Board of Directors

Nadine Wright- Arbubakrr- President and founder of Nassan’s Place, mother of Nassan the inspiration for Nassan’s Place and an advocate for children and families affected by Autism. Holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management and Marketing from Felician College and over twenty five years of managerial experience.

Sharnette Vidal – Vice President – Business professional and Advocate for children and families affected by Autism.

Aisha Rich – Secretary – Parent of a son with autism and an advocate for children and adults affected by Autism. Holds an Associates Degree in Health Information Technology.

Patricia Wilson – Treasurer – VP of Human Resource at City National Bank in Newark, NJ and an aunt of a child with autism.

Gloria Jones – Office Manager at social service agency in East Orange, NJ, Business Owner, attended Fashion Institute of Technology (Buying & Marketing).

Ted Green – Mayor of the City of East Orange.

TiKeesha N. Drake – Administrative Assistant for over 18 years at Essex County College at the West Essex Campus. Holds an Associate degree from Essex County College and a Bachelor’s degree from Montclair State University in Accounting/Business. Over 20 years of experience in business and education in early childhood and higher learning. Mother of three and aunt of Nassan.

Portia Lowery – Mother of two sons affected by Autism and a Special Education teacher with a Master Degree in Special education.

Catherine Cruz- Vice Principal at Mount Carmel Guild Academy where she has been a faculty member since 2000. Prior to becoming an administrator she worked for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark as a certified social worker from 1987 to 2000; when she decided to change careers within the agency to become a special education teacher because of her passion and desire to help educate special needs students. Several years later she obtained her certification in school administration.  
Catherine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology as well as a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction she holds certifications from the New Jersey Department of Education as a Principal, Supervisor, and Teacher of the Handicapped.
In addition to her work at Mount Carmel Guild Academy, Catherine supports other non-profit organization through volunteer work and fundraising. She is a member of several organizations throughout NJ involving special needs students but in particular students on the autistic spectrum.
In her spare time Catherine enjoys spending quality time with her husband Paul and her adult children Celeste, Crystal and Josh as well as her beloved fur babies.


Virginia Wright

Ruth Layne

Marta Verlezza

Linda Harvest

Mabel Phipps

Darlene Reeves

Valerie Merritt

Rochelle Howard

Glenda Cruz

Angela McGhee

Brenda Wright

Anita Hall-Mason