The FamilyKind nonprofit team of attorneys, mental health experts, mediators, and parenting coordinators are licensed professionals with decades of experience. View bios below.
Lesley Ann Friedland
Director of Co-Parenting Communication
Chief Strategic Officer
Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
Development and Financial Strategist
Strategic Planning and Programming Consultant
Paula Y. Fendall
Robyn Myler Mann
STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) Educators
Volunteer Network Team
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Lesley Ann Friedland is a family law attorney and mediator dedicated to public service. For more than two decades, Lesley served as a court attorney and referee for the NYC Family Court presiding over custody, visitation and child protective matters in all five boroughs. Recently Lesley served as the liaison between the Court and the Custody and Visitation Mediation Department in Kings County Family Court. She also facilitated the NYS Parent Education & Awareness Program and led the team that developed the children’s portion of the program.
In March 2012, Lesley and a group of like-minded attorneys, mental health experts, and other seasoned professionals founded FamilyKind, a not-for-profit organization providing information and support services to families experiencing separation and divorce.
Lesley serves on the Family Court Custody and Visitation Advisory Committee and is a member of the New York State Bar Association, New York Women’s Bar Association (NYWBA), New York State Council of Divorce Mediators (NYSCDM), Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), The Interdisciplinary Forum on Mental Health and Family Law, and The Family Divorce & Mediation Council of Greater New York (FDMC).
Lesley also serves as Parent Association President and is on the School Leadership Team of a NYC public high school. She graduated with a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and a JD from Antioch School of Law.
Nancy Adler is a PhD candidate in clinical psychology at the City University of New York, where she provides psychotherapy to children, adolescents, and adults at The Psychological Center. She also works at the Brooklyn College Personal Counseling Center where she works individually with undergraduate and graduate students and co-leads a Dialectical Behavior Therapy group. Nancy serves as the Manuscript Coordinator for Psychoanalytic Psychology, the Journal of Division 39 of the American Psychological Association. Nancy is author of Examining Divorce from a Developmental Perspective, a paper published by FamilyKind that studies the effects of separation and divorce on children. Read the paper.
Kate Bar-Tur is a licensed clinical social worker and the director and founder of The NY Center for Divorce and Family Mediation. She is a current board member of the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation and a founding member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators. Her years of experience as a psychoanalyst, couples therapist, divorce coach and director of the Clinical Center at the Institute of Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR) are the foundation for Kate’s practice. She is a member or associate of the Center for Mediation in Law, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, New York Association of Collaborative Professionals, and the Institute of Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Kate earned an MSW degree from Columbia University and graduated from Princeton University magna cum laude.
Bruce Berman has been in private practice as a psychologist for over 25 years. In addition to providing psychotherapy to children, adolescents and adults, he specializes in sex therapy and in working with couples and families. He also offers a variety of services to families facing separation and divorce. These include parenting coordination, serving as a divorce coach or child specialist in collaborative divorce cases, and serving as a child consultant in child-inclusive divorce mediation. Currently he supervises candidates in training at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center, and clinical psychology graduate students in couples and family therapy at Yeshiva University. Bruce received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Adelphi University, where he completed postdoctoral training in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.
Shari Bornstein was a partner in the law office of Meccariello & Bornstein in Connecticut since the firm’s creation in 1989, prior to relocating to New York City. Shari focused her practice on family matters and used her skills as a litigator, mediator, and collaboratively trained attorney to resolve cases involving spouses dissolving their marriages, parents in custody actions, post-judgment matters, as well as serving as a Guardian ad Litem for minor children. She also participated in the Special Masters program for the Superior Court by providing recommendations to colleagues and self represented parties to assist them in settling their cases. In addition, Shari sat as a member of the Statewide Grievance Committee, adjudicating ethical violations of lawyers appearing before the Committee. For a number of years she volunteered as a co-parenting mediator at the Children’s Law Center in Hartford. Shari is Director of GoodTalk4Parents, FamilyKind’s Co-Parenting Communication program, offering education to parents in New York aimed at enhancing their communication and co-parenting skills for the benefit of their children.
Chavie Brumer oversees the parent and children’s programming at FamilyKind and co-leads the Parenting Education Workshops. She is an experienced licensed clinical social worker, and, since 1997, has worked with and supervised several therapy programs for children and adults from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Chavie specializes in individuals, families, and couples going through divorce, separation, loss and bereavement, life transitions, as well as issues related to self-esteem and trauma (including EMDR treatment). Chavie works with clients in private practice in both Manhattan and Brooklyn to help achieve healing and resolution within a non-judgmental environment. Chavie received her MSW from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work.
Catherine Canadé is a collaborative attorney and family and divorce mediator in private practice in Brooklyn and on Long Island and also serves as a consulting and review attorney. Catherine is president of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York and is the chair of their Nominations Committee. She is on the Custody and Visitation Mediation Panel of the NYC Family Courts and is a certified mediator and mentor at the New York Peace Institute where she trains new mediators through their apprenticeship program. Catherine is a consultant for the Hunter College High School Bias and Dispute Panel, for which she conducts mediation trainings for staff and students. She received her BA with high honors from Vassar College and her JD cum laude from the Washington College of Law at American University.
Katie Cole is a mediator and collaborative attorney practicing in New York City in the area of family and divorce law. Katie specializes in working with families and couples within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community to resolve their conflicts through understanding and dialogue. Katie is also currently Mediation Coordinator for Special Education, Early Intervention and Custody/Visitation at the New York Center for Interpersonal Development (NYCID) in Staten Island. She serves on the board of the Family Divorce & Mediation Council of Greater New York (FDMC), and is a member of the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation (NYSCDM), the LGBT Law Association of Greater New York (LeGal), the LGBTQ Collaborative Professionals of NYC, and the New York State Bar Association. Katie attended City University of New York School of Law, graduating in 2000.
Rhabia Cowell is an experienced nonprofit and healthcare professional who specializes in matters of administration and finance. She works with FamilyKind on projects related to grants, data and sponsorships. Rhabia earned an MS in Health Services Management from the New School for Social Research and an MBA in Finance from Long Island University.
Bill Drewes is the Director of Development and Finance for FamilyKind. He previously served as Manager of Planned Giving for the NYU Medical Center, Capital Campaign Manager for the Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center, and Development Advisor to Legal Services NYC. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Long Island University, the Stern Graduate School of Business of New York University, and Brooklyn Law School. Bill completed the Philanthropic and Fund Raising Administration Program of New York University and conducted workshops in establishing and raising funds for nonprofit organizations at Baruch College (CUNY).
Paula Y. Fendall is a licensed social worker with a focus on child and family services. For the majority of her career, she served in New York City government, including six years in the Mayor’s Office during the Koch and Dinkins Administrations. Outside of government, Paula was co-director of the NYU School of Law’s Family Defense Clinic, an interdisciplinary clinic of law and social work students, representing parents with children in foster care. Paula was also adjunct faculty member at the New York University (NYU) Silver School of Social Work and a social work field instructor and faculty advisor at both NYU and Columbia. She currently serves on the Dean’s Council at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. For many years, Paula served as the Director of the Office of Family Visiting, which includes the Children of Incarcerated Parents Program (CHIPP), at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). In June 2013, she was invited to the White House by the Obama Administration to be on a panel of experts discussing the needs of children of incarcerated parents. Paula received her undergraduate degree in Inner City Studies from the City University of New York (CUNY-Medgar Evers) and her Master in Social Work from New York University.
Paul Firstenberg has a wide range of strategy and organizational leadership experience in the education sector, among others. He served as chancellor of Tulane University, financial vice president of Princeton University, and chief operating officer of the children’s television program Sesame Street. He also served as an officer of the Ford Foundation. Paul taught management of nonprofit organizations at Baruch College and Yale School of Management and is the author of a series of books on that subject. He was previously executive vice president of Prudential Real Estate. Paul earned an undergraduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, followed by a law degree from Harvard.
Betty Gewirtz is a licensed clinical social worker and psychoanalyst in private practice with offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Betty served as a forensic clinical social worker for the Family Court Mental Health Services and the Staten Island Family Court Services, evaluating families and individuals. She wrote reports to the Family and Supreme Courts on a range of family issues including custody, parenting plans, child abuse and neglect. Currently, Betty is a member of the Mental Health Professionals Panel appointed by the Supreme Court Appellate Division Second Judicial Department. In addition, she has served as a member of the Interdisciplinary Forum on Mental Health and the Family Law. Betty was a facilitator in the PEACE program and is currently a parent educator in the STEP program for FamilyKind. Betty also has years of experience in the corporate sector as the lead clinician-therapist and resource for employees and managers regarding interpersonal issues both personal, familial and work-related. Additionally, she was an adjunct professor of social work and field instructor at New York University, where Betty earned her MSW. Subsequently, Betty attained her advanced certification in psychoanalysis at the Training Institute of the National Association for Psychoanalysis. Most recently she became a member of their Neuropsychoanalysis Clinical Study Group.
James Grimaldi is currently completing his doctoral training in child psychology at Pace University. His experience includes assisting in the design, coordination and assessment of the Children’s PACT Program at the Kings County Family Court. James is a member of the American and New York State Psychological Associations. He holds a Master’s degree from the New School for Social Research, where he was an assessment coordinator at The Center for Attachment Research at the New School with Miriam and Howard Steele.
Catherine Hannibal is a family and divorce mediator and collaborative attorney at the New York City and Westchester-based mediation practice, Mediation Works, Inc. Her practice concentrations also encompass prenuptial and postnuptial agreement mediation and review, mediation to stay married, child inclusive divorce mediation and elder decisions mediation. She is on the Executive Board of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York (FDMC), and she mentors and teaches with the CUNY School of Law and the New York Peace Institute (NYPI). Catherine is a graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where she was trained by competitive admission in the nationally recognized Mediation and Divorce Mediation clinics. She received her MA and BA (with Honors) from Stanford University.
Diane Hessemann is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 30 years experience working with families. She held administrative positions in both the foster care and domestic violence systems prior to becoming a City University of New York Adjunct Professor of Human Services. Diane maintains a 17-year private practice in Park Slope, where she serves families and children who are struggling with divorce and separation issues, provides therapeutic supervised visitation services, and conducts forensic evaluations and adoption home studies. She had been an active member of the PACT program as both a presenter and facilitator of parent education. Diane is also a member of NASW and the NYS Supervised Visitation Network. She holds an MSW degree from Adelphi University and has additional training in the areas of addiction and domestic violence.
Andrea Hirshman is a family mediator and collaborative law attorney. After learning the limitations of litigation, Andrea saw mediation and collaborative law as healthier forums for couples to resolve the challenges they face when ending their marriage. Andrea brings compassion, understanding and expertise to her work. She is on the board of the Family and Divorce Mediation Counsel of Greater New York (FDMCGNY), chairs its Continuing Education Committee and sits on its Ethics Committee. She is an active member off the NY Association of Collaborative Professionals, and is a founding member of the Academy of Professional Mediators. Andrea is a consultant mediator for the NYC Family Courts. She received her BA from SUNY Buffalo and her JD from CUNY Law School.
Robyn Myler Mann is an attorney and mediator with a proven ability to manage non-profit organizations and their development needs; improve public support through donations, memberships and event revenue; strategize development, talent and process improvement for increased organizational and financial efficiency; develop and execute budgets and financial targets; organize and execute events and office operations; create strategic alliances and lead operations; and enhance collaboration and problem solving between communities and persons with disparate needs through skills based in active listening, reflecting and brainstorming. Robyn spent 24 years as a practicing attorney during which time she managed her law firm and helped build a client base. She is a trained and experienced mediator for civil claims and family matters. Robyn utilizes mediation skills in every aspect of her professional life to help increase understanding and find common ground.
Eileen Montrose has been in private practice for the past 14 years as a licensed clinical social worker and is appointed by the Supreme Court and Family Court in all five boroughs to conduct custody and visitation evaluations, therapeutic supervised visitations, and parent coordination. Her background includes conducting clinical evaluations of all Family Court petitions for South Beach Psychiatric Center, Staten Island, NY. Eileen has been a participant and presenter in the PEACE and PACT programs, educating parents about the emotional impact of divorce and separation on children and adults. Eileen trained in the Divorce Mediation Program at the Ackerman Institute for the Family and in the Parent Coordination program sponsored by the AFCC and the University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Families, Children and the Courts. She is a member of the Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts (AFCC). Eileen holds an MSW in Clinical Social Work from New York University and an MS in Education/Guidance and Counseling from Long Island University.
Nancy Nybergh is a NYS licensed psychoanalyst, certified Gestalt psychotherapist and trainer. Over the past 35 years, Nancy has worked in corporate, nonprofit and government venues mostly in a training capacity but also in various managerial and leadership roles while maintaining a private practice. She has been formerly trained in conflict resolution in both the Position/Interest-Based and Understanding Based models and her certification is pending. Since 2007, Nancy has been teaching the NYS certified Parent’s Assisting Children through Transition class, works full time as a trainer at the New York City Department for the Aging, and teaches NYS Teachers at My Teaching Success. Nancy’s keen interest in and passion for better understanding relationships, communications, and mindfulness inspires her current work, which focuses on these important topics. Nancy received her Masters of Arts in Organization Psychology from New York University and completed a 4 year post-graduate program in Psychotherapy at The Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy.
Beth Ornstein is an attorney and mediator, forensic social worker and psychotherapist with more than 10 years of private practice in the State of New York. She was the Director of Mediation and a mediation trainer at the Community Dispute Resolution Center in Staten Island. Beth has presented the New York State Parent Education and Awareness Program, which is designed to educate divorcing or separating parents about the impact of their breakup on their children. In addition, she has experience as a child protection investigator, a foster care caseworker, school social worker and social services staff trainer. Currently, she facilitates supervised and therapeutic supervised visitation and provides consultation to attorneys representing parents and children in child protective matters in New York State Family and Supreme Courts. Beth is a graduate of the City University of New York Law School and earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She was trained in divorce mediation at the Ackerman Institute in New York.
Linda Paul is a Stepfamily Foundation Certified Coach dedicated to helping couples navigate the complicated family dynamic of step. She is both a stepchild and a stepmother and approaches her work using this dual perspective. Linda is the organizer of the Stepfamily Solutions of NYC Meetup Group, has a stepparenting column on Examiner.com and presents stepfamily workshops at various community organizations around NYC. Linda also has over 20 years of experience as a human resources professional in various industries. In 2000, she received the Women of Achievement Award from the office of Mayor Giuliani for the work she did in successfully providing more than 50 women on welfare the opportunity to turn their lives around with jobs at Morgan Stanley. In addition to her work with stepfamilies, Linda is currently providing HR consulting services to startups and other small companies. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program with a BS degree in Human Resources.
Tziporah Pronman is a mediator and experienced organizational leader and administrator. For six years Tziporah worked as the Mediation Manager for the New York State Unified Court System, first in Brooklyn, then in Manhattan Family Court. In addition to her experience as a New York State Certified Mediator, Tziporah has over fifteen years of professional leadership experience in community development, training, parenting and youth-focused initiatives. She worked at Community Mediation Services, Inc. as Program Director for the Parents Count Program assisting non-custodial parents in establishing stable relationships with their children, along with supervised visitation. She also served as the Program Director for the Jamaica Homebase Homeless Prevention Services for children and family. Tziporah is on the Custody and Visitation Panel of the New York State Unified Court System, Family Courts, as a Consultant Mediator. She also serves as a board member for the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). Tziporah earned her BA from the University of Maryland and attended Fordham University in the Master of Social Work program.
Jenny Psaki is a licensed master social worker. She has over fifteen years of mediation experience and has mediated well over 500 cases in the areas of Family, Child Welfare, Divorce, Special Education, Employment, Small Claims and Community disputes. Jenny has facilitated complex matters involving multi-party disputes with upwards of 10-15 participants covering a wide range of issues. She has worked with both voluntary and Court-mandated parties, with both represented and non-represented individuals. Jenny has been both a Parent Educator and Mediation Trainer for over ten years, training divorcing and separating parents, parents who have children in special education settings, and parents/families with “at-risk” youth. She is currently a trainer for Family Kind’s Parent Education Awareness Program as well as the STEP Program. Jenny has been a Mediator Trainer at NYU, Columbia, Hofstra, and Rutgers as well as training new Mediators for Safe Horizons, Catholic Charities of Brooklyn, the National Association of the Deaf, and the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. She has been a presenter at both the New York and New Jersey Bar Associations as well as the National AFCC Convention in Washington DC.
Bob Raymond is a licensed Psychologist in New York and New Jersey and has been in independent practice since 1981. In addition to being a Clinical Psychologist, he is a Certified Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Certified Psychoanalyst. He treats individuals, couples, and families, assisting clients in reaching their goals of achieving a better life, and ameliorating psychological problems. Bob has extensive forensic training and experience. He is qualified as an Expert Witness in New York and New Jersey Courts, and has provided Expert Witness services to the New Jersey Board of Psychological Examiners. He has recently combined his clinical and forensic work by developing a specialty in the area of Collaborative Divorce. Providing services as a Divorce Coach and a Child Specialist, Bob works with a collaborative team to assist clients in pursuing a redefinition of their family relationships. He is a graduate of the City University of New York and earned his PhD from Alliant University, formerly the California School of Professional Psychology.
Wendy Reimer is a family law attorney and mediator. Prior to becoming a mediator, Wendy practiced family law, specializing in child custody, property division, child support and spousal support (alimony). In addition to litigating cases, she advised and counseled many clients going through the mediation process and quickly realized that clients who mediated maintained a more peaceful relationship with their ex-spouse, learned to co-parent more effectively, and were more satisfied with their financial settlements than clients who litigated. As a mediator, Wendy facilitates communication between the parties and helps the family transition to the next phase of their lives. She focuses on the well-being of the children and promotes successful co-parenting skills. Wendy is well-versed in all financial matters related to divorce and helps the parties to reach an equitable division of assets and a reasonable support arrangement when appropriate. Wendy graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in Psychology, completing her senior thesis, Children’s Developing Concepts of Divorce. She attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the Clinical Psychology program, where she continued to research children’s coping skills during a divorce. Wendy then graduated from Fordham University School of Law with a focus on family law.
Jayne Roberman is a licensed master social worker in private practice since 1993 as a parenting coach and facilitator providing non-adversarial child-centered co-parenting counseling. She also facilitates supervised and therapeutic supervised visitation, conducts forensic visitation evaluations, prepares adoption home study reports, and provides consultation to attorneys representing parents and children in child protective matters in Family and Supreme Courts. Prior to that, Jayne worked with the Juvenile Rights Division of The Legal Aid Society, assisting attorneys in representing abused and neglected children in Family Court. For many years, Jayne was a member of the advisory committee and lecturer and facilitator of the PEACE and PACT programs. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University.
Maurice Robinson has years of professional experience mediating disputes in the family, entertainment, real estate, employment and securities law field. Mr. Robinson received his J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, with specializations in Mediation, Litigation, and Intellectual Property & Communications Law. He has completed the New York State Community Mediator Program, the Safe Horizon Mediator Training and Apprenticeship, and received a certificate from the Kukin Program in ADR. While at Cardozo, Maurice also trained in Divorce Mediation, Negotiations, and Mediation Advocacy. In addition, he is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR). Prior to his position as a hearing officer for NYC’s Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), he was the Mediation Manager for the Queens County Family Court Custody/Visitation program through the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Maurice serves as an approved mediator on the New York Peace Institute Mediation panels, as well as a mediator in Manhattan Civil Court, Housing Court and Small Claims Court. Mr. Robinson has also participated in mediations with EEOC, FINRA, and other private organizations. As an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall School of Law, Maurice teaches courses in Family Law and Mediation, Advanced Mediation Skills, and serves as a Supervising Attorney in the SDNY Representation in Mediation Practicum. He also coaches Seton Hall’s successful ADR Competition Teams.
Jane Romeo is a parent education consultant, coach and workshop facilitator. She is has over ten years of experience working with parents and children in both the public and private sectors. Jane has written and conducted her own workshops on topics such as Developmental Milestones, Coping Skills, Managing Stress, and the evolving topic of managing Work/Life Balance. At FamilyKind she is conducting workshops using Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP). Her previous clients include The SoHo Parenting Center, Smart City Kids, New York Kids Club, Gymboree, The 14th Street Y, and the NYC Department of Education. Recently, Jane has worked with Homes for the Homeless conducting drama therapy workshops with children enrolled in their after school program. She has worked with adolescents at the West Side Y in their “Y Scholars” program on topics related to school readiness and social/emotional development. She is also working in the corporate sector conducting workshops, podcasts and webinars for various Employee Assistance Programs and Human Resources Departments. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Communications from University of Massachusetts at Amherst and received her Masters of Arts in Educational Psychology from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University.
Abby Rosmarin is a family mediator and conflict coach. Both an attorney and a NYS Licensed Mental Health Counselor, she draws on her extensive training and experience in law, conflict resolution, and mental health to address a wide range of family matters, including: divorce, parenting, prenuptials, parent coordination, parent/child disputes, and issues arising from an estate, concerning the care of an incapacitated, sick, or dying family member, or in the context of family-owned businesses. Abby is a Mediation Counsel at the law firm of McCarthy Fingar LLP and the Executive Director of the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals. She is a member of the FamilyKind Advisory Council. She is also an Article 81 Guardian, a member of a several court- approved mediation rosters, co-chair of the Westchester Woman’s Bar Association Mediation Committee, a member of the Program Task Force at Gilda’s Club Westchester, an adjunct faculty member of the Manhattanville College School of Business, and a Board member of the New York Center for Law & Justice. Abby received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, her Masters from Fordham University, and her Medical Bioethics training from Montefiore-Einstein Center of Bioethics.
Jennifer Safian is a family and divorce mediator and has been in private practice in New York City since 2003. Jennifer has volunteered over 250 hours in the area of custody and visitation at the Westchester Mediation Center of Cluster in Yonkers. She is also on the Custody and Visitation Panel of the Family Courts of the five boroughs of NYC as well as a divorce mediator of the Westchester County Supreme Court’s Matrimonial Mediation Program. Jennifer is an accredited mediator member of the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation (NYSCDM), an advanced practitioner member of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) and a former member of the board and membership chair of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York. Jennifer was raised in Paris, France, is fluent and can mediate in French, Spanish and English. She received her BA and her Master’s degree in Fine Arts at the University of the Sorbonne, Paris.
Sarah Samuels is a family and divorce mediator in private practice in Long Island and Queens. With over 10 years experience mediating family cases, she provides a safe space for clients to have difficult conversations. Sarah formerly worked in the NYC Family Court in Queens where she was mediation manager of the Custody Visitation Mediation Program. In addition to mediating private divorce and family cases, she currently serves on the NYC Family Court Custody and Visitation Panel as a consultant mediator. Sarah is a member of The New York State Council on Divorce Mediation, The New York State Dispute Resolution Association of Greater New York and The Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York. She is a graduate of McGill University (BA), University of Toronto (MA) and Creighton University School of Law where she obtained a Master’s Degree in Dispute Resolution and Negotiation.
Stefany Lyn Schaefer is a special projects coordinator for FamilyKind, where she focuses primarily on the FamilyKind’s Separation and Divorce Meetup of NYC, assists in organizing programs for professionals, and helps edit and write internal and external publications. She started working with FamilyKind as an intern in January 2015 through the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Dispute Resolution Program and has continued as a volunteer since June 2015. Stefany has enjoyed working with families for over nine years. As a tutor, a nanny, and a court appointed special advocate, she has gained experience in family dynamics, family court proceedings in abuse and neglect cases, child development, and family conflict. In addition, Stefany works as a legal assistant at the Law Firm of John Yacos P.C., where she has gained knowledge of divorce matters and custody proceedings. She received her BA in forensic psychology and Certificate in Dispute Resolution from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Stella Schindler Honorable Stella Schindler (Ret.) is a seasoned jurist, mediator, administrator and litigator. She served as a judge and judicial hearing officer in the New York State Unified Court System for over twenty-five years in the Family and Criminal Courts where she handled complex civil and criminal matters including custody, visitation, child support, juvenile delinquency, child abuse and neglect, adoptions and domestic violence. Judge Schindler continues to preside over attorney disciplinary proceedings for the Appellate Division, First and Second Departments, and other administrative hearings for New York State Agencies. She was an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School for eleven years. Stella also was active in City government for ten years, first as Counsel to the Office of the City Counsel President and then as a mayoral advisor and administrator for the office of the Mayor (1980-1988). Previously, Stella served as a NYC secondary school English teacher for more than a decade.
Stephen Shainbart is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Manhattan who works with individuals and couples. Stephen received his certificate in psychoanalysis at the William Alanson White Institute in 2005. He is a supervisor of psychotherapy at both the William Alanson White Institute as well as at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy (ICP) in New York City. Stephen is also a faculty member at ICP. He has training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, as well as training in divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. Stephen believes in an interactive, engaged approach with his patients. He recently co-led a divorce support group at the 92nd Street Y under the auspices of FamilyKind. Stephen is a graduate of Cornell University and earned his PhD in clinical psychology from Fordham University.
Peter Shapiro is a mediator, trainer, coach and author, specializing in housing, family and business matters and is a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution. Peter previously ran homelessness prevention and family mediation programs for a nonprofit in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to his mediation and coaching practice, Peter currently consults with city, state and nonprofit agencies on neighborhood stabilization strategies, and advocates to support strong families, affordable housing and vibrant communities. Peter has also recently authored a book, The Good Landlord: A Guide to Making a Profit While Making a Difference, which presents effective approaches for strengthening relationships and resolving conflict. Peter believes that simple solutions that improve communication — which everyone can learn — can have profound impacts on children’s lives. Peter received his BS from Tufts University and his Master in City Planning (MCP) from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Ellen Taner has been a parenting and family education practitioner and trainer for more than 35 years. In addition to her work with FamilyKind — serving on several work groups and editing the parenting education blog column — Ellen works with national organizations that promote the quality of evidence-based programs, support the highest standards of professionalism in the field, and advocate for policies to establish parenting and family education as the norm and a recognized profession. She is a master trainer for the Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14, as well as a trainer of the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting, Celebrating Families!, Children in Between, and Parenting Wisely. Ellen currently serves as adjunct faculty at Montclair State University in the Family and Child Studies Department. Ellen received her Masters of Health Education from Teachers’ College, Columbia University.
Sharon Youngman is the founder of Good Parents, GREAT Kids which strives to help families elevate their parenting skills in a proactive way. Parenting well is the most important thing a mom and dad can do. Sharon’s book All For Your Family is a succinct overview of nine essential and logical principles that help parents live up to their parenting potential so their children can achieve theirs. Sharon gained much of her experience as a teacher and mom, and now a grandmother. After retiring from a career in education, she earned a degree in life coaching. She now facilitates parenting workshops in New York City in conjunction with FamilyKind. Sharon received her BA from City College and her MA in education from San Diego State University in 1978.
Ruth Jane Zuckerman Honorable Ruth Jane Zuckerman (Ret.) served as a Family Court Judge in New York City for twenty years. Prior to her appointment to the Family Court in 1979, she clerked for a federal district court judge, practiced law in New York City, and taught full-time at the Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey. Following her retirement as a Judge in 1999, she was a Judicial Hearing Officer in Family Court for ten years, specializing in complex custody and visitation matters; an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School for six years, teaching courses in Family Law, as well as a seminar in Children and the Law and an interdisciplinary course in Domestic Violence; and a Member of the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects at Montefiore Medical Center for over eight years. Judge Zuckerman has been on the Board of Directors of the Committee for Modern Courts since 2000, and a member of the Office of Court Administration’s Family Court Advisory and Rules Committee since 1994. Judge Zuckerman received her BA, with distinction, from Mount Holyoke College, and her law degree, magna cum laude, from Columbia University School of Law.
Joey Propper Joey Propper is a Senior at NYC iSchool, where he maintains an “A” grade average and is co-president of the Model UN club. Joey also serves as a co-president of the youth board of Dos Pueblos, New York • Tipitapa Sister City Project, a nonprofit organization that works collaboratively with the people of Tipitapa, Nicaragua, where he traveled as a member of the Teen Delegation. Joey works part time at the JCC Manhattan and is an avid ice hockey player.