Board of Trustees

Broome Street Academy graciously thanks our Board of Trustees for their support and commitment to providing our students with an ample education that is grounded in the principles of positive youth development. Their expertise and dedication to our school from the ground up provides a greater sense of stability for the entire community.


M. David Zurndorfer, President

M. David Zurndorfer is a partner at the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP, serving in the Labor & Employment Law Department since 1979. David is experienced in advising clients on a wide range of employment and labor law issues, including discrimination matters, administration of collective bargaining agreements, and the wage and hour laws. He has represented management in collective bargaining and in arbitrations, and in proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, the Public Employment Relations Board, the New York City Office of Collective Bargaining, and various other administrative agencies. David has represented some of the largest employers in the New York City metropolitan area. They include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York City Transit Authority, the City of New York, Bristol-Myers Squibb, United Parcel Service, New York University, and Columbia University. He recently represented the City in fact-findings and arbitrations that determined the collective bargaining agreements of the City’s 80,000 teachers and 25,000 police officers. David has also represented the MTA and the Transit Authority in numerous important arbitrations and in proceedings to enjoin a threatened bus and subway strike. He received his undergraduate education at Penn State University (magna cum laude, B.A. in political science) and continued his education at Harvard Law School (cum laude, J.D.). Mr. Zurndorfer is a longtime board member of Learning Leaders and is also a member on The Door’s board.

Mónica de la Torre, Vice President

Mónica de la Torre is a public interest attorney who previously served as Director of The Door’s Legal Services Center. Formerly the Director of the Public Interest Law Center at New York University, Ms. de la Torre received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. She also serves on The Door’s Board of Directors.

Noah Leff, Treasurer

Noah Leff is the Chief Financial Officer at the Touch Foundation. He is a nonprofit financial executive with ten years of expertise in budgeting, forecasting, and financial management and modeling. Prior to the Touch Foundation, he held finance positions with the Freelancers Union, Seedco, and consulted for multiple non-profit and government organizations. Mr. Leff received his B.A. from Wesleyan University and a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in Community Development Finance from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Herb Elish

Herb is currently a Fellow for the American Future at The College Board, where he previously served as COO from 2005 to 2013. Prior to The College Board, he was the Director for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and former Chairman and CEO of the Weinton Steel Corporation from 1987 to 1995. From 1996 to 2000, Herb was Chairman of the City of Pittsburgh Housing Authority and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Allegheny General Hospital. He is also a Trustee for Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA), an organization that identifies and develops exceptional poor high school students and helps them gain entry to highly selective colleges. Herb earned his B.A. from Williams College, attended Harvard Law School, and was a Federal Mid-Career Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Vanda Belusic-Vollor

Vanda Belusic-Vollor is a life long educator with over 28 years of experience in the New York City Public Schools system. In her role as Senior Executive Director in the Office of Talent Management and Innovation and in her role as Senior Executive Director of the Office of Postsecondary Readiness (OPSR), she has researched, developed, and implemented program models designed to address systematic gaps. These efforts include pioneering college and career readiness benchmarks for New York City; the development of rigorous Career and Technical Education school and programs aligned to current workforce and labor market demands; implementing Learning to Work through Transfer Schools and Young Adult Borough Centers to meet the needs of the City’s over-age, under-credited population; and the Expanded Success Initiative, designed to tackle the disparities slowing the advancement of Black and Latino students, as well as the design and development of 9-14 school models, which include Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) and the Academy for Software Engineering (AFSE) school models.


Cathy Aquila

Cathy Aquila is a community leader who has served in numerous capacities with various community and charitable organizations. In addition to serving on the Board of Broome Street Academy, Ms. Aquila currently serves on the boards of Breakthrough New York and the Greenwich House. She previously served as President of the Discovery Orchestra (formerly the Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey) and was a longtime Board member at Far Hills Country Day School where she led their successful $22 million capital campaign.

Katie Jaxheimer Agarwal
Stephanie Durden Barfield

Stephanie Durden Barfield is the Vice President of Operations at Blue Engine, a New York City based education non-profit. Prior to joining Blue Engine, Stephanie served in several education positions throughout New York City including financial analyst at Success Academy Charter Schools; Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellow at New York City Department of Education’s District 79; Director of Finance at Uncommon Schools; and Director of Strategic Initiatives for Uncommon Schools’ New York City region. Stephanie received a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the University of Virginia, a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University and a Master of Education in Education Leadership from The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems. She also serves as a Young Patron at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Benjamin Felt

Ben is a Managing Director of The Invus Group, a leading global investment firm, where he actively manages growth equity investments across industries and sits on the boards of several private companies in which Invus has invested. Previously, Ben was a management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group, where he worked with clients in the consumer products, industrial goods, and financial services industries, in addition to pro bono projects in the education non-profit sector. Ben graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Yale University.

Jeffrey Katzin

Jeff Katzin is a Principal at Bain & Company, a leading management consulting firm. During his time at Bain, Jeff has led multiple pro-bono initiatives within the education sector, including working with charter schools and networks, and other education non-profit organizations. Previously, Jeff worked at Cambridge Associates, providing investment advisory support to institutional clients, including higher education organizations and other non-profits. Jeff received his B.A. from Tufts University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard University.

Marlene Nadel

Marlene Nadel is a retired attorney with over 20 years of experience in the New York State Judicial System. Before retiring, she served as Special Counsel to Hon. Jonathan Lippman, then-Chief Administrative Judge of the State of New York. She received her B.A. from Barnard College and her J.D. from Fordham Law School. Ms. Nadel serves on the Board of Trustees of Temple Shaaray Tefila and is a volunteer tutor in a public school literacy program.

Joaquin pichardo

Caregiver Representative

Gail Schargel

Gail Schargel retired after a 25 year career in Commercial Real Estate Finance. Her most recent position was Executive Director at UBS and co-head of the Real Estate Group of the Swiss National Bank’s Stabilization Fund. Prior to UBS, she was a Director at Capmark Investments (GMACCM). Gail served as Treasurer of the Auxiliary Board of White Plains Hospital, was a member of the board of the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Community Counseling Center, and University Settlement. She was an active volunteer at Lou’s Place, a daytime shelter for women, in Sydney, Australia where she lived from 2013 to 2017. Gail is currently mentoring a student at Broome Street Academy. She graduated from Lehigh University in 1981 with a B.S. degree in accounting.

Elaine Schott

Elaine Schott is an educator and psychiatric social worker with over 30 years of experience. She has a master’s in Pyschology from New York University and a master’s in Social Work from Hunter School of Social Work. She currently supervises social work interns and is Vice Chair of the Board of Governors or Wurzeiler School of Social Work.

Honorary Board

Charles A. Simon

Charles Simon is General Counsel and Director of Policy at Case Commons, Inc., a non-profit that has built a transformative information management system for human services agencies. Previously, Mr. Simon served in senior positions at the U.S. Department of Justice and with New York State. He began his career as an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell, and also served as Senior Vice President for Public Policy at Clear/Verified Identity Pass, Inc. Mr. Simon received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

Board Meeting Schedule & Minutes (2019-20)

  • July 16th, 2019, 9am at Broome Street Academy [minutes]
  • August 27th, 2019, 9am at Proskauer [minutes]
  • September 17th, 2019, 6pm at Proskauer [minutes]
  • October 15th, 2019, 6pm at Proskauer [minutes]
  • November 19th, 2019, 6pm at Proskauer [minutes]
  • December 17th, 2019, 9am at Broome Street Academy [minutes]
  • January 21st, 2020, 6pm at Proskauer [minutes]
  • February 11th, 2020, 6pm at Proskauer [minutes]
  • March 17th, 2020, 6pm at Proskauer [minutes]
  • April 21st, 2020, 6pm at Proskauer [minutes]
  • May 19th, 2020, 9am at Broome Street Academy [minutes]
  • June 16th, 2020, 6pm at Proskauer [minutes]