CFR Leadership


CFR’s founders set out to dramatically change outcomes for families who experience the child welfare and family court systems—what we refer to today as the Family Regulation system. To meet this ambitious goal, the agency began with seasoned professionals who knew from experience that the most important way to help at risk children was by advocating for and supporting their parents and families in the first instance, and with an interdisciplinary model that built on family strength and addressed the needs families identified. Since that time, CFR has expanded its model beyond family regulation to advocate for young people at risk of incarceration and to provide interdisciplinary defense for clients in criminal, civil and immigration matters.

Starting with just 2 employees in 2002, the organization now employs more than 112 people in Manhattan and Queens.

Executive Team

Tehra Coles was named the Executive Director of the Center for Family Representation (CFR) in New York City in March 2023. Previously, Ms. Coles served as policy counsel at Civil Rights Corps (CRC), focusing on a variety of topics related to the criminal legal system including qualified immunity, risk assessment tools and pre-trial detention laws. Prior to her role at CRC, Ms. Coles was the litigation supervisor for policy and government affairs at CFR, where she represented parents in family separation proceedings. She also managed the government funding application process and – in collaboration with impacted parents and families – lobbied elected officials and government agency officials on policy and legislation in areas of immigration, family separation, criminal legal systems and housing. Ms. Coles is a graduate of Albany Law School and Hollins University. 

Dr. Alicia Williams joined CFR in July 2021 as CFR’s first Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Williams oversees CFR’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging work, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Administration activities at CFR and also works closely with our CFO and Executive Director on strategic planning, facilities and operations issues. Dr. Williams has over 24 years of extensive HR experience including diversity, equity and inclusion, labor relations, change management, talent acquisition, and staff engagement. She comes with HR and operations experience in academic, telecommunications, manufacturing and non-profit settings. Dr. Williams most recently served as Managing Director of Human Resources at Food & Water Watch, a non-profit environmental organization. She oversaw the strategic direction of their Human Resources department, making sure the work was in alignment with the mission, goals and objectives of the organization. Before that, Dr. Williams was the Director of Human Resources, Operations and Training at the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences for 8 years. She oversaw the overall operational matters across the organization and was responsible for creating the Culture and Core Values (Supportive, Transparent, Accountable, Respectful) of the organization.

Dr. Williams earned her Doctor of Education degree at The George Washington University and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of San Diego and her MBA, with a Certification in Human Resources from Keller Graduate School. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and is a Certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) with HRCI, Certified Change Management Practitioner with Prosci and Certified EQ-i2.0/EQ360 Practitioner with EITC.  Alicia holds the position of Board Advisor to the Washington, DC Chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR). Dr. Williams is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, an Adjunct Professor of Diversity Equity and Inclusion & Organizational Leadership at The George Washington University and is also President/Co-Producer of a podcast entitled “RaceToday!”

Samantha Elliott Miele, Chief Financial Officer, oversees CFR’s fiscal and reporting operations. Ms. Miele started at CFR as a Staff Accountant in 2016, gradually managing more of the organization’s fiscal operations during a period of tremendous growth at CFR, before stepping into this leadership role in 2024. Ms. Miele is responsible for CFR’s strategic fiscal planning, establishing budgets and forecasting income and expenses as well as oversight of CFR’s data management and reporting. She creates regular reports for the General Management team and for CFR’s Board Finance Committee. Ms. Miele has a M.S. in Accounting from Touro College and a B.A. in Marketing and Business Management-Human Resources from the University of Colorado in Boulder.


Managing Directors & Directors

Managing Directors

  • Wanjiro Gethaiga, Managing Director of Social Work/Manhattan, Queens, Bronx-Family Defense Practice
  • Christine Waer, Managing Director of Litigation/Manhattan, Queens, Bronx-Family Defense Practice


  • Malena Arnaud, Social Work Director of Bronx Practice
  • Ari Chiarella, Social Work Supervisor/Director of Queens Family Defense Practice
  • Wendell Cruz, Director of Holistic Practice; Litigation Supervisor, Criminal Defense Practice
  • Diana Denza, Director of Communications, Manhattan Practice
  • Wanjiro Gethaiga, Social Work Supervisor/Director of Manhattan Family Defense Practice
  • Gordon Hamm, Director of Information Technology
  • Sandeep Kandhari, YDP Director
  • Samantha Miele, Deputy CFO
  • Maggie Nieves, Deputy Director of Social Work for Queens Practice
  • Anastasia Rivera-Bonilla, Litigation Director of Bronx Practice
  • Javon Robinson, Director of Development
  • Julie Suh, Director of Queens Family Defense Practice
  • Alexandra (Sandy) Rosin, Litigation Supervisor/Director of Manhattan Family Defense Practice
  • Ginelle Stephenson, Social Work Director, Manhattan Family Defense Practice
  • Katherine Wojewoda, Deputy Director of Litigation of Queens Practice


  • Charlotte Baughman,  Social Worker Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Christine Bruno, Litigation and Training Supervisor
  • Christina Carroll, Litigation Supervisor, Bronx Practice
  • Jeffrey Compton, Litigation Supervisor
  • Amanda Franzen, Litigation Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Lisa Garland, Social Work Supervisor, Youth Defense Practice
  • Teyora Graves, Parent Advocate Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Anna Ishii, Social Worker Supervisor, Manhattan Practice
  • Suzanne Leinwand, Litigation Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Karena Lim-Peralta, Social Work Supervisor, Bronx Practice
  • Melissa Lombreglia, SCR Litigation Supervisor, Manhattan Practice
  • Robin Lyde, Parent Advocate Supervisor
  • Susannah Marsh, Litigation Supervisor, Manhattan Practice
  • Lauren Mitchell, Litigation Supervisor, Manhattan Practice
  • Ysmerlyn Murshed, Social Worker Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Mark Papish, Supervisor, Policy and Government Affairs
  • Zoe Schonfeld, Litigation Supervisor, Immigration
  • Carol Siegel, Litigation Supervisor, Criminal Defense
  • Kenneth Sokol, Litigation Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Vasilios Stotis, Litigation Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Emily Wall, Appeals and Litigation Supervisor
  • Pamela Weintraub, Litigation Supervisor, Queens Practice
  • Nikki Woods, Litigation Supervisor, Youth Defense Practice

Senior Staff & Managers

  • Catherine Alin, Senior Staff Attorney, Queens Practice
  • Ben Chan, Manager, Equity, Efficiency and Belonging
  • Christina Cheng, Senior Staff Attorney, Queens Practice
  • Ashley Cookson, Senior Staff Accountant, Manhattan Practice
  • Elizabeth French, Senior Staff Attorney, Queens Practice
  • Teresa Garcia, Senior Immigration Specialist, Immigration Practice
  • Ebony Hopkins, Human Resources Manager
  • Melissa Kuldip, Senior Social Worker, Queens Practice
  • Shayne Larkin, Senior Social Worker, Queens Practice
  • Sara Lewis, Senior Staff Attorney, Queens Practice
  • Hannah Mercuris, Senior Staff Attorney, Policy and Government Affairs
  • Ed Parker, Senior Family Advocate
  • Patricia Ramirez, Office Manager, Manhattan Practice
  • Charles Rosenberg, Senior Staff Attorney, Appeals
  • Cecile Schwartzman, Senior Social Worker, Queens Practice
  • Christina Secharan, Operations Manager, Queens Practice
  • Monique Stanley, Senior Parent Advocate, Manhattan Practice
  • Rachel Turetsky, Senior Staff Attorney, Manhattan Practice