GCCS Board of Trustees

James Zika


James Zika, a Harlem resident, is Senior Director, International Planning and Outreach at the College Board. His work history includes designing teacher, principal, and counselor professional learning experiences for the Advanced Placement Program and marketing and communications surrounding the SAT university admissions exam. In his current role, James works to serve secondary schools outside the United States as they implement College Board programs like AP, PSAT and SAT. James holds a Masters degree in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research in New York City, and is currently finishing his dissertation towards a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, USA.

Ibrahim Yusuf


Ibrahim Yusuf is a Senior Manager in Deloitte LLP's Audit and Enterprise Risk practice, where he specializes in serving Real Estate and Investment Management clients. He is also part of Deloitte's CFO Program which assists CFOs in the development of their 180-day plan, assessment of their talent organization and assessment of their stakeholder relationships. Ibrahim is a C.P.A. with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Binghamton University. He is currently a member of the Finance and Audit Committees of Futures and Options Inc., a not-for-profit organization based in New York City which enables New York's underserved youth to gain access to the economic mainstream, work-readiness training and support from caring adults.

Kate McGovern

Kate McGovern is a Staff Attorney at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Kate earned her undergraduate degree from Middlebury College during which time she also worked as a Preschool Teacher and Paraprofessional. Kate then taught 2nd & 3rd Grade ESL in Washington, D.C. through Teach for America. Kate has worked with children and families in the legal sector at the Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Division in the Bronx, as a ChildLaw Fellow at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, as a Legal Intern with the Buenos Aires Family Court and as a Child Advocate with The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. Kate also serves on the New York City Bar Association & the Law Committee. 

Peter Kauffman

Peter Kauffman is a Litigation Associate at Sidley Austin LLP.  Peter maintains an active pro bono practice focused primarily on education law and policy issues.  He is a member of the NYC Bar Association’s Education and the Law Committee and formerly a member of the Junior Board of Advocates for Children of New York.  Peter studied economics at the University of Chicago and received a law degree from NYU School of Law, where he was a Notes Editor for the NYU Law Review and Co-Chair of the High School Law Institute.  Between college and law school, he taught sixth grade mathematics at a charter school in Harlem.

Mary Jilek


Mary Jilek is the Deputy Director of Talent Management at the International Rescue Committee. In this role, she is responsible for designing and leading performance management, onboarding and professional development processes for the organization of about 12,000 employees. Previously Mary was based in the Middle East where she coordinated the development of the International Rescue Committee's Syria Crisis response strategies. Prior to joining the IRC, Mary worked in the field of education in Japan and Uganda. During her nearly four years as instructor of International Studies and English at Immaculate Heart College in Kagoshima, Japan, she chaired faculty committees on program development and curriculum design. Later, research for her Master’s degree brought Mary to Uganda, where she conducted assessments and educational initiatives on household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) and non-formal education. Since 2012 Mary has been the education advisor to a community-based organization in Uganda, which opened its first primary school in 2014. She holds a Masters Degree in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Chris Buffum

Board Secretary

Chris Buffum teaches English Language Arts at a charter high school in Brooklyn. He is an alumnus of the Teach For America New York Corps, and has been teaching at his TFA placement school for 4 years. He earned his M.S.Ed from CUNY Brooklyn College in 2015 in teaching students with disabilities, grades 7-12. Prior to arriving in New York, Chris studied at Tufts University, earning a BA in International Relations and Italian Studies. He worked in community development for two years in Valparaiso, Chile, and is fluent in Spanish.

Tope Yusuf

Tope Yusuf, a Harlem resident, is an attorney at Arent Fox LLP. Her practice is primarily focused on White Collar Defense and Labor and Employment. Tope earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. She then received her law degree from Columbia Law School where she participated in the Child Advocacy Clinic. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at Columbia. Tope also serves as Co-Chair of the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Junior Leadership Board.

Rob Moser

Rob Moser has a passion for the application of new technology to improve teaching and learning. He is currently the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Amplify Education’s Consulting division in Brooklyn and has over twenty-five years of Information Technology and Consulting experience. His strengths are in his ability to apply highly analytical and innovative technologies to solve business problems for non-technical users and has extensive experience leading project teams in deploy end-user technology solutions to clients in the education sector.  Rob has a BS and MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY and currently lives in Connecticut with his wife a Director of Special Education and two children.