Founders Board of Directors
Kent Warner returned to Rye from New Hampshire in 2013. Feeling the need to give back to the under-served community in next-door Port Chester, he and his wife Mary Alice started 5 Steps to Five, which he says has been one of the most rewarding involvements in his life. He received a BSME from Princeton Engineering School before starting an engineering/consulting/construction company. Kent has long been involved with nonprofit organizations, including being board chair of Westchester Planned Parenthood and Board of Spaulding Youth Center for autistic children in New Hampshire. He was president of the nonprofit company that built the 99-unit Ferris Avenue affordable housing building in White Plains.
Mary Alice Warner
Founder (In Memoriam)
Allen Clark joined Kent and Mary Alice Warner as Cofounder in late 2013 to start 5 Steps to Five. 80-year year resident of Westchester County, he has lived in Rye since 1984. A cum laude graduate of Amherst College, he worked in advertising for 40 years, including being Partner of Della Femina & Partners for 16 years. He is Publisher Emeritus of The Rye Record newspaper. In the mid-1960s he helped the Mamaroneck Community Action Program build the first community-owned CAP building in the country and served on the Mamaroneck Village Human Rights Commission. For the past three years, he has organized and run a literature discussion program at the Rye library with guest lecturer from Yale, Dr. Mark Schenker. Allen and his wife, Whitney, live near their daughter, Margot Clark-Junkins and her family.
Mary Alice Warner, with four teenagers, took a course in Parent Effectiveness Training, beginning her special interest in parenting. A graduate of Smith College and later with a degree in counseling, she worked as a parent, family and youth counselor, in the White Plains Youth Bureau for 9 years, before moving to New Hampshire. There she volunteered for 16 years in the state prison, leading parent support groups and coaching inmates in parenting their children. She also co-led Parent Journey groups in the local Family Resource Center working with at risk parents to build self-esteem, confidence and enjoyment as parents. She was happy to have been involved in the planning and setting up of 5 Steps to Five
A parent is a child’s first and most important teacher. Our mission is to be a trusted resource for parents seeking to give their child the best possible start to school and to life.
5 Steps to Five is a local nonprofit organization focused on the crucial importance of infant brain development. Recognizing that a parent is a child’s first and most important teacher, we support parents in the immigrant community by guiding them on how to give their children the best possible start to school and to life. In parent-child group sessions, our trained instructors model ways to promote cognitive, verbal, and social skills using five simple steps: Nurture, Talk, Play, Read, Explore. Our programs build awareness, confidence, and community, and empower parents to advocate for their children’s future success and well-being
Our Board of Directors
Board of Directors and Executive Director Biographies
Allen Clark - Founder, Director Emirates
Kent Warner - Founder, Director Emirates
Mary Alice Warner (In Memoriam) - Founder, Director Emeritus
In addition to our Founders bios above..
Kristin Jautz (President)
Kristin Jautz grew up in Germany and worked as an international producer for CNN before moving to Rye with her husband and two children in 2002. Since then, Kristin has volunteered in a number of roles. She served on the board of the Rye Youth Council for seven years, two as board president and two as VP of Communications. She is an Elder at Rye Presbyterian Church, ran its annual stewardship campaign twice, served twice as a member of the nominating committee, and is a member of the RPC Women’s Association. She is also a co-founder of Zero Waste Day, a county-wide recycling effort benefitting local nonprofits. Kristin graduated from Fordham University with a BA in communications.
Ann Magalhaes, CPE [Vice President],
Ann has been leading positive parenting courses, workshops and private sessions for over nine years as part of The Parent Practice, both in the UK, and more recently in Westchester and Fairfield Counties. Her programs provide parents with practical skills to bring out the best in their children while making their family life more harmonious. Ann also sits on the committees for Heard in Rye and Rye’s Healing Arts Collective. In her earlier career, she was part of the Aerospace group at Mitsubishi Corporation in Toronto. Following her MBA she worked with a boutique organizational change consultancy in London. She has been volunteering her time with 5 Steps to Five since 2016, providing our parents with positive parenting skills during the Saturday sessions.
Betsy White [Treasurer]
Betsy is a graduate of Vassar College and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University. She worked for 27 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Since retiring from the Federal Reserve in 2003, she has taught Economics at Manhattanville College. She was the Finance Chair for the American Association of People with Disabilities (2007-2010). Currently, she is Treasurer of the Jay Heritage Center and on the board of the Apawamis Foundation.
Nicole Colwell (Secretary)
Nicole is a graduate of Vassar College and holds a JD degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Following an early career as a litigator with Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine, she shifted gears to specialize in advising nonprofit entities and media/arts organizations. Most recently she worked as a legal fellow at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Nicole has served on two education-related nonprofit boards, Partnership for Children’s Rights and Reading Reform Foundation of New York, seeking to promote educational opportunities and advance the cause of childhood literacy throughout New York City.
Carolee is a certified music teacher with degrees from Northwestern University and Indiana University-Bloomington. She is employed by the Port Chester Council for the Arts teaching music to Kindergartners and maintains a private instrumental studio in her home. She also offers private college counseling services to families throughout the Northeast. Carolee served for nine years as a Trustee on the Port Chester Board of Education, and is the current Secretary for the Port Chester Historical Society. She assisted the Warners in forging connections with the school district in the earliest stages of 5 Steps to Five.
Emily graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Florida State University and later obtained her Master’s Degree in Reading Education from Florida Atlantic University. After graduating from college she taught third grade in the public school system for six years after which she accepted a position as a visiting professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Florida Atlantic University. Emily held this position for three years before moving to New York City with her husband. Once in the city she taught at Little Learning, a private pre-school promoting early childhood literacy, until the birth of her first child and subsequent move to Rye. Since moving to Rye, Emily has served as both the Co-Chair and the Chair of the Early Childhood Center preschool Parent/Teacher Association and holds a position as well on the ECC Council.
Rachel Fleming, OTR/L
Rachel is a therapist at the Saturday sessions. She is a pediatric occupational therapist who has dedicated her career to working with children from birth through adolescence, helping them succeed in their daily occupations. Rachel is the owner of The Therapy Nest, which is an occupational therapy sensory gym and clinic located in Rye Ridge Plaza in Rye Brook, NY.
Lori graduated Miami University with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Family Studies and received a masters Special Education from Manhattanville College. Lori taught second grade on the Upper East Side for six years. Lori has been involved as a volunteer in several non-profits, dedicated to education in underserved or disadvantaged communities including Westchester Institute of Human Development’s LEAP program, Carver Center’s after school program and Blythdale Children’s Hospital Early Childhood Center. Lori lived in Port Chester for four years and recently moved with her family to Harrison, NY.
Carolyn Russell Mauritz
Carolyn is a graduate of Wellesley College and has a JD degree from Wake Forest University School of Law. She is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association. She worked for several years for ABC Network News as an Assistant Producer and for NBC News as a Bureau Manager. She then changed course and went into computer programming where she worked as a programmer/product developer and senior product manager for Nelson Information in Rye, NY, then for Thomson Reuters/Lipper and then as a senior website manager for Broadridge Financial Solutions. She is currently employed by Walter Nelson as Chief Administrative Officer for Nelson Enterprises.
Moises has been serving as a Police Officer in the Village of Port Chester since 2018. A Port Chester native, and son of Mexican immigrants, Moises felt strongly about seeking a career that gives back to his community and fellow Americans. What drove Moises to law enforcement was his desire to create an environment where people feel safe, in their homes and in their neighborhoods, as he believes this is essential for a successful life. Being fluent in English and Spanish, Moises has had the opportunity to be the spokesperson for the Police Department at community events on various occasions, in addition to his routine work as a Police Officer. Before joining Port Chester PD, Moises worked as a paralegal for Cassin & Cassin, a Manhattan real estate law firm. Moises holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Iona College.
Kiren Patel, DDS
Kiren grew up in Manhasset, NY and attended Hofstra University where she obtained her Bachelors in Science and Masters in Oral Biology. She continued to NYU where she received her degree as a Doctor of Dental Surgery, followed by a fellowship in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics from Jacksonville University.
Being an orthodontist, Kiren is passionate about oral health, and understands first hand the importance of good hygiene, habits, and a healthy diet. She absolutely loves working with young families and speaks Spanish.
Kiren moved to Rye, NY in 2017 with her husband Biraj and two children.
Ilaria St. Florian, CDN
Ilaria St. Florian has a master’s degree in Nutrition Education from Columbia University and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She works at Stamford Hospital as the Manager of KIDS’ FANS (Fitness and Nutrition Services) which is a non-profit pediatric wellness and obesity prevention program which encourages healthy eating and physical activity for children ages 3 to 18. Although the program is created for all school-age children, special emphasis is placed on those coming from at-risk and food insecure households. Ilaria also works as an outpatient Nutritionist at White Plains Hospital Community Health Center where she provides nutrition counseling to adult and pediatric patients.
Mary Versfelt, MD
Mary is a graduate of Princeton University and received her MD degree from Columbia, where she continued with her pediatric residency at Babies Hospital (now Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital). For more than 35 years, she worked full-time as a pediatrician in Rye Brook, having the privilege of caring for many patients from infancy through parenthood and enjoying numerous “second generation” patients. She is passionate about the vital importance of making the most of early childhood years. She has held clinical teaching positions at Columbia and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospitals. She has served on boards of Carver Center and Rye Presbyterian Church. Currently retired, she lives with her husband in Greenwich, CT. They have three grown children and two grandchildren, with more grandkids expected in 2022.
Lisa Field [Executive Director]
LIsa Field of 5 Steps to Five starting spring 2016. Lisa served on the Board of the Rye Historical Society, the Auxiliary Board of the Rye Free Reading Room and has volunteered in a variety of ways throughout Rye, including with The Rye City School district and at all Rye preschools. Before moving to Rye, Lisa was Manager of Marketing at a nonprofit, America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth, in Washington, D.C., and Manager of the Expulsion Program for the Shaker Heights Youth Center in Ohio. Lisa received her BA in Communications from the University of Georgia.
Melissa Belleville [Associate Director]
Melissa has worked as a strategic consultant to international non-profit organizations and has more than fifteen years' experience and education in the fields of international development and business. Her consulting experience included performing on-site strategic evaluations of public health programs in Central America and the Caribbean. Prior to her work as an independent consultant she was a Program Manager for Maternal and Child Health at the international health organization Population Services International (PSI). Her employment history also includes stints at the World Bank, Ernst & Young's International Finance Consulting Practice and American Express. In addition to her travels in Latin America and the Caribbean, she has provided on-the-ground assistance to programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. She holds a master's degree in Marketing and International Relations from the Lauder Institute at the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor's degree in French from Smith College. She is fluent in Spanish and French and conversant in Portuguese. She lives in Rye with her husband and two sons.