Steven Hoffler, MSW, Ph.D.

In addition to his role as Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University, Dr. Hoffler also holds the position of a Counselor at the Yale School of Drama (YSD). At Southern, he serves as an advisor to Brotherhood of Scholarship and Excellence (BRoSE), an affinity group on campus committed to recruiting and graduating men of color to and from higher education institutions. In 2019, he received Advisor of the Year at Southern and continues to form community partnerships with high schools to help bridge the gap for other young men of color to pursue higher education. For the past few years, Dr. Hoffler has elevated his advocacy to addressing systemic racism in the criminal justice, child welfare and educational systems and instituting restorative justice practices in various settings.

Dr. Hoffler’s professional experience has also included positions as a Mental Health Consultant for Yale Medical School and Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living for their Juvenile Detention Program and for their Child, Adolescent and Young Adult Programs. His practice experience has included clinical, supervisory and administrative positions at Yale New Haven Hospital, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) through Casey Family Services (CFS) where he served for ten years. At Casey, Dr. Hoffler served as the Deputy Division Director for six years in their Hartford Division and provided administrative and clinical oversight of its foster care, post-adoption, reunification and community involvement programs. At Casey he also served on the leadership team that managed the New Haven Grants Program of non-profit agencies dedicated the improving the lives of children and families. Additionally, he served as the Project Coordinator for the Center for Children’s Advocacy for the Deep End Diversion Program, where he was responsible for implementing the principles of restorative justice in Connecticut’s juvenile justice system, individual, family and group therapy. He has taught adjunct at several universities and continues to serve as a consultant for Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families.

Dr. Hoffler received his B.A. in History and MSW from the University of Connecticut and his Ph.D. from Smith College School for Social Work. He serves on several advisory boards, holds several professional memberships, and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. In 2007, he received the Achiever Award from the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Association of Educational Opportunity Programs (CAEOP) for his outstanding educational, community, and personal success. He was awarded the 2019 Humanitarian Award by Senator Richard Blumenthal and the Connecticut Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission. Dr. Hoffler maintains a private practice in North Haven and is the father of a toddler son, Tyler.

Rachel Gilroy

Ms. Gilroy joined Elm City Communities in 2019 after more than 20 years of experience in construction and design industry and educational leadership.

As Senior Project Manager for Elm City Communities and Glendower Group, Ms. Gilroy is responsible for overseeing the design and construction phases of development projects by working within a team, as well as being in cross-team collaboration. This progressive work environment includes bridging the planning-level constructability and sustainability with the concerns of client needs, and site-scale design process to construction completion.

Ms. Gilroy has served in various leadership roles, including being a veteran of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a Project Manager of Design and Construction, an Artist and a Facilitator for the Yale School of Management Interpersonal Group Dynamics Course. The range of her work experience includes construction management, sustainable and urban design, land planning, park and recreation planning, art and design, land architecture and teaching positions.

Ms. Gilroy holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT and a Master of Fine Art from the Academy of Art, San Francisco, CA.

Kia Levey-Burden, MSW

Kia Levey-Burden is a passionate leader, a dedicated advocate, and a loving mother and wife. Kia is deeply committed to igniting passions and helping others discover their power and courageous leadership. Kia gets to work in this passion through her work at Launch Consulting as she works with leadership of diverse organizations throughout the state of Connecticut, supporting their hopes of becoming more effective leaders and organizations.

As the mother of a 13-year-old son and a now adult foster daughter, Kia is committed to equitable and quality opportunities for all children and, in particular, children of color who are in systems that don’t consistently provide pathways to success for them. After spending over a decade as single mom, being a mom is the job Kia loves the most! Kia is grateful for every opportunity that she has been blessed with and hopes to use every platform she’s been given to create opportunities for others.

Sherri Killins Stewart Ed.D

In addition to serving as a Director for the BUILD initiative, Dr. Killins Stewart works an independent consultant. Her consulting clients have included BUILD, W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, New Haven Public School System, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Ascend at the Aspen Institute, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and Pearson Publishing.

At the BUILD Initiative, Dr. Killins Stewart works directly with state leaders to advance early childhood systems efforts in health, early learning, and family support. She leads work to define and create intentional practices regarding equity in early childhood systems, policy, and leadership within the work of the BUILD Initiative. Her equity work includes co-leading a network of early childhood leaders to advance racial equity. Dr. Killins Stewart has worked at multiple levels and in a variety of states and/or communities to create targeted action to benefit young children and their families, including Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Michigan, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New Haven, Connecticut, and Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Killins Stewart was the former Commissioner of Early Education and Care for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Vice President of Human Development and Operations at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and CEO of Empower New Haven.

Dr. Killins Stewart is known for crossing organizational boundaries to create a child development lens on the work of informal organizations as well as within state agencies, including public health and housing.

Throughout her career, Dr. Killins Stewart has been committed to supporting families, both children and adults, through the use of workforce, housing, health, and education strategies. Her efforts seek to increase access for families and communities to high-quality formal and informal opportunities in health, early learning, and family wellbeing.

Dr. Killins Stewart holds a nursing degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a Masters of Administrative Science from Johns Hopkins University, and a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Sarasota.