NJDC Staff

Mary Ann has been at NJDC since 2000 and has worked on juvenile indigent defense issues for over 15 years. As executive director, she oversees the delivery of juvenile defense training, facilitates and writes state assessments of juvenile indigent defense services, coordinates and participates in numerous cross-disciplinary reform efforts, and manages a variety of projects with NJDC staff. 

Prior to working at NJDC, Mary Ann was a social worker and an attorney in the juvenile division of the Office of the Public Defender in Baltimore, Maryland. After completing her undergraduate degree at the College of the Holy Cross, she spent two years teaching at a boys’ high school in Pohnpei, Micronesia. Mary Ann also worked for a year at the Jesuit Refugee Service in Rome, Italy, and spent a year teaching Baltimore City boys at the Baraka School in Nanyuki, Kenya. 

Mary Ann earned her J.D. and M.S.W. from Loyola University Chicago where she was a Civitas ChildLaw Scholar and co-founder of the Public Interest Law Reporter.        

Sonia joined the National Juvenile Defender Center is 2009. As the Director of Operations, Sonia works to ensure that NJDC is maximizing its functional potential and effectively implementing its strategic goals. She is responsible for leading the organization in the areas of financial and operational management, as well as in human resources and development.
 
Prior to working at NJDC, Sonia worked in an expansive range of financial and operational roles across various professional sectors that include HBO Latin America, La Perla, and Aviation Sales Inc.
 
Sonia is a graduate of the University of Phoenix where she earned a B.A. in Business Administration and Management, as well as a master’s degree in Business Administration with summa cum laude honors.

Tim joined the National Juvenile Defender Center in 2012. In his capacity as NJDC’s Legal Director, Tim regularly works with front-line defenders, policymakers, and justice system stakeholders across the country to help support and develop specialized juvenile defense practice that is developmentally-appropriate, draws from national best practices, and provides youth with the highest-quality representation available. 

Prior to joining NJDC, Tim was the Supervising Attorney at D.C. Law Students in Court and an E. Barrett Prettyman Post-Graduate Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. In both of those positions, he defended juveniles and adults accused of crimes in Washington, D.C. while also supervising the practice of third-year clinical students and teaching law school seminars on juvenile defense and trial skills. Before earning his law degree, Tim worked with various humanitarian relief and refugee organizations in Africa and had a career in journalism. 

Tim holds an LL.M. in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center, a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, and a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University.

As Senior Staff Attorney and Policy Counsel for the National Juvenile Defender Center, Christina works to build the capacity and quality of the juvenile defense bar through national, state, and local advocacy. She provides outreach, training, and technical assistance to justice system stakeholders, conducts policy advocacy, is involved in assessment of state juvenile justice systems, and participates in various other aspects of juvenile indigent defense advocacy and reform efforts. 

Christina became a staff attorney at NJDC in 2016 after initially joining the organization in 2012 to direct the Equity Project, a collaborative initiative that focused on ensuring fair, equitable and dignified treatment LGBTQI-GNC youth in delinquency courts. In 2015, she also took over managing NJDC’s Campaign Against Indiscriminate Juvenile Shackling (CAIJS). Prior to joining NJDC, Christina worked with a variety of advocacy organizations, educational institutions and state government.

Christina holds a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and a B.A. in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a certified Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP) Trainer.

Serena  joined NJDC in 2015, and currently serves as Special Counsel, Post-Disposition. Her work primarily focuses on outreach, training, and technical assistance to improve the provision and quality of post-disposition and reentry legal representation for juvenile court-involved youth throughout the country. For the previous two years, she led a team of fellows throughout the country to provide direct representation to help young people overcome legal barriers to their employment, education, and housing created by their juvenile court involvement. 

Prior to joining NJDC, Serena worked at the Center for Children & Youth Justice in Seattle. She managed a civil legal services program for former foster youth to help them surmount legal hurdles to their successful transition into adulthood. Serena also assisted in juvenile justice and child welfare policy reform efforts, including expanding juvenile record sealing laws, broadening extended foster care, and creating governmental supports for youth and young adults who are homeless. Before moving to Seattle, she was as an Assistant Public Defender in Baltimore City for several years. 

Serena earned her J.D. from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, graduating with magna cum laude honors.

Aneesa is the 2017-2019 Gault Fellow at NJDC, where she works on legal and policy initiatives related to juvenile defense and reducing racial and ethnic disparities. During law school, Aneesa focused on indigent defense. She represented adults in District Court at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender through the University of Baltimore School of Law’s Criminal Practice Clinic, as well as in habeas and bail review hearings in Circuit Court through the Pretrial Justice Clinic. Additionally, she helped represent criminal defendants at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and capital defendants at the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office.

Aneesa served as Volunteer Coordinator for the Homeless Persons Representation Project, assisting in criminal expungement clinics in Baltimore and Silver Spring, MD,  and was the 2016 recipient of their Outstanding Student Volunteer Award. Aneesa also served as President of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and the National Lawyers Guild student chapters, and was the 2017 recipient of the Guild’s C.B. King Award, named after a prominent civil rights activist, due to her involvement in community lawyering. Prior to law school, Aneesa worked as a paralegal in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division where she assisted on police misconduct cases.

Aneesa graduated from American University, and received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law, where she received a Dean’s Citation for Outstanding Service.

José is one of the newest members to the National Juvenile Defender Center. He joins NJDC from the Defender Association of Philadelphia where he previously served as the Director of Communications, Digital Strategy, and Community Relations. His prior work at the Association also focused on racial and ethnic disparities within the juvenile justice system where his efforts included facilitating conversations between young people and law enforcement about their interactions at the point of contact on the street. He also served in the Association’s Juvenile Unit as a youth advocate helping children and families in Philadelphia’s juvenile courtrooms.

Before working in law, José was a bereavement therapist in Western Europe with families that had lost a child as a result of a terminal illness; as an aid worker for children in parts of Western and Eastern Africa; and in non-profit management for Paul Newman-inspired programs for children with terminal and chronic illnesses.

José holds advanced degrees in Writing & Rhetoric, Public Policy, and Psychology respectively from Emory, Yale, and Oxford.

Teayra is the Project Associate at the National Juvenile Defender Center, where she is responsible for the coordination and logistics related to events, training, meetings, and special events; she provides administrative support and assistance on a wide range of juvenile indigent defense projects and initiatives. 

 

Before working at NJDC, Teayra worked as a Program Coordinator Assistant for Georgetown University’s Center for Intercultural Education and Development. Additionally, she has served as a volunteer connecting disadvantaged families with appropriate services. Teayra has also worked as a volunteer youth mentor helping young people learn and develop new skill sets such as knowing how to apply for college.

 

Teayra graduated magna cum laude from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Psychology and is currently working on completing her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Marymount University.

 

Patricia Puritz, Justice and Policy Consultant, can be reached at ppuritz@gmail.com202-359-5684.