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Advisory Board Members

Currently, the Advisory Board consists of 8 members. Each member serves for three years and may be reappointed for one additional term. Learn more about our current board below.

Frank Alvarez ‘76
Frank Alvarez

Dr. Frank Alvarez is an educational consultant assisting districts to improve educational practices with a focus on minority student achievement, special education, and principal effectiveness. During his career, he has served as superintendent of schools in four districts—North Caldwell (NJ), River Vale (NJ), Montclair (NJ), and Rye (NY). Earlier in his career, he taught and held a number of administrative positions at the local level and worked for the New Jersey State Department of Education on several special initiatives. More recently, he served as an adjunct instructor for the M.A. program in Educational Leadership at Montclair State University.

Dr. Alvarez has received appointments to several regional and national boards including the Middle States Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education (finance committee co-chair); Tri-State Consortium (chair); the Victoria Foundation (president); Panasonic’s NJ Superintendents’ Network (founding member); and Pearson Education’s Hispanic Advisory Board (member).

Dr. Alvarez received a BA from Montclair State University in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and an MA and EdD in Educational Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. He was on the MSU Alumni Association board from 1997-2008, serving as president from 2006-2008. In 2008, Montclair State University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate for his contributions to the field of education. He currently serves as the Advisory Board Chairman.

Dr. Alvarez and his wife, Nancy (MSU, BA ’76, MA ‘02) live in River Vale, NJ.

Harold Abraham '11
Harold Abraham

Dr. Harold Abraham is a Montclair State University alumni of both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Professionally he works as an accomplished school administrator. Dr. Abraham was awarded the 2018 Outstanding Achievement in Administration & Supervision Award for his innovative programming in the school setting. He has earned a Doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction, a Master’s in Special Education, a second Master’s in Educational Leadership, and a Bachelor of Science. Dr. Abraham also maintains a role as a professor in the Educational Leadership Program at Montclair State University, was appointed by Governor Phil Murphy to serve on the State Special Education Advisory Council (SSEAC), and sits on the Board of Trustees for New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE).

Keesha Chavis '97
Keesha Chavis

Keesha Chavis is the Associate Vice President for Human Resources at Widener University. Keesha has extensive experience leading a wide range of human resources areas including learning, university staffing, talent acquisition, classification & compensation, Workday operations, and benefits. Keesha had a 24-year career at Montclair State University, her most recent role being Assistant Vice President for Learning, Development & Performance. In that role, Keesha led the HR transformation project, including leadership around business process re-design and administration, development, designing, testing, and implementation of Core HR/Payroll/Benefits in Workday as well as recruiting and performance management. Throughout her career at Montclair State University, Keesha made significant contributions to the University community, particularly in the areas of Talent Management, Performance Management, Training, and overall operations within the Division of Human Resources. She believes in fostering inclusive working relationships and establishing partnerships with campus constituents to develop strategies to address issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

Keesha is from Newark, NJ, and is a first-generation college student. She was a first-time parent when she entered college and has credited her mother, sister, and the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) for helping her achieve her educational goals. After her sister’s passing in 2016, Keesha created the Tanya Green Memorial EOF Scholarship, in her sister’s name, which is available to students from Newark who are also parents and struggling to pay tuition. It is her way of helping people in need, while also acknowledging her sister’s importance in her journey.

Keesha is currently pursuing a PhD in Higher Education Leadership, Management and Policy at Seton Hall University. She holds a Master of Arts in Administration/Supervision and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Montclair State University.

Olivia Eaddy
Olivia Eaddy

Olivia is a Vice President of Claims on Prudential’s US Customer Service Team. She leads the Contact Center and Claim Concierge functions across Prudential’s U.S. Customer base. She also oversees back-office life claims operations for the Prudential U.S. Individual Life Insurance. Her team consist of more than 200 associates located both domestically and internationally and is responsible for the administration of millions of life insurance solutions and outcomes for beneficiaries. She is also responsible for transforming service and operating models for these functions into future state; to help Prudential’s beneficiaries achieve a better state of Financial Wellness.

Since joining Prudential in 2006, Olivia has held several leadership roles with increasing responsibility in Operations and the Contact Center. Olivia has a diverse background with direct experience in Annuities, Group Insurance, and Individual Life Insurance business groups.

A true student of leadership, Olivia is known as an engaging and inspirational leader who gets work done, the right way, and inspires followership along the way. A natural agent of change, she has a track record of success in leading large, cross-organizational teams through challenging situations, including large system conversions, consolidations, culture change and other critical initiatives.

Olivia is passionate about people development and in addition to the work she does at Prudential, she actively facilitates conferences and leadership training for non-profit organizations as president and founder of Will-Liv Ministries, Inc.

Olivia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Messiah University and a Master of Science degree in Executive Leadership from Liberty University. She is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Certified Business Architect, and currently holds her series 6 and 63 FINRA licenses.

Olivia lives in Montgomery County with her husband and two sons. She enjoys spending time with her family, supporting her local church, and traveling.

Wendy Lacey
Wendy Lacey

Wendy Lacey is the founder and Executive Director of Cornerstone Montclair—a business with a vision of fostering a community in which people of all abilities have opportunities for work, healthy movement and social engagement. Cornerstone Montclair’s mission comes to life in a 3,000 square foot building located at 198 Bellevue Avenue, Upper Montclair, NJ. By partnering with businesses, educators and service providers who share this vision, Cornerstone Montclair has created a vibrant hub of activity that welcomes people with various disabilities to work and enjoy life alongside their peers.

Ms. Lacey started her career in investment banking and, after receiving a Master of Public Administration from New York University, transitioned into the non-profit sector, focusing on education and mentoring.

Ms. Lacey serves on several boards, including the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties. For over 15 years she has actively worked with and supported the mission of Link Community School in Newark, including serving as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees. She sits on Montclair Township’s People with Disabilities Committee.

Ms. Lacey is married to Andrew Lacey and lives with her family in Montclair, New Jersey. They have four young children and a crazy dog. The family is very active in the Montclair community, particularly in the area of Special Education. The Laceys are strong advocates for inclusive education for children with special needs.

Emanuel (Manny) Scrofani '61
Manny Scrofani

Manny Scrofani devoted his career to education—first as a teacher and then as an educational leader at school, district, state and national levels. He was a teacher in New Jersey, and California; a principal and assistant principal in seven California schools; and superintendent of Schools in Napa and Sonoma. He then became an Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne in Southern CA.

Dr. Scrofani received his BA in Business Education at Montclair State, where he was the Captain of one of four undefeated football teams in the University’s history. As a result of his athletic accomplishments, he was named NJ State College Alumni Association Distinguished Athlete and was the All State Northern New Jersey Selection Football Team Captain at Seton Hall Prep, where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. In 2007, Dr. Scrofani led the effort, along with his MSU football teammates, to establish the Coach Jerry Edwards Athletic Endowment Fund to honor their coach and to create a special fund to assist men’s sports at MSU.

Dr. Scrofani received an MA in Supervision and Administration from CA State University, Los Angeles, and an EdD in Educational Administration and Management from the University of Northern Colorado. He had post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Texas at Austin, at University of CA Santa Barbara, and at Pepperdine University.

Dr. Scrofani has served on numerous boards, committees, and advisory groups, and in other leadership positions. For example, he was Director of Research and Evaluation and Assistant Executive Director of Board Development for the CA School Boards Association; and Commissioner for Teacher Credentialing for the CA State Department of Education. He was on the boards of directors for the CA Institute of School Improvement and the CA Consortium of Educational Foundations. He was on the advisory boards of the Sonoma State University Administrative Credentialing Program and the Far West Regional Laboratory.

Dr. Scrofani and his wife Meg, who spent many years as a school principal, now live in Napa Valley, in the town of Angwin, CA.

Edward Topar '60
Edward Topar

Ed Topar entered Montclair State in 1956 and graduated in 1960. He played on the football, basketball, and baseball teams and was honored to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame a few years after graduation. While at Montclair State, he also participated in the Agora Fraternity and the Drama Club. Following graduation, he was a substitute teacher of Physical Education at Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California, before moving back to New Jersey, where he taught Physical Education and coached football at Summit High School, in Summit, for the next four years.

In 1966, he left teaching and began a 15-year career in sales, marketing, and management with IBM, before moving to Canon, USA for 12 years, where he became National Sales Manager. After another three years in a similar position with Savin Corporation, he retired in 2000. He then spent 3 years as an Adjunct Professor and consultant to the Student Government Organization at Kean University. In 2007, he began an inspiring 10-year relationship with the Ministry of Education in Lithuania as part of an NGO Summer Program to bolster and invigorate the administrative management of the Lithuanian Education System, which had been devastated during the 50-year occupation of that country by the Soviet Union. Having the opportunity to learn about their situation and to participate in their transition was a very rewarding and enlightening experience for him. It is a major influence on his desire to help Montclair State students realize their potential through service on the Advisory Board.

Mr. Topar lives in Mountainside, New Jersey.

Yadira Trimino '00, '21
Yadira Trimino

Ms. Trimino received a BA from Montclair State University in Psychology in 2000, Preschool through Grade Three teaching certification in 2003 and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership in 2021. Ms. Trimino is devoted to working with the families and children of the urban communities she has served for the past 25 years as founder and CEO of Kid’s World, Inc., a New Jersey licensed preschool facility in West New York, New Jersey. Ms. Trimino is a certified trainer in all areas of teacher development and mentor through New Jersey Child Care Information Services (NJCCIS). Prior to opening Kid’s World, Inc., Ms. Trimino worked for Nickelodeon Television Station and at Telemundo Corporate headquarters in the market research department.

Ms. Trimino is from Weehawken, New Jersey, and a first-generation college graduate. She credits her grandmother for instilling the love of education in her at an early age. She is looking to begin a doctoral degree in education as her dream is to receive an Ed.D. in higher education.

Ms. Trimino has served on the Jersey City Early Childhood Advisory Board and has mentored many educators through NJDOE, WNYBOE and the Urban League of Hudson County. Additionally, Ms. Trimino serves as a volunteer and mentor at Family Advocates Network Political Action Committee (FANPAC) an organization that aims to educate and inspire all agencies that work with the family court system to prioritize reunification between fit parents and children.

Ms. Trimino lives with her two grown children and puppy in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Myrtis Yake
Myrtis Yake

Myrtis Yake received a BSN in Nursing from Goshen College (Indiana) and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She worked in development and government relations from 1978 to 2012 and in health, mental health, and addictions fields from 1961 to 1978. Ms. Yake served as the Development Officer for Major Gifts for the College of Education and Human Services at Montclair State for several years until her retirement in 2012. Prior to her position at Montclair State, she held several positions, including as Director of Corporate and Foundation Grants and Program Development for the Saint Barnabas Health Care System Foundation in West Orange; Manager of Foundations for the NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark; and Director of Government Relations for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark.

Since leaving MSU, she volunteered for three years as a co-therapist in addictions in Montclair, and in 2017 began volunteering with CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children in Essex County. She works with assigned foster children and all entities surrounding them (caseworkers, law guardians, therapists, teachers, foster parents, mentors, judges, and CASA supervisors) to make certain the children are safe, receive the best care, and have optimal outcomes. Since 2013, she has served on the Goshen College Alumni Board, her alma mater, in Indiana. In 2017, she was invited to join the Goshen College Board of Directors.

Ms. Yake and her husband, Byron, a former journalist and founder of Write on Sports, a literacy/journalism program for at-risk middle school students, live in West Orange.