The Board:

  • Jaaysyn Hicks 
  • Sonya Spann, CSPO
  • Steve Fradkin
  • Brittany S. Hale, Esq.

CEO:

  • Amanda Ebokosia

Board of Directors:

General Inbox: project@thegemproject.org

Jaaysyn Hicks

Jaaysyn Hicks is a New Jersey native who is passionate about community development and making a difference in the lives of others. His interests and areas of expertise include finance, technology, entrepreneurship, agriculture, environmental conservation, economic development, job creation, education reform, youth programming and community engagement. He has over 7 years of classroom experience ranging from elementary to the collegiate level, 6+ years of corporate experience, and more than 15 years of community involvement.

Sonya Spann, CSPO

Sonya Spann has worn many hats in her lifetime. Currently, Sonya oversees and manages the product development lifecycle of a number of purpose driven brands at an advertising agency based in New York. Sonya’s professional portfolio also covers international event management, fundraising, and education. Passionate about educational equity and social enterprise, Spann has served within the public sector for many years working with marginalized populations and providing unique experiences to support college readiness, STEM education and clean water initiatives in developing countries.

Sonya is passionate about the intersection of technology, education, the arts and community. Sonya is a member of the National Urban League Young Professionals, Essex County chapter alongside other civic leaders empowering the community through volunteering, sponsoring educational initiatives (ie. youth mentoring and tutoring programs), coordinating fundraisers for scholarships, and delivering personal and professional development. Sonya is a graduate of The College of New Jersey and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Steve Fradkin

Steve Fradkin is a teacher, an Adjunct Professor, a father of five, and a lover of nature, literature, history, and the arts.   Born, raised, and partially educated in Western Massachusetts (UMass, Amherst), Steve has spent the last two-plus decades in and around Newark, where he has continued his education, both as a student (The New School; Middlebury College) and a teacher, and where he has overseen the educations of his children.  He teaches Sociology and History at Columbia High School in Maplewood, and Education at Rutgers, Newark. He has also taught middle school in Hillside and Newark, and English at Essex Country College.  Steve is passionate about education, but only when its intent is to liberate and inspire.

Brittany S. Hale, Esq.

Brittany S. Hale, Esq. is a Civil Trial Attorney. She grew up in New Jersey and went to Rutgers University-Newark Honors College. There she met Amanda and became a founding member of The Gem Project, Inc. Brittany attended Boston University School of Law and served as President of the Black Law Student Association. Brittany got lost in Union County and found her home in Rahway–where she was appointed to the Rahway Redevelopment Agency, a board that approves new development and business projects within the community. In 2016, Brittany was elected to the Rahway Board of Education and became the youngest black woman to hold elected office both on the board and in the city as a whole.

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