Administrative Team


Ameer Washington

Chief Executive Officer
Ameer Washington grew up at BGCN, having joined the Club as a six-year-old in 1989. By his senior year in high school, he was elected Keystone Club President and Youth of the Year for the state of New Jersey. Ameer went on to earn a bachelors degree in economics from Temple University, and then returned to the Club to hold numerous leadership positions in the organization, including coordination of BGCN’s first school-based site at First Avenue School. He currently serves as BGCN’s Chief Executive Officer.


Cynthia M. Banks

Vice President of Operations
Cynthia has served the Boys & Girls Club of Newark with distinction for over 25 years in several leadership roles, though no single title could ever contain the full force and scope of her impact on the children who have been in her care. She has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2009 Ms. BGCN Award, and selection as a 2011 Professional of the Year for Outstanding Service by the Garden State Chapter for her work with women and minority professionals. Cynthia currently serves on the Youth of the Year Committee for Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey, working with colleagues from across the state.


Catherine Plymel

Director of Culture & Human Resources
Catherine has been a part of the Boys & Girls Club since 2014 and started as an intern while attending Rutgers Newark. After her internship she joined the team and has been hard at work ever since. Catherine completed her Bachelors of Arts in Public and Non Profit Administration and is pursuing her masters in Public Administration and Non Profit from Rutgers Newark with a concentration in leadership. She has over 5 years of experience in organizational leadership and is passionate about harvesting a healthy, happy workplace with real emphasis on a strong organizational culture.


Diana Lynn Zeller

Director of Finance
A valued BGCN finance department employee since 1976. In 2007, Diana developed an innovative means of tracking grant-related staff allocation, a system that has proven instrumental in our own recordkeeping and has been adopted by other Clubs throughout the state. Diana was named a BGCN employee of the Year in 2011, and in 2006 was recognized at BGCA’s Leadership Conference for 30 years of service.


Rosa Arenas

Director of Programs, Metrics, and Outcomes
Roselle “Rosa” Arenas has been a part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark family for over 25 years. She was first a member and then joined the BGCN staff as a camp counselor. Her responsibilities grew within the organization, leading our team as the Clubhouse Manager. Today, Rosa serves as the Director of Programs, Metrics, and Outcomes, overseeing programs for youth at our Clubhouse facility and external school-based sites. Rosa is a dedicated employee of the Boys & Girls Club of Newark and is passionate about the care and nurturing of the all of our Club Members and their families.

Gardan Speights

Director of Community Wellness and Teen Services
Gardan Speights is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 10 years of experience in the field of mental health with a focus on child/ adolescent behavioral health. She has a bachelor's of Arts in Psychology and Black Studies from SUNY New Paltz, and a Master's in Social Work from Columbia University. Gardan has worked with adults with developmental disabilities and co-morbid mental health challenges, in the jail system, and in one of the largest inpatient behavioral health hospitals in NJ. She has also co-facilitated programming for the Tyrone D. Franklin Technology Center in Westwood, NJ, and is excited to continue helping families stay healthy at BGCN. 

Program Team

Kelly Stukes

Seek Academy Site Coordinator
Kelly grew up in New York, and describes the Boys & Girls Club of Newark as more of a home than a job. She’s excited about the ability to make a difference in Members’ lives everyday. She attended Wings Academy High School in the Bronx. She currently attends Essex County College as a Sociology major. Kelly is also CPR certified, and a mandated reporter.


Shontonette Crawford

Membership Coordinator
Shantonette has been with the Boys & Girls Club of Newark for the past six years. An integral member of the BGCN team, she has served a number of different functions at the administrative level, including managing the Club's office and coordinating with all our parents to ensure the successful enrollment of their children.

Vanessa R. Deraville

Site Coordinator
Vanessa joined BGCN in 2015, with over 10 years of experience in customer service. The ability to connect with families, create exciting activities for Members, and see BGCN’s impact on alumni are some of the highlights of her role as a Site Coordinator. Vanessa graduated from Columbia High School, and attended The Art Institute of Philadelphia. She is currently attending Union County College, and working towards her Associates in Radio Communications.

Board of Trustees


Officers of the Board

Sharad D. Madison, President
CEO, United Building Maintenance



Thomas R. Valen, Board Chair
Partner, Gibbons, PC



Members of the Board

Joseph F. Accardo Jr.
Deputy General Counsel, PSEG Services Corporation

Sam Boraie 
Vice President, Boraie Development LLC

Dan Colleton
Vice President of Partner Marketing, Mastercard

Ryan S. Curran, CPA, JD
Principal and Founders, Curran Unger LLP

Maria R. Fruci 
Counsel, Genova Burns

Stephen Gilbert
Lawyer, Retired

Michael Gilfillan
President, Brick City Sports Capital

Kate Gratto
Vice President, HR Service Delivery, Prudential Financial

Michael Gruber, DMD
Dentist, Gruber Dentistry

Troy Glover
Head of Third Party Governance, AIG

Gina Gruhn
Senior Vice President, Optum



Rayshine Harris
CEO, SHINE Tumblers

Jan Hines
Assistant Director, Transplant Community Relations

Heather McFeely
Managing Director, Head of Multi-Asset Sales, HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.

Marshall McLean
Senior Vice President, Private Client Advisor, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Wealth Management

Charlie Rubin
Executive, MCJ Amelior

Cecil Sanders
President, C.H. Sanders Construction Co.

Jason Sobel
Of Counsel - Real Estate, Sill Cummis & Gross P.C.

Dean Thompson
Vice President of Finance, Enterprise Holdings

Kelly Thompson
Self Employed

Patrick Walsh,
Partner, Withum