Kate Breslin is the President & CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy. With Kate’s leadership, the Schuyler Center is building upon its long history as a strong, independent voice and coalition-builder that holds government accountable and helps shape public debates around social policies that affect New Yorkers. Kate has spent her career analyzing and advocating in support of thoughtful policy solutions that improve the lives of people in the U.S. and abroad.
Kate plays a leadership role in statewide coalitions focused on health and was appointed by Governor Cuomo to the Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council. She serves on several health policy advisory bodies, including the Value-Based Payment Workgroup, Innovation Council, and Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program Project Approval and Oversight Panel.
Kate previously served as the Director of Policy for the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS), where she directed CHCANYS’ public policy projects and initiatives to improve access to high-quality primary care in underserved communities. She was a Project Director for the California Budget Project, analyzing state budget and tax policies and has led and worked on relief and development programs in several African nations, including serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone. Kate earned Masters Degrees in both Public Health and City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University.
Kate can be reached by phone at (518) 463-1896, ext. 125.
Crystal Charles is a Policy Analyst focusing on child welfare. She conducts policy and data analysis, participates in coalitions, and advocates on behalf of the Schuyler Center in the areas of child poverty, home visiting, and other related issues.
Prior to joining Schuyler, Crystal was a Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant at the University at Albany. She helped teach classes in the University’s bachelor’s and master’s Public Administration & Policy programs and conducted research on open innovation in the public sector. Immediately before coming to Albany, Crystal was a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at the Fortune Society where she conducted research and policy analysis on Criminal Justice Debt and justice-involved veterans, assisted with participatory budgeting efforts, and participated in Three Quarter House coalition meetings.
Crystal spent four years as a doctoral student in the University at Albany’s Public Administration & Policy PhD program. Her research focused on collaboration between nonprofit organizations and government agencies and how the internet and social media can be vehicles for social change, increased civic participation, and transparency. She has presented this research at international and national conferences. Crystal holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Justice from John Jay College.
Crystal can be reached by phone at (518) 463-1896 ext. 130.
Matilda Gragg is an AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow at Siena College serving as Schuyler Center’s research associate. Matilda conducts research, develops data products and communication materials, and expands SCAA’s collaboration capacities in the areas of health, family economic security, child welfare and early education. As a result of her work, community members, organizations, and leaders will have an increased understanding of the needs of low-income New Yorkers.
Matilda graduated cum laude from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice. While attending ASU, Matilda conducted research alongside the university’s forensic psychologist, studying demographic variables and discriminatory attitudes in conjunction with rape myth acceptance. As a research assistant, she discussed varying methodologies on how to decrease victim blame and investigated how jurors make verdict decisions in sexual assault trials.
Before joining the Schuyler Center, Matilda was a program coordinator and interim group leader for Watauga County School’s Extended Learning Center (ELC), as well as the assistant coach for Watauga High School’s women’s lacrosse team. During the summers, she served as a camp counselor for Watauga County Parks and Recreation.
Matilda can be reached by phone at (518) 463-1896, ext. 131.
Dorothy (Dede) Hill is the Director of Policy for the Schuyler Center. In this role, Dede coordinates the Schuyler Center’s policy team and conducts policy analysis and advocacy in the area of economic security as well as overseeing child welfare and health policy. Prior to joining the Schuyler Center, Dede was a Professor of Law at Albany Law School, where her teaching and scholarship focused on labor and employment law. While in academia, Dede was active in local and statewide efforts to aid working families by increasing the minimum wage and organizing for stricter enforcement of labor and immigration laws to prevent wage theft in low wage and immigrant worker sectors.
Dede previously practiced law as an Assistant Attorney General and Labor Counsel for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, an Assistant Solicitor General for the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and as an associate for a New York City labor law firm. Dede earned a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she was a member of the Wisconsin Law Review, and a Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College.
Dede can be reached by phone at (518) 463-1896, ext. 138.
Lara Kassel is the Coordinator of Medicaid Matters New York (MMNY), a statewide coalition of over 140 organizations representing the interests of New Yorkers served by the Medicaid program. In her role as Coordinator, Lara organizes all of the activities of this diverse coalition, which works to ensure that Medicaid consumer interests are included, understood and met in any and all discussions on Medicaid in New York. She was a member of the Health Reform Stakeholder Advisory Panel and the Medicaid Redesign Team, and she is on the DSRIP Project Approval and Oversight Panel. Lara has been recognized by peer organizations for her role as a consumer advocate, including the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association and Health Care for All New York. Prior to joining MMNY, she served as legislative staff to Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried for nearly seven years, working on a wide range of health issues.
Lara has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York College at Geneseo, where she majored in Sociology.
Lara can be reached by phone at (518) 463-1896, ext. 124.
Kari Siddiqui is a consultant for the Schuyler Center on the CHAMPS Initiative.
Before joining Schuyler, Kari was a Fellow on Women and Public Policy at the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society at the University of Albany’s Rockefeller College. She previously worked with a number of community, arts, and education organizations on program delivery, development, and administration.
Kari earned her Master’s degree in Public Administration, with specializations in Nonprofit Management and Global Leadership, from the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University, and her Bachelor’s degree in Romance Languages from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Kari can be reached by phone at (518) 929-4395.
Helen W. Smith serves as the Director of Finance & Operations for the Schuyler Center. She oversees all financial operations of the organization including accounting, budgeting, financial reporting activities, policies, and practices. Helen manages the administration of the organization, its grants and takes an active role in the communication and fund development efforts at Schuyler.
Before joining the Schuyler Center, Helen worked in various financial, development, and management capacities for non-profit environmental and health care organizations.
Helen holds a Master of Business Administration from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Smith College.
Helen can be reached by phone at (518) 463-1896 ext. 140.
Christopher Thompson is the Director of Development for the Schuyler Center. In this role he is responsible for establishing the strategy, program initiatives, and stewardship of major donors, including individuals and corporations.
Christopher recently served as Chief Development Officer of the Interfaith Center of New York, where he successfully designed and implemented a multi-year development plan. His passion for policy reform arose from his encounters with legal housing discrimination during his tenure as an Executive Director for an organization that provided housing and employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
Christopher has done extensive humanitarian work in the Ukraine, the Philippines, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Haiti. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology and English from St. John’s University. He is Lean Six Sigma Certified, trained in the DMAIC approach, a data-driven improvement cycle used for improving, optimizing and stabilizing business processes and designs.
Christopher can be reached by phone at (917) 841-1136.
Carole Tozzi serves as Schuyler Center’s Administrative Associate. She is responsible for appointment scheduling, desktop publishing, Board of Trustees communications and word processing.
Prior to joining Schuyler Center, Carole worked as an administrative assistant at NYS Department of Taxation and Finance in the Litigation Department.
Carole can be reached by phone at (518) 463-1896, ext. 121.
Bridget Walsh is a Senior Policy Analyst for Health and Public Health. She conducts policy analysis and advocacy for Schuyler Center in areas of maternal and child health, oral health, early childhood health, nutrition, and health care access. She represents the Schuyler Center on numerous boards both in and out of government that advance health policy and improve access to health services.
Prior to joining Schuyler, Bridget served as staff on health policy issues in the New York State Assembly, the Office of Governor Mario Cuomo, and for several non-profit organizations.
Bridget earned a Masters in Public Health from the University at Albany and a Bachelor of Arts from Ithaca College where she majored in politics.
Bridget can be reached by phone at (518) 463-1896, ext. 129.
Amy Weismann is Schuyler’s Communications/Administrative Associate. In this role, Amy supports the policy staff in its electronic communication messaging and works with the administrative team to oversee the operations of the office.
Before joining Schuyler, Amy held several positions in the entertainment, publishing, law and education fields. She has also written and published eight books.
Amy earned her Master of Science degree in Education from Hofstra University and Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Skidmore College..
Amy can be reached by phone at (518) 463-1895, ext. 122.