Meena Alagappan, Esq. is the Executive Director of HEART. 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 an academic test preparation company for 10 years and practiced corporate law at a Manhattan law firm for 3 years.
Meena is former Chair of both the American Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee and the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals. 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).
She 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.
Meena 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.
Kimberly Korona, Humane Education Instructor and Program Coordinator, has most recently been a humane education instructor for the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) where she reached about 9,000 students over the past couple of years. She expanded the MHS humane education program to include the following new subjects: anti-violence, animal homelessness, and global warming for middle school and high school students. Kim also developed a new program for K-6.
Kim received her B.A. from Goddard College/Green Mountain College in Vermont and then graduated from the Institute for Humane Education’s M.Ed. program. Kim also developed summer programs for children, offered adult programs in humane education, and has been a facilitator for the Institute for Humane Education’s Sowing Seeds and MOGO Workshops.
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. Her experience comprises many years of teaching, assessment and advocacy in family and community-based programs with populations ranging from infancy through late teens. She has a Masters in Education from Bank Street 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, with the goal of preventing placement of these younger children and strengthening the family’s overall functioning as they work towards re-unification.
She continues to work with the Bronx Ethical Culture Society as Director of Children and Family Programs, where she created a comprehensive, multi-age “Ethics For Kids” curriculum that makes use of the specific traditions in the Ethical Culture movement, with its emphasis on action over beliefs and community-based good works, and incorporates active community service projects.
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 serves as the drama consultant for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts Start Smart Network Project and 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. One of her highlights as director of this program was developing and fostering an extensive teacher-mentoring project in collaboration with the NYC Administration for Children’s Services/Head Start.
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 implemented professional development seminars and workshops in early childhood drama both nationally and internationally.
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, Humane Educator, earned his Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education-Social Studies from New York University and a Juris Doctorate from Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Chris has taught American History and Government, Global History electives and led two Advisory cohorts while working in Bushwick, Brooklyn at a public high school. 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. Following his passage of the New York State Bar exam, Chris worked as New York Director at a small farmed-animal protection nonprofit organization.
Sonny Singh, Humane Educator, 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 most recently was a 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 studied and practiced the art of using education as a tool for social justice and liberation. While in Amherst, he was also 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, and grew up in Phoenix, AZ and Charlotte, NC. He is also a trumpet player, dhol player, and singer and a member of the New York-based bhangra funk band, Red Baraat.
Alyson Berman, Humane Educator, provides as needed in-class humane education instruction and is one of our instructors for the Humane Living After-School Club Program. In addition to her duties as an educator, Alyson manages our web presence including social media and the website. She also works as the grant administrator for Animal Welfare Trust and is the senior editor for Ecorazzi.com. Previously, Alyson taught creative writing to women inmates at Valhalla Correctional Facility. Alyson received her MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College and has been published in a variety of literary journals.
Tim Donahue, Curriculum Consultant and Humane Education Instructor, created HEART’s high school Environmental Education Curriculum and is currently developing 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.
Bob Schwalb, Humane Educator and Chicago Program Director, is HEART’s first full-time Humane Education Instructor. Bob developed the combined humane and character education curriculum used by HEART in its humane education assessment project. Bob is now heading up HEART’s first expansion program in Chicago as the Chicago Program Director. After three years of working with students in NYC, Bob will be bringing his expertise to his hometown.
He is the founder of Chicago Humane Education Group (CHEG), a project of social and environmental entrepreneurs. CHEG is dedicated to teaching Chicago area students to be critical and creative thinkers, as well as inspiring them to make a positive difference in the world. Bob has also been a volunteer literacy tutor for at-risk youth and served as a volunteer core group member for EarthSave-Chicago, an organization advocating for farm animals and the environment. In October 2005, Bob moved from Chicago to New York to assume the role of Humane Education Instructor for HEART.
Bob received his Masters in Education, with a focus on Humane Education, from Cambridge College. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems. Prior to working in the humane education field, Bob spent fifteen years as a computer and business process consultant, primarily managing projects.
Mickey Kudia, Humane Education Instructor, had previous employment that involved traveling to colleges across the United States and Canada to work with student groups promoting animal welfare on their campuses. He also interned with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. During this internship, he was involved with the promotion of the “Green Pays, On Green Days” campaign that encouraged Illinois residents to take simple steps in improve Illinois’ air quality. He is currently an outreach coordinator for the farmed animal protection group, Mercy for Animals, and was a former volunteer coordinator for the environmental organization, Prairie Rivers Network.
Mickey graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Communications and Education. While at school he took part in a course funded by the U of I Extension Program and the Illinois Sea Grant where he taught lessons on invasive species at a middle school. Mickey also studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa where he studied the apartheid struggle and post-apartheid issues in South Africa. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Humane Education through the Institute for Humane Education’s program with Valparaiso University.
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 product of Chicago public schools and received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern Illinois University. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Humane Education through the Institute for Humane Education’s program with Valparaiso University.
Kristina Hulvershorn, Humane Education Instructor and Indianapolis Program Director, has 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. She earned a B.A. in both General and Special Education as well as extensive coursework in nonprofit management. She 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. Kristina has worked with a large variety of community organizations, consistently working to inspire compassion and justice.
Dani Dennenberg, Humane Educator and Portland Program Director, was the first graduate of the Institute for Humane Education’s 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 and 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 with SFC, she also taught a year-long elective course in global ethical issues for 10-12th graders at Cortez Hill Academy.
She then relocated to the Pacific Northwest and from 2008-2011, directed higher education partnerships for the Northwest Earth Institute and completed a year of service with the AmeriCorps’ Students in Service program, fine-tuning her passion for service and humane education.
She is a found-object/upcycling artist for Create Plenty, project leader for volunteer agency Hands On Greater Portland and plans on becoming a doctoral candidate in University of Portland’s EdD program in Learning and Leading in 2013/early 2014. She graduated with honors from UCSD with a B.A. in Sociology and minors in Environmental Studies and Law & Society.
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
Sr. Manager, Business Development and Operations at Willdan Energy Solutions
Steve Whitman, Board Member
Whitman Partners LLC
Richard Gold, Board Member
President, R.N. Gold & Co., Marketing and Management Consulting