Senior Staff

Sandy Santana, executive director

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Sandy Santana joined Children’s Rights as chief operating officer in 2012. From 2006 to 2012, Mr. Santana served as Managing Director and General Counsel of Legal Outreach, a law-related college prep organization, where he was responsible for the organization’s management and strategic growth initiatives.

Prior to joining Legal Outreach, he served as a corporate associate in the Boston office of Goodwin Procter LLP (2004-2006) and in the New York office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP (2001-2004). His legal practice focused on international corporate finance, securities, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity matters.

Mr. Santana received his B.A. from Harvard College and his J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Ira Lustbader, litigation director

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Ira Lustbader has been with Children’s Rights since 1999, and is actively involved in overall organizational management, the direction of Children’s Rights’ national program of campaigns to reform failing child welfare systems, and the development of national partnerships and coalitions.

Prior to joining Children’s Rights, Mr. Lustbader practiced law at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, LLP, in New York City, concentrating in national plaintiffs’ class action litigation in consumer fraud, securities fraud, and antitrust cases. Before that, he handled matters on the defense side involving products liability and malpractice at the firms of Parker Chapin Flattau & Klimpl LLP, and at Bower & Gardner, both in New York City. From 1998 to 2006, Mr. Lustbader served as a board member of Neighborhood of Youth & Family Services, a large nonprofit family preservation agency in the South Bronx. He is a past chair of the Committee on Public Service and Education at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and is currently a Member of the leadership of the Children’s Rights Litigation Committee of the Section on Litigation of the American Bar Association, the National Lawyers Guild, and the National Association of Counsel for Children.

He received his B.S. from the State University of New York at Albany, magna cum laude, and received his law degree from Boston University School of Law.

Sara Bartosz, deputy director of litigation strategy

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Sara Bartosz joined the staff of Children’s Rights in December 2003 following 17 years of combined law practice as a private trial attorney in Chicago and later as a government lawyer in Washington, DC. She served as General Counsel at the Office of Administration within the Executive Office of the President during the second term of President William Jefferson Clinton, where she provided counsel to senior White House officials on a variety of legislative, policy and administrative matters and represented the Executive Office of the President in a wide range of congressional, independent counsel and Justice Department investigations.

Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, Ms. Bartosz was a partner in the Chicago Litigation firm Cahill, Christian & Kunkle Ltd, where she conducted a broad trial practice in commercial, environmental, civil rights, criminal, product liability, and shareholder disputes. She also served as a Special State’s Attorney for DuPage County, IL, in a lengthy criminal trial against former prosecutors and police officers. Ms. Bartosz served as Assistant Chair of the Judicial Evaluation Committee of the Chicago Bar Association in 1999-2000. She earned her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and graduated from the Loyola University School of Law.

Wende Gozan Brown, director of communications and marketing

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Wende Gozan Brown joined Children’s Rights in October 2011. She brings with her 12 years experience from Amnesty International USA, where she spearheaded communications strategies for some of the organization’s most notable campaigns, including an internationally recognized clemency effort on behalf of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis and the campaign to highlight rampant sexual violence against Native American and Alaska Native women. The latter played a critical role in shaping the historic Tribal Law and Order Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2010.

Prior to Amnesty International USA, Ms. Brown served as manager of communications at Newsweek magazine and Publicist with HarperCollinsPublishers, where she focused on the promotion of works by authors of color. She holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Harry Frischer, lead counsel

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Harry Frischer joined Children’s Rights as lead counsel in 2016 after 36 years in private practice. He had served as a litigation partner at Proskauer Rose LLP since 2003, where he guided clients through complex litigations, arbitrations, regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, mostly involving the financial services industry. Mr. Frischer has tried cases in federal and state courts and has conducted arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the American Arbitration Association and other arbitration forums, and has argued appeals in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals and state appellate courts.

Mr. Frischer holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. A passionate advocate for children, he served on the board of New York City’s Court Appointed Special Advocates for more than a decade, including four years as chairman.

Marjorie A. McAndrews, director of finance

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Marjorie A. McAndrews joined Children’s Rights as Director of Finance in August 2012 after consulting for the organization for a year.

Previously, she served as the Director of Finance at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a multi-service nonprofit that advises on and manages nearly $200 million in annual giving in more than 50 countries. She was also Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administration of the Fund for the City of New York, where she oversaw and directed administrative and financial management of a multi-service nonprofit with a budget of $30 million and 250 employees at multiple sites.

Her areas of expertise include financial management and budgeting; strategic and process planning and implementation; human resources; and operations. During her corporate career at Verizon she was selected to the Chairman’s elite Finance Process Review team, which worked to restructure the organization. She conducted internal analysis, industry benchmarking and “Best Practice” interviews with major corporations throughout the United States. As a result of her work, resources were re-directed that reduced costs and attained best-in-class status and saved $35 million in annual expenses.

Ms. McAndrews participates in local philanthropic associations and networks. She is a director of New Destiny Housing, a NYC nonprofit that provides housing and services to one of the City’s most vulnerable homeless populations – victims of domestic violence and their children. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Molloy College. She has also completed executive level leadership training from Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School.

Adriana Pezzulli, director of development

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Adriana Pezzulli joined Children’s Rights in 2017 as the Director of Development. For seventeen years she was the Director of Development for NYC’s Lower Eastside Girls Club, a national leader in youth and community development. During her tenure, Ms. Pezzulli created and spearheaded the organization’s individual, corporate, and foundation giving programs. She led a $20 Million Capital Campaign to build the organization’s Center for Community – a signature 33,000 sq ft state-of-the-art educational, arts and community facility that primarily serves families from public housing. During her long tenure, Ms. Pezzulli also helped to secure key investments for the growth of Girls Club Worldwide, a global network of sister programs in New Orleans, Hudson, Nepal, Scotland, Chiapas and Sierra Leone.

Adriana was born and raised in New York City where she earned her BA from New York University. Prior to the Girls Club, Adriana ran a literacy program for middle school youth in the Mission District of San Francisco through Americorps, The Corporation For National Service program that helps meet critical U.S. needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment.

Sally S. Weissman, director of operations

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As director of operations, Sally S. Weissman is responsible for the organization’s support structure. Ms. Weissman directs human resources, facilities management, and office services (including information technology management and systems development), with a focus on integrating those functions with the operations of the organization.

Ms. Weissman has been working in the nonprofit arena as an administrator for more than 25 years. She started her nonprofit career at the Legal Aid Society, Civil Division. She came to Children’s Rights from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a legal advocacy organization, where she worked with the executive director to establish and guide the organization in its initial years. She graduated from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, with a degree in sociology.