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:
– Deborah Kraemer, Ph.D., President and Board Chair
– Lori Welch-Rubin, Esq., Vice President
– Gregory C. Marazita, CPA, Treasurer
– Melissa Whitson, Ph.D., Secretary
– Derrick Gordon, Ph.D.
– Maria Mojica, M.P.H
– Judy Primavera, Ph.D.
– Martin Torresquintero, M.S.
– Robert Windom, MD
– Edwin Selden, M.S., President Emeritus
– Randi Rubin Rodriguez, MA, 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
Dr. Kraemer has been a member of the Board of ‘r kids since 2018 where she serves as the President as well as the Chair of the Capital Campaign Committee and member of the Finance and Development Committee. Dr. Kraemer is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Southern Connecticut State University. Her research includes Clinical Psychology; Stress; Chronic Illness/Health Psychology; Resilience. She’s also a psychologist in New Haven focusing on evaluation, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues.
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.
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.
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.
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.