Our Team

Matthew Feinstein
Executive Director

Mr. Feinstein holds a B.A. from The University of Maryland at College Park and a J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law. He is also a graduate of the Rutgers Business School Institute for Ethical Leadership, Nonprofit Executive and Emerging Leader, and Executive Fellows Certificate Programs.

Mr. Feinstein attended Seton Hall Law School as a Chancellor Scholar and was a member of the Legislative Journal. Mr. Feinstein has been involved with NJ LEEP from its inception. Mr. Feinstein is the founder of the Urban Education Law and Policy Initiative at Seton Hall Law School and is the founding chair of the NJ LEEP Young Professionals Board.

Email:  mfeinstein@njleep.org
Phone: 973-297-1555, ext. 205


Elizabeth Abitanto
Managing Director of Programs

Ms. Abitanto holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University-Newark, and an M.P.A. from Rutgers University, where she also earned a certificate in non-profit management. Ms. Abitanto has worked as a manager at a professional tutoring services company, and she has managed volunteer initiatives to serve low-income and homeless New Jersey residents. Ms. Abitanto has also had leadership roles in political campaigns and academic enrichment programs for urban youth. Ms. Abitanto believes passionately in providing urban youth with high expectations modeling which reveals to them the possibilities of college achievement in their lives.

Email:  eabitanto@njleep.org
Phone: 973-297-1555, ext. 204


Claire Dragon
Director of Development

Ms. Dragon holds a B.A. in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.P.A. from Baruch College. She has worked in nonprofits for the past decade with a focus on fundraising, volunteer management and external affairs. Ms. Dragon is excited to help break the cycle of poverty in high-need communities by helping high school students achieve their dream of graduating from college.

Email: cdragon@njleep.org
Phone: 973-297-1555, ext. 208


Deb Ellis
Director of Operations

Ms. Ellis is thrilled to bring her broad expertise in nonprofit management to NJ LEEP in service to its staff, volunteers, students, and families. Her previous positions include Assistant Dean for Public Service at NYU School of Law, Executive Director of the NJ Coalition to End Homelessness, Legal Director of the ACLU-NJ, and Legal Director of NOWLDEF, where she argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. She has received several awards for her leadership in social justice, including a 2011 White House Champion of Change Award. She is a graduate of Yale College and NYU School of Law.

Email: dellis@njleep.org
Phone: 973-297-1555, ext. 209


Marissa Geraghty
Director of College Access

Ms. Geraghty served as a Jesuit Volunteer Corps member with NJ LEEP in 2012 and we are thrilled to have welcomed her back to NJ LEEP! She has a B.A. in Psychology from The College of the Holy Cross and an M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Email: mgeraghty@njleep.org
Phone: 973-297-1555, ext. 210


Brian Giardina
Director of Legal Education

Mr. Giardina holds a B.A and an M.A from the University of New Hampshire where he studied Capital Punishment and Criminology. After graduating, he attended the University of San Diego School of Law. His focus on procedural equality and substantive justice in several different fields has equipped him to confront the unique challenges facing NJ LEEP students.  Originally a resident of suburban New York City, Mr. Giardina has been around the country for work and school, and is excited to live in New Jersey and work in Newark.

Email: bgiardina@njleep.org
Phone: 973-297-1555, ext. 203


Sergio Seijas
Dean of Family Engagement

Mr. Seijas holds a B.S. in Biology from Seton Hall University. Upon graduation he enrolled at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School where he served as Co-Director of the Urban Health Initiative Clinic at Cooper University Hospital and developed programming that helped to address the unmet healthcare needs of the local community. He went on to pursue his interest in community programming at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America where he served as Regional Education and Support Manager for the Greater New York area. A lifelong resident of Newark, he is committed to building bridges in the community and dedicated to providing the students and families of NJ LEEP with the tools and resources they need to thrive and succeed.

Email: sseijas@njleep.org
Phone: 973-297-1555, ext. 202


Onaje Crawford
College Access Coordinator & Writing Instructor

Mr. Crawford holds a B.S. in Political Science from Boston University. He has worked in multi-faceted administrative and educational roles for a charter school in Newark, NJ. He has extensive leadership experience with many organizations, including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He has also worked for a math empowerment program and a mentoring program for urban youth as well as a mentoring program for juvenile offenders in Boston. Mr. Crawford has been with NJ LEEP since the beginning of its College Bound Program in 2007, and he has been an anchoring presence in the community since its inception.

Email: onajecrawford@njleep.org


Razeya Rahman
Operations and Program Coordinator

Ms. Rahman is a recent graduate of The College of New Jersey, where she received a B.A. in English. She is also a graduate of NJ LEEP’s Class of 2012. During her summer breaks from college, she interned at NJ LEEP in different capacities in order to learn more about non-profits. She is now NJ LEEP’s full-time Operations and Program Coordinator, and she is thankful for the opportunity to work at and give back to an amazing program that has helped her with her social and professional development.

Email: rrahman@njleep.org
Phone: 973-297-1555, ext. 207


Amanda Alston
Law-Related Education Coordinator

Ms. Alston holds a Bachelors of Social Work from Elizabeth City State University.  As an AmeriCorps VISTA, Ms. Alston serves as the Law-Related Education Coordinator at NJ LEEP. Previously, she served as the AmeriCorps VISTA at Newbery College in Newberry, South Carolina, where she acted as the liaison for Newberry College students and key community stakeholders to build the capacity of programs that engaged volunteers in anti-poverty service opportunities, through partnership building, program and event development and facilitation, and the recruiting, training and management of volunteers. Hailing from North Carolina, Ms. Alston prides herself on dedication, service and community involvement. She’s very thrilled to be a part of NJ LEEP and the Newark community.

Email: aalston@njleep.org
Phone: 973-297-1555, ext. 200


Lise Chapman
College Readiness Systems Coordinator

Ms. Chapman is honored to serve NJ LEEP as an AmeriCorps VISTA for 2016-2017. She holds a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.B.A. from Yale School of Management, and a Masters in Counseling from Kean University. Ms. Chapman is a NJ DOE certified school counselor and national certified counselor. With a prior professional career in finance, she has held leadership roles in nonprofit high education institutions serving alumni, development, and student programs, focusing on career and life skills for first generation and underserved students. Ms. Chapman and her husband have raised three children in New Jersey.

Email: lchapman@njleep.org
Phone: 973-297-1555, ext. 201


Victoria Finn
Development & Communications Coordinator

Ms. Finn holds her B.A. from Rutgers University, New Brunswick where she double majored in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies. As an AmeriCorps VISTA and longtime resident of New Jersey, she is very excited to be dedicating her year of service as the Communications & Development Coordinator contributing to the mission of NJ LEEP where – “every student should be given the opportunity to realize their dream of succeeding in college and beyond."

Email: vfinn@njleep.org
Phone: 973-297-1555, ext. 206


Sidney Richardson
College Access Coordinator

Ms. Richardson is a Jesuit Volunteer Corps member committing her year of service to NJ LEEP. She is a recent graduate of the University of Portland and holds a B.A. in Psychology. Ms. Richardson is excited to spend the year in Newark and to make a direct impact on the future of youth in the community.

Email: srichardson@njleep.org

Matthew Feinstein
Executive Director

Elizabeth Abitanto
Managing Director of Programs

Claire Dragon
Director of Development

Deb Ellis
Director of Operations

Marissa Geraghty
Director of College Access

Brian Giardina
Director of Legal Education

Sergio Seijas
Dean of Family Engagement

Shakia Mayer
Mental Health Counselor

Onaje Crawford
College Access Coordinator & Writing Instructor

Razeya Rahman
Operations and Program Coordinator

Amanda Alston
Law-Related Education Coordinator

Lise Chapman
College Readiness Systems Coordinator

Victoria Finn
Development & Communications Coordinator

Sidney Richardson
College Access Coordinator