Pamela Cantor, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Cantor is the Founder, President and CEO of Turnaround for Children, Inc. She founded Turnaround to address the profound influence of adversity and trauma on children’s ability to learn in high-poverty, low-performing schools, and to deepen public understanding of the vital importance of school culture and climate on learning.
Prior to her work in New York City, Dr. Cantor participated in several initiatives focused on the tremendous escalation of community and school violence. In collaboration with the United States Department of Justice, she worked with then-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder on the Children Exposed to Violence Initiative, which developed an action plan for implementation of statewide violence prevention and intervention programs.
She was also Co-Director of the Eastern European Child Abuse and Child Mental Health Project, a venture initiated and funded by George Soros and the Open Society Institute. Through this initiative, cadres of child-serving professionals from 12 Eastern European countries were trained in best mental health practices. In addition, self-sustaining non-governmental organizations were created to continue the work after the project ended in 2000.
Dr. Cantor was a practicing child psychiatrist for 18 years. She received an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College and B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.
Eliot Goldman, Ph.D., Vice President for Mental Health Operations
Eliot joined Turnaround in 2008. He holds a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology from Fordham University and is a licensed child clinical psychologist with extensive experience in the evaluation and treatment of children and adolescents. His previous professional experience includes consultation/liaison work with medical patients, as well as two decades of experience working with children on inpatient, outpatient and crisis services. Eliot coordinated child psychology training programs at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and continues to be a senior supervisor of child clinicians at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute.
His research has included the development of a set of early warning signs for at-risk children and adolescents, the implementation of evidence-based training programs in schools and community clinics as well as the integration of school and community mental health care. He has written and presented extensively in the areas of child treatment, evaluation, clinical training and community access to care. Eliot holds a faculty appointment as an Assistant Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Eliot holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from Fordham University, and an M.A. and B.A. from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Michael Gross, Vice President for Partnership Development
Mike joined Turnaround in 2011with over 15 years of urban education reform experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. As the National Director of Strategic Partnerships for EPIC at New Leaders for New Schools, Mike secured $75 million in federal funding and built partnerships with five large urban districts. Mike began his career teaching HS English in South Africa in 1994, the year of the country’s first democratic elections. He spent the next decade creating and managing award-winning youth leadership programs for grassroots NYC non-profits in partnership with teachers and principals. Most recently Mike served as the Executive Director of Strategy and Accountability for the NYCDOE’s District 79, where he collaborated with school leaders in using data to drive improvement.
Mike holds an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and a B.A. in American History from the University of Pennsylvania.
Owen Lewis, M.D., Senior Advisor for Mental Health Initiatives and Policy
Owen joined Turnaround in 2002, bringing a passion to expand the reach of mental health providers to children for whom services are not easily available and to influence systems of care.
A Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, Owen served for 25 years as Director of Child Psychiatry Education in the adult residency and was involved in training scores of child psychiatrists in child and adolescent psychotherapy. His publications reflect both his interest in psychotherapy and in public psychiatry. The General Residency Graduates awarded him a Teaching Citation in 2006 and the Child Residency Graduates awarded the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 2007. He has also received the Lawrence Kaufman Prize from the William Alanson White Institute for Psychiatry, Psychology, and Psychoanalysis and the Esther Haar Award of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis. Most recently he was a joint recipient, with Dr. Cantor, of the Wilfred C. Hulse Award of the New York Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
With Dr. Cantor, Owen co-directed the Eastern European Child Abuse and Child Mental Health Project from 1994 to 2002. Owen has also been involved in a variety of other professional endeavors. He serves on the advisory board of the Columbia College Scholars Program and has overseen a model internship for undergraduates involving didactic and practical experiences. He has also served in a variety of capacities in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Owen received an M.D. from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Melanie Mullan, Vice President for Programs
Melanie joined Turnaround in 2010 with over 15 years of experience in operations and business development. Prior to Turnaround, Melanie spent six years with Achievement First, one of the nation’s highest-performing charter school networks, first as Director of New York Operations and for four years as Chief Operating Officer. During that time, she led the organization’s growth from two schools to 17, which included undertaking the restructuring of the Operations and IT teams to drive significant reductions in projected overhead costs. Melanie’s experience also includes six years with Global Learn Inc./Edtopia Corporation, where she led the creation and expansion of one of the first web-based learning solutions for the K–12 market.
Melanie graduated cum laude from Yale with a B.A. in English.
Lawson Shadburn, SVP, Financial Strategy and External Relations
Lawson joined Turnaround in 2006 as Chief Financial and Administrative Officer and subsequently served as Chief Operating Officer until assuming his current position in 2012.
He brings over 20 years experience from a series of roles in diverse and innovative anti-poverty programs. Early in his career, he directed programs of lending and grant making for affordable housing and economic development for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and ultimately led the development of new LISC programs across the country. Lawson subsequently served as Executive Director of the Mutual Housing Association of NY, renovating housing in the East New York and Bushwick areas of Brooklyn and developing an innovative ownership model. As part of the start-up team at Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), he developed programs that provided over $100 million in capital financing for new facilities to help 32 health centers improve service to low-income communities across New York City. From 2004–2006, Lawson was Chief Financial Officer of Independence Care System, an agency that provided a new model of managed long-term care for low-income adults with disabilities.
Lawson holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and an A.B. in Cultural Anthropology from Brown University.
Joan Kass Stamler, Ph.D., Vice President for Metrics and Research
Joan joined Turnaround in 2008 with over 20 years of executive experience in the private sector as well as strong academic and research expertise in education. As an educational researcher, Joan’s interest lies in the development and evaluation of educational policies and the policy-making process related to school improvement, student development and increased educational equity. Her prior experience includes serving as Research Director for the Center for Social and Emotional Education (CSEE), where she worked on developing and validating a measure of school climate and helping schools use the data as a springboard for improvement.
Joan holds an M.B.A. from New York University, an M.A. from Teachers College and an Sc.B. from Brown University. She earned her Ph.D. at Columbia University.
Cecille Zacarias, Chief Finance and Administrative Officer
Cecille came to Turnaround in 2011 with over 20 years of experience as a development professional, primarily in microfinance. Cecille was the Chief Financial Officer at Women’s World Banking, a global microfinance network with more than 39 partners in 27 countries. She provided strategic leadership across the functions of finance and accounting, human resources, IT, and office administration. In this capacity, she developed and implemented an integrated planning, budgeting, and monitoring system to support the organization’s growth. She also built significant global experience, providing technical assistance in financial planning and providing training to staff around the world. In addition to her work in finance, Cecille built the organizational effectiveness practice of the organization, designing tools, facilitating processes of self-assessment for partner institutions, and providing consulting services to enable them to achieve high standards in leadership and organizational change, middle management development and human resources development.
Cecille holds a Master’s degree in business from the Asian Institute of Management and an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of the Philippines.