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Meet LINC's Newest Staff Members

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Join LINC in welcoming these five new all stars to our team! We are thrilled to have their expertise and their passion as we continue to cultivate little readers across New York City. Each of them brings a unique background, skills, and set of experiences that will take our mission to new heights, and we could not be happier!

Josh Barocas, Director of Early Literacy. Josh began his career working in NYU’s Acoustic Phonetics and Perception Laboratory before moving into elementary school teaching. During his years teaching 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade, he sought out training in many research and evidence-based approaches to the teaching of reading, and went on to receive a Master’s degree in Reading & Literacy. After working for several years as a literacy specialist, Josh moved onto a role as program director the CUNY Reading Corps, a high-impact tutoring program in which he trained hundreds of tutors who worked with thousands of striving readers each year in the NYC Public Schools. As LINC's Director of Early Literacy, he brings his leadership experience as well as his background in elementary education and the science of reading to enrich the organization's programmatic content.

A lifelong Brooklynite, Josh lives in Flatbush with his wife, their two sons, a dog and a cat. Outside of work and family life, Josh can be found reading, playing guitar, or spending time in nature.

Valete Graham, Institutional Giving Manager. Valete is the son of an NYC librarian and, watching her, learned early the importance of equipping people with the skills to create equitable communities and systems. He comes to us from Trinity Boston Connects, where he provided a combination of storytelling, partner stewardship, and event support. Valete has expressed his good fortune that his work has – and now continues – to afford him the “wonderful opportunity to work in service of those raised in the same communities as myself. As I continue my development journey, I remain committed to empowering people of color, which in turn, strengthens communities everywhere.”

Liz Manning, Director of Evaluation and Learning: Liz joined LINC in July 2023 as Director of Evaluation and Learning. Prior to LINC, she spent 11 years at Back on My Feet, including four as Vice President of Program and Evaluation. Back on My Feet combats homelessness through the power of fitness, community support and essential employment and housing resources, and operates in 16 cities across the country. Liz led the strategic transformation of program implementation and assessment at Back on My Feet – evolving from a staff-led services approach that supported hundreds of individuals to a volunteer-driven approach seeking to support thousands. She has worked collaboratively with various non-profit and government funded programs to conduct both formative and summative evaluations; create interview protocols and surveys; analyze data; and author final reports for diverse internal and external audiences. Liz earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and Spanish from Bucknell University and a master's degree in human development and family studies from Penn State. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and two children - Chase (9) and Chloe (6).

Kevin Raymond, Community Engagement Specialist, East New York

Kevin is a proud life-long Brooklynite. The son of two educators in the NYC school system, he's spent his career serving his community. A graduate of CUNY Brooklyn College he's worked towards the cause of social justice through education. He started as an education/ community outreach coordinator with the Association of Community Organizations For Reform Now. After helping build up their High School Choice program he moved onto the READ Alliance as a Site Coordinator. Over the past decade Kevin has managed Abby on Argyle- a Brooklyn Pet sitting/ Dog Walking business. Never completely content he's moved back into the education and non-profit space in his new position at LINC. Kevin is excited to hit the ground running in his new position as the Community Engagement Specialist for East New York. In his spare time he enjoys learning about all things space, petting all the dogs and riding his bike all over the city (often in search of new and exciting sandwiches).

Arisbel Villa, Community Engagement Specialist, Bronx: Arisbel is a Bronx native! She has over 10 years experience in business, primarily insurance, and is a community volunteer. Arisbel has volunteered with her Parent Teacher Association, School Leadership Team and with Strive Higher. In these roles, she worked on building relationships with families, with local elected officials and community leaders alike. Helping others is a driving force in Arisbel's professional and personal life. She understands the importance of having someone that cares with you during everyday life, recovering from the unexpected and realizing their dreams. As a bilingual individual (Spanish/English) Arisbel has dedicated time to ensuring that families know the importance of their role in their child's education as well as advocating for fair and just terms in policies. Arisbel is very passionate about helping others and her community. She was awarded a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from St. John's University. During her free time Arisbel enjoys creating crafts and more importantly spending time with her family.

LINC is thrilled to welcome you to our team: Josh, Valete, Liz, Kevin, and Arisbel! We are grateful for your diverse work experiences, skills, and passion to serve the next generation of little readers. We look forward to partnering with you to serve even more families, and to advocate for the work that parents and their communities are doing to ensure that their children grow up in literacy rich environments.

Register for LINC’s latest programs now! Visit:


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