Meena Alagappan is the Executive Director of Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART), a non-profit public charity that is a full-service humane education provider in the NYC, Chicago, Indianapolis and Portland (OR) areas. Prior to joining HEART, Meena was a humane education consultant for Animal Welfare Trust, a private operating foundation. She was also a senior instructor for Advantage Testing, an academic test preparation company, and practiced corporate law at the Manhattan law firm Shea & Gould. Meena is former Chair of the Animal Law Committees of the American Bar Association and the New York City Bar. She is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and serves on the Board of Directors of the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals and PAWS (Pioneers for Animal Welfare Society). Meena is the author of “The United States’ Enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species” published in Northwestern University’s Journal of International Law and Business and co-author of “A Note on Pedagogy: Humane Education Making a Difference” published in the Journal of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, and M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine.
Alyson Berman, Humane Educator, works with students in schools, manages our web presence including social media, the blog and the website, and produces HEART’s educational videos. In addition to her work with HEART, Ali also serves as the grant administrator for Animal Welfare Trust and is the senior editor for Ecorazzi.com. Ali is a writer with an MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. In fall of 2014, Triangle Square Books for Young Readers, a division of Seven Stories Press, will publish her young adult novel “Misdirected”. Also scheduled for fall 2014 is her nonfiction book, “Choosing the Good Life”, to be released by Hazelden Publishing. In 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company that uses media to raise awareness about important social issues. For their first project, Ali co-wrote “quiet de luxe”, a short film about LGBT bullying that has played in film festivals around the world.
Dani Dennenberg, Humane Educator and Portland Program Director, holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California San Diego and was the first graduate of the Institute for Humane Education’s (IHE) Master’s Program in 2003. Dani directed IHE’s certificate program and served as adjunct faculty through their M.Ed. partnership with Cambridge College and also facilitated Sowing Seeds Workshops for the Institute. She founded/led the Seeds for Change humane education program in San Diego from 2000 until 2008 reaching over 15,000 students, teachers and administrators. As part of her efforts, she also taught a year-long elective course in global ethical issues for 10-12th graders at Cortez Hill Academy, one of her career highlights. She has also directed higher education partnerships for the Northwest Earth Institute and served with AmeriCorps’ Students in Service program, fine-tuning her passion for service learning and community partnership development.
Tim Donahue, Curriculum Consultant and Humane Education Instructor, created HEART’s high school Environmental Education Curriculum and developed our comprehensive Humane Education Elective for middle and high school students. Prior to joining HEART in May 2009, Tim developed curricula about water use and conservation. He is the author of Sustainable Writing: A Guide to Composition and Climate Change, a text that approaches writing lessons through topical environmental issues. Tim has taught high school English at Manhattan’s Birch Wathen Lenox School since 1998; prior to that, he supervised the working farm of his alma mater, Northfield Mount Hermon School, in Massachusetts. Tim has a B.A. from Macalester College, an M.A. in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an M.A. in English from the Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College.
Leigh Gage, Development Associate, does grant research and manages the grant process at HEART where she has worked since 2009. She has a Masters in Management (with marketing focus) from Boston University’s Paris, France office. She lived in France for 19 years, working at an international newspaper in various marketing positions. She is on the board of the Westport Historical Society, helping with the database, membership and annual appeal campaign.
Claire Howe, Humane Educator and Portland Assistant Program Director, earned a B.A. in English Literature from Arizona State University in Tempe. She went on to earn a Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal School of Law before joining the inaugural class of LL.M. Animal Law candidates and completing her Master’s at Lewis and Clark Law School. During her legal education, Claire served as Mercy for Animals’ first legal intern and spent time in Washington DC working with the Federal Affairs department at the Humane Society of the United States. She also began volunteering for HEART, completing statutory research and conducting legislator outreach. In addition, Claire co-wrote a criminal law curriculum for high school students and has been active with the Classroom Law Project in Portland. Prior to law school, Claire taught English as a second language in Europe, Asia, and Central America. Following her time abroad, she went on to work in social and government services as the head of the adult education department at Phoenix’s largest homeless shelter for families and later as an instructor at the Phoenix Job Corps Center. She has been involved in social justice and particularly animal protection for more than a decade.
Kristina Hulvershorn, Humane Education Instructor and Indianapolis Program Director, taught in the public school system for six years, specializing in the emotional and behavioral lives of students. She maintains certification as a K-12 learning specialist. Kristina is also Youth Program Director at the Peace Learning Center of Indianapolis, with which HEART has an affiliate relationship. She earned a B.A. in both General and Special Education, did extensive coursework in nonprofit management and earned a Master’s degree in Humane Education from the Institute for Humane Education. In 2009 Kristina founded The Ethic Project in order to offer holistic and empowering educational services to students in Chicago. She has worked as a leader in Chicago Public Schools, managing groups of fifty educators at a time, problem solving, and creating strategic plans to best provide meaningful educational opportunities in schools.
Kimberly Korona is the Program Coordinator and a Humane Education Instructor for HEART. She teaches humane education programs for youth of all ages in various venues in school and out of school, assists with curriculum development, conducts teacher training workshops for traditional and non-traditional educators, and manages new volunteers. She also co-designed and taught HEART’s first ever summer camp program. Kim received her B.A. from Goddard College/Green Mountain College and M.Ed. from Cambridge College, in association with the Institute for Humane Education. Prior to joining HEART, Kim worked as a humane educator for the Michigan Humane Society where she taught over 9,000 students in three years. Kim has also been a facilitator for the Institute for Humane Education’s Sowing Seeds and MOGO Workshops.
Mickey Kudia, Humane Educator, holds a Master of Education in Humane Education from Valparaiso University and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Communication and Education from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. As a humane educator for HEART, Mickey travels to schools throughout Chicago educating young people about animal protection, human rights, and environmental ethics. He has presented workshops on humane education and service learning at conferences across the United States.
Karina Naumer, Humane Education Instructor, is a drama education specialist and holds an M.F.A degree in Child Drama from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She implements drama education and storytelling professional development clinics and training seminars nationwide. Karina is the founder and, for thirteen years, served as the director of Creative Arts Team/New York City Wolf Trap Program: Early Learning through the Arts, a drama education program in residence within City University of New York. For 10 years, Karina was also an instructor within New York University’s Paul A. Kaplan Center for Educational Drama where she taught credit-bearing courses in drama education, storytelling and professional development seminars. She has worked as a teaching artist and instructor at Maui Academy of Performing Arts in Hawaii, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Youtheatre Northwest and throughout the Seattle Public School District. In 2001, she won the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Creative Drama Award for outstanding excellence in the field.
Chris Parrucci is a Humane Education Instructor for HEART. He teaches humane education programs for students of all ages at schools in NYC and Long Island, conducts trainings for educators, assists with curriculum and video development, and co-teaches HEART’s summer camp. Chris joined HEART after directing the New York office of Humane League, a non-profit organization dedicated to farm animal protection. He received his B.S. in Secondary Education-Social Studies from New York University and taught U.S. History and Government at a high school in Brooklyn. Chris received his J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law, where he helped restart its Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter. While attending law school, Chris balanced his schedule between classes, working full time at a law office and interning for organizations such as Equal Justice Alliance, NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services Legal Department and Best Friends Animal Society.
Jeannie Russell, Humane Education Instructor, has had over 25 years experience working with children and their families in a wide variety of educational and social service settings. She has a Masters in Education from Bank Street College and a B.A. from Barnard College. She began teaching in special needs pre-school programs, and then helped to pioneer some of the earliest projects in New York City to reach out to homeless children in welfare hotels and in shelters, many of whom were not receiving any educational support at all. She went on to work as Director of Children’s Services for Sanctuary for Families’ domestic violence family shelter, creating and supervising educational, recreational and therapeutic programs for children at all age levels. Before joining HEART, Jeannie served as Director of the Early Impact Family Program, which provides advocacy, family therapy and supportive services to families who have a child in residential care within the foster care system, and young children still in the home. She also worked as Director of Children and Family Programs with the Bronx Ethical Culture Society where she created a comprehensive, multi-age “Ethics For Kids” curriculum.
Leona Sepulveda, Humane Educator, is a Chicago native who joined HEART in 2011 after being a volunteer for over a year. She has extensive training in campaign organization, leadership development, coalition building, and organizational development. Equipped with a broad understanding of urban environmental challenges and opportunities as well as conflicts between animal welfare and societal needs, she was excited to put her knowledge to use in the classroom. Leona is a graduate of Chicago public schools and received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern Illinois University. She has a Graduate Certificate in Humane Education through the Institute for Humane Education’s program with Valparaiso University.
Sonny Singh, Humane Educator, developed and teaches HEART’s anti-bullying programs. He was featured in the documentary Article of Faith, which tells the story of his efforts to combat bias-based school bullying, and won the Change Maker Award with the Media that Matters Film Festival in 2011. Sonny has been involved in movements for social and economic justice since he was in high school. Since moving to NYC in 2003, he has worked in the labor movement for the union UNITE HERE, was a Community Organizer at CHAMP the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project, and Community Organizer at the Sikh Coalition. Sonny received his M.Ed. in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2003, where he was the Community Development and Programs Coordinator at the Office of ALANA (African, Latino/a, Asian, Native American) Affairs on campus. Sonny received his B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona. He is also a trumpet player, dhol player, and singer and a member of the New York-based bhangra funk band, Red Baraat.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Brad Goldberg, Chair of the Board
President, Animal Welfare Trust
Rosemary Lee, Board Member
Former Supervisor, Center for Professional Development and Instructional Support at
Southern Westchester BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services)
Sheryl Pipe, Board Member
Former Senior Director of Humane Education, ASPCA
Zoe Weil, Board Member
President, Institute for Humane Education
Lena Townsend, Board Member
Executive Director, Robert Bowne Foundation
Ashley Craig, Board Member
Part-time Educator; Independent Consultant; Illinois Environmental Council Board member; CPA and CFE
Steve Whitman, Board Member
President, Whitman Partners LLC, Nonprofit Consulting
Richard Gold, Board Member
President, R.N. Gold & Co., Marketing and Management Consulting