FORJ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization overseen by a Board of Directors who set the strategic direction of the organization, develop school and community partnerships and hire and supervise the FORJ School Coordinator.
The all volunteer Board significantly contributes to the creation of programs and initiatives for schools and the greater Newton community.
We partner with and support those who live, work, and learn in Newton.
Lisa Bibuld - Chair - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cindy Greene - Vice-Chair
Amelia Oliver - Treasurer
Tamika Olszewski - Board Member
Erica Streit-Kaplan - Board Member
Ijeoma Anyanwu - Board Member
Karen Carroll Bennett
Lisa Bibuld joined the FORJ Executive Board in the Fall of 2019, and supports its communication and engagement efforts. In 2017, she co-founded the Newton North FORJ chapter. As a clinical psychologist working in the Boston Metro area and surrounding suburbs, Lisa brings a social-emotional lens to the leadership of FORJ. Lisa is deeply committed to working to assist people from all ages and demographic groups to develop their skills and willingness to engage in race and social justice dialogue in schools and the community-at-large.
Tamika Olszewski is an attorney by profession and a member of the Newton School Committee and has served two terms as a Newton Human Rights Commissioner, first appointed in 2018. Tamika is an Executive Board member of the Harmony Foundation, which promotes acceptance of racial, ethnic and religious differences and is on the planning committee for the city-wide Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration and the Mayor's Community Breakfast. She is also one of the founders of the Newton Coalition of Black Residents, an advocacy group focused on sharing information and facilitating connection among its members. Tamika is a native Jamaican and the mother of twins in the Newton Public Schools.
Co-founder, Amy Behrens, M.Ed. served as the first FORJ School Coordinator from 2017 to 2019 and helped co-found FORJ teams at Zervas Elementary School, Oak Hill Middle School and Newton South High School, where her three children attended school. Amy began co-facilitating anti-racism workshops in college and later for teachers through IDEAS (Initiatives for Developing Equity and Achievement for Students). A former middle school teacher, she has been facilitating interfaith women's and youth peacemakers groups for decades. Amy now supports parents and builds diverse communities through her work as a parent coach and her blog “Strategies for Soulful Parents.” She remains a friend, advisor, and supporter of FORJ.
Co-founder, Vineeta Vijayaraghavan is particularly focused on the community engagement side of FORJ’s work building relationships with city officials and supporting METCO, affordable housing, growing inter-faith efforts, increasing the pipeline of candidates of color in public service, and generally decreasing segregation in the metro-west suburbs. In her dayjob, she is Chair of the Education Fund of the Leadership Now Project, where she enlists the business sector in revitalizing democratic principles and institutions. Born in India, she was raised in the tri-state area, and has lived in MA for over 20 years. She is the mother of two daughters at Cabot and Day.
Cindy Greene works to extend FORJ's reach to Newton residents whose children attend private schools and to residents otherwise not connected to the Newton Public Schools. She maintains relationships with organizations outside of Newton who share a similar mission. Cindy is a Newton Human Rights Commissioner and serves on the Board of Story Starters and on the Family Advisory Committee of Cradles to Crayons. Cindy is inspired by those making our world just and equitable and is committed to the fight.
Co-founder, Erica Streit-Kaplan enjoys doing the behind-the-scenes administrative work so critical to the success of any organization, and uniquely important for one that mobilizes grassroots social justice efforts. In 1999, as a student at the BU School of Social Work, she read the classic essay “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh, which opened her eyes and prompted her to take action. Erica is intentionally raising her white children to understand oppression and privilege, and to stand up for justice. Erica is powered by the Jewish value of healing the world, by laughter, and by feeling sand beneath her toes.
Madeline McNeely has been part of FORJ since 2016, advising the Board of Directors and School Leaders on leadership and strategic thinking. Her mission is to condition leaders and organizations to do meaningful work. She is a white, multi-sector, interdisciplinary leadership and BEID (belonging, equity, inclusion, diversity) coach, consultant, facilitator, trainer and adjunct at Harvard Extension School. She is a passionate network weaver and cares deeply about cultivating a sense of belonging for all humans full stop. She supports leaders to address structural racism, all forms of inequity and deep culture change in themselves, their institutions, networks and communities. She is most proud to be raising a white daughter who understands white supremacy and all the ways it dehumanizes us.
Karen Carroll Bennett
Karen Carroll Bennett is an activist for racial justice and has been a vibrant member of the Newton community for many years and an early member since 2016. In addition to her work with FORJ, Karen is a founding member of the Newton Coalition of Black Residents (NCBR), a board member of Newton Schools Foundation (NSF), and is on the F.A. Day Middle School Council. Karen was a member of the Newton Police Chief Search Committee and has served on the Blue Ribbon Commission to review salaries of elected officials in Newton. She is a Senior Director of the teaching and learning center at Harvard Kennedy School of Government by day, a native Jamaican, and has three children in Newton public schools. She holds a BS in Marketing and Communications from Babson College and an MA in Management from Ohio University.
Amelia Oliver joined FORJ in 2019. She is a freelance corporate controller with previous nonprofit Treasurer experience. A licensed CPA, Amelia brings expertise in nonprofit accounting and tax, financial statement audit and review, internal controls, and other aspects of accounting and financial management. Amelia has three children in Newton Public Schools. She is inspired by the many people in Newton working to advance antiracism in our schools and city, and is committed to expanding her support of this work.
Ijeoma Deborah Anyanwu (IJ) is currently a doctoral candidate at UMass Boston receiving her Ph.D. in Public Policy from the McCormack Graduate School of Public Policy. She has a Master’s in leadership and Administration, a master’s in Public Policy, and her B.Sc. in Political Science. Her research area is in political participation, mentorship, education, and youth & women empowerment in politics with the hope of being an academic researcher and a public servant. Her current research focus is on mentorship and its impact on post-secondary education as it pertains to students of color. IJ is an NPS parent and has been a parent volunteer at her sons’ schools since she moved to Newton 7 years ago. She was the co-founder and co-chair of the FORJ at the Brown Middle School in Newton. She is a mentor for the NPS program, Transitioning Together which supports first-generation college-bound students through the application process. She is also on the board of two NGOs and is currently serving on the board of the Suzuki School of Newton as well as volunteering her time as the school’s business development associate.
Elisa Rodriguez joined the FORJ team in 2019 as the FORJ School Coordinator. Prior to that role, she served as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Newton Country Day School in Newton. She is a licensed social worker who provides independent clinical services to individuals, couples and families. Born in Venezuela, Elisa learned English in the Newton Public School system at the age of 6. Elisa is committed to helping individuals show up authentically and helping systems slow down to become intentional in acknowledging and responding to the needs of all.