Executive Team


Derrick Boone
Interim Chief Executive Officer, Chief Compliance Officer

dboone@unionsettlement.org, 212-828-6043
Derrick joined Union Settlement in June 2018. For over two decades he has worked for nonprofit social service programs in direct care, professional consultation, and executive leadership. He has experience working with organizations that focus on mental health, employment, education, school based counseling, seniors, transitional living, trauma informed care, and homelessness.  He has Master’s and Doctorate degrees in psychology from Loma Linda University.

Oneida Perez
Chief People Officer
operez@unionsettlement.org, 212-828-6045

Nina Piros
Chief Program Officer for Family, Children and Youth
Nina joined Union Settlement in October 2022. For over two decades, Nina has dedicated her career to designing, managing, and implementing high quality early childhood education, parenting, and mental health services for families, children, and youth. She served as the Associate Executive Director for the Early Childhood Division at University Settlement where she managed a comprehensive portfolio of birth-to-five programs. She worked for the NYC Department of Education as a school psychologist serving middle and high school students. In 2018, she joined the Division of Early Childhood Education where she led the planning, design, and implementation of a coordinated approach for curricula, professional development, and oversight of home-based early care and education services. She is excited to bring her knowledge and expertise to Union Settlement to serve families, children and youth in East Harlem.

Katie Tynes
Chief Development Officer
ktynes@unionsettlement.org, 212-828-6024

Katie Tynes joined Union Settlement in January of 2023. Katie is a seasoned executive-level development and communications professional with nearly two decades of experience. She has a history of serving organizations within the East Harlem community that focus on homeless families, youth education, social justice, and small business development. Katie’s nonprofit experience spans strategic planning, fundraising and communications, and in 2016, she was chosen by New York Nonprofit Media as one of their inaugural “40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Nonprofit.” Prior to her work in nonprofit, Katie was a television producer, working with celebrities like Meredith Vieira, Neil Patrick Harris, and Betty White. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications as well as Gender and Sexuality Studies from New York University. Additionally, Katie has been a resident of East Harlem since 2008, raising two children who attend school in the neighborhood. 

Lijo Varghese
Chief Financial Officer
lvarghese@unionsettlement.org, 212-828-6037
Lijo Chirayil Varghese was born and raised in southern India. There he earned a Master of Finance from Bharathiar University, where he was named Salutatorian. He went on to complete his Post-Graduate Diploma in Computer Application (PGDCA). Lijo continued his education in Australia at La Trobe University in Melbourne, where he earned his Masters of Accounting and Financial Management. Lijo came to the US in 2011. He began his career in Accounting at BronxWorks, where he worked for 8 years. Lijo started as an Accountant, and eventually became the Director of Grants and Contracts. In March 2020, he joined Union Settlement as the Director of Finance. He believes strongly in Union Settlement’s mission of helping people, and is proud to be a part of a great team that strives to better the social and economic lives of many. Lijo has two kids with his wife, an NYC public school teacher.

Liliana Velez
Chief of Staff and Strategic Advisor to the CEO
lvelez@unionsettlement.org, 212-828-6031



Senior Team


Jocelyn Caceres
Director of Family Enrichment Center
jcaceres@unionsettlement.org, 929-633-0335
Jocelyn joined Union Settlement in August 2022. She is the new director of Manhattan’s first Family Enrichment Center (FEC), Jocelyn is a East Harlem/South Bronx native. A Master’s Leveled Social Worker who has served the last 15 years working with children and families, including a supervisor role in foster care. She has worked with The New York City Department of Homeless Services and a Bronx based FEC.  It is no secret that Jocelyn is a strong, fierce, compassionate leader who thrives being a source of support for others. Not only does she see but also understands the value in assisting people in overcoming challenges and advocating for those in need. Jocelyn holds a B.S. in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work.  Jocelyn understands the Family Enrichment Center model and her mission is to ensure the needs of the East Harlem community are met. She is a coach who is powerful in guiding the co-design process  to create something so impactful that is needed and relevant to East Harlem

Luz Carty
Director of Senior Services
lcarty@unionsettlement.org, 212-828-6096
Luz joined Union Settlement in February 2020. With almost a decade of work with NYC seniors, Luz is excited to bring her knowledge and experience back to Union Settlement as Director of Senior Services.  After working at Union Settlement from 2012-2017 in various capacities, including Senior Services Coordinator, Senior Center Manager and Assistant Deputy Director, Luz joined the NYC Department for the Aging. From 2017-2020 she worked as a Program Officer, getting a handle on the issues and solutions that go into the business of running large groupings of senior centers.  Luz holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from SUNY Albany and a Masters of Social Work from Hunter College.

Hilda V. Cortés
Director of Adult Education
hcortes@unionsettlement.org, 212-828-6298
Hilda joined Union Settlement in May 2018 after most recently serving as the Program Coordinator of Adult Literacy Education at Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services in Brooklyn, and previously held educational and job development positions at the Hudson County Schools of Technology. Ms. Cortés holds a Bachelor degree in Spanish from SUNY-Buffalo, and a Master’s Degree in Education from the College of Mount St. Vincent.

Michelle Cruz
Director of Economic Development 
mcruz@unionsettlement.org, 212-828-6046



Esther Kuykendoll
Director of Youth Services

Esther joined Union Settlement in April 2021. She is a passionate and experienced youth service leader withover 12 years of experience. She excels in leading operational strategies, managing a portfolio of programs,team coaching, and contract compliance while improving the experiences of children and families served. Before joining Union Settlement, she was Senior Program Director at Roads to Success in East Harlem. Earlier in her career, she worked in youth services for organizations such as Harlem Children’s Zone,Goodwill Industries, The YMCA of Greater New York, and two nonprofit organizations in Tokyo, Japan; Refugees International Japan,and at Hands on Tokyo. She holds a M.A. in Urban Policy and Administration from Brooklyn College. She is also a 2020 participant of the High Performing Managers Initiative Cohort, a program for emerging high-potential leaders at nonprofit organizations and government agencies, which prepares local leaders for nonprofit leadership roles.

Denise Ramos
Director of Early Childhood Education
dramos@unionsettlement.org, 929-410-0419
Denise joined Union Settlement in June 2020. She comes with over 25 years of early childhood experience in both for profit and nonprofit organizations. She started her career as a teacher in a Head Start program and worked her way up to an Education Director. Most currently she served as the Family Child Care Network Director for Union Settlement. Denise holds a dual Masters Degree in Early childhood and Special Education from Touro College and holds her professional certification from birth to grade 2.

Stacie Woodland
Director of Mental Health Services
swoodland@unionsettlement.org, 212-828-6254
Stacie joined Union Settlement in December 2017 as a Clinical Supervisor in the Mental Health Clinic.  She took on the position of Director of Mental Health Services in December of 2018. Stacie comes to Union Settlement with almost two decades of experience working in areas around mental health, homelessness, HIV and adolescent issues. She has expertise in trauma informed care. As an adjunct professor of psychology at Touro College since 2004, she created the curriculum and has taught advanced seminars on both Trauma and Eating Disorders. An avid animal lover, Stacie volunteers at a local animal shelter. She is also a Certified Grief Counselor and one of the few Certified Counselors in NYC for Pet Loss Grief Counseling (PGRS-C, Pet Loss and Grief Recovery Specialist).