Essex County College Facts
Degrees & Programs
Workforce Training & Business Solutions
Paying for College
Path to ECC
The Essex County College Foundation, Inc. is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit corporation authorized and established by the Trustees of Essex County College. Its mission is to collaborate with the administration of Essex County College to secure resources to help the College fulfill its mission and help students benefit from the institution’s activities.
The Foundation Board members are business professionals with strong ties to the Essex County community. They have taken both a professional and personal interest in the college’s programs and in promoting the success of our students.
Essex County College Foundation members are committed to working in partnership with the College’s President and with the Board of Trustees to meet the needs of the college and its students. Since 2008, the Foundation has awarded over 300 students with scholarships. With your generous donations, the Foundation can make an even bigger impact in the future.
We welcome your contributions! Your gifts provide critical support for scholarships, innovative programs, and equipment that are not covered by state or county funds or government grants. Information about giving opportunities is available by contacting Foundation staff identified below. Please be in touch, we would love to hear from you.
Leila Sadeghi is a political fundraiser and the owner of a boutique consulting firm based in NJ. She has served on many political campaigns over the last decade. Prior to fundraising, Sadeghi served in academia at two public universities committed to teaching and research and continues to carry a passion for students, education and the ECC community.
Patrick Saint Fort is an adjunct accounting professor teaching at Essex County College, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), and Caldwell University. Patrick spent more than twenty years in corporate spending time at big four firms like KPMG, LLC, in addition to Mellon Financial, AIG, and Clover Health as a manager and director of finance.
Patrick has a passion for helping struggling companies. In 2010 he helped revived the parish of Holy Spirit in East Orange after the Archdiocese of Newark had scheduled the church and the school to be closed for being insolvent.
As the financial adviser, Patrick was able to help Holy spirit become solvent in about a year prompting the archdiocese of Newark to name the priest in charge pastor and administrator.
Patrick is a proud alum of Essex County College where he held the position of treasurer for two years. After Essex County, Patrick went to Rutgers University earning his Bachelor, and master’s in accountancy.
Besides teaching accounting, Patrick manages a small consulting firm focusing on small business accounting and individual tax planning.
Dr. Stephanie N. Baker has taught and trained thousands of students on how to thrive in an educational setting in an urban environment. She fundamentally believes that all students can do what THEY want to do!
Dr. Stephanie is very attuned to the landscape of higher education and is passionate about developing the leadership capacity of college students, as well as administrators. She brings over a decade of experience in the field of higher education in areas such as student activities, campus recreation, student unions, marketing, residence life, student leadership, and new student orientation. Mrs. Baker has served as adjunct faculty at Essex County College, Drew University, Bloomfield College, Berkeley College & University of Phoenix. Dr. Stephanie currently works at Berkeley College as the Associate Dean. In addition to serving as a board member of the Essex County College Foundation, she also serves as the chair of the Newark Advisory Board.
Dr. Stephanie received a Master’s Degree from Montclair State University, studying Counseling Psychology, LPC. Dr. Stephanie received a Master’s from Rutgers University, studying Higher education Leadership, and holds an undergraduate degree from Montclair State University with a major in English Education minoring in Women’s Studies.
“As a teacher, counselor, researcher, and forever learner, I take a personal approach that leadership is within every student and transforming how we view leadership through the lens of empathy and empowerment that will result in stronger companies, communities, schools and future leaders.” – Dr. Stephanie Baker
With a passion and experience to serve a diverse community within our beautiful City of Newark and our County of Essex, I stand as a proud Leader, Mother of four, willing to give back to our community and our students. Together as a team, serving on the Board of Trustees, we will facilitate the ability to afford higher education and provide resources. I will ensure that we hold each other accountable and that Essex County Foundation continues to impact the lives of those who seek a college education.
Isabel Cruz is a seasoned public service professional with twenty-one years of experience working for members of the United States House of Representatives. Currently, Isabel works as the Constituent Services Coordinator of the Office of Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., of the 10th Congressional District of New Jersey. She serves as a liaison for constituents to resolve issues with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Military Affairs, National Personnel Records Center, Internal Revenue Service, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Isabel works with a diverse body of leaders at various levels of local government, as well as a diverse array of constituents. Isabel is an excellent communicator and fluent in two languages. Isabel has a strong commitment to public service and is passionate about serving the communities of Essex County. As a former student of Essex County College, she is an example of the success that the Foundation works to make possible for other students. Isabel Cruz is an enthusiastic and critical member of the ECC Foundation because she understands from experience how an opportunity at Essex County College can lead to a lifetime of successful impactful service in Essex County and beyond.
Carmen Morales is a seasoned educator who currently serves as the principal of Essex County Newark Tech, a vocational technology high school. Carmen’s educational leadership resulted in obtaining recognition of a National Blue Ribbon School in 2015, Title One Distinguished School Award and Reward Schools in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Carmen has launched school-based and district-wide programs, such as Technology-Enhanced Active Learning center [T.E.A.L Center], Early College Program, College Dual Enrollment program, Career Technical Education program, and several other programs which have revolutionized and advanced secondary education in Newark.
Carmen is an excellent relationship builder and a skilled people-person. Her daily supervision consists of over (70) faculty/staff members who instruct, train, mentor, supervise over 750 students. Carmen is an effective and persuasive motivator for those she supervises. She uses her strong communication convey the mission and impart the vision of an organization to improve and enhance achievement.
Professionally, Carmen is passionate about creating professional development opportunities and effectively using data to drive instruction and undergird best practices. Personally, she is passionate about seeing the fulfillment of each person’s individual potential and the effect that will have, both on the individual and on the Essex County community as a whole. As a board member of the Foundation, Carmen Morales uses her educational expertise and influence to enable optimal opportunities for the success of post-secondary students of diverse ages, ethnicities and backgrounds.
Johanna “Coach” “Mama” Wright is a beloved presence in her community. As an award-winning teacher of Science, Sex Education, and Physical Education at South Orange Middle School, and the former Girls’ Basketball Coach at Columbia High School. Wright has influenced the lives of thousands of students over the past forty years. She is a motivational speaker and serves as a panelist/mentor for coaches throughout the tri-state area.
During her distinguished career, Wright has been recognized in many capacities, from Who’s Who Among American Teachers (4x’s), to the Essex County Education Associations Human Rights Award. Wright has accumulated titles and accolades from a myriad of organizations. A particular career highlight was being selected as Head Coach of the Inaugural McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball game for girls at Madison Square Garden.
Johanna was inducted into the New Jersey Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Columbia High School Athletic Hall of Fame and was also awarded the prestigious Frank McGuire Foundation’s National Coaching Award.
Rocco currently serves as a Council Representative for the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (EASRCC) and Vice President of Local 253. He is proud and honored to represent the ten thousand plus EASRCC members of New Jersey.His career started as an apprentice in 1993 at Joseph D’Aires Carpentry Training Center. During his years as a rank-and-file member he has served as a shop steward, foreman and served on the Recreation, Apprentice and Political Education Committees for Local 1342 in Essex County. In 2009 he was elected Trustee to Local 1342 Executive Board. Most recently has held positions as Sergeant at Arms and Secretary Treasurer for the Essex County Building Trades prior to becoming President. Rocco also sits on the CTE Carpentry Advisory Boards for Barringer High School in Newark and West Orange High School.Rocco’s most proud accomplishment is being happily married to his wife Lea for 23 years while raising their wonderful two children Samantha and Salvatore. It is Rocco’s goal to ensure the success of the union members through organizing, education, training programs and to be a partner with the community to better the wages, benefits and working conditions for working men and women.
Alfred BundyExecutive Director, Institutional AdvancementPhone: 973-877-3156Email: [email protected]
Director of College Advancement and FoundationPhone: 973-877-3006Email: [email protected]