Lindsay Cullinan Schambach is the Executive Director of Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss. She is formerly of KIPP NJ and Miami where she served her community as the Founder of KIPP THRIVE Academy, the School Leader of KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy and the Director of Leadership Development, training principals to create loving communities for educational equity. She began her career teaching in Newark, NJ, serving at Martin Luther King Jr. School and Newton Street School. She served in various leadership capacities with Teach for America. Lindsay is a graduate of Loyola University in Maryland receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minoring in Sociology. While at Loyola, Lindsay’s love for the University’s motto, Men and Women for Others, only grew. She went on to receive her Master’s in Public Administration with a focus in Educational Leadership from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in Newark. Lindsay’s personal experience with loss began as a teen and young adult, losing many close family members including her father, Joseph Patrick Cullinan, II. Lindsay’s loss of her husband, Michael Paul Schambach at the age of 38, drives her commitment to ensuring that all over, children find loving listeners who can remind them that they are not alone. Together, as a community, we can find resiliency and strength, and honor the lives of those who have gone before us. Lindsay currently resides in her hometown of Bridgewater, NJ, with her son, Cameron and daughter, Chloe. She can be found spending quality time with her loved ones and soaking up all life has to offer. She is honored and humbled to serve as an advocate for children and families coping with loss and grief.
Abigail Priece, MS, LAC started at Imagine as a volunteer facilitator in 2014 and joined Imagine’s staff as a Program Associate in January 2018.
Abigail earned a Bachelors in Human Services and a Master’s in Counseling & Human Relations, both from Villanova University. As a Licensed Associate Counselor and a certified school counselor, Abigail has experience supporting children in various school and community settings. She has a special interest in working with children who have experienced trauma, facilitating groups, and engaging families. She lives in Scotch Plains with her husband and sons.
Angela joined the Imagine team in 2021 as the Development and Communications Manager. With fundraising and communications experience since 2011, Angela has worked with organizations in New Jersey but started her nonprofit career in Tokyo, Japan. She’s traveled all over Asia, Africa and North America creating marketing and fundraising strategies to drive awareness to organizations and their missions. She has her B.S. in Communication Studies from Emerson College and A.A. in Communication Studies from Raritan Valley Community College.
An expert on local digital and traditional marketing, Angela also opened a small business with her husband, Nicholas, in Raritan Borough during the Covid-19 Pandemic. She resides in Hillsborough and enjoys spending time with her cat, Merlin, and dog, Billy, biking through Duke Farms and learning new languages to connect with all kinds of people around the world.
Ashley S. Allen joins Imagine’s staff as Newark Training and Education Manager. She’s a former teacher who taught in Elizabeth and Newark for over 10 years before transitioning into a new role that served the Newark community. Ashley’s role at South Ward Promise Neighborhood involved assisting families in gaining access to medical care, providing education assistance for their children, ensuring families have access to healthy food, and bringing new programs to their attention. Ashley has a deep love for children and families. She believes her purpose is to empower and provide any additional information needed to families and others and is excited to join the Imagine team.
Prior to joining Imagine, Brett was the Director of Campus Operations at TEAM Academy, a part of KIPP New Jersey, in Newark, NJ. He previously served as the Managing Director of Education for First Fidelity Brokerage, providing risk management insurance procurement, service, and consulting for schools and non-profits. A 2008 Teach For America-New Jersey corps member, Brett brings over 12 years of school leadership experience to Imagine, having taught for 2 years as well. Following his classroom teaching career, Brett began working in school operations, helping found an elementary school in Newark, NJ where he led the school’s growth and all aspects of non-instructional work for 5 years. He then went on to help lead a charter school in Denver, CO, leading the planning of the growth and expansion of that school network before returning to the east coast to serve as the Chief Operating Officer for a network of schools in Brooklyn, NY. In his role at Imagine, he leads operations (finance, facilities, and human resources) as well as helping to operationalize Imagine’s departments. Additionally, he supports external relations, business strategy and growth, short and long-term strategic planning, and organizational direction and growth. Brett currently resides in Edison with his wife, son, and daughter.
Connie, LCSW, has been the Clinical Training Director of Imagine since Imagine was founded in 2011, coordinating nights of support, providing trainings for Imagine facilitators and offering trainings on grief and loss in schools, workplaces and community organizations.
She is a licensed clinical social worker who is an experienced teacher, therapist and school counselor with more than thirty years of experience working with children, youth and their families.
Connie has a B.A. in Elementary Education and taught school for many years before getting her Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers University. She has attended The Center for Grieving Children’s Train the Trainer and Alan Wolfelt’s Comprehensive Bereavement Skills Training.
“I have learned from my work at Imagine that knowing how to support someone who is grieving any type of loss and knowing what to say and not to say is a life skill that can be learned with support and guidance.”
Kelsey happily joins Imagine as a Program Associate. Kelsey is a Licensed Social Worker who obtained her MSW from Fordham University, and her bachelors in Psychology and Gender & Sexuality Studies from The College of New Jersey. Kelsey has prior experience working with grieving families, as well as experience with the LGBTQ+ community, and youth in foster care. She is passionate about supporting youth and families, social justice, and destigmatizing mental healthcare. Kelsey enjoys baking, hiking, and crafting in her free time.
Kristin Imbimbo joins the Imagine team as a Mountainside Program Associate. Kristin has a bachelor’s degree in Family and Human Services with a concentration in Child Life and minor in Psychology. Kristin has worked as a Certified Child Life Specialist in the hospital setting for over six years, driven by the motivation to improve uncomfortable situations as much as possible. In this role, she provided support to children and their families with new diagnoses, various procedures, and end of life circumstances. Kristin is very excited to continue her work with families at Imagine through Nights of Support and community involvement. In her free time, Kristin loves being outdoors and spending time with her friends, family, and dog.
Sonia Nuñez is Imagine’s new Newark Program Manager. She is the daughter of two Dominicans that immigrated to the United States to pursue a better quality of life for their families. She is the proud mother of a 29 year old daughter named Coryn and a 13 year old son named Alberto (AJ). She attended the University at Albany, SUNY where she double majored in English and Spanish Literature with a minor in Portuguese. She earned a second Masters at The College of New Rochelle in Education Administration.
Sonia has been an educator for the past 27 years. This past school year, she served as the founding School Operations Manager at KIPP Justice Academy in Newark, NJ. She was a Spanish teacher and Testing Coordinator at KIPP NCA. Sonia has held many roles in her 27 years in education. She has been a Summer School Coordinator, ESL Department Coordinator, Assistant Principal, and Principal to name a few. Her love for education and social justice has been the engine that has kept her going and kept her grounded. One of her love languages is service. She is a leader that leads through service and love. She is so excited to embrace this new role and is looking forward to working with Imagine’s families and the Newark Community.
Valerie Stierhoff has her Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science from Drew University and her certification in early childhood and elementary education. She began as a facilitator and office volunteer at Imagine in 2014, and joined the staff as Office Manager in 2017. She is currently Imagine’s Manager of Special Projects. She’s pleased to support the Imagine staff as they work to help grieving children and their families. Val is a mother of three and enjoys spending time with her family, reading and traveling.
Veronica C. Ortiz (she/her/ella) received her BA in Psychology from Rutgers University and her MA in Professional Counseling from Seton Hall University. She is a certified School Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor. Veronica has over 10+ year of bilingual (English/Spanish) experience working with children, adolescents, and families in schools and community settings. She began her time at Imagine as a volunteer facilitator prior to her employment as Program Associate then moving to a Program Manager role. Her most recent role at Imagine is Training and Education Director. She is passionate about helping to empower communities by providing education and support.