Youth Bureau Staff
Frank Williams, Jr.
Frank Williams, Jr. has had a long and distinguished career in human services. He is currently the Director of the Youth Bureau and has been with the agency for 29 years. Prior to his current position, he was the Director of Employment Services, for the Grand Street Settlement in New York City. In addition to providing leadership at the Youth Bureau, Mr. Williams sits on the Board of Directors of Good Council Academy, is a member of the Black Scholars Committee and a member of the Beta Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He has received numerous awards for his community work.
Mr. Williams holds a degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi. He has a Masters degree in Social Work from Fordham University.
With over 25 years of management, marketing and consulting experience, Elizabeth has directed strategic initiatives to maximize financial, social and environmental impact from the private, public, and non-profit sectors including Goldman Sachs, Kraft Foods, the William Clinton Foundation, the New York City Department of Education, and New York Needs You, a non-profit organization helping first-generation college students realize their full potential. Previously, she advanced county-wide infant-to-young adult advocacy efforts in leading the Westchester Children’s Association (WCA)’s Gathering Policy Solutions for Kids Collective Impact Initiative.
Her cross-sector advisory experiences span seven countries and public-private partnerships with state education departments, higher-education institutions, school districts, NGOs, foundations, corporations, professional associations, non-profit and faith-based organizations to help raise K-16 student achievement and turnaround schools in rural, suburban and inner cities across the U.S.
Elizabeth graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BBA degree from Baruch College, is a Management Leadership for Tomorrow Fellowship alumna, and received her MBA degree from the New York University Stern School of Business. A White Plains resident and New York City native, Elizabeth enjoys teaching financial literacy to high school students and mentoring her nephews, niece and godchildren.
Catherine Backes Valenzuela
PROGRAM DIRECTOR, LEADERSHIP & COUNSELING
Catherine Backes Valenzuela was born and raised in White Plains and a graduate of White Plains High School. She has been working for the White Plains Youth Bureau for over 20 years. She was hired by the agency the same year she received her Masters of Social Work from Fordham University and has been there ever since. When she is not working she loves to be outside, enjoying the sunshine.
Byron H. Smalls
Program Director, After School Connections
Byron H. Smalls a lifelong resident of White Plains and is head of the After School Department. Prior to working with the Youth Bureau, Byron worked for the White Plains Public Schools at Ridgeway and Church Street Schools and holds degrees from Norfolk State University, State University of New York at Purchase and a Master’s in Public Administration from Metropolitan College. Byron has received endless awards for his work with youth, families and his community and has served as the President of the Westchester School Age Directors Network, National School Age Care Alliance, Institute for School Age Care, Head Trustee for Ridgeview Congregational Church, as well a member of the Gedney Farms Neighborhood Association, among other agencies. When Byron is not working in his community he loves to travel and traveling across the entire United States as well as over 30 countries.
Program Director, Youth Employment Services
A White Plains native and a graduate of White Plains High School, Patti fell in love with the work of the White Plains Youth Bureau while doing her undergraduate internship and never left! She received her Bachelors in Social Work from Iona College and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham University. Over the past 20 years, Patti and the YES team have provided opportunities for White Plains youth to gain experience and skills in the workforce, and feel grateful for being able to provide many young people with their first jobs. During her free time she loves crafting and spending time with her husband and daughter.
Program Director, Neighborhood Services
Gina Covington is the Director of Neighborhood Services and has been with the Youth Bureau since 2016. Gina started in a part time role as Coalition Coordinator facilitating grant programming for both Wellness Week and White Plains ComicCon events. She then moved into a full time position as the Director of the STEAM Academy servicing elementary students in 7 locations across the city. She has since been promoted to Director of Neighborhood Services and is responsible for afterschool and weekend programming to support the needs of middle school, high school students as well as their families. Please contact Gina if you are looking for something fun and timely for teenagers.
Program Director - Grandpas United
Kassandra Mindingall is a lifelong resident of White Plains who began her relationship with the Youth Bureau when she was in elementary school attending the After School Connections program. Kassandra went on to attend University of New Haven and Mercy College where she earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice with minors in both Psychology and Health Sciences. She has taught high school chemistry and forensics at Our Lady of Victory Academy and Pre-kindergarten for Family Services of Westchester. Her love of serving youth has also availed her to many part-time positions in the Youth Bureau programs throughout the years. Kassandra is currently a full-time employee of the Youth Bureau, where she is the Program Director for the 21st Century Community Learning Center STEAM Academy. She is grateful to be serving the youth of the community in the agency that serviced her as a youth. Kassandra’s children are also active participants in the programs that the Youth Bureau offers.
Program Coordinator, Youth Employment Services
Janet Spencer started working at the White Plains Youth Bureau 13 years ago with the goal in mind to make a difference in the White Plains community. She has a degree in Psychology from Fordham Univ. and a Master’s in Social Work from NYU. Janet works in the Youth Employment Department running different programs including: The Greening Project, Babysitting, Junior Counselor Training, Hospitality, Culinary Arts and our Summer Youth Employment Program. During her free-time she enjoys being outdoors, smiling, laughing and being with family and friends.
Program Coordinator,- Aviation Academy & Mayor's youth counselinG
Eric Rios is the father of 3 wonderful girls who helped him discover his love of enriching the lives of young people. After many years in the corporate arena, Eric joined the White Plains Youth Bureau team as the Church Street STEAM Academy Site Director. Eric now works with middle school and high school students by way of the Aviation Academy and the Mayors Youth Council. Eric has also played a role in bridging the gap between the YB and the White Plains Spanish-Speaking community with his outreach efforts.
OTHER FULL TIME STAFF
Nicolette Johnson - Business Manager
Nicolette has over 30 years of experience in business administration and management with not for profit and government entities. Nicolette holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from Metropolitan College of New York and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Morgan State University. In her free time, Nicolette enjoys reading and volunteering her time with not for profit organizations devoted to social justice and empowerment.
Agnes Kadavil - Grants Manager
Laura Montoya - Admistrative Asst. (Spanish Speaking)
Laura was raised in White Plains having moved from Colombia, SA. She attended Post Road Elementary, Highlands Middle School and graduated White Plains High School in 1999. She has been the Youth Bureau’s Office Assistant for almost 20 years and aside from answering all calls that come in, she also helps with all translations, creating promotional materials, and assisting frequently with program implementation among other things.
Sheila Foley - Program Coordinator, Mentoring Program & Summer Career Academy
Sheila Foley has a Masters of Science in Social Work, Columbia University. She has worked at the Youth Bureau for 34 years. Sheila manages the High School and Middle School Great Potential program, the Mentor Program, Young MENtoring Group, and Summer Career Academy. Her hobbies are staying active and physically fit!