Double Discovery Center


Educating Children of Promise since 1965


DDC Staff


  • Kecia Hayes

    Executive Director

    For more than 15 years, kecia has been working in a variety of organizational settings in urban education. Prior to joining The Double Discovery Center, she was the founding Director of Teachers College, Columbia University’s university-assisted, community school initiative in Harlem that partnered with five NYC public schools.  She was an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Montclair State University where she taught courses in leading school reform & improvement, community & school relations, research methods, and group dynamics.  kecia also was a Leadership Development Facilitator/Senior Program Officer at New Visions for Public Schools where she provided intensive school improvement support for administrators and school teams at seven NYC public schools. She worked for the New York State Education Department to help with implementation of their Race to the Top initiative.  kecia was a founding board member of Harlem Academy.  Her professional work and research primarily focuses on urban school leadership, particularly collaborative approaches to innovative urban school turnaround and transformation in communities of color.  She earned a B.A. from Hamilton College, M.A. and Ed.M. from Teachers College, Columbia University, and Ph.D. in Urban Education from the CUNY Graduate Center where she was a MAGNET Scholar.  Her dissertation documented the educational experiences of young men at Rikers Island and examined the impact of a Sternberg’s multiple intelligence literacy program on the young men.              

  • Corey Getchell

    Finance and Analytics Manager

    Finance and Analytics Manager: Corey has worked in higher education and finance for the past eight years. He spent the last three of those years at Pace University where he was the Budget and Finance Director for the Strategic Initiatives Division, which includes Pace's online, ESL, and continuing education departments. Prior to moving to New York, he worked as a Registrar for Executive Education at the University of St Thomas in Minneapolis, MN, where he also earned his M.B.A. Corey lives in Washington Heights and enjoys cooking--especially food from his plot at the community garden.

  • Denisse Garcia

    Administrative/Financial Assistant

    Denisse currently resides in Washington Heights. She is of Dominican and Salvadoran decent. In her spare time, she enjoys painting and spending time with family and friends.  Denisse recently graduated from The City College of New York where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Previously, she worked at the Colin Powell School and was one of three people to oversee an entire finance division

  • Annick Sullivan

    Development Officer

    Annick has a significant background in fundraising for educational institutions, from Columbia University Medical Center to the French-American School of New York. She attended high school in France and is familiar with both the public and private educational systems in the United States.  She has a B.A. in Science Journalism from Baruch College and an M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University.  Annick chose the development field because she wanted to make a positive impact on society and her values strongly match DDC’s mission. She believes in providing children access to quality education, regardless of income, so that every child can fulfill his/her potential and in turn, contribute positively to the economic growth and the democratic process of this country.

Healthy Minds and Bodies

  • Kristan Rosenthal

    Assistant Director

    Kristan is a public health social worker with over five years of experience working with teens and their families. Previously, Kristan worked with the BeWell Health and Wellness Program at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health to provide health, wellness, and mental health support to teens in the NYPL's BridgeUP Program, provided health education and reproductive health counseling to teens at Curtis High School in Staten Island with the Children's Aid Society, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana. She holds a BA in Public Health Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and an MPH and MSW from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kristan lives in the Bronx and enjoys cooking, hiking, kayaking, and pottery.

  • Nell Pritchard

    Columbia University School of Social Work Intern

  • Taylor Nicole Roberts

    Columbia University School of Social Work Intern

    Taylor is a first year graduate student at Columbia University's School of Social Work. She went to undergraduate school in Richmond, Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). At VCU, she obtained double degrees in both psychology and sociology. In undergrad, she was involved in research looking at women's health practices as well as being a teacher’s assistant for a service-learning social work course. Taylor is interested in young adults, education, and healthy living

Talent Search - College and Career Success

  • Marlin Santana

    Assistant Director

    Marlin is a Dominican woman born and raised in the South Bronx with a passion for poetry, her family and SUNY Buffalo State (only the best alma mater!).  She feels fortunate enough to work in her dream field as she truly thinks that working with youth is her niche and life calling.

  • Yarisell Hernandez


    Yarisell is a New York City raised, Dominican native, residing in Harlem, NYC. She spent the last two years as a school counselor in SoHo, helping at risk 9th – 12th grade students obtain a high school diploma and post-secondary success. Yarisell attended City College and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Theatre.  She has a Master of Arts in Counseling with a Bilingual School Counseling extension from Manhattan College. 

  • Nathaniel Robinson


    Nate has dedicated his life to helping inner city youth reach their potential and persist through college.  His passion for college access and success stems from his own experiences growing up in New York City.  Nate is committed to the growth and long-term success of DDC and its students

Academic Enrichment

  • Aisha Haynes

    Pedagogical Specialist

    With over a decade of teaching experience, Aisha is dedicated to creating an equitable & meaningful educational system for all students. She has paired her background as a secondary school teacher in Brooklyn, with her current professional research in educational policy as a doctoral candidate at New York University. Aisha earned her master's degree in Teaching at Fordham University and obtained her bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Villanova University. Her dissertation research explores the experiences of New York City principals in a market economy at the intersection of the rapid gentrification of many New York City neighborhoods. Aisha is Brooklyn born and bred and a proud product of the New York City public school system, who is committed to improving the quality of the educational experience for black and brown students.

Upward Bound - College and Career Success

  • Leticia Vasquez

    Assistant Director

    In the pursuit of her life's calling, Leticia has discovered that she is passionate and committed to expanding opportunities in college access, persistence, and success, especially to students who identify as first-generation, low-income, and/or of historically marginalized, under-served, and underrepresented communities. As a first-generation, Mexican-American, Queens girl, Leticia believes it is her mission to give back to the community that has given her so much by guiding youth to tap into their highest self through the lens of College Access. When she's not working with youth, she loves to explore the crevices of New York City, listen to The Beatles, and learn about the social implications that exist in our geographies; a subject that sparked her interest while attending Hunter College.


  • Taylor Ellis


    Taylor is a New York native born & bred in the Co-Op City section of the Bronx. She attended Louis D. Brandeis high school where she was partnered with DDC during her freshman year. She attended DDC for three years and graduated from the program, and high school, in 2014. With the support of DDC, Taylor continued her studies at the SUNY Plattsburgh where she majored in English with a double minor in Africana studies & anthropology. It was during her years in college that she decided that she wanted to be of service to students. Taylor has participated in many student focused service projects including a service learning in Dakar, Senegal where she taught English. Taylor recently obtained her M.S. Ed. in Education from CUNY Lehman College. She is dedicated to providing college access, educational advancement, and mentoring to urban youth. In addition, she is a Scorpio, a daughter, a traveler, a sister, god mother, and a hopeful inspiration to all. Taylor also loves quotes and here is her favorite: Education is the passport to the future. For tomorrow belongs to those who plan for it today - Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik El Shabazz)

  • Jessica Yip


    Jessica is a proud environmentalist, animal lover, and travel & food enthusiast. She graduated from the University at Buffalo with a B.A in Sociology and Economics. During her junior year, Jessica realized that she wanted to pursue a profession where she could help others so she decided to become a counselor. She went on to get her M.S.Ed in school counseling at Queens College and has been working with youth ever since.