Staff & Board

Antonio Di Nizo
Chief Executive Officer
Phone #: (973) 684-1904 Ext. 221

Antonio Di Nizo was appointed chief executive officer of 4CS of Passaic County, Inc. in April 2022. Prior to taking on this role, Antonio (Tony) had been 4Cs’ CFO for many years, and for three of those years, had also functioned as acting chief executive officer. For more than 20 years, in addition to managing finances, his role had also included the functions of chief information and administrative officers.

Tony’s perceptive operational skills, in-depth knowledge of the childcare subsidy assistance arena, and expertise with contract administration and the State of New Jersey’s child care resource and referral system (CCR&R) all qualify him well for the CEO position. His expertise includes a deep understanding of the licensing requirements and regulations for both home- and center-based providers, compliance for the CCR&R contract, and the provisions of technical assistance and program quality enhancement trainings for all programs.

Tony immigrated to the United States from Argentina as a child, is bilingual in Spanish and also speaks Italian. He brings lived experience of life on the socio-economic margins; he knows intimately the challenges and opportunities that young, dual-language learners and their families face, the importanceof good nutrition for children’s developing brains, and how essential learning and play are for theirhealthy development. This recognition brings with it a profound empathy for the challenges our valued families and child care providers experience, and drives Tony to work tirelessly to afford families the tools and resources they need to become stronger and more resilient, and to raise successful children, this generation and beyond.

Tony holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in professional accounting from American University. He lives in Scotch Plains, NJ, and has two children who have completed higher education.

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Shakia White
Chief Operating Officer/Manager of Human Resources
Phone # (973) 684-1904 Ext. 277

Shakia White, Chief Operating Officer/Manager of Human Resources
Shakia White serves as chief operating officer and human resources manager at 4Cs of Passaic County, Inc. Shakia was hired into management at 4Cs in 2008, after having started her career in the medical field at Newark Beth Israel Hospital in the Valerie Fund–Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology Department. Knowing that she wanted to continue to work with children, but in a different capacity, Shakia decided to pursue a career more aligned with education, and looked to the agency which had once helped provide her with childcare guidance for her own children. Since joining 4Cs, Shakia has continued to assume roles of increasing responsibility, having been promoted to program director/human resources manager in 2009, and chief operating officer in 2017. She has done this while also continuing her education, earning a bachelor of science degree in human resources in 2010, and a master of business administration (MBA) in 2014.

Shakia grew up in Paterson, NJ. As an African American woman, she feels strongly about not onlybreaking down barriers and stereotypes for those who follow, and contributing to the community in which she was raised; as importantly, she also serves as a role model for her three children, and focuses on setting an example to demonstrate to others what is possible. Shakia attended public school in Paterson, NJ. She attended high school at Passaic County Technical Institute (PCTI) in Wayne, NJ, where she majored in Business. Shakia holds an undergraduate degree from Berkeley College, and an MBA from Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ.

 

Jo Alessi
Interim Chief Financial Officer
Phone #: (973) 684-1904 Ext. 231

Jo Alessi was appointed to interim chief financial officer with 4Cs of Passaic County, Inc. in April 2022. Jo began her career with 4Cs in 1992 as an accounting manager, and was later promoted to Controller, which has been her role for several years. For 30 years, Jo has worked in the 4Cs Fiscal Department, managing the child care subsidy program for Passaic County, which is funded by the State of NJ, Division of Family Development, as well handling the daily general accounting functions of 4Cs.

Jo’s in-depth knowledge of the State of NJ child care subsidy program, family child care, food and many other programs reflects her numerous and diversified qualifications for the position of Interim Chief Financial Officer. Her passion to help families and children drives her to work hard to serve the community and provide the assistance needed for child care so that families can work and thrive in our communities.

As an Italian American, Jo is bi-lingual and speaks Italian fluently. She is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with BA in Accounting. Jo is mother of two grown children and lives in Passaic County, NJ.

 

Mariela Perez
Associate Program Director of Subsidy and Family Services
Phone #: (973) 684-1904 Ext. 267

As the associate director of subsidy and family services, Mariela manages the team that is the face of 4Cs to families needing childcare financial aid and referral assistance. Her team provides the critical resources to help parents navigate the subsidy system and identify high-quality care for their children. Since beginning her 4Cs career as a parent counselor in 2008, and later serving in the role of associate case manager/TANF program coordinator, Mariela has developed a deep, grass roots understanding of
the childcare needs in Passaic County, and the crucial role 4Cs’ services play in helping parents get back to work. She and her team go above and beyond to ensure families receive the appropriate guidance, tools and access they need to make good decisions about childcare.

Mariela received an associate’s degree in applied science (accounting) from Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago (UTESA), Santiago, DR, before emigrating to the United States. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from William Paterson in 2015. Mariela brings her passion for helping others to everything she does. She has received the City of Paterson “Mayor’s Award” for outstanding civic contribution, and regularly participates in both training and outreach activities in Passaic County to connect with and raise awareness in the community around 4Cs’ vital services.

 

Maria Guadalupe
Associate Program Director for Education and Provider Services Department/Quality Manager/ Director of Vocational School
Phone #: (973) 684-1904 Ext. 272

Maria Guadalupe is an Associate Program Director/Quality Manager with 4Cs of Passaic County, Inc., and has more than twenty years of experience in early care and education. She began her career with 4Cs as a student in 1997, and was hired in May 1999 as a bilingual instructor after receiving her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. For the past thirteen years, Maria has served the agency in a managerial role, with responsibilities that include but are not limited to: provider services training; oversight of existing providers and their businesses; training for the general public on parenting, health & safety, and CPR/first aid. Maria’s additional responsibilities include oversight/implementation of the food program, run by the Department of Agriculture, which ensures that children in the care of Passaic County providers receive nutritious meals.

Maria completed her bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership with honors at Pillar College in Newark, NJ. She is extremely passionate and dedicated to the early care and education work and services at 4Cs.

 

Anita Agarwal
Operations Coordinator 
Phone #: (973) 684-1904 Ext. 210

Anita Agarwal serves as operations coordinator at 4Cs of Passaic County, Inc. Anita has a bachelor’s degree from St. Xavier’s College and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Mumbai, both located in India. For a number of years, she worked in India with the Bank of Credit and Commerce before coming to the United States where she completed a second master’s degree in nonprofit management at the New School for Social Research, New York.

While pursuing her master’s she interned at The Door, Inc., an adolescent drop-in center that addressed the social services needs of young people in New York City. Anita also worked as an intern at the U.S. Committee for UNICEF, helping with their fundraising campaigns and managing correspondence with the donors. After finishing her second master’s degree, she served as program officer for Onchocerciasis (River Blindness at Helen Keller International, New York). From 1993 to 2015, she was working part-time and raising her children while simultaneously serving as a committed community volunteer for nonprofit organizations. She joined 4Cs in 2015 where she has been working full time. Children and youth have been a longstanding interest: Anita has been involved with Child Relief & You (CRY) for 27 years, and she has served as an advisory board member for CRY America.

 

Eric Lac
IT Manager
Phone #: (973) 684-1904 Ext. 216

Eric Lac is the Information Technology (IT) manager with 4Cs of Passaic County, Inc. In that role, he supports all of our 4Cs employees’ IT needs, as well as the programs, hardware and infrastructure required to fulfill our mission.

Eric graduated from New Jersey City University with a degree in Computer Information Science. He began his career with 4Cs as an IT Coordinator in March 1994, and was promoted to IT manager in 2019. He brings not only prior experience as a Webmaster to his role, but also networking, database and system integration skills, which have helped 4Cs maintain and improve the platforms necessary to operate. Notably, during the recent pandemic, he and his team implemented critical technology that kept systems running remotely, allowing 4Cs employees to work safely while continuing to support our clients.

Throughout Eric’s career at 4Cs, he has constantly developed his skills and looked for ways to improve the tools and programs we work with. In that quest, Eric built a database solution which improved business functionality and created interactivity between several independent systems. Those systems are key to helping those we serve; bridging that gap allowed our internal employees to streamline their work and reduce duplication of effort. That database is just one example of the ways in which Eric
works to help the families of Passaic County, by providing 4Cs with the tools that allow us to make a difference.

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Board of Directors

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OFFICERS

President

Charles Walter: Chief Operating Officer, CCG Marketing Solutions, 2/16/2016

Charles Walter has learned that giving back to others is critical to his personal well-being.

“I feel like I’ve had a lot of gifts in my life. I want to connect my gifts and abilities with a cause that can take advantage of them. I believe my work skills, such as executive management and organization, would be helpful,” says Mr. Walter, who joined the Board of Directors of 4Cs of Passaic, Inc. in February 2016.

The son of an obstetrician and a nurse, Mr. Walter was raised with his two siblings in Cleveland, Ohio. “I had a nice upbringing, but we were not involved in anything as a family. As I grew up and got married and had my own children, I definitely wanted to be involved in the greater community,” he says.

He studied engineering at Case Western Reserve University, but his career has been in computer consulting. After working for several companies, including Accenture Consulting, Sara Lee Corporation and WPP Group (as Chief Information Officer), He joined Core Media Systems in 2013. He now serves as President of the company, which specializes in media management software.

Mr. Walter and his wife became involved with the Unitarian Church when they lived in Chicago, and he eventually joined the Chicago church’s Board of Directors. When they moved to New Jersey in 2002, he joined the local Unitarian Church, and ran the long-term strategic planning group, eventually moving up to Vice President and President of the Board of Trustees. Through the church, he met Inge Spungen, Chair of the 4Cs Board of Directors. “She had a pretty similar path to community involvement and suggested this board would be a good next step for me,” he said. He began working on the Board’s strategic plan and then was asked to join the Board.

“The strategic plan is so crucial because it drives the future direction … you always have to have a post on the horizon, and then you reset the post so the goal keeps moving. A strategic plan also helps in annual and tactical planning, and gives everyone in the organization a sense of focus and direction,” he says.

With two daughters now in college, he has been eager to give back more to people in the community.

“4Cs is a tremendous service that helps working families learn to help themselves.” Mr. Walter says.

Secretary

Dr. Sandra Coppola: Senior Director of Personal Counseling at Berkeley College,  3/22/2016

Sandra E. Coppola’s desire to help others began in her childhood. One of three children, she grew up in northern New Jersey. “My oldest brother’s disability affected me greatly and created an interest in advocating for people with disabilities. Seeing the struggle he went through and the lack of support available to my family really impacted me,” she says.

Dr. Coppola, Senior Director of Personal Counseling at Berkeley College, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in New Jersey and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York (Berkeley has campuses in both states). She oversees a staff of 13 counselors at nine campuses as well as Berkeley’s on-line community.

After receiving a Ph.D. from Long Island University, she began her counseling career, working primarily with substance-abuse clients. She also owned a restaurant. While teaching a college course after she sold the restaurant, she discovered her real passion was working as a counselor in higher education. “I fell in love with the students and found that I really belonged in a college environment in a counseling capacity rather than teaching. These are often first-generation college students, single parents and non-traditional students. This is a pivotal point in their lives and I felt honored when they allowed me to be a part of their journey and help to impact their lives. I felt I was able to understand them, support them and validate them,” she says.

She referred several students in need of affordable and quality childcare to 4Cs of Passaic County, Inc. That led her to becoming more involved with the organization and joining the Board of Directors.

“There is such a need for accessible childcare in the community. If you don’t have that, you can’t pursue your dreams because your basic needs are not being met. People can get really beaten down. When they enter college, they are told the world is their oyster and it doesn’t always go that way. Reliable childcare is a major issue,” she says.

She would like to see the organization help college students find affordable childcare on short notice and with flexible schedules. And she wants to help 4Cs of Passaic County grow.

“This is an organization that supports the family system. Individuals can reach levels of self-sufficiency so they can reach their potential,” she says.

Treasurer

 Sarah G. Avery, CPA: Director of Nonprofit Services, Friedman LLP, 1/30/ 2018

Sarah specializes in providing audit and tax compliance services to not-for-profit organizations and is always on the look-out for opportunities in the community to use her skills to provide value where there is a need.  4Cs has both the need and a sentimental pull, as Paterson, NJ is her birth-place.

Sarah is very active in philanthropy and has served for many years as a board member for the New Jersey Council of Charitable Gift Planners and on the Salvation Army Advisory Board of Bergen County.

Through Friedman LLP’s membership in the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, she participates on the Nonprofit Roundtable and the Sustainability committees.

Sarah is a contributing writer to the Friedman LLP Nonprofit Advisor newsletter and has been published in the Non-profit Times Exempt magazine, the New Jersey Society of CPAs Pulse newsletter and New Jersey CPA magazine.  Sarah recently spoke at the Morris County Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Roundtable on current tax reform, was a featured speaker for National Business Institute on Form 990 and UBIT issues, moderator for the Association of Fundraising Professionals 2016 Whitley Lecture for the CFO panel, featured speaker for New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education on Exempt Organization noncompliance and examination issues, and is a distinguished faculty member of Lorman Education Services.  Most recently, she presented to the New Jersey Highlands Coalition on the recent tax law changes impact on Charitable Giving and Lorman Education Services on Private Foundations, requirements and restrictions.

She has three grown children who are all successfully living on their own.  Two years ago she renovated a 100 year-old multi-family residence and loves salvaging, upcycling and gardening.

DIRECTORS

Susan Butterfield: President of the Passaic County Education Associations, 4/24/ 2018

I learned about 4Cs from Sean Spiller, Vice-President of NJEA. He asked if I would be interested in joining a committee working with the organization. After reviewing the website and speaking to
Coleen Stevens Porcher and Inge Spungen, I was excited to begin work with the Community Outreach, Development, and Marketing Committee. Advocating for education professionals from all age groups and many different school settings as President of the Passaic County Education Associations, I understand and respect the need for high quality child care. Teaching in the Passaic Public Schools offered me the opportunity to develop a great respect for the sacrifice of parents, especially young mothers. Working to support the mission of the 4Cs allows me to support the personal priorities I have developed through my employment and personal experiences.

I was born in Essex County, NJ, and after attending Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, I began teaching at Passaic High School. Later education included earning a MA from Teachers’ College, Columbia University. I am proud to say that I have over two decades serving the students of Passaic County. Today, I live in Essex County with two wonderful teenage sons who are growing into upstanding young men. Having had childcare provided by my own mother when they were small allowed me to continue to work, and today I am grateful to be part of an organization that helps the mothers of Passaic County access that same opportunity.

Dr. Deborah Johnson-Rothe, M.D., F.A.A.P.:  Medical Director-Northeast Region of Aetna, Hospital & Health Care, 3/22/2016

Dr. Deborah Johnson-Rothe is the Medical Director-Northeast Region of Aetna, Hospital & Health Care, located in Parsippany, New Jersey. She has been in this position for two years

Previously, she was Medical Director and Team Lead for Executive Health Resources, a division of United Health Group. She also spent six years in the National Public Health Service Corporation in New York City and was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at New Jersey Medical School with an interest in healthcare economics and emergency medicine. She also served on several managed care organization committees in the areas of quality improvement and utilization management. She has been one of New Jersey’s State Commissioners in the Office of Minority Health and served as Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs at New Jersey Medical School.

She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Barnard College at Columbia University and an M.D. in Pediatrics from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School. She speaks Spanish fluently. She is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine.

Dr. Johnson-Rothe also has served on the boards of the Black Infant Mortality Reduction Resource Board and the University Lithotripsy Affiliates Board, The Stone Center of NJ.

Tomasz Labuda: Bank Officer/Relationship Manager, M&T Bank

Tomasz Labuda joined the 4Cs of Passaic County Board of Directors in 2019 after previously serving on the Community Outreach, Development and Marketing Committee.

He was raised in Northern New Jersey and attended Rutgers University in Newark, NJ for his undergraduate studies.

Tomasz has been working in the banking industry since 2008. In that time, he has taken on various roles and responsibilities which have allowed him to be a trusted advisor to individuals in his community. In his role with M&T Bank, Tomasz is able to help small businesses throughout northern New Jersey, while also taking time to carry out volunteer work with various
not-for-profit organizations. In addition to 4C’s of Passaic County, Tomasz also works closely with the Entrepreneurs Organization of New Jersey.

Growing up as an immigrant in the U.S., Tomasz helped his parents care for his siblings. This allowed them to work full time jobs and support their family. The experience helped Tomasz gain an appreciation for the value of having access to affordable childcare, especially in instances where both parents need to work to support their household.

Tomasz was drawn to becoming a member of the 4Cs board as his beliefs align with the mission of the organization. He also felt that his life and work experience would allow him to contribute to 4Cs, in a way that would help them reach more families in Passaic County.

Outside of the office, Tomasz can be found spending time with his wife Michelle, and their three children.

Dr. Brandon Picchierri: Paramus Medical & Sports Rehabilitation CenterChiropractic Physician

Dr. Brandon Picchierri joins the 4Cs of Passaic County Board of Directors in 2020 after previously serving on the Community Outreach, Development and Marketing Committee.

Born and raised here in northern New Jersey, he attended Drew University in Madison, NJ for his undergraduate studies before earning his Doctorate in Chiropractic from Life University in Atlanta, GA. While attending Life University, a part of their mission statement struck a chord with Dr. Picchierri: “To Give. To Do. To Love. To Serve.” He tries his best to honor those words every single day; giving, doing, loving and serving. “What better way to do all of those things than helping with 4Cs?” he said.

While in Atlanta, he met his amazing wife, Sandy, and volunteered his time at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market and the Georgia Organics Farmers Fund. 

As a local Chiropractic Physician in both Paramus and Wayne, NJ with Paramus Medical and Sports Rehabilitation Center, he spends his day helping others in different ways. His dedication to his patients has quickly made him one of Bergen Magazine’s “Healthcare Professionals To Watch.”

Dr. Picchierri is also an active member of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, and the American Chiropractic Association, as well as an affiliate member of the Bergen County Police Chief’s Association and the Bergen County 200 Club. He was also recently named an “Honored Citizen” by the New Jersey Honor Legion.

When he’s not in his office or helping out however he can with 4Cs, Dr. Picchierri can be found enjoying life with his wife, his daughter, and his dog. He’s also an avid golfer and a die-hard Yankees and Giants fan.

 

 

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