Board Members

Dedicated professionals with “BIG HEARTS” and brains to match.

With a plethora of experience in both public and private sectors, V-ELMS’ board members advocate critical thinking skills, community involvement, and EQ over IQ (emotional intelligence over intelligence quotient).


Brett Truitt

Founding Director

Brett Truitt, Ed.D. is V-ELMS’ Founding Director and this model is the outgrowth of Brett’s over thirty years as an English teacher to an English supervisor in New York State inner-city schools, plus her years of experience as a mentor-professor at Empire State College at the State University of New York. She received her Doctorate in Administrative and Instructional Leadership from St. John’s University with her dissertation titled, “Case Studies of Student Mentoring in Three New York City Community-Based Organizations”.

Linda Scher

Deputy Director

Linda Scher, M.S. is a community activist, and a retired fine arts and humanities teacher in a New York State inner-city school. Linda has written, introduced, and practiced a comprehensive curriculum in Humanities. As a practicing artist, with a long resume of art shows, she understands and recognizes the creative juices that spurred Dr. Truitt to develop V-ELMS. As an entrepreneur restoring Brownstones in the neighborhood while employing and teaching local youth these skills, she is aware its exposure and encouragement that changes the direction of children’s lives. She is thrilled to use her experiences to assist V-ELMS, this unique model for our neighborhood youth.

Frances Rodriguez

Mentee Coordinator

 Frances Rodriguez, B.A. Art History from Yale University is dedicated to serve nonprofit organizations such as: Positive Planet – a non-profit that supports quality education for all children of the world; Clinton Hill Society – a non-profit organization for the preservation of the historic district in Brooklyn, New York; Children Art Foundation – non-profit/charitable.

Freida Huddlestone

Public relations

Frieda N. Huddleston holds two Bachelor of Science degrees in Business Administration and Accounting. She has a Master of Science in Human Services with an emphasis in Counseling. She has served as an educational counselor for undergraduate and graduate studies and has experience as a Patient Relations Director for a major military medical center. Her experience runs the gamut of instructing at several community colleges and serving as a senior research analyst, technical writer, and editor for a management consulting firm.

Devonta Williams

Chair Person

DeVonta Williams, a Brooklyn native, credits her passion and success to over 15 years as a youth leader at Metro World Child in Bushwick, where she experienced the power of mentorship. This inspired her early career, where she quickly rose to Vice President in a global technology firm before completing her bachelor’s in international business and economics at NYU. With over 25 years of experience, DeVonta is now a seasoned Finance Operations Executive, having managed large-scale teams for Fortune 500 companies across the UK, Holland, Japan, and China, including Dentsu, Morgan Stanley, and Deloitte.

Anne M. Bush

Anne Bush is a retired Vice President of JPMorgan Chase and former Chief Credit Officer of Trufund Financial Services, Inc. She serves on numerous Boards including V-ELMS; VP-Community Council Board for Medgar Evers College/CUNY; President-Society for Clinton Hill; Teach for America NY Associate Board and the Past President/Advisory Board, Urban Financial Services Coalition (UFSC) National Association. Anne has a BA in Psychology and Mathematics from NYU, a Graduate Business Certificate from LIU, and a Certificate in Philanthropy and Fundraising from NYU. Ms. Bush formerly held securities licenses 7 and 63.

Tricia Lee Riley

Tricia Lee Riley is a proud Brooklyn resident, one of Brooklyn’s top real estate brokers and home investors with immense knowledge and appreciation of the borough’s history and the revitalization of its neighborhoods. A Phoenix native, she earned her BA in Communications from Arizona State University. She is an active member of the Myrtle Avenue Redevelopment Program, a board member of V-ELMS, and active with her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. In 2019, Tricia Lee started her passion project, a Women’s Financial Wellness Event Series, Money Matters with Tricia Lee. Annually, Tricia brings together a group of 200+ to discuss behaviors and strategy around money habits, financial freedom, and using real estate to build wealth.7 and 63.

Patricia Martin-Gibbons, JD

Patricia Martin-Gibbons, JD, has practiced since 1988. Since 1991, she has provided representation and legal advice in family law matters. Directly after graduating Brooklyn Law School, she was employed as a prosecutor at The Kings County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York. Ms. Martin-Gibbons’ work involves representing parents and children in matrimonial matters issues of custody and visitation, cases including allegations of child abuse and neglect, and juvenile delinquency.She represents clients in domestic violence cases, including defense and securing protection orders. Her family law experience has given her insights into the value of academic mentorship.

Abbie Van Wely

Abbie Van Wely is a former public-school teacher with over thirty years classroom experience teaching English and remedial reading/writing to middle school students. She earned an MS Ed from the College of Saint Rose, and a BA in English from SUNY Albany. At the time of her retirement from Manchester-Shortsville CSD, she had worked with middle school students across a wide range of skill levels and backgrounds, helped to create/guide two new student clubs, helped to provide in-house training for NYS ELA Testing, acted as Team Leader for grade-level NYS ELA testing, acted as Team Leader for grade-level NYS ELA testing (in-house and multi-district). and served M-S CSD as a New Teacher Mentor.

 Sean Robinson

Chair Person

Sean Robinson attended Howard University from 1990 to 1994 and graduated Cum Laude with dual BBA degrees in Accounting and Finance. He received a two-year fellowship from the Consortium of Graduate Study in Management to attend the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester where he completed his MBA in 1999 with a concentration in Corporate Accounting and Finance. Sean has worked in the financial services industry for over 25 years in various industries including, investment banking, venture capital, SEC Reporting, auditing, and consulting. He is a CPA with licensures in New York, California, Florida, and Washington, DC

Kirkland Vaughans, PH.D.

Kirkland Vaughans, PH.D., a retired school psychologist in the New York State Education system, is a senior adjunct faculty at Adelphi University, founding editor of the “Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy” and co-author of the two-volume series, The Psychology of Black Boys and Adolescents. Dr. Vaughans, who has had several decades-long career as a clinical psychologist treating Black youth, was the recipient of the national honoree for Diversity Award for Psychology in Division 39 for 2021.


(877) 727-7750


417 Myrtle Avenue #64A
Brooklyn, New York 11205