WAE Center Administration
Harry Klein (he/him)
Director, WAE Center
Guided by Love | Fabulous Family Man
Harry earned his BFA with honors through New York University. He later went on to study with Larry Singer at the Michael Howard Studios. Harry’s passion for servicing others in their personal journeys has often led him to jobs that are person-centered; his first job was working with United Cerebral Palsy at age 15 in a neighborhood residential facility and an onsite day program. For many years, Harry worked as a peer educator for Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Adolescent Health Center. After working as an educator for 4 years, Harry was offered the opportunity to develop and oversee a new outreach program, geared at empowering young people to make healthy decisions around sexuality, personal identity, and self-expression.
Harry was thrilled to be offered the position of Art Studio Manager at the JSDD WAE Center in April of 2012. He worked with staff to encourage them to come from a neutral point of view while working with the members; allowing participants to discover their own opinions and giving them the ability to express those ideas with confidence. The thrust of his programming for the Art Studio was geared toward offering the members every opportunity to uncover their own abilities and develop their self-esteem. When covid struck, Harry worked tirelessly to construct and co-run the WAE Center virtual learning program. This was the only way that the WAE Center was able to remain in contact with the members; providing learning opportunities and more importantly, much needed social interaction. Not long after, Harry was asked to step into the job of Senior Manager of Program and Personnel Development for the WAE Center. Harry was ready to take the managerial skills he had developed during his years to the whole of the WAE Center. Harry worked on team building and bringing the staff together to further advance the programming offered at the WAE Center.
In March of 2022, Harry was offered the position of Director for the JSDD WAE Center; he is thrilled to take on this new challenge. Harry’s primary focus is to continue to provide a safe and fun learning environment for staff and members to uncover and develop their unique greatness. To foster a space of unconditional acceptance and safety for people to feel free to risk and test themselves. To offer a setting where everyone’s voice is cheered and deserves to be heard. With a focus on expansion and growth, Harry is determined to build a community at the WAE Center where everyone can thrive and live as their authentic selves.
Harry feels that it is a rare and special gift to be able to “come to work every day, not knowing what is in store, and have your soul filled in a meaningful and provocative way.”
Director of Marketing and Communications
Outdoor Adventures | Retail Therapy
Monica’s background in business brought her love of retail and merchandising to the task of creating a WAE Center product line.
She works with artists and staff to cultivate new merchandise, messages, marketing materials, exhibits, special events and opportunities in the arts community. Monica graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Clark University and an Advertising and Communications degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Monica sees working with members as joyful and life-affirming and considers herself lucky to be doing such important work with such wonderful people.
Hair | Bubbly
She came to this position after years of working in Non-Profit as an Office Manager/Administrative Assistant and has brought skills to bear here in her role supporting the agencies needs and the needs of our delightful members.
“I love members and staff. Everyone here is always so encouraging. Every day is a new day to make change and grow as a professional and a meaningful individual personally. I am extremely grateful to be here, and I look forward to the future.”
WAE Center Management
Senior Manager of Program Operations
Food Lover | Mom
Anthonice came to the WAE Center in 2017 as Associate Program Manager and WWAP Coordinator of the respite program. Arriving with a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences, Anthonice earned a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus in Nonprofit Management in 2019 while working at the WAE Center. Anthonice prides herself in being a proactive and highly motivated self-starter who demonstrates commitment to the community she serves.
“I love my job at the WAE Center” I get to work with an amazing group of people, in a beautiful building, with members who are funny, smart, creative and passionate about life and living it to the fullest. The WAE Center is a home away from home and I cherish every connection I’ve made while I’ve been here.”
Manager of Prevocational Arts
Yvette joined JSDD’s WAE Center in October 2012. During that time, she has been given the privilege to teach, build, and learn in an exciting atmosphere of creativity and love through the WAE Center members and its staff. She is thankful for the opportunity to develop, manage, and teach in programs for the WAE Center such as the after-hours program WAE Beyond, and prevocational Workability/WAE Works.
Grateful for all the life experiences that are useful in her work at JSDD’s WAE Center, Yvette is a printmaker and photographer who graduated from Cooper Union in NYC with a BFA. She also studied at Mason Gross School of the arts and The School of Visual Arts for digital art. Her background as a fine artist, graphic designer, prepress manager, business owner, and longtime board member of the local arts organization, Studio Montclair, brings a diverse set of tools to her work. “I love my work with our members who bring joy into everything we do here, their greetings from my first day made me know that I belonged with them”.
Manager, WAE to Connect
Purpose-Driven | Outlier
Ronnella is mentally, spiritually & physically dedicated to personal growth & community development. With an eagerness to serve, to encourage & inspire the best within Ronnella has a unique God-given ability to impact, empower & transform the lives of others. As a purpose-driven person, she thinks on purpose, she speaks on purpose & she acts on purpose. This energy is exactly what attracted her to the WAE Center. As the WAE to Connect Program Manager I am inspired, motivated & grateful daily through the staff’s commitment & the members enjoyment & evolution. The WAE Center’s mission is in full alignment with my soul’s path & I am grateful to be a part of such an amazing organization that is providing an invaluable experience to its members while simultaneously pushing the world forward. In the words of one of our members E. A. “I Love It Here!!!”
Associate Program Manager
Gate-Keeper | Counselor
John specializes in connecting with others on many levels. His likes are art & poetry. He brings to the table his work ethic to the WAE Center with his business background and education from Bloomfield College. “I enjoy the staff and the JSDD organization. The organization is welcoming, and supportive of all members who join. Every day is a new expectation and experience!
WAE Center Staff
Fiber Art | Tea Drinking
Charlotte is currently finishing their bachelor’s degree at Bard College, where they are majoring in Disability Studies as well as working in studio art, with a specific focus on art as an alternative mode of treatment for people with disabilities. Since coming to the WAE Center in 2016 as a volunteer, Charlotte’s work with members in the art studio has completely shaped their course of study.
Currently, Charlotte works with specific members of the WAE center one-on-one to improve their American Sign Language skills as well as assisting in other classes. Charlotte looks forward to getting to see and communicate with members every week, and especially values getting to work with members in the art studio.
Art Studio Coordinator/Facilitator
Always have a plan B | Create
Faye Graye has been a teaching artist at the JCC In the Palisades Therapeutic Nursery/ Springboard School from 1999-2019. She came to the WAE Center as an art facilitator in April, 2019. She is an advocate for housing and employment for adults with developmental disabilities. She resides in Bergen County with a tremendously supportive family.
What I love about my work at the WAE: “I love working at the WAE Center because of the immense amount of love and friendship that surrounds each person in the place. The care and concern that the staff show to the members is proof of their dedication to high a quality program. The members are some of the smartest, kindest, funniest people around. It is for sure that I am learning as much from them as they are from me.”
Lisa is an Actor/Baker/Performer based out of New York City. Lisa graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Musical Theater in 2017. A few select performing credits include Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde” at Mill Mountain Theater and Monica Geller in “Friends! The Musical Parody” at the St. Lukes Theater in NYC. Lisa is the owner and founder of Little Graye Bakery, an all-female owned and operated bakery committed to advocating for systemic change and amplifying the voices of the silenced. Lisa was brought into the WAE center family in the summer of 2021. She hopes to spread her love of music, laughter, and food into each class she facilitates and supports!
Ex-Farmer | Beat Maker | Eagle Scout
Bill’s strong backgrounds in fine & digital art, as well as his horticultural know-how, have allowed him to jump in and get his hands dirty.
Bill studied multiple disciplines under scholarship at The Maine College of Art (MECA), before training off grid as a farm apprentice on an island part of Maine’s mid coastal region. He has since worked as an NJDRCC for MHANJ and FEMA during Hurricane Sandy, held a longtime role as Social Media & Design Specialist for a local farm here in North Jersey, and developed a freelancing practice. Bill has also studied at the historical Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan, CT and the School of Visual Arts in NYC.
“I love making digital art accessible, creating opportunities for others to learn valuable skills and develop interests outside of their comfort zones.
Randy Harris, Sr.
For more than a decade, Randy Harris has been a Language Arts facilitator with the WAE Center. He has led classes in creative writing, speaking circles, meditation, geography, documentary, peer advocacy groups (e.g, ABLE – Abundance, Beauty, Love, Expansiveness), Civics (e.g, Let’s Talk About Us), book clubs as well as one to one sessions with members.
Randy is a graduate of Rutgers University, Livingston College, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He has experience as an undergraduate tutor and graduate co-adjunct instructor and counselor for Rutgers University. In addition, he has decades of experience as an analyst, consultant and project manager for Chase Bank, Prudential and MS&D Consulting.
Randy is honored, passionate and inspired to facilitate members finding their inner voice and creative spark through a variety of disciplines.
Hardworking | Ambitious
Olivia enjoys spending time with family and helping others. She’s always a listening ear when needed and can give sound advice. She says she found her calling the moment she started working at the WAE center. She enjoys what she does with a passion, being a part of helping others with anything they need makes her happy. She is full and she loves it at the WAE Center. She is excited to see where this process will take her.
Mother | Reader | Runner
Hagit is the Judaic Coordinator for JSDD and a Program Facilitator for the WAE Center. She compliments the team by bringing master’s Degrees in both Gerontology and Public Administration from the University of Southern California (USC) with undergraduate degrees in both the History of the Middle East and in the History of Africa from Tel Aviv University, Israel.
Hagit delivers an Israeli and Jewish edge to the programs and is passionate about her work. She loves to celebrate Shabbat each week with program participants as well as all the Jewish holidays and feels blessed to be part of our innovative and creative team.
Mother | Selfie-Enthusiast
Miesha has been working with JSDD’s Wae Center since 2017, beginning as a Direct Support Professional and moving into the role of Program Assistant. In January 2022, Miesha became the Floor Supervisor for the WAE Program. Working with the members is key to Miesha’s passion for the work that she does: “I love the members and the joy and happiness that they bring to each day. I am big-hearted, and had I known how fulfilling this work would be I would have chosen this career years ago.” She is also a mother of “one 11-year-old Princess Milan and a new dog mom to Blaze.”
Miesha is excited to be a part pf this new chapter in the growth of JSDD and the WAE Center.
Artist | Animal Lover
Lisette has always loved expressing herself through art and music. She graduated from the School of Art & Design at F.I.T with a BFA in Illustration. Lisette came to the WAE Center back in 2005 when a little ad in the paper caught her eye. She fell in love with the methodology, the process and the people and has loved being part of WAE ever since.
Lisette was studio manager for over 3 years in the early days and trained other facilitators to work in the Art Studio. She works as an illustrator and graphic & web designer for various clients in the NY/NJ area including the WAE Center. She designed the branding for Chairs of Inclusion, created the WAE gallery website and designs print materials and graphics to promote the program and artwork.
Lisette cherishes her connection with members, the pure creative moments she witnesses and is continually inspired by their bold, amazing artwork.
Artist | Nature Lover
I came to the WAE Center, as a working artist many years ago now. When I learned about the way art was made here, I was quite amazed. It seemed so very much in line with my own discoveries and interests. The work and process of the members inspires my own art. I have exhibited my work in group as well as in solo shows in galleries and other local venues.
What I love about my work at the WAE Center is the gentleness in which we help members discover their own voice and style in their art making. It is by listening and giving space, offering choices, and allowing for exploration and expansion that I have seen members grow and learn in amazing ways.
Program Assistant, WAE to Connect
Energetic | Optimistic | Quirky
Julie has always aspired to be a helper. She doesn’t look at career in terms of a specific title. To succeed would be to make a difference for one or many. She enjoys the outdoors. Julie loves to read, listen to music, dance, & cook. Julie loves working at the WAE center because everyone, members and staff all demonstrate kindness and inclusion like a family would. She feels blessed to be a part of the team at the WAE center.
WAE Center Consultants & Volunteers
Certified Yoga Teacher
Mom | Yogi | Nature Lover
Linda is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher with many years of practice. She started teaching yoga at the WAE Center in the Spring of 2018. She continues to study with different teachers and strives to make yoga accessible to all bodies and minds. Through “Love & Learn Yoga” she teaches both privates and groups. Based in Morristown with her husband and two teenage girls, Linda is originally from Denmark and holds a bachelor’s degree from the Copenhagen Business School.
“It’s both a joy and a humble experience to explore movement with the members. They teach me to think outside the box.”.
Happy | Musical
Bob’s career has spanned the fields of both Technology and Management for a number of Fortune 500 companies. Since retiring, Bob has been teaching Software, Technology, and Business courses for Seton Hall University. One of his many hobbies is playing guitar and engaging in musical sessions with groups of people with disabilities. This volunteer work was originally based on Bob’s interactions with a close family member with Autism. His volunteer background includes providing Music activities for YCS (Youth Consultative Services) located in Newark NJ. Bob also provided music sessions for PRIDE (ECLC Adult program) in Chatham NJ. After learning about the WAE Center, this became a natural extension of his volunteer activities. The clients in Bob’s music class play a variety of instruments including tambourines, drums, rain sticks, and cowbells. Teaching the WAE Center members new songs and seeing them really engaged with the live music is extremely fun and very rewarding to Bob.
Lifelong Learner | Dog Mom | Foodie
Lisa is new to the WAE Center family. She has an MA in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University and has been a NJ teacher for over 20 years. The last three years Lisa spent as Director of PALS at Carmel Academy in Greenwich and then began a successful and progressive inclusion pathway for 2E K-8 students at The Mead School in Stamford. She moved back to NJ this summer and “… is extremely happy to be able to combine her love of inclusion with the LGBTQ+ community.” She lives with her wife and 2 fur babies and loves to learn, garden, read and drink coffee!!
Consultant – Grants & Special Projects
Nature Lover | Art Enthusiast
Aubrie has been at the WAE Center since 2014, beginning in Program Development, becoming Associate Director, and finally moving into the position of Director in July 2020. Taking a step back, Aubrie assumed the role of Consultant, Grants & Special Projects in spring of 2022. Aubrie holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, a graduate degree in Counseling and has done advanced coursework in art Therapy. This diverse educational background informs Aubrie’s world view and belief in the potential of people to grow and thrive with the right opportunities.
“This work is creative and utilizes my love of art and desire to make a difference in the lives of people every day. I am always excited about our current projects and looking for ways that programming can be consistent, dynamic, and ever evolving.”
Phebe Khalil (she/her)
Friendly | Pensive
Phebe had the pleasure of being introduced to the WAE center back in 2012 when she was hired to be an art facilitator. The idea of empowering artists to make their own decisions in their work and life was compelling. She liked this idea of a “hands off” approach in guiding someone’s work. At that time in her life, she was making a career shift from interior designer to photographer. The design industry had left her feeling like a cog in a machine opposed to an inspired artist. The WAE Center brought her back to life, reminding her to follow her own “spark within”.
After managing the art studio for a few years, she decided to step away from the WAE Center to focus on developing and honing her work as a photographer. She now captures lifestyle images, utilizing what she learned at the WAE Center, by stepping back and allowing my subjects to be as they are. She tries to limit direction while focusing on capturing a person or a moment as it is. Capturing authenticity, personality, and feeling through her images continues to keep her inspired all these years. Ten years later, Phebe was excited and proud to witness how much the WAE Center had grown. She was honored to be asked to rejoin the WAE family as a consultant, teaching the members photography.
A graduate of Rutgers University’s Business School & the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Fine Arts program, Phebe considers herself a perpetual student always learning and exploring behind the lens. You can find her current photography work at www.phebekhalil.com.
Onnie C. Strother
Onnie Strother is a visual artist, teacher, and curator. He was born and raised in Newark NJ where he continues to live and make art. He loves to teach and spent his career as an art instructor in public school. As a lifelong learner, Onnie has degrees in fine arts, arts education and administration and supervision. Working in a variety of mediums and deriving images from the media, popular music, political and social issues as well as memories from childhood and adult environment. As an artist, Onnie often works to create a series that consist of multiple works concerned with the same issues. This facilitator has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Onnie’s artwork can be seen in public and private collections and online.
In 2010 Onnie and the artist Gladys Grauer took part in the Chairs of Inclusion Project with the WAE Center. After working with the WAE family he wanted to be a part of their vison of service and inclusion. As they say, “the rest is history”. Onnie has taught various art classes at the WAE and loves every minute of it. He is inspired by the joy and creativity of the members.
Certified Yoga Teacher
Yogini | Chocolate Lover | Passionate
Marni Task, CYT/ERYT 1000+ In 1987 Marni was lucky enough to get introduced to yoga as part of her acting training at New York University’s Experimental Theater Wing in Paris. It was then when she got a taste of yoga and a few years later met her dear teacher Sharon Gannon at Crunch Gym and from then on was hooked! She began teaching in 1995 and became an Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher in 1997. Her classes are infused with the ancient teachings of yoga for the modern mind. Like all Jivamukti classes, while offering healthy and creative sequencing to heal the body and mind, her classes are steeped with inspirational music, poetry, humor and spoken word.
What I love about my work at the WAE: “I love contributing to the health and happiness of these exceptional people. Yoga can be beneficial for anyone’s body, mind, and spirit, but I believe this community of people is more sensitive and therefor maybe even more receptive to its benefits. I notice that teaching the members has softened me and taught me to be even more patient and nonjudgmental.
Elena’s passion is helping people of all ages and abilities ignite their confidence and discover their inner chef. Elena believes that cooking is a powerful tool that can motivate, educate, and build strong foundations for a delicious & fulfilled life.
Before graduating from the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, Elena was a Board-Certified Associate Behavior Analyst and Verbal Behavior therapist for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She left the more “traditional” therapy world to pursue her culinary passions and established Well Rooted Kitchen, LLC. www.wellrootedkitchen.com. Along the way she also certified in Ayurvedic Nutrition, Postpartum Support and Nutritional Psychology. She has combined her many passions by teaching life skills through cooking. She loves to share her knowledge about nutrition, the effect of food on mood, and how to utilize cooking as a therapeutic activity. Whether its helping people translate medically prescribed diets into easy-to-make meals or practicing executive functioning skills while cooking, she is passionate about empowering people to cultivate and create culinary confidence which will then radiate into their life beyond the kitchen. In all that she does, she strives to show the world that cooking should be adventurous, yet approachable, exciting and most of all DELICIOUS!