Board of Directors

Stephen A. Landsman, Esq., Chair
E. Peter Alvarez, Esq., Clerk
Kevin Bethel, Former Commsr, Philadelphia PD
Robert Clark, Former FBI Agent in Charge
Robert Haas, Former Commsr, Cambridge PD
Kyong Kim, Esq.
Ian Lanoff, Esq.
Deborah Lashley, Esq.
Susan Lowe, CPA, CGMA, Treasurer
Gary J. Simson, Esq.
Lisa H. Thurau, Esq., Founder and Executive Director
Yamanda Wright, Ph.D.


Stephen A. Landsman, Esq., Chair

Stephen A. Landsman, Esq.  joined the board in September 2013 and was elected Board Chair. Steve, currently in the corporate and securities practice of Greenberg Traurig LLP in Chicago, has a highly regarded general corporate, mergers and acquisitions, business counseling and tax practice. Steve has in-depth experience in numerous industries as lead counsel representing both purchasers and sellers in a wide variety of transactions—among them, public to public, private to public, private to private, leveraged recapitalization, divisional or asset sales and joint venture/strategic alliance transactions. His clientele consists of LBO and private equity groups, public companies, strategic corporate or institutional entities, investment subsidiaries of public companies and private investors/owners. In addition, Steve has extensive experience representing management in acquisitions and divestiture transactions.

Steve has received significant recognitions for his pro bono service. The Juvenile Protective Association has honored him with the Jane Addams Medal of Honor, and the Anti-Defamation League has recognized him with the Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Civil Rights Award.

E. Peter Alvarez, Esq., Clerk

E. Peter Alvarez, Esq., a 2014 graduate of Boston University School of Law, is an Associate Choate Hall & Stewart. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College.

During law school, Peter served a legal clerkship at the City of Boston Law Department, was a legal volunteer for Kids In Need of Defense and participated in a week-long pro-bono stint at the Orleans Public Defenders Office in New Orleans, Louisiana.

After graduating from Boston College, Peter joined Teach for America in Houston, Texas, teaching reading and writing at Edison Middle School for two years, where he increased student test scores. Peter returned to Boston to work as a Language Arts teacher, Instructional Leader, and English-Languge-Learner teacher in the Boston Public Schools at the Edwards Middle School. At the Edwards, Peter also increased test scores, and started a group, The Young Men’s Forum, where young men were given college mentors, went on field trips to different universities, and listened to motivational speakers.

As an law firm Associate, Peter focuses his practice on private equity and venture capital transactions, and also does pro-bono work for non-profits and start-up companies.

Kevin Bethel

Kevin J. Bethel is a retired Deputy Police Commissioner in the Philadelphia Police Department, the 4th largest police department in the nation, where he commanded Patrol Operation’s for the entire city. This appointment included oversight of the 21 Patrol Districts, Neighborhood Services Unit, Philadelphia School District Police and Community Relations Unit.

Among his many responsibilities, Kevin has done extensive work in the Juvenile Justice Field; most recently developed a School Diversion Program within the Philadelphia School System. The program diverts first time, low-level juvenile offenders by utilizing programs within the Department of Human Services. In its first year, the program reduced the number of school arrests by 54 percent. This program has attracted national and international attention as an effective model for reducing school arrests. Bethel serves on various committees and boards in the field of juvenile justice. He testified before the President’s 21st Century Task Force, co-chaired by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey on the need for a concerted effort by law enforcement leaders to address the school-to-prison pipeline across the nation. He currently serves on the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Disproportionate Minority Contact Subcommittee and is a former member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Law and Justice Committee. He is also a member of the Youth Violence Collaborative and Youth Engagement for the National League of Cities Collaboration, the Philadelphia Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, a faculty member for the International Association of Chiefs of Police Juvenile Justice Leadership Institute, and a regular lecturer, on school diversion and racial and ethnic disparities at Georgetown University.

Robert Clark

Robert W. Clark is a Retired Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Community Relations Director, FBI, Los Angeles. During his 21 years with the Los Angeles FBI office, Robert directed the Gang Criminal Enterprises, Violent Crime, Drug Cartels, and Traditional Organized Crime Against Children programs. While at the FBI he developed Operation Save Our Streets, an FBI/LAPD Gang Homicide Task Force that cleared 650 gang-related homicides, assaults, and other serious crimes.

Recognizing that “You can’t arrest your way out of the gang problem,” he developed Project BUILD, a partnership of community outreach specialists, FBI agents, and task force members working to improve crime impacted communities and schools.  His focus is on empowering and engaging the community to “improve the quality of life in communities where residents often felt forgotten or ignored.”  He served previously in sheriffs’ and police departments in Ohio, including his childhood home of Youngstown.

Robert is active in initiatives to protect young people and help them avoid entry into the juvenile justice system or criminal careers.  He collaborated with law enforcement on the Premier Evidence-Based Curriculum and Mentorship Training Program, and currently mentors youth in four programs.

He also appears on The Hunted, a new CBS show where 12 people test the claim “you can run but you can’t hide” by trying to evade FBI capture.

Robert Haas

Robert C. Haas retired as Commissioner of the Police Department in Cambridge Massachusetts in 2016. At the Cambridge Police Department he initiated and implemented highly effective programs including a partnership with the Cambridge Safety Net Collaborative, which connected youth involved in risky behaviors or juvenile offenses with support, diversion, and early intervention coordinated by multiple agencies.

During his tenure the Cambridge Police Department reduced juvenile arrests by 65% and reduced runaways by 80% in five years, and became a national model site for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for its approach to working with children, youth and families.  The positive results of programs he initiated as Commissioner continue to draw visits to the Cambridge Police Department from law enforcement agencies seeking to provide a comprehensive response to youth issues.

Commissioner Haas also served as Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety, where he was responsible for the administrative oversight of state public safety agencies, boards and commissions. He has received multiple awards for exemplary service, in particular for voluntary service in domestic violence prevention.

Robert currently serves on a number of committees addressing public safety at the local, state and federal level, including the US Attorney’s Multidisciplinary Threat Assessment & Intervention Working ?Group and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Committee on Homeland Security; and is also an advisor to the American Law Institute project Principles of Police Investigations.

Kyong Kim, Esq.

Kyong Kim is a litigation attorney in Holland & Knight’s San Francisco office and is a member of the firm’s Private Wealth Services Group. Ms. Kim has a broad range of experience in trust and estate litigation, as well as general commercial litigation.

Ms. Kim counsels clients on will and trust contests, breach of fiduciary duty matters and financial elder/dependent abuse matters. Ms. Kim’s administration practice focuses on assisting clients with post-death administration of trusts and estates, and securing bequests made to charitable beneficiaries. She has experience litigating in both state and federal courts, jury and bench trials, and mediations and arbitrations. Ms. Kim devotes a portion of her practice to pro bono legal services and has litigated cases obtained through the Holland & Knight Mickey Rooney Elder Financial Abuse Pro Bono Project and now to Strategies for Youth!

Ian Lanoff, Esq.

Ian Lanoff entered the private practice of law in 1982 after serving for five years as Administrator of Pension and Welfare Benefit Programs at the U.S. Department of Labor, where he was responsible for the development and administration of the Department’s ERISA regulations and enforcement policies governing private pension and employee health and welfare plans. Previously, he served as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare and as General Counsel to the United Mine Workers of America Health and Retirement Funds. Ian began his career as a labor law attorney at the National Labor Relations Board.

At Groom Law Group, Ian represents an impressive number of the largest and best known public employee pension and welfare benefit plans, as well as corporate and multiemployer plans. Ian specializes in providing advice on the fiduciary responsibilities of trustees with a large dose of common sense informing his view of the law.  As a former political appointee, Ian understands the demands that are often placed on trustees in these high-profile plans. Most recently Ian was hired by the board of the Ohio State Bureau of Workers Compensation to advise regarding the consequences for the trust fund of what’s come to be called “Coingate.”

Deborah Lashley, Esq.

Deborah Lashley retired in October 2013 from the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, Brooklyn, New York.  She had held the title of Executive Assistant District Attorney for the Juvenile Crimes Unit.  She began her career as a prosecutor after graduating from Brooklyn Law School in 1979. During her tenure at the District Attorney’s Office Ms Lashley has focused on adolescents, both as a prosecutor and an administrator of alternative sentencing programs. Deborah worked with the Senior Deputy District Attorney to develop and implement several programs targeting the adolescent population including Youth and Congregations in Partnership (YCP) a comprehensive alternative sentencing and mentoring program, Trauma Troopers teaching first responders skills and first aid to court involved youth and Gender Responsive Reentry Assistance and Support Program (GRASP) for young woman returning from correctional institutions. In addition to a law degree, Ms. Lashley has a BA in Psychology and a MS in Education. She also received a certificate from Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute for Juvenile Justice Multi-System-Integration. Prior to becoming an attorney, she was as teacher specializing in early childhood education. Deborah was a member of the NYS Governor’s Task Force on Transforming the Juvenile Justice System, the NYS office of family and Children’s Services Working Group for Parenting and Pregnant Girls. NYC’s Division of Youth and Community Development’s Interagency Coordinating Council on youth and court involved youth and the NYC Family Court Advisory Committee. She was also a member of the NYC School-Justice Partnership Taskforce. She has also been on the board of various organizations including the Brooklyn Bar Association, St Mary’s Community Services Inc., Catherine McAuley High School and the Youth Empowerment for Success program of the Children’s Aid Society.

Susan Lowe, CPA, CGMA, Treasurer

Susan Lowe is the Chief Financial Officer at the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech in Northampton, MA. She has joined the board as Treasurer and brings to us not only strong strategic and financial skills, but also an extensive background in the non-profit world. She was formerly CFO at Physicians for Human Rights.

Gary J. Simson, Esq.

Gary Simson is the Senior Vice Provost for Scholarship for Mercer University and holds the Macon Chair in Law at Mercer University Law School in Macon, Georgia. Previously, Gary was Dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-Baker Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

A summa cum laude graduate of Yale University, Gary graduated from Yale Law School where he was editor of The Yale Law Journal. Gary began his teaching career at the University of Texas School of Law in 1975. He subsequently taught at Cornell University Law School, serving as Associate Dean for Faculty Development and then as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Over the years, Gary has taught Constitutional Law, Conflict of Laws, Religious Liberty Clinic and seminars on freedom of religion and other constitutional topics. He is also the author of a leading conflict of laws casebook and various articles in the field.

Gary’s interest in SFY stems from his constitutional scholarship as well as his relationship with Lisa Thurau with whom he worked in the 1990’s to represent children in church-state separation issues. He is a skilled administrator with a vast network of contacts that he can count on to support SFY.

Lisa H. Thurau, Executive Director

Lisa H. Thurau  is a graduate of Barnard College and holds a Masters degree in Anthropology from Columbia University. She graduated from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University in 1991. Before becoming an attorney, Lisa worked as a researcher and advocate for reform and improvement of the public education system in New York City. She worked as an Associate in the litigation department of Coudert Brothers, an international law firm on copyright and commercial litigation matters.

From 1999 to 2008, Lisa served as policy specialist and then as Managing Director of the Juvenile Justice Center of Suffolk Law School. There, Lisa focused on public policy advocacy on behalf of court-involved teens. She monitored juveniles’ civil rights issues regarding police treatment, tracked trends in the Center’s cases, monitored and challenged legislation affecting youth in the juvenile justice system.

In 2004, Lisa initiated a training with 180 officers in the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) Transit Police to improve police/youth interactions, to increase officers’ skills in working with youth, and to support officers’ development of innovative approaches to policing large groups of teens in public transit areas.  She conducted a training with over 100 officers in the Everett Police Department.  Her assessment and training of 235 officers in the Cambridge Police Department led to a reorganization of the way that Department provides services to youth.

In 2009, Lisa founded Strategies for Youth, Inc., a non profit advocacy and training organization dedicated to improving police/youth interactions. Working with Dr. Jeff Q. Bostic, Director of School Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, Lisa built Strategies for Youth from the ground up without formal institutional or foundation support. In its first year, Strategies for Youth worked with police in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Ohio, published over 10 articles on police/youth issues in national publications, and presented at more than 5 national police and criminal justice forums. Lisa and Strategies for Youth are now listed as technical advisors for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

Yamanda Wright, Ph.D.

Yamanda Wright is a developmental psychologist specializing in children’s racial knowledge and the effects of such knowledge on their relationships with authority figures. She holds a Ph.D in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in psychology from Stanford University.

Yamanda has spent her career applying psychology research toward reforming laws and policies that disproportionately affect underserved youth, such as school district policies that contribute to the overrepresentation of low-income youth of color in school-based citations and arrests. In addition, her independent, published work was recently awarded the American Psychological Association’s prestigious Kenneth B. and Mamie P. Clark Award, which recognizes empirical studies that deepen our understanding of race relations. She is currently an Associate at the Boston-based non-profit Community Resources for Justice, and previously served as the Director of Research at Texas Appleseed.