Our Team

Committed to families, community engagement, museum education, and early learning.

Board Members

Will DuBose, Will DuBose Design
Cathy Elkies, Phillips
Lois Gelernt, Manhattan Country School
Samantha Gilbert, Ford Foundation
Dr. Christopher-John Godfrey, Pace University
Rob Krulak, Acme Projects LLC
Kevin Lee, Treasurer, AIG
Karen C. Liu, Community Leader
Risa Meyer, Style Simple
Edwina Meyers, NYC Administration for Children's Services (Ret.)
Bevy Smith, Host of BEVELATIONS on SiriusXM Radio & Page Six TV Co-host
Jonathan VanAntwerpen, Henry Luce Foundation
Ahmed Yearwood, Y INTERACT

Staff

  • Candice Anderson

    Executive Director

    Candice Anderson has been the Executive Director of Cool Culture since 2007, and has devoted her career to improving educational opportunity and life outcomes for children and families in New York City's most disadvantaged communities. Prior to joining Cool Culture, Candice served as Director of Child Care and Head Start Collaboration at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services; and as Senior Policy Associate for Child Care, Education and Youth Development at Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, New York City’s premier child advocacy organization where she conducted research and advocated on behalf of vulnerable children and families. Candice received the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Extraordinary Women award while at Cool Culture, has an MS in Urban Planning from the New School for Social Research, received her B.A. from Oberlin College and in 2010 became a graduate of the Executive Level Program at Columbia Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management. In October of 2015, Candice was appointed by NYC Mayor, Bill de Blasio, as a new member to the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission.

  • Nilufa Begum

    Development Assistant

    Nilufa Begum is the Development Assistant at Cool Culture, where she supports the Development team with fundraising and marketing efforts across the organization. She first joined Cool Culture as a Development Intern during the Summer of 2016. Nilufa also volunteers as a Digital Analyst at Project HEAL. Prior to Cool Culture, Nilufa has worked as a University Center Building Manager and as a Leep Center Student Assistant at Clark University. She also worked as a Development & External Affairs Intern at Inwood House. Nilufa holds a BA in Economics with a minor in Business Management from Clark University.

  • Rachel Binder-Hathaway

    Program Director

    Rachel Binder-Hathaway is the Director of Programs at Cool Culture. Rachel's research sits at the intersection of Program Evaluation, Behavioral Economics and Economic Development. Over the past decade, her work has centered on extending education, empowerment and economic development opportunities to vulnerable children and women so that they might overcome the barriers created by poverty and gender constraints. She has conducted international development initiatives across Southeast Asia, South Asia, Latin America and Africa. Past positions include President of Seeds of Change Consulting, Research Fellow at Harvard University, and Chair of Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's Economic Justice Department; she has served as researcher and consultant to Grameen Bank and BRAC, and most recently as Global Training Manager at the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (MIT). Rachel holds an MPA from Harvard, is a Fulbright Fellow and MacArthur Foundation Award recipient.

  • Nicole Goodwin

    Institutional Giving Manager

    Nicole Goodwin is the Institutional Giving Manager at Cool Culture. Nicole sought out a career informed by her earliest childhood memories with Yale University's free museums and arts programming. Most recently, Nicole worked as Development Associate at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a global network of museums and historic sites that connect past struggles to current movements for human rights. While there, she played a lead role in writing grant proposals and reports for foundation and government funders, as well as managing the organization's institutional funding pipeline. Her work experience also includes coordinating art appraisals at Doyle Auctioneers and Appraisers, coordinating events at Louis Blouin Media, and processing applications at the National Endowment for the Arts. Nicole has a B.A. from Tufts University, studied proposal writing at NYU's School of Professional Studies, and speaks French.

  • Lehna Huie

    Assistant Manager of Programs

    Lehna Huie is the Assistant Manager of Programs at Cool Culture. Lehna is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator, curator, cultural worker and mother exercising a belief in the power of multi-vocal art. She is an artist amplifying stories of love, loss, and remembrance. Huie is deeply committed to the fusion of arts and social change as a path to liberation: exploring the past, present and the future of struggle and freedom. Her work embodies cultural critique, celebration, and transformation. Lehna is an advocate for women’s rights raising awareness relating to leadership development, reproductive justice and mental health. She uses art & social justice as a tool to provide safe space for expression. She often does murals, design work and workshops for organizations and grassroots communities. Collaboration and community are key components in her life's work. Huie’s studio practice makes use of various materials on walls, canvas, paper, and wooden surfaces and her style utilizes a combination of abstract expression and portraiture to tell unique stories uplifting the lives and spaces of Women of Color.

  • Sandra Nanita

    Assistant Director of Programs

    Sandra Nanita is an Assistant Director of Programs at Cool Culture. Previously, she worked with NJ SEEDS, an organization that builds leaders from inner city youth while closing the achievement gap. Sandra is experienced in working with children and young adults in various programs focused on building youth leadership. Sandra graduated from Rutgers University, where she earned a BS in Business Management and Latin American Studies. Also an artist, Sandra has showcased her artwork in exhibits throughout New Jersey.

  • Adriana Herrera Perhamus

    Program Assistant

    Adriana Herrera Perhamus is the Program Assistant at Cool Culture. She has a background in community organizing and arts administration. Her work is driven by a mission to see the world become more equitable for young people. Before joining Cool Culture, she worked as the Community Programs Fellow with NEW INC, an arts and design incubator initiative of the New Museum. Adriana was born and raised in Rochester, New York. She holds a B.A from Eugene Lang College, where she graduated with a degree in Culture & Media and Race & Ethnicity studies.

  • Victoria Senn

    Cross Department Assistant

    Victoria Senn is the Cross Department Assistant at Cool Culture. She joined the organization as an AmeriCorps fellow in 2014 and has supported Cool Culture's work in various capacities since. Her passion in museum & arts programming as well as social justice evolved from her work with young children in college. As the Cross Department Assistant, she supports both program and development teams. A New York native, Victoria holds a B.A. in Sociology as well as Spanish Language & Literature from Stony Brook University.

  • Kanika Srinivasan

    Senior Director of Operations and Strategy

    Kanika Srinivasan is the Senior Director of Operations and Strategy at Cool Culture. She has a diverse professional background in local and international community development, program implementation, partnership management, and operations. Kanika comes to us from Citizen Schools where she served as the Director of External Engagement and led her department to create sustainable partnerships, mobilize volunteers, ensure stakeholder satisfaction, and deliver high-quality programming for students. Prior to Citizen Schools, she served as an Indicorp Fellow in Western India concentrating on agricultural development and public health in tribal communities. She also worked at the Council on Foreign Relations in the Corporate Program, as well as in the Executive Office as the Special Assistant to the President. Kanika graduated from Bucknell University with a double major in International Relations and Spanish.

Associates

  • Chang Chia "James" Liu

    Evaluation Consultant

    Chang Chia "James" Liu is an Evaluation Consultant at Cool Culture. He was born and grew up in Taiwan, and completed his double Masters degrees in Psychology and Art History at the City University of New York. He is currently a PhD candidate at Purdue University studying Educational Psychology with a focus on learning motivation and evaluation. James is also an artist, specializing in oil paintings and digital illustrations.

  • Melissa Ptacek

    Educator

    Melissa Ptacek has been involved in the field of education for 25 years. She has been an elementary school teacher, university professor, school administrator and staff developer. In an earlier career, Melissa worked as a textile designer in the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy. She has taught in the NYC public school system, as well as teaching several college courses and art classes to all age levels.She has designed and carried out workshops on avariety of topics for both parents and educators. Most recently, Melissa has worked as a private educational consultant specializing in curriculum development with both private and public schools and independent organizations in urban and suburban settings. In her work with cultural institutions, she strives to foster inquiry learning for young children and their families.

  • Kristin Scarola

    Museum Educator and Consultant

    Kristin Scarola is a Museum Educator and Consultant who provides experiences for museum visitors that are accessible, engaging, and informative. Kristin specializes inearly childhood and family programming, while working with a range of audiences including school groups, access, and educators. Currently Kristin is teaching at the Museum of Modern Art,the Brooklyn Museum and the Borough of Manhattan Community College, along with various independent projects. Previously, she was a Senior Educator at the Brooklyn Museum where she created The Sensory Tour an inclusive program for adults with visual impairments and Meet the Museum a gallery, studio, and free play program for toddlers. Her practice as an educator is informed by her work as an interdisciplinary artist and ethnographer. Kristin's M.A. entitled "Critical Studies and Creative Ethnography" was obtained from New York University.

  • Cathleen Wiggins

    Director, Leadership in Technology and the Arts, Bank Street College

    Cathleen Wiggins is Director of the Leadership in Technology and the Arts Program at Bank Street College of Education, which is a collaborative Master's degree program with Parsons New School of Design and Sarah Lawrence College. Cathleen is also a member of the Museum Education faculty at Bank Street. A former public early childhood and elementary school teacher and theater artist, she brings her life long love of the arts and education to her many professional endeavors. She is passionate about museum education, the transformative power of the arts in education, and to minimizing the success and opportunity gap for our nation's children.