IFSI-USA: List of Board Members

Phyllis Katsigris Spinale holds a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard University and Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Wellesley College.  She has worked in investment banking, management consulting and as a Strategic Planning Associate and Marketing Director at Staples, Inc.  She has served as the head of multiple committees in the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club, a non-profit community organization as well as a teaching volunteer at Bates Elementary School.  Phyllis feels strongly about equal educational opportunities for all children and is active in Boston’s METCO program.  She has seen IFSI-USA in action and is passionate about the excellent opportunities IFSI provides immigrant children and their families.  She resides in Wellesley with her husband, Paul and has 3 children.

Dr. Regine Philippeaux-Pierre has over 17 years of experience in the field of education. She began her career in higher education and later became a teacher in Boston where she taught high school mathematics. Later, she worked as a researcher and program manager at the National Center for Restructuring Education Schools and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. From that role, Dr. Pierre moved on to manage a large project for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to revamp their professional development system. Currently, Dr. Pierre manages the Excellence for All initiative at Boston Public Schools.  She has expertise in instruction, professional development systems, policy implementation, and project management. Dr. Pierre earned a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Teachers College, a Masters in Education from Harvard University and a Bachelors of Science from Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. 

Angie Castera is the Director of Human Resources for the North American division of Navitas Limited, a global industry leader in international education. Angie possesses over twenty years of human resources and organizational development experience, sixteen of which have been as the Chief Human Resources executive, where she is responsible for all aspects of human resource management.  This includes designing and directing human resource activities to meet the organization’s strategic and business goals.  She’s worked for national and global organizations in the industries of Hospitality, Transportation and Academia.  


The daughter of Haitian immigrants, Angie is passionate about the development of people.  Her expertise includes helping businesses identify the strengths of their people and how to make the most of their resources, while helping individuals identify and cultivate their strengths, thereby empowering them to reach their full potential in their jobs and careers. 

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Angie volunteers her time at a local church, assisting with HR related activities such as staff search and placements, coaching and advising on interview skills and much more. Angie is a former board member of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. 

Sophia Boyer taught middle and high school for fifteen years before venturing into instructional coaching. As an instructional coach Sophia works in a variety of schools whose administrators have requested coaching services or professional development supports for  teachers. 


Sophia is experienced in humanities instruction, ESL teaching, program administration, teacher training,curriculum development, professional development and program planning and evaluation.  Sophia was born in Haiti, educated in the U.S. and currently resides in Cambridge. She earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology/History from Regis College and postgraduate degrees in Human Development and Urban Education from Wheelock College.

Nora Dowley-Liebowitz  started her career in education as a high school teacher in Washington D.C. area schools for three years. Her passion for education led her to enroll at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she received her Master's in Education with a specific interest in Risk and Prevention.  While in graduate school, she began her work in Boston Public Schools supporting under-resourced students at the Clarence R. Edwards Middle School in Charlestown.  She has more recently served as and administrator at the Codman Academy Charter Public School in Dorchester, MA--first as the Dean of Enrichment and College Advisor, then as Dean of College and Alumni.  


Currently, Nora is Executive Director of the Achieve Program which partners with families to empower motivated students from underserved Boston communities to close the opportunity gap through programming, tutoring and mentoring relationships. Nora manages all aspects of the Achieve program, including staff supervision, budgeting, and student recruitment. Nora is professionally committed to provide mentoring and support that underserved students need to achieve their academic and personal goals and to become successful lifelong learners.  Nora lives in Roslindale with her husband and son.


Sabine Coyne 

Dianne Bryce Bronk is an Associate Principal Scientist working with Merck Research Laboratories in Boston, where her research is focused on treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Dianne has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over two decades, investigating the therapeutic target areas of schizophrenia, addiction, depression, and autism spectrum disorders.


An active volunteer, Dianne is passionate about engaging the next generation of scientists, previously running a community program to introduce science experiments at the elementary school level, and more recently through mentoring intern and co-op students at the college and post-bac level. While living in Connecticut, Dianne served on the board of directors for The Light House, a non-profit that serves the needs of individuals with disabilities by providing early education, residential and transitional services. Dianne earned a Masters of Arts in Biology from Brown University and Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Psychology from Brandeis University. She is inspired by the people of IFSI-USA and the timeliness of its mission in supporting immigrant families. Dianne resides in Jamaica Plain with her husband Brian, and their adult children live nearby in Boston and in Southeastern CT.



Advisory Members

Emanus Simeon is a technology enthusiast with over 20 years of experience working in the computer field. Emanus earned a minor in Electronic Engineering Technology at Franklin Institute of Technology; a bachelor in Computer Science Systems at Wentworth and a Master of Software Engineering at Brandeis University. He began his professional career working in the computer lab at his school; one of his memorable positions was at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where he worked to support the Space Shuttle program as a LAN Analyst for Boeing, a NASA contractor. Emanus also worked as a web programmer for the AAA National Office in Florida.


Since 1997, Emanus has occupied different positions at PTC in Needham, MA and he is currently working as a Principal Software Engineer in the PTC Cloud Services group where he is playing a pivotal role in the delivery of PTC’s Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Emanus is a devout Christian and believes in leading by example. He is on a crusade to promote STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Education all over Haiti, his beloved native country. Emanus resided in the greater Massachusetts area with his wonderful wife of 22 years and their 4 wonderful boys. 


Gustave Vital


Currently, Gustave is the Global Operational Excellence Knowledge Management Lead – GMS at BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBB in New Brunswick, NJ.  In his role, he successfully ran the most engaged weekly OpEx global site leads meeting with the goal of providing a holistic approach to OpEx and benchmark adoption.  He developed partnership with other leads to ensure wide adoption and use of tools and methodology such as 5S, Standard Work, VSM, Visual Management, Gemba walk.

Gustave holds a Master’s degree in Masters in Business Administration from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  Gustave is passionate about social justice and volunteers his time to help immigrant children succeed in a very difficult and hostile environment. 

Gustave is passionate about Golf, which he plays with his two boys every weekend.  Gustave lives in Philadelphia with his wife Arlene and his three children.

Yolette Ibokette


Yolette Ibokette is a native of Port-au-Prince and has lived in Massachusetts since 1971.  From 2010 to present, Mrs. Ibokette has worked in various administrative jobs including her current position in the Boston Public Schools.  For 18 years, Mrs. Ibokette taught English Language Learners at two other school districts.  For a number of years, Mrs. Ibokette wrote an education column for the Boston Haitian Reporter newspaper.  She is currently pursuing a doctorate in School Leadership at Northeastern University and holds a Master’s of Arts degree in Bilingual Education, a Master’s in Education degree in Curriculum/Instruction and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Policy, Planning and Administration. Mrs. Ibokette is fluent in Haitian-Creole.

David M. Stehliki


David M. Stehlik (ABD) is a passionate strategist, trainer, and team developer. Currently, he is the corporate finance instructor for the University of Saint Francis’s MBA/MHA program as well as a course developer and healthcare finance instructor for Regent University. He earned a BA (summa cum laude) in Political Economy from Hillsdale College and an MBA in International Business, Marketing, and Management from the University of Saint Francis (honors), and he is completing his doctoral degree in Strategic Leadership from Regent University. Beyond the U.S., he has consulted for the national leaders of organizations in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia as well as for businesses, youth camps, and various entrepreneurs. He holds doctoral student memberships with the Association of Professional Futurists and World Future Society, alongside honorary societies: Omicron Delta Kappa (Leadership), Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics), Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science), and Theta Alpha Kappa (Religion).


Tanya Maggi


Tanya Maggi is the Director of New England Conservatory Community Performances and Partnerships Program, a nationally recognized collegiate community engagement program that provides teaching artist training and connects students with an extensive network of partners in the Boston community. Prior to joining the staff at NEC, Ms. Maggi was Education Programs Manager for the Saint Louis Symphony and Director of Education for the Tulsa Philharmonic. Involved with arts advocacy initiatives nationwide and abroad, Ms. Maggi serves on numerous advisory boards and has recently worked as a guest educator on community engagement projects with the Panama  Jazz Festival, the Guildhall School, the Saint Louis Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and Brandeis University. Ms. Maggi is a founding member of multiple arts education advocacy organizations, including the Collegiate Music Outreach Network, the Boston Arts Consortium for Health, and the Urban Music Educators Coalition.

Jeanne M. McDonnell 


Dr. McDonnell has been a leader for 30+ years serving as a Naval Officer, Senior Level Government Civilian, Educator, and Defense Contractor. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, from Old Dominion University with a Master of Science degree in Education Administration, and from Regent University with a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership. While in the Navy, she held command three times and retired at the rank of Captain. She has served on numerous boards including Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads, CIVIC Leadership Institute, St. Pius X School Board, Hampton Roads Domestic Violence Task Force, Volunteer Hampton Roads, and Opportunity, Inc. In addition to several military awards, she received the National Recreation and Park Association Commander’s Award and the Hampton Roads YWCA “Women of Distinction” Award.  Dr. McDonnell currently works for Enterprise Management Systems and volunteers as the coordinator of the St. Pius X Migrant Ministry aiding Hispanic and Haitian migrant workers and their families on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. She is married to Captain Lee R. Johnson (ret.) and they have four children.

Robert Poteau


Robert's is an Electronic Data Processing specialist.  His background is in bookkeeping and database administration.  He spent the last 14 years of his career in oracle database administration.  Robert loves to be involved in his community and volunteers his time to strengthen immigrant-based organizations.

Jennifer J. Yanco, PhD


Currently a Visiting Researcher at the African Studies Center at Boston University, Jennifer J  Yanco is also the US director of the West African Research Association (www.bu.edu/wara). She holds a masters degree from the Harvard School of Public Health where she specialized in the social and political determinants of health and worked for a number of years with the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, authors of Our Bodies, Ourselves.  Dr. Yanco has a Ph.D. in Linguistics and African Studies from Indiana University and served for two years as a Fulbright senior lecturer in Linguistics at the Université de Niamey.  She has taught for many years in the African language program at Boston University, focusing on curriculum and materials development for Lingala, Hausa, and Setswana. She has organized and taught intensive summer language programs in Hausa and Setswana and recently co-directed a four-week Fulbright Hays Seminar Abroad for US faculty in Senegal.

Dr. Yanco is the author of Misremembering Dr. King: Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Indiana University Press 2014) and founder of a community education anti-racism workshop, White People Challenging Racism: Moving from Talk to Action (WPCR). WPCR is a grassroots course, co-led by a network of facilitators who first took the class, and then were invited to co-lead it. WPCR seeks to build a racially just society through providing the information, skills, and resources needed to spur people to action in standing up against racism.  Since 1999, the course has drawn more than 1,500 participants, ages 13 to 81, from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. WPCR has been offered at adult education programs and college campuses in the Boston area and beyond, and has been adapted for teachers, law enforcement, public servants, social service providers, and others.  See www.wpcr-boston.org for more information. Dr. Yanco has developed anti-racism curricula for use in the schools and has, together with colleagues of color, provided diversity/anti-racism training to a range of organizations and offered workshops on friendships and work partnerships that cross lines of race and ethnicity.