Executive Department

James O’Neal
Co-Founder and Executive Director
E-mail Me | 718-752-0222 Ext. 105
In 1982, Mr. O’Neal received the Harvard Fellowship in Public Interest Law and co-founded Legal Outreach in 1983. He became a Columbia University Charles Revson Fellow in 1990. Mr. O’Neal attended Oxford College of Emory University, A.A., 1977; Emory College, Emory University, B.A.,1979, Political Science; and Harvard Law School, J.D.,1982.

Bethsheba Cooper
Co-Director and Managing Director of College Access | 718-752-0222 Ext. 203
Ms. Cooper has been with Legal Outreach for twenty-four years and has served in numerous capacities in helping to build and establish the various components of the Law-Related Education and College Bound Programs. She is a recipient of the PASEsetter Award for excellence in After-School education. She is a 1981 graduate of Southern California College with a B.A. in English. Previous to her tenure with Legal Outreach, Ms. Cooper worked in ministry with Voice of Calvary, a community development organization in Jackson, Mississippi.


Sanetta Ponton
Managing Director of Academic Programs | 718-752-0222 Ext. 209
Ms. Ponton graduated in 2001 with a B.A. in African American Studies from Columbia University, in 2006 with a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and in 2012 magna cum laude with a M.Div. from Duke Divinity School. Ms. Ponton has worked in several positions at Legal Outreach including Law-Related Education Coordinator and Community Law and Education Coordinator. She has also worked in state government and non-profit programs and administration.


Pebbles Angella Byndloss
Director of Finance and Operations
Email Me | 718-752-0222 Ext. 104
Ms Byndloss joined the Legal Outreach Family in Spring 2012, with over sixteen years of banking and accounting experience. She has worked in both corporate for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Ms. Byndloss believes job performance is a reflection of a person, and takes great pride in performing all tasks – menial to managerial – with diligence, pride, and efficiency. Ms. Byndloss is a graduate of CUNY York College.


Neo Mokgwathi
Marketing, Communications, and Development Associate| 718-752-0222 Ext. 103
Ms. Mokgwathi received her B.A. in Political Science and History from Williams College in 2015. As a 2013 recipient of the Robert G. Wilmers Jr. 1990 Memorial Student Travel Abroad Fellowship, Ms. Mokgwathi traveled to South Africa to conduct research on the role of the arts during Apartheid and the effect Apartheid has had on contemporary South African art. Ms. Mokgwathi also established the Williams College chapter of the Student Language Exchange – a nonprofit organization that fosters mutual respect and valuing of diverse cultures, and inspires collaborative global change by creating a platform for cultural exchange. In the future, she intends to study international human rights law.


Special Initiatives Department

Tamika Edwards
Managing Director of Training and Special Initiatives | 718-752-0222 Ext. 202
Ms. Edwards received her B.A. in Legal Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1996 and her J.D. from New England School of Law in 1999. She worked at Legal Outreach from 1999-2009 in several capacities, including Coordinator and Director of Legal Education, Saturday Writing Program instructor, and Queens Site Director. From 2009-2012 Ms. Edwards worked at Advocates for Children as an Education Specialist and Staff Attorney before rejoining Legal Outreach in 2012.


Shakiva Wade
Community Law and Education Coordinator | 718-752-0222 Ext 201
Ms. Wade is a 2003 alumna of the College Bound Program and graduated from Brandeis University as a Posse scholar with a major in Politics. After college, she worked as a Commercial Litigation and IP Paralegal for Goodwin Procter LLP in both the Boston and DC offices. Ms. Wade recently graduated from Thomas M. Cooley Law School during which time she served as President of the Black Law Students Association, Director of the Pre-law Division for the Midwest Region, and Associate Editor for the Journal of Practical and Clinical Law. She also earned the Student Leadership Achievement Award during law school and gained experience as a Student Attorney for the Washtenaw Public Defenders Office.


Law-Related Education Department

Grace Pickering
Director of Law Related Education | 718-752-0222 Ext. 208
Ms. Pickering received her B.A. in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2000; her Master of Science in History of Science, Technology and Medicine from Imperial College, London, in 2001; and her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 2008, graduating magna cum laude. Prior to law school, Ms. Pickering taught English in Barcelona, Spain. From 2008-2012, she was a general litigation associate at Arnold & Porter LLP.


Alysha Pizarro
Law-Related Education Coordinator | 718-752-0222 Ext 210
Mrs. Pizarro graduated, summa cum laude, from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2007, with a B.A. in African American Studies and Political Science, and received her J.D. in 2010 from St. John’s University School of Law. While in law school, Mrs. Pizarro served as a Coordinator during Legal Outreach’s 2009 Summer Law Institute at St. John’s and continued to work with Legal Outreach through the remainder of her law school career. Prior to rejoining Legal Outreach, Mrs. Pizarro served for three years as an Assistant District Attorney under Robert T. Johnson in Bronx County.


George Davis
Recruitment & Leadership Development Coordinator | 718-752-0222 Ext. 204
Mr. Davis joined Legal Outreach in the Winter of 2014. He graduated from Harvard University in 2006 with a B.A. in Government, and received a J.D. from Howard University School of Law in 2014. Prior to law school, Mr. Davis taught at an elementary school in Brooklyn from 2006-2009, and worked in the NYC Department of Education’s central office from 2009-2011. Mr. Davis is also a 2007 Harvard University’s Center for Public Interest Careers fellow, and a 2011 NYU-Wagner Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service fellow.


Daniel Polonsky
Law-Related Education Assistant | 718-752-0222 Ext. 227
Mr. Polonsky graduated cum laude generali from Vassar College in 2015 with a B.A. in Political Science. He has interned with a New York State Senator, a New York Supreme Court Justice, and at a strategic communications firm. In a few years, Mr. Polonsky plans to pursue a joint degree in law and public policy.


Saturday Writing & After-School Department

Dan Bautista
Director of Writing and Academic Development | 718-752-0222 Ext. 101
Dr. Bautista received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1991 and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Brown University in 2004, all in Comparative Literature. Prior to joining Legal Outreach in 2015, he taught as a Lecturer in the History and Literature program at Harvard University, as an Adjunct and Assistant Professor of English at Lehman College, CUNY, and as an Instructor for the Columbia University Summer High School Program.


Jacob Wishnoff
Academics Program Coordinator | 718-752-0222 Ext. 106
Mr. Wishnoff received a BA in Political Science from The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at the City College of New York in 2015. Prior to joining Legal Outreach in 2015, he worked as a Manager-On-Duty for four years at the Green Point YMCA and as the Deputy Ombudsperson at City College during his senior year, and is currently in the AmeriCorps apprenticeship program: Public Allies.


Isaiah Gaines
Academic Programs Coordinator for SWC | 718-752-0222 Ext 220
Mr. Gaines received his B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Rochester in 2012. Before and even after graduating, he has worked continuously with Legal Outreach in many different capacities. He became inspired to continue working with Legal Outreach and share the lessons he has learned and the experiences he has been a part of. He embodies the motto of “no excuses” and hopes to continue changing the educational trajectory of students from underserved communities by serving them with the utmost dedication.


Life Skills & Advisory Department

Lorena Rodriguez
Alumni Coordinator | 718-752-0222 Ext. 214
Ms. Rodriguez graduated cum laude from Amherst College in 2013 with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology. Throughout her time at Amherst, Ms. Rodriguez interned with Legal Outreach, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School. She also tutored elementary school students and assisted high school students with the college application process. In the future, she hopes to pursue a law degree.


Evelyn Canela
College Access Coordinator & Advisor | 718-752-0222 Ext. 115
Ms. Canela received her B.A. in International Affairs from Skidmore College in 2013. After college, Ms. Canela worked at America Works of New York, an employment agency that helps public assistance recipients secure jobs and work towards self-sufficiency. Prior to joining Legal Outreach, Ms. Canela also worked as an Associate Program Manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC expanding a one-on-one mentoring program and counseling youth ages 7-17. Her interest in education reform stems from her invaluable experience as a College Bound student and she is looking forward to working with the Legal Outreach community.


Information Technology & Support Department

Alfas Miah
Director of Information Technology | 718-752-0222 Ext. 205
Mr. Miah began working with Legal Outreach in 2006. He provides technical support and development, administrative support for programs, and manages the organization’s information technology infrastructure. He graduated from John Jay College, summa cum laude, with a B.A. in Public Administration.