Board of Directors
‘r kids Board of Directors is comprised of a diverse group of professionals committed to governing ‘r kids Family Center through long term planning, fundraising and support of the Executive Director, Randi Rubin Rodriguez to attract and retain quality staff to provide services to its clients.
The Board of Directors members are:
– Edwin Selden, President and Board Chair
– Robert Windom, MD, President Emeritus
– Patricia Kaplan, Esq., Vice President
– Judy Primavera, Ph.D., Secretary
– A.F. Drew Alden, Treasurer
– Linda Fusco
– Deborah Kraemer, Ph.D.
– Melissa Whitson, Ph.D.
– Randi Rubin Rodriguez, CEO and Executive Director, Founder, Management
See below for detailed biographies.
‘r kids has standing committees to address specific areas of need and expertise. Current committees include:
– Strategic Planning
– Finance and Development
Van spent his professional career serving in various administrative positions within the public sector which spanned both state and local governments in Connecticut. He has served on numerous non-profit and public sector boards and commissions. His undergraduate degree in Government and Public Administration was earned at the University of Arizona and his graduate degree in Urban Affairs is from the University of Wisconsin. Van is married and the father of two adult men, one of whom is adopted. He is a passionate amateur photographer.
Judy Primavera, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at Fairfield University and is a licensed psychologist with the State of Connecticut. Judy earned a PhD in Clinical Community Psychology at Yale University. She is the Co-founder of the Jamie A. Hulley Arts Foundation. Judy joined the Board in 2008 and is a member of the Governance and Programming committees as well as serving as Board Secretary. Judy believes that the work of ‘r kids changes the lives of our most vulnerable children and parents by placing them on a positive life trajectory. Children need nurturance and stability and ‘r kids provide intensive services to families so all children have safe, loving permanent homes.
Andrew F. (Drew) Alden has served as The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s Chief Financial Officer since 1994. In addition, Mr. Alden also serves as Senior Vice President for Investments and Chief Compliance Officer. In these roles, he oversees The Community Foundation’s investment, finance, audit, tax, administrative, information management, and regulatory facets of The Community Foundation and subsidiaries. Mr. Alden also serves as CFO of The Community Foundation’s affiliated entity, The Valley Community Foundation, since its inception in 2004.
Prior to joining The Community Foundation, Mr. Alden spent several years performing merger and acquisition analysis and investment banking services to middle market firms in the area of private placements and acquisition/divestitures, as well as serving as chief financial officer for a technology-based software development company.
Mr. Alden started his career in the insurance industry performing financial reporting and analysis for institutional retirement plans.
Mr. Alden’s current and recent volunteer services have included on the Merrill Lynch Community Charitable Gift Fund’s national investment advisory board, The Community Foundation of America board of directors, The Whitney Center, and The Shubert Theater in New Haven.
Mr. Alden is a graduate of Trinity College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and currently holds a series 65 designation. Drew and his wife Hilarie are the proud parent to five children, and are hopeful that they will be blessed with ability to adopt a foster child that has been a part of their family since 2015. The Alden’s are a proud foster-family since 2014 to Connecticut’s most vulnerable children, and Drew’s commitment to these issues is the fundamental reason for his joining the board ‘r kids to assist in the amazing work conducted by that organization.
Patricia Kaplan joined New Haven Legal Assistance Association, Inc.
(LAA) in 1978 as a staff attorney, working in family and child law. She was Executive Director from 1991 to 2012. Her current work is as an educational advocate for the Department of Education providing special education advocacy for children in DCF custody. She also provides pro bono family law legal advice through a network of health and human service agency providers.
Linda Fusco is retired from 36 years of state service, first at Whiting Forensic Institute, then moving on to the Department of Children and Families in 1975. Linda worked her way up through the ranks from Case Worker I to Social Worker then Social Work Supervisor. She did direct service and then supervision in the areas of Investigations, Treatment Services, Probate Services as well as in the Administrative Case Review process.
Linda graduated from Sacred Heart Academy (1969) and Southern Connecticut State University in 1973 with a B.A. in Social Welfare and a minor in Psychology.
Linda has been very active in her community having served on Derby Pop Warner Executive Board for 7 years as Cheer Coordinator and on the Southern Connecticut Pop Warner Executive Board as Scholastic Coordinator. In 2001, she was appointed to the Derby Board of Aldermen and was elected to serve 2 more consecutive terms.
Linda is currently in her 3rd term as Derby’s Democratic Town Chair. She has also been serving on the Derby Housing Authority since March, 2016 and is a member in good standing at the Derby Elks Lodge #571.
A member of the ‘r kids board since November, 2016, Linda has been assigned to the Programming Committee.she is excited and honored to serve on this board. She knows first hand the quality, depth and importance of the work ‘r kids provided to the children and families in the area.
Deborah Kraemer, Ph.D.
Melissa L. Whitson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of New Haven and Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She has been involved with various non-profits in New Haven over the years, including Orchestra New England (Board member) and Citywide Youth Coalition (Member). Additionally, she and her dog, Fenway, are an Animal-Assisted Therapy team that volunteers at local libraries and schools. In addition to Fenway, Melissa’s family includes her husband, Alex, and her daughter, Ramona. Melissa has been a Board member for ‘r kids since 2012. She was initially drawn to ‘r kids because she has provided therapeutic services to low-income children and families, many of whom were involved with DCF. As a result, she already knew how difficult it was to work with these families, but was so impressed with the work of the ‘r kids staff while using a strengths-based, culturally-sensitive, family-centered approach. Over the years, she has continued to be inspired and humbled by the ‘r kids mission and the results they achieve. They truly do make an enormous difference in the lives of many children and families.
With more than 30 years experience in the fields of substance abuse, Maternal and Child Health and Child Welfare, a Master’s degree in Human Development from Farleigh Dickinson University, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Art Education from the University of Bridgeport, and a Post certification in Clinical Adoption Issues from UCONN/SCSU, Randi has continued to advance her understanding of the complex issues facing children committed to state care and their biologic, foster, adoptive and relative care families through many hours in diverse training workshops. Licensed as a foster parent in 1997, Randi has firsthand experience caring for infants through teens and seeing all sides of the child protection systems with which children at risk and their parents are involved. In founding ‘r kids Family Center, Randi’s mindful vision was that every child have the opportunity to grow up with a family they can call their own. Espousing that safety, security, and a nurturing permanent family is a civil right for children.