poodle Darla.

Afterschool Ambassadors for NJ

To learn more about the Afterschool Alliance’s Afterschool Ambassadors for NJ, click here.