LIT Board of Directors
|Karlan Sick, Chair|
Karlan Sick graduated from the University of Kansas in 1960 with French and German majors and a teaching certificate, and attended library school at Columbia University. She has worked at libraries in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and at the New York Public Library, where she served on several committees, including Best Books for Young Adults (twice), Outstanding Fiction for the College Bound, the Printz Award Committee, and the Alex Award Committee (twice).
After retiring from NYPL, Karlan joined LIT’s board as its president and seeks to improve library facilities for all of New York’s juvenile detainees.
Judy Frost’s major interest throughout her life has been words and literature. She’s a lifelong lover of books, especially fiction and poetry. And although she’s worked in many fields, the starting point was always reading and writing.
In addition to Judy’s work as an editor on the journal Greece in Print, as well as on a number of books, including fiction, memoir and scholarly works, she serve on the board of Indigenous Heritage, which seeks to help the San Bushmen of southern Africa (Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia) save their homelands and maintain their ancient culture.
Alexandra Cox received her Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of Cambridge. She has extensive experience with New York State juvenile facilities, where she has conducted research to assess some of the institutional dynamics that may create obstacles to the meaningful growth and development of the young people in the system’s care.
Since receiving her BA from Yale University, she has worked as a research associate at the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of Legal Affairs, a mitigation specialist and social worker at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and as a researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she conducted an evaluation of programs in men’s prisons in England and Wales. She also received a Soros Justice Advocacy fellowship to conduct research and advocacy in New York’s juvenile justice system.
Dana Lehrman worked as a young adult librarian in the New York City public schools for over 35 years, and as head librarian at Jane Addams High School in the south Bronx for the last 25 years before her retirement in 2007. She has also served on the board of the Carl Schurz Park Association, a civic group working for the betterment of that lovely East River park; was a teacher-participant in the Lincoln Center Institute bringing the arts to the city’s public schools; and established children’s libraries at Manhattan’s Central Synagogue and Temple Shaaray Tefila. In 2009 she founded ROOMS FOR IMPROVEMENT, a service that uses her organizing skills to help New Yorkers banish the clutter and gain more living space at home. Dana has been a member of the board of Literacy for Incarcerated Teens since 2008.
Laura Nurse began honing her skills as a therapist by working simultaneously with the Ackerman Family Institute and Union Settlement in East Harlem. There, she directed a multifaceted program of community services working with populations of elementary students through seniors. Then corporate life came calling. NBC/RCA wanted a person to act as “in-house shrink” and thought Laura would fill the bill. While there, she worked her way through several departments, including human resources, financial planning and sales. Since Laura’s retirement in January 2001, she has been doing volunteer work domestically, in South Africa and in Vietnam. She travels often and spends as much time as possible with her new grandchild, Nadia.
Ma’lis Wendt has more than 30 years of increasing management experience in libraries in New York City, including 12 libraries in Staten Island (2 years) and 34 libraries in the Bronx. Ma’lis also served as a member of the Branch Libraries Management Team, participating in setting the mission, vision and agenda for The New York Public Library Branch Libraries, including planning and oversight of new programs and services such as Family Literacy, technology training (Click-On), Community Health Information Services (CHOICES), and was co-founder of the Coalition for Bronx Libraries.
Ari Wohlfeiler is a social justice activist and fundraiser based in New York. He currently works as the Grassroots Fundraising Coordinator at Jewish Voice for Peace, after five years as the Development Director at Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to ending the prison industrial complex. He has also worked extensively with the California Prison Moratorium Project and Californians United for a Responsible Budget to stop prison construction, and link grassroots movements against mass punishment with efforts to rebuild the social safety net. Ari also serves on the Advisory Board of the Brooklyn Family Defense Project, a legal service organization that protects the due process rights of low-income parents.
Valentina is an attorney in the International Arbitration group at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP where she represents sovereigns and state-owned entities in disputes with transnational investors. Valentina began her legal career as a Kirkland & Ellis fellow at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem where she created and directed a program called defensaNDS. DefensaNDS aspired to provide quality holistic representation to monolingual Spanish-speaking clients. As project director, in addition to providing representation in criminal court, she created bilingual outreach materials, gave numerous community workshops, and assisted colleagues in recognizing and addressing issues unique to the arrests of non-citizens. Many of her clients were teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18. Following the conclusion of her fellowship, she became a full-time staff attorney while continuing to organize community outreach initiatives and workshops.
Since joining Curtis, Valentina has maintained a robust pro bono practice, representing numerous clients in both civil and criminal proceedings in New York, Bronx, Queens and Dutchess Counties. The primary focus of her pro bono practice has been advocating for inmate mothers detained in both city and state correctional facilities. In February, she successfully argued on behalf of such women before the New York State Court of Appeals, after having won at both the Supreme Court and Appellate Division, Second Department. She often provides prisoners with explanatory guides and model motions for filing pro se petitions and prepares parents to advocate for their children in special education meetings.
Valentina is a graduate of Wellesley College and Columbia Law School. She has been informally sending books to prisoners for nearly 10 years.