Meet the Board

Kimberly McLain, Board Chair

Kimberly McLain is Chief Executive Officer of the Newark Alliance. In this role, she sets the strategic vision for the organization and leads its work in partnership with state and local stakeholders to improve education, employment and economic opportunities in Newark.

Prior to the Alliance, Kimberly was President & CEO of Foundation for Newark’s Future (FNF), the centerpiece of a $200 million philanthropic initiative to improve educational outcomes for Newark students from early childhood through college. FNF, established with a five-year charge to seed conditions for systemic change, used short-term philanthropy to create the systems and conditions necessary for long-term educational improvement. At FNF, Kimberly oversaw the Foundation’s pursuit of comprehensive high-quality school options, including traditional, charter and community schools. Kimberly also led the expansion of the Foundation’s core strategies beyond K-12 to include career and workforce development by investing in the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program, the Newark City of Learning Collaborative and an Opportunity Network to reengage at-risk youth.Previously, Kimberly served as Vice President of Finance and Operations with Newark Charter School Fund and Managing Director of Planning with Teach For America. Prior to transitioning to the nonprofit sector, she was an Investment Banker with Credit Suisse and Certified Public Accountant with KPMG LLP.
Kimberly serves on the board of Leadership Newark and is Chair of the Board of BRICK Academy; a transformative educational organization that focuses on improving low performing schools in Newark’s South Ward. She has received many accolades, including the Leadership Newark Education Award, the Willing Heart Community Center’s Excellence in Philanthropy Award, and NJ Biz’s Top Forty Under 40 Award. Kimberly holds a BS in Accounting from the University of South Carolina and an MBA from Columbia University.

Peter Cordrey, Vice Chair/ Treasurer

Peter Cordrey is a Managing Director and Head of Product Management and Distribution at Prudential Fixed Income. Previously, Mr. Cordrey was Head of Alternative Investments, responsible for all fixed income long/short strategies as well as the Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) Platform. Earlier, Mr. Cordrey was Head of the Global Liquidity Sector Team, the group responsible for managing US government and foreign government securities, US mortgage-backed securities, and fixed income derivative products. Prior to joining Prudential Financial in 1996, Mr. Cordrey spent nine years at Merrill Lynch, trading U.S. Government Securities. He has served as Board Member and President of Summit Youth Lacrosse Club, where he has coached for over 20 years. Together with his family, they have fostered children for over a decade on behalf of NJ DCF. Mr. Cordrey received an AB in Economics from Princeton University and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University.

Sally Booth

Bio coming soon

Melanie Brown, Esq.

Melanie has served as Intellectual Property Counsel for Engelhard Corporation – now part of BASF Corporation.  Since March 2010, she has been responsible for BASF’s IP operations at Florham Park, New Jersey

and Tarrytown, New York and leads a team of 4 patent attorneys, a patent agent, and support staff.  Melanie reports to BASF’s General Counsel and Senior Vice President.

Melanie also serves as the Pro Bono Coordinator for BASF Corporation and in 2011; the Pro Bono Partnership honored her with an Individual Volunteer of the Year Award for her pro bono work.

Before joining Engelhard, Melanie was an IP attorney at Honeywell International Inc. for 15 years and had worldwide responsibility for IP matters of various Engineered Materials businesses.  She assumed roles of increasing responsibility including heading the IP function for the fibers business in Richmond, VA.

Melanie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1979 and a Juris Doctorate with honors from Capital University Law School in 1985.  She is licensed to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office and in Ohio and New Jersey.

She is a member of the North Branch Reformed Church, Bridgewater, New Jersey and serves on the Preschool Advisory Board.  She also does fundraising for non-profit Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue in addition to adopting their rescues.

Fatimah Burnam-Watkins

Fatimah Burnam-Watkins grew up in the Garden State. After graduating from the University of Maryland, Fatimah taught high school humanities as a 2001 Teach For America corps member in Baltimore while also working towards a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education Administration from Johns Hopkins University.  In 2003, Fatimah joined Teach For America staff where she worked in NYC as a Program Director and later joined the Teacher Preparation Team where she helped launch the 2005-charter Philadelphia institute.  Fatimah quickly transitioned to lead Teach For America’s training institute in Philadelphia as the Institute Director, overseeing the training and support of over 900 teachers and 250 staff members; a capacity she held for 3 years.

In her current role as Executive Director of Teach For America- Greater Newark region, Fatimah is responsible for maximizing the organization’s impact in Greater Newark by working to grow Teach For America’s presence in the community, ensuring effectiveness of corps members and building a sustainable base of financial support.

Gary DeBode

Gary DeBode founded Gallium Real Estate in 2015 to co-invest in and develop multi-family residential and self-storage projects.

Prior to leading Gallium, Gary led Edison Properties, a real estate development and operating company which ownsand operates Manhattan Mini Storage and Edison ParkFast. Most recent title was CEO, having worked in the business for 22 years.

While at Edison, he led teams in the development of eight Manhattan Mini Storage projects totaling over 1.5 million square feet; repositioning of the Hippodrome Building (1120 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY) while 90% occupied, and led a team in the development and construction of The Ludlow, an 80/20, 243 unit multi-family project in the lower east side of Manhattan.

Worked for Tishman Realty and Construction as a Project Engineer on commercial projects in Atlantic City, Jersey City and Manhattan. Served as Lieutenant in U.S. Navy as a Naval Submarine Officer and Naval Nuclear Propulsion Engineer.

Matt Malloy

Bio Coming Soon

Helen Mazarakis

Bio Coming Soon

Aaron Turner

Aaron is the Senior Program Officer at The MCJ Amelior Foundation where she manages the education portfolio of investments. Prior to joining MCJ, Aaron worked as Program Officer at the Foundation for Newark’s Future.

Aaron joined the foundation world after eight years working at the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) in a variety of roles.   For four years, Aaron led the Office of School Redesign where she spearheaded the effort to standardize how more than 20 large, comprehensive secondary schools restructured into Small Learning Communities with theme-based, semi-autonomous academies.   Her work included managing over $17M in federal and philanthropic grants and establishing a framework, implementation rubric, and targeted professional development to support schools in their improvement efforts.  New York City’s work in this area was recognized as a national model of promising practice.

Later, Aaron worked with the NYCDOE’s Chief Operating Officer to provide oversight for the implementation of strategic priorities in the Division of Community Engagement, the Office of Family Information and Action, and the Panel for Educational Policy.  She also coordinated a strategic communications plan for the NYCDOE that served as a blueprint for NYC’s education campaign.  Prior to leaving the Department, Aaron led a major leadership pipeline program designed to develop the capacity of teachers to lead their peers and to increase the number and preparedness of teacher leaders ready to take on school-wide leadership positions.

Before to joining the NYCDOE, she managed national children’s literacy grants at Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and traveled the country to monitor and support program implementation in schools and communities.

Aaron’s commitment to education began after college as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Las Cruces, NM where she served as a literacy tutor and school-to-family liaison to help bridge the gap between school and home learning.

Aaron lives in Morristown, NJ with her husband, two daughters, and old dog.