NJDC Staff

Mary Ann Scali serves as the executive director of the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) where she works with juvenile defenders and advocates dedicated to promoting justice for all children by ensuring excellence in juvenile defense. After working as a summer law clerk for NJDC in 1996, Mary Ann became the deputy director in 2000 and the executive director in 2017.

In partnership with the NJDC team and juvenile defense leaders, Mary Ann delivers juvenile defense training and technical assistance, conducts state level juvenile defense assessments, and facilitates cross-disciplinary reform efforts aimed at developing resources and policies to strengthen juvenile defense and access to justice for all youth.

Prior to joining NJDC, Mary Ann defended youth in the juvenile division of the Office of the Public Defender in Baltimore City, MD; spent two years teaching high school in Pohnpei, Micronesia; served in the Jesuit Refugee Service in Rome, Italy; and taught Baltimore City boys at the Baraka School in Nanyuki, Kenya. Mary Ann holds a JD and MSW from Loyola University Chicago where she was a CIVITAS Childlaw Fellow.

Click here to email Mary Ann.       

Sonia joined the National Juvenile Defender Center in 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. Click here to email Sonia.

Amy is the Justice Systems Analyst at NJDC, where she works to analyze and improve the wide range of systems that interact with NJDC’s mission and programs, from NJDC’s internal systems that manage the organization’s work, to statewide juvenile defense delivery systems that impact youth, families, and defenders. 

Prior to joining NJDC, Amy worked as a juvenile defense consultant, spent 13 years at the Office of the Ohio Public Defender, where she led the agency’s Policy & Outreach Division and managed its legislative and media efforts; and worked at the Ohio State Bar Association and the Ohio General Assembly. 

Amy graduated magna cum laude with college and departmental honors with a BA in political science from the University of Toledo. Click here to email Amy.

Eva Chaves is NJDC’s Project Assistant, where she is responsible for coordination and logistics related to trainings, meetings, and special events. She provides administrative support and assistance on a wide range of juvenile defense projects and initiatives.

During undergrad, Eva interned with NJDC and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Eva graduated from James Madison University with a B.A. in Justice Studies with a concentration in Criminal Justice and a minor in Spanish. Click here to email Eva.

Tim joined the National Juvenile Defender Center in 2012. As Special Counsel, 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 these positions, he defended youth 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. Click here to email Tim. 

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). Before 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. Click here to email Christina.

Serena joined NJDC in 2015, and currently serves as Senior Staff Attorney & Pro Bono Counsel. 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. Additionally, Serena facilitates workshops, composes publications, and manages a portfolio of pro bono projects.

Prior to joining NJDC, Serena worked at the Center for Children & Youth Justice in Seattle, where she managed a civil legal services program to help youth surmount hurdles to their successful transition into adulthood. Serena also assisted in policy reform efforts to expand juvenile record clearance laws, broaden extended foster care, and create governmental supports for youth and young adults who are experiencing homelessness. Before moving to Seattle, she was an Assistant Public Defender in Baltimore City and Staff Attorney at Maryland Legal Aid. 

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

Carly is NJDC’s Research Fellow, where she works to identify areas of policy and legal practice related to indigent juvenile defense that would benefit from qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis.

Prior to moving to D.C., Carly graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with dual B.A.s in Philosophy and Politics. She then worked as a paralegal for the Habeas Corpus Resource Center in San Francisco, California.

She recently graduated from Georgetown Law, where she participated in the Juvenile Justice Clinic as a student attorney and interned with several public defender offices, including D.C.’s Public Defender Service Juvenile Services Program division. Carly also earned a Masters in Public Policy alongside her law degree from the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown and served as the Senior Media Editor for the Georgetown Public Policy Review. Click here to email Carly. 

Yolanda Long is the 2019-2020 Gault Fellow at NJDC,  where she works on legal and policy initiatives related to juvenile defense. During law school, Yolanda represented indigent adults in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia through Howard’s Criminal Justice Clinic. Additionally, Yolanda was a senior staff editor for the Howard Human & Civil Rights Law Review and interned in the Baltimore City Juvenile Division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender.

Yolanda graduated magna cum laude from Hampton University with a B.S. in Mathematics. She then joined Teach for America and taught at Paul Public Charter School in Washington, DC and Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, PA.Yolanda received her J.D. from Howard University School of Law. Click here to email Yolanda. 

Jaime is the Research Manager at the National Juvenile Defender Center, where her role is to strengthen the capacity of NJDC to use qualitative and quantitative research to inform policy and practice related to indigent juvenile defense. She has spent more than ten years working on juvenile justice issues in the direct service, policy, and research domains.

Jaime holds an MSW from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she specialized in the intersection of law and psychology as it relates to adolescents in the justice system. Click here to email Jaime. 

Tony is the 2019-2021 Gault Fellow at NJDC,  where he works on legal and policy initiatives related to juvenile defense. Prior to joining NJDC, Tony worked as a Probation Officer for 8 years and a Probation Supervisor for 3 years in New York working with adjudicated youth and persons in need of supervision as well as their families. He has worked on policy, implementation, and best practices to help give children and their families the support they need to navigate the juvenile “justice” system. Tony has worked with My Brother’s Keeper, Youth Bureaus, YMCAs, PALs, medical/mental health providers, and educational professionals on community and home-based services.

During law school, Tony participated in the Family Law Clinic at CUNY Queens School of Law.  His clinic work included researching deficiencies and disparities in the juvenile probation system, developing and implementing strategies to address them, and presenting his findings and recommendations to various stakeholders in the community.

Tony received his J.D. from CUNY Queens School of Law, Tony also holds a M.A. from Iona College in Journalism and a B.A. from SUNY Albany in English.  Click here to email Tony. 

Sherika Shnider is a staff attorney at NJDC where she works on legal and policy initiatives related to juvenile defense, including reducing and eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile legal system. During law school, she was a student attorney in the Youth, Education and Justice Clinic, earning the Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Team Award for her representation of youth who were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and students in school disciplinary proceedings. She also served as Managing Editor of the Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and Class.

Prior to law school, Sherika worked at a national nonprofit where she managed a network of grassroots organizers focused on ensuring youth in underserved communities have access to safe places to play. She also worked in donor development at a D.C. based non-profit and served as a rape crisis counselor.

Sherika graduated with a B.A. from George Washington University in 2012 and received her J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law where she was the recipient of the William P. Cunningham Award for exceptional achievement and service to the law school. Click here to email Sherika. 

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