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Our May 31, 2023 Gala honored Hon. Adrienne E. Adams and LaRue R. Gibson, Jr.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

6:30pm Cocktails & Silent Auction
7:30pm Dinner & Student-Led Program

583 Park Avenue at 63rd Street
Festive Attire

This year’s Gala celebrated our honorees for their deep commitments to educational equity and excellence, and highlighted the ways in which we foster deeper learning in classrooms and in the outdoors. As is tradition, the evening was led by our students and included the presentation of the R. Gaynor McCown Excellence in Teaching Award. Funds raised help ensure that we can continue our work to engage students in equitable, immersive and joyful learning experiences.

Meet our Honorees

Hon. Adrienne E. Adams

Speaker, New York City Council

Hon. Adrienne Eadie Adams is the Speaker of the New York City Council, leading the most diverse and first women-majority Council in city history as the body’s first African American Speaker. She is also the first woman to represent Council District 28, which includes the neighborhoods of Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village and South Ozone Park.

In the City Council, Adams previously served as Chair of the Committee on Public Safety and Co-Chair of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus. Prior to serving in the City Council, Speaker Adams served as Chair of Queens Community Board 12, a Trustee of the Queens Public Library, and Co-Chair of the Jamaica NOW Leadership Council.

She previously worked as a Corporate Trainer and a Child Development Associate Instructor. A mother and grandmother, Speaker Adams lives in Jamaica with her husband.

LaRue R. Gibson, Jr.

Managing Director and Partner, LRG Wealth Advisors, a Hightower Advisors Firm

With over 33 years of experience as a financial advisor, LaRue Gibson provides clients with sophisticated wealth management and investment strategies, as well as personalized attention and services tailored to their individual needs. He specializes in developing financial plans and asset allocation strategies for retirement, college/education funding, estate planning, survivor protection, income protection, tax planning and liability management.

Prior to Hightower, LaRue served as a Senior Vice President of Investments and Senior Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch for nearly 28 years.

LaRue earned his Bachelor of the Arts degree in Chemical Engineering from Yale University.

He proudly serves on the boards of several charitable organizations in the New York City area, including NYC Outward Bound Schools (Vice Chair), The Lois Bronz Children’s Center, and The Disability Opportunity Fund (Chair). He is a proud father of two and currently lives in Westchester County.

Gala Chairs

Carole & Norm Barham

Vicki & David Foley

Jane Greenman

Alphonse Lembo

Pamela & Gifford Miller

Nancy & Burt Staniar

Ginger & Geoff Worden

Gala Vice Chairs

David Dase & Jacqueline Flake

Patricia L. Francy

Timothy Greensfelder & Sari Granat

Bonnie & Brad Klein

Jonathan Miller, Miller Ryan, LLC

Lisa Moran & Scott Ainsbury

Richard & Carolyn Stopol

*List updated as of 5/25/2023

The R. Gaynor McCown Excellence in Teaching Award

The Gaynor McCown Award was established to honor the memory of R. Gaynor McCown, a former public school teacher, longtime Board member of NYC Outward Bound Schools, Executive Director of the Teaching Commission, and champion of the profession of teaching. The Award recognizes a teacher or other staff member from NYC Outward Bound Schools’ network of schools who exemplifies the qualities that Gaynor herself exhibited as a teacher and that she sought to nurture and support in others.

Sedina Montoya

Humanities, Literacy & Language Teacher and Crew Leader at MS 839

Sedina Montoya is a passionate and deeply committed educator who views teaching as her vocation. She has devotedly served NYC DOE students for the last 15 years. Sedina has taught as a Gen. Ed and ENL teacher in various settings and grade levels. Currently, she serves as a Literacy & Language Teacher, Humanities Teacher & Crew Leader at MS 839, in her native Brooklyn.

Driven by the fundamental principles of social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, Sedina’s mission has always been to provide high-quality instruction to Multilingual Learners (MLLs). She has the highest expectations of her students and pushes them to see themselves as the brilliant, talented people they are! She is honored and privileged to advocate and empower MLLs.  

These last three years at MS 839, Sedina has been incredibly inspired, invigorated, and grateful to be a part of a community with such compassionate, supportive, and exceptional leaders and colleagues who have become family.


Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees!

  • Christina Boubaris, Brooklyn Collaborative
  • Tiayana Logan, Launch
  • Kimberly Maher, Channel View
  • Jamie Munkatchy, James Baldwin
  • Andreina Nuñez, MELS
  • Kara Saunders & Jeanine Redman, CSSJ
  • Christine Sloan-Ward, Gaynor McCown

Thank you to our lead supporters & corporate sponsors!


Vicki & David Foley

LaRue R. Gibson, LRG Wealth Advisors, a Hightower Advisors Firm

Pamela & Gifford Miller

Jeffrey R. Gural, GFP Real Estate

Alphonse Lembo

Nancy & Burt Staniar


Karyn & Charles Bendit

Capital One Bank

David Dase & Jacqueline Flake

Jane Greenman

Tim Greensfelder & Sari Granat

Nicholas Lembo

John Mahoney

Jonathan Miller

O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Muriel F. Siebert Foundation

Beth Carney & Josh Struzziery

Ravi & Suzanne Yadav


Dwayne Andrews/Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates

Burch Family Foundation

Allison R. Feldman

John Gordon

Susan Somersille Johnson & Alexander J. Johnson

Bonnie & Brad Klein

Marla Lembo

McGuireWoods LLP

Lisa Moran & Scott Ainsbury

Amie & Scott Nuttall


Brian & Erin Pastuszenski

Shearman & Sterling

Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust

Virginia H. & Geoffrey F. Worden

Browse Photos & Videos from Past Years

Gala 27_Students and Honorees on Stage

2022 Gala

After a two-year hiatus, we once again hosted our in-person Gala at 583 Park on Tuesday, May 24. We honored David C. Banks, Schools Chancellor, NYC Department of Education, and Gregory Worrell, Scholastic Incorporated Senior Consultant: Education.

2021 Gala

Our first-ever Virtual Gala took place on May 19, 2021, honoring three champions of educational equity —Hon. Mark Treyger, Dr. Lester Young, Jr., and Richard Stopol. Watch a full video recording of the Virtual Gala.

2019 Gala

Our 2019 Gala took place on May 16 at 583 Park Ave, honoring Pamela and Gifford Miller. Browse through the photo gallery and watch a video highlighting the two teachers recognized with the Gaynor McCown Excellence in Teaching award.

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