Who We Are

Neil Fitzgerald, Director and CEO
Neil Fitzgerald has been involved in education in New York City as a teacher, coach, and administrator since 1996. As founder and director of the Arts and Athletics afterschool program in the early 2000s, Neil has managed the expansion of the organization to four schools, employing over a hundred amazing teachers and regularly serving close to a thousand children.

Neil earned his BA from Brown University and two masters degrees in education from Teachers College, Columbia University. As an athletics coach, Neil is certified by United States Track and Field as a Level II coach in three specialties: Sprints, Endurance, and Youth Athletics.

Ryan Zavala, HR Coordinator
Ryan Zavala joined the after-school team in September 2012 as our human resources coordinator and quickly took on a range of other responsibilities, including supervising operations at PS 166 and PS 9. Ryan has a degree in nursing and spent ten years working in acute rehabilitation with spinal cord injury patients and military service personnel returning from duty. Among his growing list of responsibilities, Ryan is spear-heading ongoing efforts to recruit and hire teachers for a variety of new after-school activities.

Sayeed Ramnath, Site Supervisor at PS 166
Sayeed Ramnath joined the afterschool team in September 2016, first as a sports specialist. He quickly took on a range of other responsibilities, including supervising operations at PS 166. Sayeed obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Lehman College. He has a strong background in early childhood education and has enjoyed teaching and mentoring students for over 8 years. Sayeed has a deep passion for empowering his students and helping them reach their full potential as well as building the athletics enrichment program in the Arts and Athletics Organization.

Lisa Baccus – Site Supervisor at PS 9
Lisa Baccus is a new addition to the leadership team. She started off her career as a teacher and soon moved on to education management. She earned her BA in Psychology and her MS in Education. She has five years of leadership experience with a focus on professional development and project management for enrichment programming. She was also a scholastic chess player, learning the game at the age of 5 and continuing to play throughout high school. 

Cece Soto – Site Supervisor at PS 452
Cece Soto has over a decade of experience in youth programming and has taken on the role as founding site supervisor at our new school, P.S. 452! She came to us with years of experience in a non-profit community program where she developed a wide range of sports programs. She initially came on as sports specialist and it was apparent in the very beginning that Cece was meant for a leadership role after her impressive interactions with kids, parents and school leadership.

Joshua Francis – Media Coordinator
Joshua Francis is a recent addition to the Arts and Athletics team. Joshua’s focus is on aiding with the organizations media matters (follow us on Instagram and Facebook) as well as leading sports classes such as Track and Field and Basketball. Joshua earned his MS in Sport Management earlier this year from SUNY land. He has a passion for promoting social change, improving our future prospects by helping guide the youth of today.