Bronx Borough Office Leadership

Meisha Ross Porter

Executive Superintendant

(718) 828-7789 (Zerega Office)

Meisha Ross Porter currently serves as the Bronx Executive Superintendent where she is deeply invested in deepening school leaders equity lens and building collaborative practices across schools. Prior to taking the helm as the Bronx Executive Superintendent Meisha served as Superintendent for Community School District #11 and Principal of The Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice(LGJ). During her tenure at LGJ, Meisha served as Community Coordinator, Internship Coordinator, and taught English before becoming an Assistant Principal and then taking the helm as Principal in 2004. Having worked her way up through the ranks, she is exceedingly aware of the challenges city schools face and has dedicated her life to improving the learning environment for all students. Meisha also believes that if school leaders, teachers and parents focus on empowering students to achieve their unique individual potential they will be prepared to meet the demands of the 21st century.

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.

Petrina Palazzo

Director of Teaching & Learning

(718) 828-4638

Petrina began her career in East New York as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, director of early childhood literacy, and principal. In 2003, Petrina joined the Bronx Region 2 team as a regional instructional specialist and then director of professional development. She then served as the director of leadership development in the Leadership Learning Support Organization and was the proud network leader of CFN 606 for 6 years.

Steven Chernigoff

Director of Teaching & Learning

(718) 741-3156

Steve is the Director of Teaching and Learning for the Bronx Field Support Center. Prior to that he was a Network Leader for four years. Steve began his career in the DOE in 1989, teaching English and ESL for twelve years and then became an assistant principal. He was the founding principal of the Bronx High School for Writing and Communication Arts on the Evander Childs Campus, serving from 2004-2011.

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.

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.

Lauren Kish

Director of Special Education


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.

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.

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.

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

Director of Equity and Excellence

(718) 828-4808

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.

Stephanie Arriola

Support Services Liaison

(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.