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NYC PTA Expo Speaker Bios




Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams was born in Brownsville and is a proud product of the New York City public school system, graduating from Bayside High School in 1978. He received his Associate in Arts Degree in Data Processing from New York City Technical College and his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice; later, he received his Masters' Degree in Public Administration from Marist College. After a distinguished 22-year career in the New York City Police Department, Eric served for four terms in the New York State Senate, representing the 20th State Senatorial District, covering Borough Park, Crown Heights, Flatbush, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace. Eric worked on issues that mattered to his constituents, including affordable housing, educational funding and preventative health. He became a champion on statewide matters such as good government, workers' rights, quality of life concerns and public safety. In particular, Eric effectively organized support against the NYPD's controversial stop, question and frisk policy and on behalf of gun control. Eric has also served on the board of the Eastern District Counseling Service, an organization assisting former substance abusers to live productive lives without dependency on drugs or alcohol. In 2013, Eric was elected by Brooklynites to be the first African-American to serve as Brooklyn Borough President.


Mr. Jake Ball is a tireless advocate for childhood literacy and juvenile literature. He is the Founder of Children’s Bookstore, an Idaho-based business that carries out online book fairs for schools and non-profit organizations the world over. Children’s Bookstore assists schools and educational organizations of all kinds promote reading and literacy within their communities. Jake advises school systems and educational organizations throughout the U.S. regarding how to best allocate resources for literacy products. His down-to-earth knowledge regarding how today’s children consume printed and digital media helps educational organizations build and deploy highly effective programs. Before starting Children’s Bookstore, Jake worked in politics as a campaign manager and speech writer in Washington, D.C. and Idaho. He is a fifth-generation Idahoan and still lives in Idaho. He graduated from college with a degree in International Relations. But he wishes he’d studied art, computer science or another major that had utility once he left college.Jake and his wife have 4 beautiful children. These are often tasks with reviewing books from a child’s perspective and they have more books than might be considered healthy.


Ms. Mili Bonilla spearheads Education & Participatory Budgeting in The Office of New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. In 1992, Mili Bonilla co-founded and directed Mothers on the Move (MOM), a grass-roots organization that engaged South Bronx residents for education equity in the Hunts Point/Longwood community. She was also a Program Associate with the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, where she was the Coordinator for the Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ), a citywide parent’s movement to improve New York City’s public schools. Her portfolio with the Office of New York City Council Speaker includes Education and Participatory Budgeting.


Mr. Henry Cross Henry Cross is the Founder of Hosh Kids, a Brooklyn based non-profit that makes enrichment education as a right of life rather than a luxury. He is also the Program Director of the North Brooklyn community studio Hosh Yoga. Henry blends his experience in education, yoga, and business to better serve the New York City community. He is a member of his local Community Board and enjoys ballroom dancing anytime.


Ms. Andrea Hopmann is the PTA President of PS 84 and President of District 14's Presidents' Council.  She has served on the executive board for three years, chairs the fundraising and community development committee and currently represents District 14 on the Chancellor's Parent Advisory Council. Andrea lives in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Nick and 5th grade son, Henry.


Ms. Liza Hunte is the Director of Field Services for Boy Scouts of America, Greater New York Council. Liza Hunte is no stranger to Scouting. Her career dates back to 1996 in the Scoutreach division of the Greater New York Councils. In 2002, her responsibilities increased. Serving as a District Director in Learning for Catholic Division, Liza helped serve over 20,000 youth. In 2005, she returned to the Scoutreach division and, in 2008, was promoted to Field Director of both Scoutreach, and Learning for Life. Under her guidance, Scoutreach has grown to over 9,200 youth – a 65% increase over the last nine years.


Ms. Jean Joachim is a wife and a mother of two sons and a rescued pug. Her first book, "Beyond the Bake Sale, the Ultimate School Fund-Raising Book," was a smashing success based on her 15 years of experience as an engaged NYC mom and past-PTA president at PS 87.  The fund-raising events and activities in this book reflect fifteen years experience and fifteen years of making money and fifteen years of saving money.  "We have made plenty of mistakes in our fund-raising efforts, but we never got discouraged. I have learned that it takes a year or two to really get an event to run smoothly. You have to have patience, be creative, listen to other people, and be open to suggestion. We started small with bake sales and grew over the years to huge events that made up to $60,000. But it didn't happen overnight."  Since then, Jean has written non-fiction and fiction novels.  Now she spends her days in New York City in the company of her characters, with a cup of tea and a secret stash of black licorice.  Connect with Jean through email: sunnydaysbook@gmail, her blog: or her website:


Mr. Michael Propper is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Chess NYC and President of Chess NYC Services Inc. A native New Yorker, Michael hustled his way through the New York City business world by starting his career as a teenager retailing in the streets of NYC, to becoming the owner of a telecommunications start-up, to an Elected New York City School Board President. 


Mr. Ira Roxland  is Senior Volunteer Counsel, Lawyers Alliance for New York 2013. Retired corporate partner, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP (now known as Dentons) 1996 -2011; Columbia College AB 1964; Cornell Law School JD 1967; NYU Law School LL.M (Corporate Finance) 1968.


Ms. Danielle Sullivan is the PTA Treasurer and past-PTA President of PS 133M.  Danielle is also the Co-Founder of Parents4Parents, a group that started at the Association to Benefit Children Echo Park site in March 2013.  Founders Danielle and Miriam Wilson aspired to organize a group where parents, caretakers and guardians can meet at a safe haven of commonnes (their children's head start). It has now grown into an aspiring non-profit support organization that strives to be a beacon on aid, resource and think tank for all parents. Parents4Parents hold regular workshops to keep parents informed. Some topics include, The importance of Parent Involvement and Child Development: Milestones and Red Flags.


Ms. Rebecca Taxman is a leader in the Girls Program at Chess NYC.  Rebecca is a fierce chess player and kind and thoughtful instructor.   For the past 6 years, Rebecca has shared her love and knowledge of the game with children from all over New York City.  Rebecca holds a MS in Public Policy with a concentration in health policy from Milano, the New School for International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy. 

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