Our Team


Directors Team

Liz Marcell Williams, Chief Executive Officer


Liz Marcell Williams transitioned to the role of CEO of the Center for Resilience after serving as the founding Executive Director of the New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program. Liz received her BA in Italian Language & Literature from Smith College, and her M.Ed. and Ed.D. in Culture, Communities, and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Liz began her career as a special education teacher in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley as part of Teach for America, and has since taught at the elementary, middle, undergraduate, and graduate school levels. Liz first came to New Orleans in 2002 to work on the staff of Teach for America’s regional program team. She has since consulted with schools and districts around the country to develop high-quality special education policies and practices, and served as the founding Executive Director of Intervention Services at a New Orleans charter school network. Based on her work with children with behavioral disabilities there, she was asked to design and launch what became the New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program.


Rochelle McConico, Director of Finance and human resources


Rochelle McConico is the founding Director of Finance and Operations at the Center for Resilience, after serving as the founding Director of Finance and Operations at the New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program. Ms. McConico first came to New Orleans as a teacher in 2003. After a ten-year career as an educator in different school districts around the country, Ms. McConico joined the Recovery School District (RSD), where she has held numerous roles, including Human Capital Manager and Director of Special Projects. Ms. McConico received her B.S. in Management from Tulane University in New Orleans and her MBA from Hult International Business School in Boston.


Vininder Khunkhun, Medical Director


Vininder Khunkhun is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University Medical School and Medical Director of the Center for Resilience, and was the founding medical director at the New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program. A triple-board certified psychiatrist in child and adult psychiatry and pediatrics, Dr. Khunkhun is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica, and Tulane School of Medicine’s combined residency in general psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Khunkhun has experience working as a consulting psychiatrist in family health centers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in residential facilities in Massachusetts. Dr. Khunkhun was recently named to New Orleans-based independent publication The Gambit’s “40 Under 40” class of 2017.


Monica Stevens, Clinical Director – Middle School & high school program


Monica Stevens is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Tulane University Medical School, a consultant with the Tulane Early Childhood Collaborative, and a Clinical Director at the Center for Resilience; she was the founding medical director at the New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program. Dr. Stevens received her B.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi and has a Masters and Doctorate in Clinical and Health Psychology from the University of Florida. Dr. Stevens specializes in treating disruptive behavior disorders and uses her experience with relationship-based assessment and interventions to treat the underlying causes of these issues. Dr. Stevens has extensive experience addressing the impact of trauma on children and their families. While at Tulane, Dr. Stevens has practiced in various community agencies including those that serve the needs of very young children. She also has experience working with adolescents with severe psychiatric conditions in the hospital and school setting.


Laura Marques, Clinical Director – Elementary school program


Laura Marques is a licensed clinical and school psychologist serving as a Clinical Director at the Center for Resilience. She specializes in assessment and treatment of trauma- and stressor-related disorders and disruptive-behavior disorders in youth. Dr. Marques uses a developmental-ecological approach to understand the ways in which family, school, and community strengths can be utilized to promote resilience and recovery. Her experiences include working in schools and therapeutic settings to implement evidence-based interventions for youth with severe and complex mental health needs. Dr. Marques is also interested in strategies and tools to build trauma-informed organizations that promote well-being among professionals working with trauma-exposed youth.


Kate Geiss, Site Director – k-8 director


Kate Geiss is the Site Director at the Middle School Campus for the Center for Resilience and previously served as the School Partnerships Coordinator and Academic Director at the New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program. She has leadership experience at several New Orleans charter networks including Dean of Students, Special Education Coordinator, and Dean of Interventions. Kate was a founding teacher at ReNEW Schools, where she then worked as a leader in school culture, special education, and interventions for 5 years across its two flagship campuses. She began her career teaching general education 5th grade math in Jefferson Parish Public Schools in Harvey, Louisiana. Kate has a B.A. in political science and history from Boston University and is currently pursuing a Masters in School Leadership from Columbia University.


Lindsey Cross, Academic Director


Lindsey comes to the Center for Resilience after working for five years at
FirstLine Schools – one year as the network Director of Teacher Development and
four as an administrator at Joseph S. Clark High School. Prior to her start in the New Orleans education scene, she worked in K-12 schools as an instructional coach in both Kansas City and in rural New Mexico supporting all subject areas and special education.
She got her start in education as a 7th grade English language arts teacher at Thoreau Middle School on the Navajo Nation, and has devoted her career to ensuring teachers are able to reach ambitious academic outcomes with students of all backgrounds.
At home, Lindsey is a foster parent and enjoys cooking, riding bikes and swimming.


Cornelius Dukes, High School Director


Cornelius Dukes is the founding High School Director. Before taking this role of High School Director, Cornelius served as an Assistant Principal at Abramson Sci Academy, also located in New Orleans. During his time there, Cornelius implemented restorative practices across the school and built structures to support the robust culture initiative.In addition to his role of Assistant Principal, Cornelius also developed the school’s first competitive football team, serving as the Head Coach for 4 years.From 2010-2014, Cornelius served as the athletic director and health instructor at KIPP New Orleans Leadership Academy. During his tenure at KIPP, Cornelius pioneered the KIPP regional football network allowing for their students to participate in organized athletics for the first time. He also conceived and implemented a school based health curriculum to educate students on healthy lifestyle choices. In addition to his professional commitment to education, Cornelius has served the State of Louisiana and the United States of America as a member of the Louisiana Army National Guard.


Sheila Allen, Director of Operations

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Sheila McGill Allen is Director of Operations at the Center for Resilience, formerly serving as Operations Manager at the New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program. In this role Sheila oversees day to day operations of the program. She is a lifelong resident of New Orleans and is passionate about children,education and mental health. For the past ten years, Sheila has filled her passions by serving families and the community of New Orleans through a myriad of community based programs, organizations, and agencies.


Board of Directors


The Center for Resilience offers two public board meetings per year, in July and January.
All board meetings are held the second Monday of the month at 1035 Calhoun Street in the first floor Garden Room at 5 pm.

William Murphy, Board Chair

Vice President of Schools, IDEA Public Schools – Louisiana

Nandi Campbell, Board Vice Chair

Attorney and Principal, Nandi Campbell and Associates

Gina Rachel, Treasurer

CPA and Director, Postelthwaite & Netterville

Kelly McClure, Secretary

Independent Educational Consultant

Aimee Quirk

CEO, innovationOschner

Robert Pearson

Support Performance Coordinator,
Jefferson Parish Public Schools

Paulette Carter

President and CEO of The Children’s Bureau of New Orleans

Angela James

Director of Disability Services,
Southeastern Louisiana University

Charles Corprew

Founder and Principal, What’s Your Revolution

Karina Castillo

Executive Director of English Language Learners,
Jefferson Parish Public Schools

Adam Hawf

Founder & Managing Partner, The Grand Isle Group


Board Meetings

The Center for Resilience Board of Directors holds two open meetings per year. In the interest of fostering transparency, the general public is welcome to attend. Meeting agendas, location, and subsequent meeting minutes will be posted in advance on this page. Typically, open meetings will be held the second Monday in January and July of each year.

In 2019, the second open meeting was rescheduled to Monday, August 12 at 5:00 pm at 1035 Calhoun Street.

AGENDA can be found HERE.


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Our Partners

Our team encompasses not just dedicated teachers and administrators, but businesses that are giving back to their communities by supporting The Center in helping those who need it the most.