Bronx Borough Office Leadership

Photo of Executive Superintendent Erika Tobia

Erika Tobia

Executive Superintendant

(718) 828-7789 (Zerega Office)

Dr. Erika Tobia began her career in the Bronx over 30 years ago, having been afforded a variety of roles as teacher, assistant principal, principal, and most recently superintendent of district 8. She believes that educational leadership requires a strategic vision, which incorporates the use of data, research, daily action, and relationship building; and her beliefs have defined her time as superintendent. Dr. Tobia looks forward to continue the work of our current Chancellor Meisha Porter, and her priority remains to ensure that we provide our children an excellent and equitable education. She wants us all to #BelieveintheBronx and has already began promoting many events for our students and families for National Minority Health Month!

Picture of Executive Director Nancy Saffer

Nancy Saffer

Executive Director

(718) 828-5643 (Zerega Office)

Nancy serves as the Executive Director of the Bronx Borough Office. Previously she served as the Deputy Cluster Leader of Cluster 6 for five years. Prior to that, she was the Director of School Improvement, Assessment & Accountability for the Leadership Support Organization and Region 2. In addition, she served as the Director of Funded Programs in Community School District 11. A lifelong resident of the Bronx, Nancy began her career as a teacher at PS 96 in District 11.

Picture of Craig Pinckney-Lowe

Craig Pinckney-Lowe

Director of Teaching & Learning

(718) 741-3156

Craig started his educational career in 1997 as a middle school humanities teacher in District 4. Two years later he began working at PS 196 in District 12, first as a Social Studies cluster teacher for grades 2-4, then a 4th grade classroom teacher, and finally as a literacy coach. Afterwards, he had the opportunity to be a Regional Assessment Coordinator for the former Region 2 (Districts 8, 11, & 12). Next, he joined Network 7 as an achievement coach for three years before moving into the principalship at PS 102 in East Harlem, District 4. He returned to the Bronx Borough Office as a Literacy Instructional Lead in 2016, most recently supporting schools in District 7. Craig feels that he has had the privilege of learning from and collaborating with so many incredible, dedicated educators at the school, district, borough and central levels; and he looks forward to continuing to learn and grow with all of our team members in service of supporting our schools with creating the optimal conditions for all students in the Bronx to flourish.

Picture of Socorro Diaz

Socorro Diaz

Director of English Language Learners

(718) 741-5422

Socorro serves as the Director for English Language Learners. Previously she served as the Director of ELL Programs for Cluster 6 for two years, where she supported and guided Network staff to better support schools with their ELL instructional programs and to ensure that mandated services were rendered to our English language learners. A native of the Dominican Republic, Diaz began her teaching career in 1991 as a bilingual teacher at PS/MS 279. She has been a coach, program director, ELL Regional Instructional Specialist, assistant principal and a founder principal for a middle school in district 12.

Picture of Bill Ahearn

Bill Ahearn

Director of Special Education

(718) 828-4617

Bill has spent his entire DOE career in the field of special education. He has taught in the community schools, District 75 programs, and served as a Unit Coordinator for a Bronx based District 75 program. Bill’s administrative experience includes the position of Placement Officer for District 8, Administrator of Special Education for both the ISC and Cluster 6. Bill was the Director for Special Education for the Cluster 6 organization. Bill presently serves as the Director for Special Education for the Bronx Field Support Center serving Districts 8, 9, 11, & 12.

Picture of Lauren Kish

Lauren Kish

Director of Special Education


Picture of Ray Palmer

Raymond Palmer

Director of Student Services

(718) 741-5049 (Zerega Office)

Raymond serves as the Director of Student Support Services. Raymond began working with the DOE in 1980 in the Office of Pedagogic Compensation and transitioned to the instructional side in 1990 as a teacher of Social Studies. He has held a number of administrative and supervisory roles including, Director of Student Services in the Children First Network, Senior Youth Development Manager, Principal, Assistant Principal of Guidance, and Coordinator of Student Affairs.

Picture of Anthony Stiffler

Anthony Stiffler

Director of Student Services

(718) 828-6942

Anthony serves as the Director for Student Services of the Bronx Field Support Center. Anthony began in District 12 and has spent his entire career in The Bronx working with students at every grade level from Pre-K through 12. He has served as an Elementary School Teacher, Middle School Dean, Secondary School Assistant Principal, and CFN Director of Safety and Youth Development.

Barbara Hollander

Director of Finance & HR

(718) 828-7441

Barbara currently serves as the Director of Finance of the Bronx Field Support Center. Barbara formerly served as the Senior Director of Budget and Operations for Cluster 6, where she supported Children’s First Network (CFN) teams in assisting school leaders on how to best serve their students and families in the area of budget and operations. Barbara began her career at the District 10 Office in September 1994, in the areas of Finance & Purchasing, Per Session Manager and Galaxy Manager. She then moved on to the Regional Operational Center (ROC), Integrated Service Center (ISC) and Children’s First Network (CFN) prior to joining the Cluster 6 Leadership.

Debra Kelly

Director of Finance & HR

(718) 828-2117

Debra started working at the Department of Education as the Deputy Personnel Manager for Region 2 in 2005 after working in the field of Insurance and Human Resources for 20 years. Since that time Debra has continued to work in the Bronx as the Deputy Director of Human Resources for the Bronx Integrated Service Center (ISC), as a Deputy Network Leader in Network 606 and the Senior Director of Human Resources for Cluster 6. Debra’s current position is Director of Human Resources for the Bronx Field Support Office.

Dave Poonai

Sr. Mgr. Field Support Budget & HR

(718) 828-4549

Dave currently serves as the Senior Manager, for Finance and Human Resources for the Bronx Borough Office. He has worked for the DOE for over 28 years and has undertaken many roles and responsibilities during his tenure. In his current role as the Senior Manager, he facilitates and serves as an intermediary for all business and operational aspects pertaining to the Bronx Borough Field Support Center. In addition, he supports schools in the following areas of responsibilities: Budget, Grants, Human Resources, Procurement and Payroll.

Picture of Cristina Jimenez

Cristina Jimenez

Director of Operations

(718) 741-7042

Cristina serves as the Director of Operations at the Bronx Field Support Center. Previously she served as a Network Leader for five years, supporting 25 schools, grades 6-12, with expertise to assist with instructional needs and operational priorities. Cristina Jimenez started her work with the DOE in Brooklyn working with schools in Region 8 and eventually moved on to become Director of Operations in the Children First Network where she worked closely supporting schools so that they can increase student achievement.

Picture of Deena Abu-Lughod

Deena Abu-Lughod

Senior Academic Policy, Performance, and Assessment Lead

(718) 828-4808

Deena Abu-Lughod serves as the Senior Academic Policy, Performance and Assessment Lead. Starting in District 19 in 2000, she has worked in various capacities in the Bronx since 2003. Prior to joining the Bronx Borough Office, she was a Senior Achievement Facilitator, fostering school, network, and cluster team capacity to understand and use assessment data, the Quality Review, the Framework for Great Schools, collaborative inquiry, and other tools to improve student outcomes.

Denise Williams

Denise Williams

Director of Equity and Excellence

(718) 828-4808

Kris Defilippis

Kris Defilippis

Director of Academic Response Team


Kris began his career in education as a custodian, teacher’s aide and then a Social Studies middle school teacher in the Bronx. Kris served as a Social Studies and English Department Chairperson at a Special Act school and was a Middle School Associate Principal in a New York suburban setting. Recently Kris has partnered with the Carnegie Foundation and is currently a Doctoral candidate in the Fordham University Education, Leadership and Policy program. The focus of his research is on using improvement science to create equitable structures within our school system.

Picture of Stephanie Arriola

Stephanie Arriola

Chief of Staff

(718) 828-2120

Stephanie joins the Bronx Borough Office after working for five years in Student Disability Services at Columbia University and Lehman College. Stephanie was born and raised in the Bronx, and attended New York City public schools her whole life. Her passion for education reform led her to pursue a M.A. degree in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University. Stephanie is thrilled to be working at the Bronx Borough Office where she will be able to support the NYC DOE’s vision of building better schools and achieving success for all students.