Leadership Team

Damyn Kelly speaking to LSSNY’s Leadership and Management.
President & Chief Executive Officer - Damyn Kelly, J.D., PhD
Damyn Kelly, J.D., PhD, is the president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of New York (LSSNY), a leading social service agency serving more than 7,000 New Yorkers every day. Mr. Kelly oversees a $60 million annual budget and nearly 650 highly-qualified employees in the delivery of quality human services for the benefit of all New Yorkers, especially those most in need.

Mr. Kelly is a skilled strategic leader who has worked for more than 18 years as the chief executive of organizations serving many disenfranchised members of the community. His work has improved the lives of the formerly incarcerated; those living with mental illness, developmental and intellectual disabilities; and the homeless. He has leveraged his experience, industry knowledge and strong commitment to community advocacy, to bolster the business practices and financial success of several social service agencies. As CEO of Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Centers, Inc., Mr. Kelly had great success managing a multi-service agency serving more than 6,000 children and families in a variety of educational, vocational and behavioral treatment programs across 11 facilities.

Mr. Kelly has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Adelphi University and a Juris Doctor from the Antioch School of Law. He has also served as the Executive Director of the Newark Emergency Services for Families and Congregations Linked in Urban Strategy to Effect Renewal (CLUSTER, Inc.). He and his wife, Diann, an Associate Professor and Chair of the BSW Program at Adelphi University, have two children.

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Chief Program Officer - Kerron Norman, LMSW
Ms. Kerron Norman is the Chief Program Officer and a critical member of the senior leadership team at Lutheran Social Services of New York. Since joining LSSNY in the spring of 2018, she helps articulate and implement the strategic vision and leadership of the agency.  Additionally, Ms. Norman oversees a portfolio of programs and related services that include early childhood education, educational services, foster care, housing services, immigration legal services and community services.

Prior to joining LSSNY, Ms. Norman was Vice President and Chief Program Officer for ANDRUS. Her former roles include Director of Child Welfare for the Westchester County Department of Social Services and Deputy Director of Field Operations for the NYC Administration for Children’s Services.  She holds a Master of Social Work degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Binghamton University. She is the proud recipient of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission’s Diversity Award, which honors individuals who work diligently to promote diversity and equality in systems.


Chief Financial Officer - Rinku Bhattacharya

Rinku Bhattacharya has more than 25 years of financial and administrative experience in areas of financial management, information technology, strategy and infrastructure building with a specialty in the non-profit sector.

Rinku has worked in various dimensions of the non-profit sector managing budgets ranging from $5 to $75M, most recently serving as the CFO for Westchester Community Opportunity Program. Rinku is also an adjunct professor of Accounting at Manhattanville College.

Rinku serves on the Global board of the Institute of Management Accountants, and also on the boards of Cluster, Inc. and the First Lego League of Hudson Valley.

Ms. Bhattacharya has a doctoral degree in Accounting (DPS) from Pace University, an MBA in Finance from the University of Bridgeport, and an MS in Non-Profit Management from the New School University. Rinku is an avid cook, and particularly enjoys cooking for and with her two children.

General Counsel - Wanyong Austin, Esq.
wanyong-austinMs. Wanyong Austin has been LSSNY’s General Counsel since 2009. She is responsible for providing legal guidance on laws and regulations governing service provision within all programs, supervising legal work done by the agency, fostering sound corporate governance practices and overseeing the agency’s Human Resources Department.

Ms. Austin began her legal career as a corporate litigator with various New York law firms before becoming a staff attorney at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation B. At Brooklyn Legal Services, she litigated family law individual and class action lawsuits on behalf of indigent clients for seven years. In 1993, she moved to Hong Kong with her family and worked with Pam Baker & Co. where she represented Vietnamese boat people held in detention in Hong Kong. Upon her return to the United States, she worked at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. Ms. Austin has worked at LSSNY since 2001, first as the Supervising Attorney of the Immigration Legal Services Program and later the Director of the Immigration and Refugee Services Program. She received her A.B. from Harvard Radcliffe College and her J.D. from NYU School of Law.


Executive Director for Children's Services - Margarita Marriaga

Margarita Marriaga is the Executive Director of Children’s Services at LSSNY. She is a social justice leader specializing in models, programs and partnerships that improve the lives of children and families in marginalized communities. She has successfully rolled out new initiatives and best practices in government and nonprofit organizations. She holds a BA degree in psychology from Hofstra University and a Master of Science degree in nonprofit leadership from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service and the Gabelli School of Business. Margarita works from the tenet that all children deserve and can have an environment where they are safe and able to fulfil their potential. 


Executive Director for Community Services - Cecilia Aranzamendez, LMSW, Esq.
cecilia-aranzamendez-v2Cecilia Aranzamendez, the Executive Director of Community Services, oversees the agency’s immigration legal program, disaster case management and hunger prevention programs. She brings considerable experience as both an attorney and a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) to the division. Ms. Aranzamendez has over 16 years of experience working with immigrants, both in a legal and case management context. Among the programs she oversees at LSSNY is the Safe Haven for Children program, which provides residential, educational, vocational and legal services to unaccompanied children.

Ms. Aranzamendez has a J.D. degree from New York University School of Law and an MSW from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work.


Executive Director of The New LIFE School - Christine Amodeo

Ms. Amodeo is the Principal of The New LIFE School. She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Childhood Education from CUNY College of Staten Island. Additionally, she earned her post Master’s degree in School Building Leadership which paved the way for her new position and school leadership license.

Ms. Amodeo has had many roles in The New LIFE School starting back in 2011. She was a self-contained special education teacher of grades 3-5, a specialist in The Wilson Reading Program, an academic support teacher, Assistant Principal and most recently Principal. With over a decade of experience, she believes that using data driven instruction is the key to educating students in time to make a difference.


Executive Director of LSSNY Family Child Care Network – Jenifer Barriteau

As Executive Director of LSSNY Family Child Care Network (FCCN), Ms. Jenifer Barriteau leads the delivery of high quality early care and education services, ensuring a holistic and integrated approach that meets the needs of children and families in home based settings.

Ms. Barriteau comes with more than twenty years of experience in the early childhood field as a health manager and program director of Early Head Start and Family Child Care programs. She helped to spearhead one of the first Early Head Start Family Child Care Networks in New York City. Her expertise in change management and program development have been vital in strengthening and enhancing the LSSNY FCCN that has resulted in significant expansion.

Ms. Barriteau holds a MPH from New York University and a MA in Organization Leadership from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. Her passion for her work is driven by a vision of building thriving communities where families are fully engaged, empowered as leaders and advocates, staff and providers are experts in their field of practice and children are filled with endless possibilities, ready to succeed in school and life.


Executive Director of Early LIFE - Beatrice Hutcherson

Beatrice Hutcherson is currently the Executive Director for Early LIFE Services, and oversees 6 program sites and the Family Child Care Network/Program which consists of 90 Home Care Providers.

She oversees 7 program sites and the Family Child Care Network/Program which consists of 90 Home Care Providers.  

She has over 25 years of experience in Early Childhood Education.  Beatrice holds a Masters of Science in Early Childhood Special Education from Adelphi University and a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from CUNY York College.  She is certified by the NYS in Early Childhood Education Birth- Grade 2 and Students with Disabilities, Birth- Grade 2.  Beatrice also holds CLASS Reliability Certifications in Preschool, Toddler, and Infant.  Prior to joining LSSNY, she served in many capacities which includes Early Childhood Site Director, Education Director, Disabilities Coordinator, Eligibility Coordinator, Clinical Director, etc.

Early LIFE Early Childhood Education program has a commitment to provide superior early childhood education experiences in our center-based and home-based environments within the New York City area. Early LIFE offers traditional child-care, Early Head Start and Head Start and Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs. Rooted in New York City Urban communities, Early Life is committed to building partnerships with families and communities to support the health, education, and well-being for children and families. Early LIFE provides all children with developmentally and age appropriate experience in a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment to ensure they reach their full potential in school and life.

Executive Director for Residential Services – Rachel Bleecker

Rachel Bleecker joined Lutheran Social Services of New York in April of 2007. Though she has worked in our residential programs for nearly 15 years, she is one of the newer members of our Leadership team. As the Executive Director for Residential Services, Ms. Bleecker is responsible for the development, operation and delivery of services in our 7 residential programs located in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Throughout these sites, more than 500 individuals are served on a daily basis as we strive to help each of the participants to reach their full potential. 

Ms. Bleecker is a compassionate leader who is committed to LSSNY’s mission of dismantling the causes and effects of persistent poverty and social injustice. Her hard work and dedication is evident in her continued honors and awards throughout her career.  

Ms. Bleecker graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Pre-professional Sociology from the State University of New York College at Oneonta in 1999. Even back then, she was on the Sociological Honor Society and was awarded Outstanding Performance in an Internship at her graduation. In 2004, Ms. Bleecker graduated with a Master of Social Work degree from Wurzweiler School of Social Work, where she also served as President of the Student Government Association. She is a licensed NYS Social Worker and has been involved in many important projects and has participated in several speaking engagements with our funders. Ms. Bleecker prides herself in cultivating leadership in others, fostering creativity and innovation amongst her team of thought leaders, celebrating success and employing a strength-based approach with both participants and staff as well as building strong relationships with individuals, families and leaders. 

Director of Human Resources - Katie Paniagua

Ms. Katie Paniagua is the Director of Human Resources at Lutheran Social Services of New York. Katie joined LSSNY in the summer of 2015 as the Human Resources Assistant while completing her first semester of grad school at Lehman College.

Upon earning her Master’s degree in Human Resources, Katie was promoted to HR Generalist and later served as the Deputy Director of HR for a number of years. Prior to joining LSSNY, she worked in smaller, private companies with experiences in accounting, payroll, and customer service. With a BA in Business Management, she wanted to get as much experience in operations and eventually sought an opportunity to work in Human Resources.

Katie prides herself in operating from an unbiased vantage point and developing her team to think as leaders. She has the opportunity to work with and oversee a team of dedicated professionals who share the same passion for helping others. Katie also finds fulfillment in being able to assist individuals in need and guide them towards the appropriate services. Whether it’s sharing resources on the benefits LSSNY has to offer, opportunities for growth within the agency, or offering them the opportunity to be heard, she takes pride in making a positive impact on people’s lives.