creating healthier places in which to learn


Nancy Bill Steve Weatherford Benefit 2014

Ellie photo 2015

Ellie Berens, Development and Outreach Manager
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Ellie has always had a passion for empowering children and has worked with children in high poverty areas all over the world. She felt the call to arms after she realized that children in her own neighborhood had inadequate diets that affected their education, health, and well-being. Working for WITS allows Ellie to bring together her passion for food and fitness with her desire to improve childhood wellbeing. Prior to working at WITS, Ellie worked as a political fundraiser and at an organic baby food company. Ellie holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and Master's in Public Administration from New York University. In her free time, Ellie loves practicing yoga, cooking, and wandering the city with her dog.



Ting Chang, Program Manager
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Ting joins the WITS team with a solid background in nutrition. She was a clinical dietitian at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and provided dietary therapy to patients and their families. She developed an interest in sustainable agriculture and the local food movement during her graduate studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Ting is our resident ramen-guru and is always on the lookout for good food, whether it be in the schools, in restaurants, or on the streets.


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Karolina Janik, Program Assistant 
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Karolina's background in environmental studies, education, and local government make her a great addition to the WITS team. Having worked in high needs communities as a full time teacher, and later as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellow with the University of Miami, Karolina has always been interested in holistic approaches to education. She is particularly interested in applying these alternative-learning approaches to help high-need schools and populations. In her spare time, Karolina loves going on food tours of New York and exploring the City’s impressive array of bookstores. As much as she loves NYC, as a Baltimore native, she will always remain a die-hard Orioles baseball fan. Karolina holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Maryland and an MA from the University of Miami; she is also a former AmeriCorps Member.


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Greg Silverman, Managing Director
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Chef Greg comes to Wellness in the Schools from Share Our Strength where he was charged with building the programmatic partnerships necessary to grow the No Kid Hungry campaign and its national nutrition education efforts via the flagship Cooking Matters at the Store program. Greg previously worked in London as a food consultant for public sector organizations and the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames; was a multiple restaurant owner and chef in Ithaca, NY; and spent time as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Mali. Greg holds a degree in Anthropology from Ithaca College, a certificate in Culinary Arts from the International Culinary Center and a Masters of Science in Food and Nutritional Policy from the Centre for Food Policy at the City University of London. He is a born and bred upstate New Yorker who is excited to learn all the best bike routes in NYC from his new home in Harlem.


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Wendy Siskin, Coach for Kids Director
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Wendy has been a competitive athlete her entire life. As a former champion swimmer for Louisiana State University, she understands first-hand the rewards and personal growth that sports can bring. Wendy received a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, a Minor in Dietetics, an Exercise Physiology certification through the American College of Sports Medicine and a Youth Fitness Specialist certification with the International Youth Conditioning Association. In 2002, she started a company called Phys Kids USA; working with at-risk children and consulting with several organizations and task forces to revive physical education. Wendy brings a lifetime of passion towards wellness and the experience of equipping children with the tools they need to live their healthiest life.  


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Marjorie Wolfson, Program Director
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For Marjorie, the belief that healthy food should also taste good has been a trademark of her long association with cooking. From her early days as a cook in some of New York's flagship restaurants, she was inspired by the notion that simple, fresh, well-prepared ingredients yield good meals and contribute toward a more healthy lifestyle. Marjorie brings an extensive culinary background to the WITS Team, having cooked in restaurants such as Union Square Café, Le Madri, Alison on Dominick, and Gotham Bar and Grill. Marjorie ran her own catering and event production company for 12 years, specializing in local, seasonal foods. Marjorie, who lives in Riverdale with her husband and two daughters was part of the founding team for the Riverdale Farmers Market.

Paige.2 2015

Paige Ziplow, Administrative Assistant
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Paige is a recent graduate from Connecticut College, with a degree in Environmental Studies and Spanish. She also has a certificate in Public Policy and Community Action, specializing in food policy. During her undergraduate career, Paige served as a Nutrition Education Fellow for the New London County Food Policy Council, devoting many hours to inspiring healthy, wholesome bodies. Just recently, Paige implemented her own preschool nutrition education program in partnership with UConn's Center for Public Health and Health Policy. Paige now lives in Manhattan, where she is inspired by all things related to cooking and food.


Our NYC WITS Chefs:
Ingrid Abdullah, Institute of Culinary Education, 2012
Victoria Baluk, American Fitness Professionals & Associates, 2011
Diego Baraona, Institute of Culinary Education, 2000
Laurielle Clark, Institute of Culinary Education, 2002
Catherine Cook, Institute of Culinary Education, 2014
Kisha Figueroa Cromartie, Institute of Culinary Education, 2007
Ricardo Diaz, NGI for Health and Culinary Arts, 2015
Jennifer Ecclestone, Institute of Culinary Education, 2002
Ellen Emerson, NGI for Health and Culinary Arts, 2008
Sara Fry, NGI for Health and Culinary Arts, 2011
Kathleen Galante, French Culinary Institute, 1998
Kent Gifford, NGI for Health and Culinary Arts, 2009
Carly Gould, Institute of Culinary Education, 2011
Jeneé Grannum, French Culinary Institute, 2015
Elaina Kaufman, International Culinary Center, 2014
Lauren Nilsen, Institute of Culinary Education, 2011
Shani Porter, Institute of Culinary Education, 2007
Deborah Soffel, NGI for Health and Culinary Arts, 2000
Andrea Sperling, NGI for Health and Culinary Arts, 2013
Cynthia Tomasini, French Culinary Institute, 2011
Anne Williams, French Culinary Institute, 1997
Marion Williams, NGI for Health and Culinary Arts, 2009
Our NYC FoodCorps Service Members:
Monica Chen, Yale University, 2015
Jamisha Williams, University of Vermont, 2015
Our WITS Coaches:
Amanda Borbee, Adelphi University
Jamel Brundige, Nassau Community College
Jeffrey Bryant, North Ampton Community College, NASM, ISFS
Jameg Campbell, College of New Rochelle  
Triscelle Couch, Morgan State University 
Dayon L. Floyd, San Diego University, PE 
Errol Jones, Harlow College, England
Rick Kirkland, Southern CT University
Paul Lapine, Adelphi University
Amara Mbionwu, Adelphi University
Jordan Mustapher, John Jay College  
Lashawn Nixon, Adelphi University
Jason Perez, Adelphi University
Kathleen Perez, Adelphi University
Robert Sanders, SUNY Old Westbury
John Sanjurjo, St. Thomas Aquinas College, Recreation and Leisure Studies
Ena Shed, South West Institute of Healing Arts, ACE, AFAA    
Paul Soloman, State University of New York of Oneonta
Rachely Soto, Adelphi University 
Stanley Stephens, Lehman College
Dante Suarez, Georgia State University 
Tyari Wilson, SUNY Canton University

Accounting by Thomas Associates CPA

"[Thanks to WITS] our students have developed a greater understanding of and respect for the food they eat and the importance of eating healthy."
-Principal of a WITS school