Board of Directors
A passionate commitment!
Our Board of Directors is comprised entirely of volunteers. Members include the program coordinators at each facility, educators, Rising Hope alumni and others.
Read about their impressive backgrounds here, or select a photo for an individual biography.
Coordinator, Woodbourne Correctional Facility
Academic Records Coordinator
Coordinator, Fishkill Correctional Facility
Coordinator, Sing Sing Correctional Facility
Coordinator, Re-Entry Program
Dr. Ronne Marantz
Past Pillars of
Rising Hope, Inc.
We owe a debt of gratitude to these individuals that played a vital role in the life of our organization. We miss them!
Rising Hope had its beginnings in 1995 when George “Bill” Webber, President of New York Theological Seminary saw the need for post secondary education in prisons. With the help of incarcerated individuals who had received their Masters in Theological Studies while at Sing Sing, Dr. Webber created the Certificate in Ministry and Human Services program. Still referred to by some as the CMHS program, the name was changed to Rising Hope when it was incorporated in 2003 and achieved 501 (c3) status.
Sr. Marian Bohan, PhD, a member of the Ursuline order, was enlisted by Dr. Webber at the program’s inception in 1995 and served as Program Coordinator of the Certificate in Ministry and Human Services Program (now called Rising Hope) through May 2003.
Robert Lukey first became involved with Rising Hope in 1996 and became treasurer in 2002. He went on to become President of the Board, a post he held until 2014.
Kathleen Reid taught at Woodbourne Correctional Facility and served as secretary of our board for many years.
(Pictured with alumnus Rasheed Hart)
Learn more about our
Board of Directors
Susan Ulrich – President – “Professionally, I worked as administrator, nurse and secretary in a medical office. For a number of years before becoming actively involved in prison education, I kept being nudged in that direction. There was the passage in Matthew 25 where Jesus explains that when we visit the person in prison we are visiting him. A respected pastor asked me, “And what have you done for the person in prison?” There was a well done program at Rye Presbyterian Church which asked, “Can any good come out of prison?” The answer, made by men who had indeed been within the walls, proclaimed a resounding,”Yes”. Beginning first as a co teacher, then as coordinator at Woodbourne and soon after the President of the Board, I have found the work which I began seventeen years ago to be challenging, eye opening, never dull, and endlessly rewarding.”
Jordan Scruggs – Vice President – Originally from the mountains of North Carolina, Jordan arrived to the Hudson Valley by way of Connecticut where she received her Masters of Divinity from Yale in 2015. She worked as the Director of Community Ministries for Saint James United Methodist Church in Kingston for six years, where she connected members of the congregation to local social justice work for poverty alleviation and building social equity. Jordan currently works for SUNY Ulster Community College as the director of New Start for Women. New Start helps women in Ulster County with limited resources to obtain an education, skills, and the professional network needed for gainful employment and provides the necessary supports to eliminate barriers to their success. Jordan is passionate about asset-based development and cultivating human resilience in the face of trauma. In addition to her work with New Start, Jordan is also a member of several local boards, including Kingston Midtown Rising, Inc. and the Rising Hope Prison Education Initiative. She lives with her spouse, Kevin, and their daughter, Sage, in Kingston, NY.
Deborah Moore – Secretary – Deborah taught Rising Hope Theology, Ethics and New Testament courses for 18 years at Sing Sing, Fishkill and Green Haven Correctional Facilities. She also served as program coordinator at Fishkill and opened and ran the program at Green Haven. In addition, she served as Rising Hope’s Academic Coordinator, recruiting and training coordinators and instructors. She recorded all the grades and provided transcripts for the alumni. Currently, she’s serving as the secretary to the Rising Hope Board of Directors. She earned her masters degree in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her greatest pleasure is seeing her former students leave prison, attain their educational and vocational goals and establish families of their own.
Gary Carriero – Treasurer – “I’ve been a member of the RHI Board and Treasurer for seven years. Most of my professional career was spent in social service and mental health organizations. Before retiring three years ago, I was an Assistant Vice President with the NYS Housing Finance Agency, which provided financing for affordable housing throughout the state. I’ve always felt people deserve a second chance in making their lives better which is what RHI is able to do for those incarcerated in NYS prisons.”
Dr. Mark Lindeman – Academic Records Coordinator– Mark is acting co-director of Verified Voting, a national non-profit organization that advocates for trustworthy election technology and practices. He has served on the Rising Hope board (and has managed grade reports) since 2014.
Dr. Murthy Cheruvu – Coordinator, Fishkill Correctional Facility – Dr. Murthy Cheruvu is retired from IBM where he specialized in research and development. While employed at IBM, he helped juvenile offenders prepare for their GED at a local Community Transition Center. He also volunteered at Dutchess County Jail and Green Haven Correctional Facility, where he initiated and facilitated “Self Awareness Integration” groups for over a decade. Later, he taught pre-college mathematics in Shawangunk Correctional Facility. In 2017, he conducted several workshops on Personal Finance and Decision Making for the Rising Hope Alumni at Woodbourne. He has been the site coordinator of Rising Hope’s program at Fishkill Correctional Facility since 2018, where he has also taught World Religions, Ethics, and Creative Problem Solving.
Kimberly Malone – Coordinator, Sing Sing Correctional Facility – Kimberly has been teaching with Rising Hope since 2018. During the 2020 pandemic she joined the board and stepped into the role of Sing Sing Facility Coordinator, where she helped the program pivot to correspondence learning during that time. Her background is in not for profit administration. During the course of her professional and volunteer experience she has worked in the fields of community development, addiction, homelessness, education, volunteer support, and incarceration. She is a certified Spiritual Director, and has a MA in Theology and a MA in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Seminary.
Kimberly loves cooking, swimming, flying trapeze, and has a goal to be one of the best versions of herself at 80 years old. She lives in Mahwah, NJ with her husband and two stepsons.
Ernest Henry – Re-Entry Coordinator – Ernest Henry spent 24 consecutive years in various New York State Maximum Prisons. During his incarceration, he became a State Certified Paralegal, and worked in four facility Law Libraries for 20 years, assisting his peers to understand their legal rights.For 10 years, totaling over 10,000 hours, Ernest served as the Chairman of the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, where he trained others and facilitated workshops in conflict resolution skills. Ernest was also a founder of the Peace Initiative Network, in which for three consecutive years, he and fellow AVP facilitators conducted week and month long programs toward peace and the reduction of violence, at Sing- Sing Prison, one of New York State’s most violent prisons.
Ernest was one of the first graduates of Hudson Link (the first independently funded college program in the State of New York), where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Management from Nyack College and was selected by his classmates as Valedictorian of the Class of 2001. He also earned a Masters Degree in Professional Studies from New York Theological Seminary, and was again selected Class Speaker for the Class of 2003.
Ernest has 15 years’ experience creating and facilitating workshops and programs for incarcerated people, and seven years’ direct experience as a ReEntry Specialist in Employment, Housing and Community Outreach. He also held the position of Director of ReEntry Services and is currently the Executive Director of a newly formed non-for-profit 501(C)(3) organization called Hudson Valley ReEntry Network (which caters to the needs of formerly incarcerated people returning to the Hudson Valley Region of New York State).
For the past thirteen, Ernest has hosted Voices Beyond the Wall (91.3 WVKR FM), a Radio Talk show catering to the views of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, and their families, focusing on ReEntry and Parole, and the legal issues surrounding the two.
Ernest is also the Founder and Co-Owner, with his wife, Kathy, of FBTW, Inc., which serves the incarcerated population and their families throughout the United States. Ernest currently resides in New York, with his wife, Kathy, and their three dogs.
Wayne Atwell, CFA – Wayne Atwell’s working career was in finance for over 40 years and he has been involved in outreach and community service over the last twenty plus years. He is on two public service boards. He is on the board of Rising Hope, Inc. which provides college for the incarcertated in three houses of detention. He is head of the audit committee and on the board of Exodus Transitional Community, which helps those released from incarceration to reenter society. It helps with the creation of a resume, arranges employment interviews, provides an interview wardrobe, and offers anger management classes. He has been mentoring a formerly incarcerated man for five years.
Mr. Atwell was a member of the Mission and Outreach Committee at the Rye Presbyterian Church for twenty years and was chairman of the committee for three years. The committee made 30 grants a year totaling $150,000. He organized and lead two mission trips to under developed countries. One mission trip built a school for grade school children in Nicaragua in a village an hour and a half off a paved road. The other mission trip built a school for 3-5 year old untouchable caste children in India. He also went on a mission trip to Haiti to help rebuild a high school which was destroyed by a mud slide.
Mr. Atwell started and ran a Saturday morning program for homeless children which helped them with their reading skills, provided art projects and took them to museums and cultural sites. He started an after school STEM program for sixth graders in Yonkers, New York, which helped them build their STEM skills and appreciate the potential of a STEM education. He started a college scholarship program for children of color.
Mr. Atwell put together a lecture on personal finance which he has taught in prisons and colleges.
Olivia Pocock – Curriculum Coordinator – Olivia is our newest Board member. We are delighted that she has taken on the responsibilities of Curriculum Coordinator. She brings a varied experience in public school education.
Dr. Ronne Marantz – Development Chairperson – Dr. Ronne Marantz started her career as a classroom teacher in a Residential Treatment Center, went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Special Education and English as a Second Language, and her Doctorate Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Educational Leadership. She was the Principal of Heathcote Elementary School in Scarsdale, NY, an Adjunct Professor for Long Island University’s Graduate School of Education, and a consultant for the United Nations Human Values in Water and Sanitation Program in developing nations. When she was invited to teach Introduction to the World Religions for Rising Hope, Inc., and first walked into Woodbourne Correctional Facility, she felt her career had come full circle, returning home to what she loved most to do.
David Shover – Retired non-profit director. Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of NY; Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children. He served as Development Chairman for several years.
Rev. Melissa Boyer – Rev. Melissa Boyer is a United Methodist minister whose work in prison education is part of her commitment to social justice. As the pastor of a local church, she is active in grassroots organizing for racial justice and for LGBTQ equity in congregations. Rev. Boyer is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary and has specialized training in coaching and Gestalt Pastoral Care.
Heather Miller – Heather Miller is a transplanted Texan. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is also certified in Special Education. She has been a preschool teacher, taught special education in the public school system, and is currently the director of a church related preschool. She is an active member of Rye Presbyterian Church and in 2014 became involved in the church’s prison ministry. She has been visiting both Fishkill and Sing Sing Correctional Facilities on a monthly basis since 2014. At Sing Sing, she interacts with the men who are enrolled in the New York Theological Seminary master’s program and at Fishkill in the Community Minded Organization. She is a founding member of the Coming Home re-entry program at Rye Presbyterian Church and has served as a mentor in that program. In 2017, she launched the Rye Writes program to establish a letter relationship that would allow congregants and others to begin exchanging letters with those incarcerated. This involvement with those both inside and those who have returned home brings Heather great joy as she seeks to live out the commission of Matthew 25:36, “I was in prison, and you visited me.”