Franciscan Community Development Center
Board of Directors
Coming together from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, our skilled team of professionals is the backbone of the F. Their ideas help shape the direction and mission of our organization as it continues to develop. Read on to learn more about some of our incredible Board members.
Rita Palumbo, Cliffside Park resident. Member of the Board of Directors since 2011. She has a BA and MA degrees from Jersey City State College. She has taught high school English in the Union City school system for 37 years. She was the advisor for Future Educators of America as well as a volunteer for several years, for the President Eisenhower People to People organization.an Upon retirement she became an adjunct professor at NJCU in the Teacher Planning and Preparation Department. Rita is presently a member of the Holy Name Auxillary, Teaneck,NJ
Lizzett Cuervo, Guttenberg resident. Member of the Board of Directors since 2011. She holds a BA from Rutgers University, a MA degree from University of Phoenix, a teaching certification from Felician College, and is endorsed as a specialist for students with disabilities k-12. She is employed by the West New York Board of Education as a Special Education Educator. Lizzett's entrepreneurial skills led her to own and manage multiple dwelling properties as well as maintain positive tenant relationships, revenue reconciliations, rent roll, yearly budget allocations and fiscal responsibilities. Lizzett has a strong commitment to embracing the following programs: TCAT (Tiger College Advising Team, VITA (Volunteer Income Tax assistance Program) and dealing with food security.
Rose Avella- Fort Lee resident. Member of the board since 2014. Earned a BS degree in Management from St. Peter’s College. Presently retired from an administrative position in the Circulation Dept. of Newsweek Magazine after 40 years. She was involved in numerous aspects of promoting Newsweek Magazine to the subscribers. She analyzed data on expenses, sales performance and mailing response to evaluate operations and prepare budgets among other duties.
Jose A. Valdes, West New York resident. Board Member since 2013. With a background in accounting, maintaining financial transactions, analyzing budgets and specializing in tax issues Jose was a member of the FCDC IRS VITA tax program where he continues to serve as an IT consultant for VITA. He received a Master degree in Applied Computer Sciences from Ciego de Avila University in 2007. He is proficient in programming languages, system and businesses administration. His cores expertise includes server’s administration, networking and digital imaging processing. He is a IT professional with notable success. While participating in planning, analyzing, and implementing solutions in support of business objectives he is currently directing a broad range of corporate and biomedical IT initiatives.
Fatima Becerril- Retired Deputy Director with proven success directing staff and operations oversight in a diversified environment. Expert management experience in public and private sector collaborations affecting property asset portfolios exceeding $44M, operating budgets over $4M, and 10 years’ capital outlay pipelines over $5.5M. Possess more than 20 years’ experience in corporate governance, construction and retrofit, business transformation, regulatory compliance, and cost and inventory control. Bilingual team player with a collaborative leadership style that fosters an all-inclusive culture of engagement. Possess a Master of Science in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in International Business.
Highlights of Expertise: Project Deliverables & Implementation, Financial Planning & Development, HUD Regulations & Compliance Contract
Development & Negotiations, Stakeholder Engagement, Property & Asset Management, People Leadership & Engagement, Project Coordination & Reporting, Advanced Jurisdictional Knowledge and Continuous Improvement.
Sister Anna Maria Not- Hailing from Ovaro, Udine, Italy, Sister Anna Maria Not is a member of the International Congregation of the Franciscan Missionary Sister of the Sacred Heart. While in Rome, Sister Anna Maria earned a BA and MA degree in Foreign Literature Education and Psychology from the College of Maria Assunta. Sister has 25 years of experience as a high school educator and youth group organizer. In 2000 Sister received orders sending her to America. Once in America, Sister was assigned to the Parish of Saint Joseph of the Palisades, West New York. In 2003 her outreach ministries included the NJ Buddies, Hackensack and Holy Name Pastoral Care, Bergen County Correctional Facility, Several Sources and Good Counsel Homes, both shelters for homeless pregnant women. In 2006 she co-founder the Franciscan Community Development Center of Fairview a pro-bono multi service social Center. Sister also serves as an international translator and Secretary. Today Sister is a resident of Fairview, she is the Assistant Provincial of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred and Heart and she continues to serve as both corresponding secretary and Program Director for the Franciscan Community Development Center. She is the heartbeat of the Center.
Kathy Pettigrew-President Emeritus
Board of Trustees:
Susan Colacurcio- a retired educator and research scientist who has dedicated most of her life to the service of others. In 2006 she co-founder the Franciscan Community Development Center of Fairview and is currently the Executive Director. Received a Bachelor of Science in both Elementary and Secondary Science Education from JCSC and a MS from Montclair State College. She continued research at the Princeton Plasma Lab, received a MS in Molecular genetics and Microbiology from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and as Head-Fellow received a MES from Columbia University’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation(CERC).
Ms.Colacurcio possesses expertise in the operation of New Jersey 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and in the delivery of social services for at-risk populations. She is the founder of the prestigious My Outreach Mission (M.O.M.S) program. Her recognitions include: Bank of America Local Hero Award for Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, NJ Community Development Association Award of Excellence, NJ Magazine Seeds of Hope Award, The Record 2010 Star Teacher Award, 2010 Hispanic Outreach Program, 2015 Project Literacy “Words that Work” Award, 2015 International Woman of the year Award and Hudson County’s 2015 Women's History Month Honoree.
As the Finance and Revenue Commissioner she was responsible for an outstanding A+ bond rating and ensuring a stable tax rate.