ACNJ Staff

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Phone: 555-555-4544

Policy, Advocacy & Data

Keith Hadad
In 2024, Keith Hadad joined ACNJ as their Staff Writer. Keith supports the organization by composing everything from donor letters to blog posts, policy briefs and more. Keith comes to ACNJ with over 10 years of experience in communications and writing. He’s written for several publications, including
Elmore Magazine, Smithsonian Folkways’ Guest Blog, The Terroscopaedia, etc. He also worked five years in marketing and content creation for an insurance company and previously held other roles in communications. Keith earned a B.S. in Cinema and Photography with a concentration in Screenwriting from Ithaca College.
Staff Writer
Isaiah Fudge
In 2024, Isaiah Fudge joined ACNJ as their Director of Positive Youth Development (PYD) Policy and Advocacy. He oversees PYD initiatives, addressing policies and systems that affect youth in the state, especially youth of color. He holds an A.A. from Essex County College, and is two-time (B.A. in English and Ed. M in Education, Administration and Supervision) alumni of Rutgers University. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Isaiah brings over 16 years of professional experience to the organization, in addition to his personal life experiences as a system-impacted person. His work has ranged from teaching high school English in Newark and Bayonne, to helping justice-impacted college students re-enter society. Most recently, Isaiah served as an Assistant Dean at Rutgers, where he led a team that secured resources, and also established school and gainful employment pipelines for returning citizens. His efforts led to consistent increases in student enrollment, retention, and graduation. With ACNJ, he’s excited to work alongside others to continue the reduction of people in juvenile systems.
Director of Positive Youth Development
Shadaya Bennett
Shadaya Bennett is a young professional from New Jersey who has garnered acclaim and respect or her work in the State Legislature. She gained foundational experience in public policy research at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools at NYU before pursuing a career in politics in her home state. Her work in the political arena began in the 29th Legislative District. Shadaya is the former Chief of Staff to Assemblywoman Shanique Speight. In that position, she was instrumental in the development and expansion of the Assemblywoman’s legislative portfolio. She worked on a vast range of legislative initiatives, including policies that impact maternal health, the criminal justice system, victims of crime, human trafficking prevention, and employment access for individuals with disabilities. Following her tenure in the Assembly, Shadaya became Director of Policy in the office of Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz within the New Jersey Senate where she managed legislative and state budget matters. She was instrumental in the progression of policies aimed at enhancing childcare delivery and accessibility including the recently enacted “Thriving by Three” grant program. Working alongside the Majority Leader, Shadaya engaged stakeholders to assess and negotiate effective policy and funding provisions which directly impact state residents. Shadaya eventually took her legislative experience into the healthcare sector, assuming the Director of Government Relations for the New Jersey Hospital Association. In this capacity, she elevated the interests of New Jersey hospitals to stakeholders in Trenton. Shadaya is a first-generation college graduate who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Temple University where she was a scholarship earning athlete. She also has a graduate degree in Public Administration from Kean University. She is a 2022 graduate of the Leadership Newark Public Policy Fellowship Program. She was recently recognized on New Jersey’s 2023 Women’s Power List and has been listed as one of InsiderNJ’s “Millennials to Watch.’
Senior Legislative Analyst
Nina Peckman
Nina Peckman works for ACNJ’s KidLaw Resource Center as a staff attorney, specializing in all aspects of education law and, as a member of the special education practitioners workgroup and the education law committee of the New Jersey Bar Association, takes part in education policy agendas. Fluent in Spanish and English, she primarily assists parents by explaining the law and helping them advocate for their children in school, including by reviewing and explaining school record and writing letters to school staff. Nina negotiates with school board attorneys, attends school meetings and State mediation with parents. Nina writes legal guides and fact sheets and provides workshops/trainings regarding education law to parents and professionals, including school staff, psychologists, social workers, healthcare providers, community-based organizations, Case Management Organization staff, child welfare workers, law guardians and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Prior to joining ACNJ in 2006, Nina worked for the Community Health Law Project, providing legal representation to adults diagnosed with mental disabilities. Prior to that, she was general counsel to Engender Health, a non-profit organization whose mission was to improve woman and children’s health services in developing countries. Nina earned her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1985 and her B.A. from Rutgers College.
npeckman@acnj.org
Staff Attorney
Ask me about: Education rights for K-12 / What is KidLaw?
Alena Siddiqui
As Data Analyst, Alena is responsible for collecting, analyzing and organizing state, county, and city level data relating to the well-being of New Jersey’s children for ACNJ’s Kids Count publications. She earned a Master of Public Informatics degree with a concentration in environmental and health-use planning from Rutgers University. While in graduate school, Alena worked as an administrative assistant for the Office of Student and Academic Services at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. She obtained her B.A in Information Technology and Informatics from Rutgers University.
asiddiqui@acnj.org
Data Analyst
Ask me about: Kids Count/data on children

Early Childhood

Echo Sutterfield
Echo, a Louisiana native and seasoned Project Manager, is a member of ACNJ’s Early Learning Team. She has a bachelor’s degree in education, and spent her early career teaching in Louisiana, Japan, and Croatia. She was later inspired to make a broader impact, leading her to pursue and obtain a master’s degree in nonprofit management, specializing in social entrepreneurship. Her diverse career path includes serving as a Marketing Manager and Graphic Designer for Corbin Hill Food Project, a Harlem-based nonprofit with a mission to create access to fresh produce in underserved communities throughout New York City. From here, she transitioned back to the education sector, where she played a pivotal role in designing online math curriculum for an NYC based education technology nonprofit. Additionally, she worked as a Senior Project Manager for a New Jersey media services company, overseeing a magazine and multiple digital and email marketing campaigns. Echo’s unique blend of educational expertise, nonprofit management, and media services helps her bring a holistic perspective to her role as ACNJ’s Project Manager. Driven by a commitment to social change, she strives to make meaningful impacts in communities both near and far.  
Project Manager
Winifred Smith-Jenkins
In 2023, ACNJ welcomed Winifred Smith-Jenkins as the Director of Early Learning Policy and Advocacy. With an impressive professional background spanning over two decades in managing three successful family-owned child care programs in northern New Jersey, Winifred brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role at ACNJ. Her expertise in child care and early learning, along with her extensive management experience, where she was responsible for leading approximately 100 employees, building relationships, managing commercial acquisition, construction, project management, flood mitigation, disaster preparedness, and community service initiatives, will prove invaluable in guiding ACNJ's policy work and overall operations.

Prior to her appointment as Director, Winifred was actively engaged in ACNJ's advocacy efforts, offering testimony, presenting on webinars, and meeting with public officials to effect change on a statewide level. Currently, as the leader of the early learning policy team, she works closely with key stakeholders to advance ACNJ's mission of ensuring affordable, quality early learning is accessible to all families in need. Winifred's proven track record of community involvement is extensive, having served on several committees, including the South Orange Maplewood School District Preschool Reopening Committee, the East Orange Preschool Advisory Council, and the former East Orange Mayoral Economic Development and Education Transition Team. She has also volunteered as a Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad member and served as a State of New Jersey Licensed Foster Parent and Certified Emergency Medical Technician.

Winifred is a member of several professional and national organizations, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health, Delta Sigma Theta, and Jack and Jill of America. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a Master of Science in Health Administration, and is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree in Higher Education. Her vast experience, deep commitment to child advocacy, and dedication to community involvement make her an invaluable addition to ACNJ's team of early learning policy experts.
wsmith-jenkins@acnj.org
Director of Early Learning Policy and Advocacy
Diane Dellanno
Diane Dellanno, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is a policy analyst and member of the early childhood team at ACNJ. Her primary role has been to develop an infant/toddler advocacy campaign to improve early learning policies, programs and funding for infants and toddlers in New Jersey. Diane has authored several issue briefs on topics related to infants and toddlers including: Out Of Reach, a look at the cost of quality child care in New Jersey and No Room For Babies, that examined the availability of infant-toddler child care in New Jersey; and Expensive, Frustrating and Scary: Parent Reveal the Realities of Finding Child Care for Babies in NJ. Diane has over 30 years’ experience in developing and implementing parenting education programs to assist parents in understanding how their children develop, foster positive parent-child relationships, support healthy child development and engage families in their child’s learning to ensure educational success. Prior to joining ACNJ in 2012, Diane served as a director of Early Childhood and Education Programs for Prevent Child Abuse – NJ. Diane received her B.A. from Montclair State University and her M.S.W. from Rutgers-The State University.
ddellanno@acnj.org
Policy Analyst

Communications

Aisha Khan
Aisha Khan serves a key role in supporting the communication efforts of ACNJ. In addition to copyediting, ensuring accuracy and readability of the organization’s publications and resources, she is also responsible for promoting ACNJ’s presence across all its social media platforms.  Aisha engages closely with staff, providing support to meet project deadlines amidst the dynamic work environment. She holds a B.A. in Corporate Communications from Baruch College, CUNY, as well as a certificate in Management Practices and a certificate in Management Development from Baruch’s Continuing and Professional Studies program.
Communications Associate
Eloisa Hernandez-Ramos
Eloisa Hernandez is part of ACNJ’s communications and outreach team, focusing primarily on the organization’s electronic communications, including its website and e-communications. Fluent in English and Spanish, she also assists with outreach tasks and other critical pieces, communicating ACNJ’s goals to key decision-makers, other advocates and the general public. Eloisa joined ACNJ in 1994 and holds a B.A. from Trenton State College, now the College of New Jersey.
eloisa@acnj.org
Outreach and Communications Associate
Lana Lee
Lana Lee manages ACNJ’s strategic communications, with the goal of expanding awareness and support for ACNJ’s policy agenda. She handles press inquiries and media events for ACNJ and uses video and social media to increase awareness of ACNJ’s activities and policy goals. In addition to tracking analytics of ACNJ’s website and social media presence, her work also involves graphic design and website development. Prior to joining ACNJ, Lana worked at the Office of the Public Advocate. She holds a B.A. from Douglass College, Rutgers University.
llee@acnj.org
Media Relations Manager

Operations

Yolanda Aguilera
Administrative Assistant
Antoinette (Toni) Abdelmalek
Antoinette Abdelmalek is an administrative assistant for ACNJ, assisting staff in various administrative duties. She is a native of Lebanon and is fluent in English, French and Arabic. Prior to joining ACNJ in 1982, she worked for the City of Newark in its Compensation, Rating and Inspection Bureau and for Societe Orientale de Publicite in Lebanon. She attended St. Vincent de Paul School, and is a graduate of the Franciscan Sisters in Egypt.
Administrative Assistant
Beatriz Alcaraz
Beatriz Alcaraz is an administrative assistant for ACNJ and is a key part of the organization, assisting staff in a myriad of duties. She joined ACNJ in 2000. Beatriz is bilingual in English and Spanish. She is a graduate of Perth Amboy High School.
Administrative Assistant
Michael K. Sheehan, CPA, CGMA
Mike is responsible for the accounting and financial functions of ACNJ. He comes from over 25 years in commercial, not-for-profit and consulting experience. At ACNJ, he is facilitating the mission and promoting the sustainability of the organization through internal, Board, and third-party reporting and strong accounting & financial management practices. Mike holds a B.S. in Econ. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania majoring in accounting and an M.B.A. from the N.Y.U. Stern School majoring in Finance and International Business.
msheehan@acnj.org
Chief Financial Officer
Prudence Walters

Prudence Walters is the Director of Operations and has been with the organization since 2018. She is a first-generation college graduate in her family with a B.A. in Business Administration from Brooklyn College. With over a decade of experience in HR Management and Business Strategies, her primary role is to work closely with senior management in developing long-term operational strategies that help meet company objectives by overseeing the day-to-day operations of the office, ensuring that it runs efficiently so all members of the team have what they need to succeed.  In addition, Prudence also works closely with ACNJ board members to maintain connections between the Board of Directors, committees, and staff.

Prior to joining ACNJ, Prudence has worked with companies such as Planned Parenthood, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Scholastic, Inc. Being a mother herself, she hopes to bring a personal touch to the agency's mission of child advocacy.

pwalters@acnj.org
Director of Operations