Write on Sports

Leadership

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

WoS is governed by an eleven-person board of directors drawing from the ranks of education, philanthropy, business, healthcare, law and sports media. Its members are:

Steven Beck

Steve, with 30 years of financial industry experience, is a Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley. Previously Steve held senior positions at Deutsche Bank, Nomura Securities and Salomon Brothers. Steve’s passion for child advocacy is illustrated in his founding, with his wife Lauren, of People against Childhood Epilepsy in 1996. Steve and his wife live in New York City and have two sons, Justin & Jake.

Rose Cali

A proud and active resident of New Jersey since 1973, Rose graduated from Montclair State University magna cum laude in 1980 and has been a member of the University’s Board of Trustees since 1991. In 1994 she became co-chair of the school’s first capital campaign and serves on the committee of a Second Century capital campaign, which raised $60 million. In 1997, Rose founded and became the first CEO of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. Today, she devotes her time as a volunteer in leadership and philanthropic roles primarily in education, arts, and human services.

Peter Fastovsky

Peter serves as Write on Sports’ technology expert with 20-plus years of experience in the industry. Currently, Peter is advising multiple clients on enhancing their technology and operational processes. He was most previously the Chief Operating and Compliance Officer at Marinus Capital Advisors LLC and is responsible for all business platforms. Prior to Marinus, Peter was the COO of the Structured Finance Group at Blackstone/GSO Capital, where he was responsible for the integration of the group’s systems and operational processes. He has also served as the COO of the Structured Finance Group at Brevan Howard and as Chief Technology Officer for Fixed Income at Nomura Securities International. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Brian Fisher

Chair of the Advisory Council, Brian has spent nearly 20 years in the sports industry, working for professional teams, media companies and agencies, with a focus on strategic communications. Following positions with Edelman Public Relations, Golf Digest and Madison Square Garden, Brian was Director of Communications at the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center where he was first introduced to Write on Sports. In 2017, Brian started his own communications consulting firm, serving clients spanning sports, technology and esports (competitive video gaming), and now works with one of those clients in a full-time role as Vice President of Communications for Allied Esports. Brian is a graduate of the Ithaca College Park School of Communications and resides in Rockland County, New York with his wife and two boys.

Dev Gandhi

Dev, who has 15 years of legal and financial experience, is the International Business Manager and Chief Operating Officer of MUFG Securities’ Capital Markets group. Dev is the former president of the Yale Club of New York, the largest university-affiliated club in the world.

John D. Goldsmith

John, who serves as Write on Sports Board Chairman, is Of Counsel with the law firm Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney PC. He advises large public and private organizations, and individuals and family-held businesses, on business structural, corporate, contractual, merger and acquisition, real estate, tax and environmental matters. He serves on the board of directors of several New Jersey non-profit organizations including the Partnership for Maternal & Child Health of Northern New Jersey.

Paul A. Johnson

After a 35+ year career in advertising, marketing and communications, he focused on community
action philanthropy especially childhood literacy, mental health and free speech. Earlier, he
served on boards of The National Migraine Foundation and The Environmental Action Coalition.

Peter King

Peter is the author of a widely read Monday column at NBC Sports, Football Morning in America. He went to NBC full-time in 2018 after a 29-year tenure as senior writer covering the NFL at Sports Illustrated, where he won National Sportswriter of the Year three times. At SI, he wrote the Monday Morning Quarterback column. A regular contributor to NBC’s Sunday Night Football on NBC, he has had previous roles with ABC’s Monday Night Football, CNN’s NFL Preview and HBO’s Inside the NFL. Peter’s sports journalism career started in 1980 as a sports reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer and subsequently covered the NFL for Newsday. In addition to being awarded three Emmy Awards, Peter has authored six books, including the acclaimed Football: A History of the Professional Game.

Louis LaSalle

Lou is Senior Vice President, Corporate External Affairs at RWJBarnabas Health. His work includes development of corporate cooperation for community health efforts. He is instrumental in developing strategic corporate alliances for community health and wellness. His community philanthropy includes service as President of the Essex County Parks Foundation, Chairman of the Roseland Planning Board, Chairman Emeritus of the American Heart Association – Northern New Jersey, and a member of various other boards and committees of charitable institutions.

Doug Lavanture

Douglas, who serves as Secretary, brings deep experience in organizational strategy, development, and data analytics to help guide the organizational structure, student success tracking, and technical development for Write on Sports.  He is a Vice President at BlackRock.  Douglas is also an avid golfer and badminton player; he is President of the Badminton Club of the City of New York, the world’s oldest contiguous badminton club, founded 1878.  He earned his undergraduate degree in English from Princeton University and has an M.A. in mathematical finance from Columbia University.

Steven Magee

Steven Magee has more than 35 yearof experience in financial services, technology, operations, project management, and consulting. Prior to retiring in 2019, Steven served as a managing director at MSCI, a leading financial information and analytics company.  At MSCI, Steven ran the firm’s Data Operations function and later headed the company’s Project Management Office.  Before MSCI, Steven worked at Morgan Stanley, where over the course of 20 years, he held positions in operations, information technology, and business process re-engineering. Steven graduated cum laude from Princeton University with Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree.  Steven and his wife live in Short Hills NJ. 

Robert G. Ottenhoff

Bob is Interim President and CEO of WBGO-FM, a station he helped to found 41 years ago. He previously spent 25 years in executive capacities in public broadcasting as well as serving as the President of GuideStar and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.  He is frequently published and quoted about nonprofit and philanthropic issues.

Jenny Vrentas

Jenny is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and The MMQB, SI’s pro football website. She previously spent six years at The (Newark) Star-Ledgerwhere she was the beat reporter for the New York Giants (2012) and the New York Jets (2010-11). A native of State College, Pa., Vrentas received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Penn State University in 2006 and then moved to New York City.

Byron Yake

Write on Sports’ Executive Director, Byron founded the program in 2005 after more than 30 years of journalism and business management experience. His career began as a weekly newspaper editor and officer in Western Pennsylvania. He later joined the Associated Press in Pittsburgh where he covered sports and news for several years before being appointed as head of its Pittsburgh bureau. He later became the New Jersey Chief of Bureau and then served for 20 years in managers and executive roles in the AP’s New York Headquarters, including Sports Editor, head of Human Resources and Assistant to the President.

Advisory Council

Advisory Council

The Write on Sports Advisory Council constitutes a cross-section of the community, with special emphasis on technology, nonprofit fundraising and finance, and organizational strategy. The Advisory Council serves the Write on Sports Board of Directors and its President to expand its organizational capacity, reach, and impact.

Susan Ebersole

Susan has been the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Lehman College Foundation at Lehman College sine 2018. Prior to this, she served as director of Leadership Gifts for the New York Philharmonic and Manhattan School of Music’s first vice president of External Affairs. She graduated from Goshen College and received her master’s degree in Fine Arts from Hunter College.

F. John Fatigati

Senior Vice President of Morford-Dodds Realty, F. John joined the firm in 2017 specializing in the sale/leasing of commercial office real estate, with a particular concentration in urban areas and corporate client consultancy. Prior to his association with Morford-Dodds, from 1988-2016, F. John served as Senior Vice President/Director at The Garibaldi Group; from 1978-1988, he served in a number of sales/management capacities with Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services in New Jersey and Chicago, Illinois.  Jack holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Bowling Green State University, an M.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Masters of Science Degree in Real Estate Development & Investment from New York University.

Brian Fisher

Chair of the Advisory Council, Brian has spent nearly 20 years in the sports industry, working for professional teams, media companies and agencies, with a focus on strategic communications. Following positions with Edelman Public Relations, Golf Digest and Madison Square Garden, Brian was Director of Communications at the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center where he was first introduced to Write on Sports. In 2017, Brian started his own communications consulting firm, serving clients spanning sports, technology and esports (competitive video gaming), and now works with one of those clients in a full-time role as Vice President of Communications for Allied Esports. Brian is a graduate of the Ithaca College Park School of Communications and resides in Rockland County, New York with his wife and two boys.

Deborah Kaye

Deborah brings over 20 years of not for profit experience in a variety of roles including: legal counsel, nominating committee member, founding member of various committees, advisory board, board member, Chairman, with various business and financial industry not for profits.  In addition, Deborah brings over 35 years of experience as business counsel to broker-dealers, banks, hedge funds and financial divisions of  major global financial institutions. She is currently active in the NYSBA.

Stephen Prendergast

Stephen, who grew up in Mahwah, NJ and attended Don Bosco Prep, recently worked at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in the Sports Endorsements & Talent Sales department and at Nike. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University (2016), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business & Enterprise Management with a marketing concentration. During his time at WFU, Stephen was a member of the Division I Men’s Basketball team for all four years, first as a student manager, then as a walk-on player. He was introduced to the sports and entertainment industry while interning at ASM Sports, now YouFirst Sports, in the summer of 2015.

Dr. Jennifer Robinson

As the Executive Director for the Center for Pedagogy at Montclair State University, Jennifer is an expert in urban development and education. She has been the Director for 15 years, and prior to her position at MSU, she was the Assistant Director at the Teachers College of Columbia University. Jennifer is a graduate of Northwestern University and Columbia University Teachers College.

WoS Staff

Write on Sports Staff

Andy Beutel

Assistant Program Director

Andy Beutel has been working with Write on Sports since 2007. As the Assistant Program Director of WoS, he helps update and adapt the curriculum as well as provide consultation and feedback for after-school programs and affiliates. He is also the Lead Teacher for the two summer camps held at Montclair State University. He is a veteran middle school social studies teacher who has written and presented about curriculum and pedagogy.

Heather Bock

Director of Operations

Heather Bock is an experienced educator with an MS in elementary education and literacy from Bank Street College and a BS in communication from NYU. As a certified reading specialist with 15 years of experience, Heather has worked with students of all ages to increase their decoding and reading comprehension skills. She is trained in Orton Gillingham programs targeted to teaching students with dyslexia and promoting the science of reading. Heather is passionate about education and staying current in best practices. Heather comes to Write on Sports with a profound understanding that equity in literacy is essential to giving all children the tools for success. 

Erik Jacobson

Program Director

Erik Jacobson is the Graduate Program Coordinator for the Masters of Reading at Montclair State University. Erik has been with Write on Sports since 2006 and developed the curriculum. Each year he works with Write on Sports teachers and staff to update the curriculum and to organize the teaching preparation effort. At Montclair State, Erik teaches courses on literacy foundations, content-area literacy, and reading comprehension. He is interested in the use of popular culture in the teaching of literacy. His current research focuses on adult basic education policy, the use of technology in adult education classrooms, and adult basic education in Japan. He currently serves as the University Senate President. 

Shannon Schmitt

Community Engagement Director

Shannon comes to Write on Sports by way of the arts. She started her career with the New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre and then spent nearly a decade working for Whoop, Inc. developing and producing content for television, film, theatre, and radio. She joined Write on Sports in 2013 as the Director of Marketing. Previously, she served as co-president of Moms of Multiples in Essex County (MoMIE) and as a board member with the New Jersey Choral Society. Shannon is a graduate of Montclair State University with a degree in theatre and lives in Camden County, New Jersey with her husband and three sons.