Executive Team Bios (in a table)

WEB PHOTO Rush Russell

Rush L. Russell, Executive Director

Rush L. Russell was appointed by the Board to the position of Executive Director in July 2009. Rush has an extensive background in the non-profit, philanthropic and governmental sectors. Prior to coming to PCA-NJ, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. He was also the founder and president for Children’s Futures, a comprehensive effort to improve early childhood health and development outcomes for children in Trenton, New Jersey. In philanthropy, he served as a Senior Program Officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and as executive director for the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. In government, he was a legislative assistant to Senator Bill Bradley in Washington D.C. and director for health and human services in the Governor’s Budget Office in Texas. Rush has a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. He can be reached at 732-246-8060 x111 or [email protected]

Gina Hernandez

Gina Hernandez, Senior Vice President of Programs

Gina Hernandez is Senior Vice President of Programs at PCA-NJ. She oversees statewide prevention and early childhood programs that are responsible for serving more than 40,000 families throughout NJ. She joined the staff in November 2005 and she works closely with her team to provide technical assistance, quality assurance and training to the home visitation, family outreach and teen parent support programs across the state. She also oversees the Standards for Prevention training funded by the NJ Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships. Gina is a Healthy Families America Certified Family Support Worker Trainer and also teaches the Great Beginnings Start Before Birth Prenatal training, Parent-Child Interaction and Motivational Interviewing for home visitors in the state. She co-developed research-based trainings on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) prevention, Impact of Trauma, and Building Resilience in Children.  She is also an HFA National Peer Reviewer and has extensive experience with program development, implementation and evaluation. Gina has a B.A. in Communications, an M.A. in Counseling and is also a Certified Infant Massage Instructor. Currently, she is involved with various program research and evaluation projects with several universities and also has experience with the planning and development of data systems. She hopes to bring other evidence-based child abuse prevention programs to NJ to further the mission of PCA-NJ.

Pamela Stalcup, Director of Development and Communications

Pamela Stalcup joined PCA-NJ as Director of Development and Communications in 2014. She is President-Elect of The Rotary Club of New Brunswick and a Past President of The Kiwanis Club of The Haddons. Pamela also volunteers as the Camden County Volunteer Coordinator with The Pajama Program, New Jersey Chapter. Previously, she served as Executive Director at Healing the Children New Jersey, New Eyes for the Needy, and The Arc of Hunterdon Foundation; and Director of Special Events at The Institute for Community Living in New York.  Prior to her nonprofit career, Pamela worked in public relations and special events at Isolar Enterprises, Columbia Tri-Star Film Distributors and Playboy Enterprises.  Pamela completed the 2011-13 Rutgers University Institute for Ethical Leadership Nonprofit Executive Fellows Program at Rutgers Business School-Newark, sponsored by the Prudential Foundation. Pamela resides in Cherry Hill with her family.  She is proud to promote great childhoods for all children.

WEB PHOTO Jane Swiggett

Jane Swiggett, Director of Human Resources

Jane Swiggett was named Director of Human Resources in 2013. She has more than 25 years of comprehensive Human Resources experience in the nonprofit and private sectors. At PCA-NJ, Jane is responsible for leading the efforts to attract, develop and retain a talented and diverse workforce in support of the agency’s mission. She has expertise in employee relations, talent acquisition & management, Human Resources policy, and benefits strategy & administration. Jane holds an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College.

WEB PHOTO Ron Surlak

Ronald Surlak, Director of Finance

Ronald J. Surlak joined PCA-NJ as Director of Finance in December 2015.  He is responsible for the accounting and financial operations, budget preparation and analysis, financial reporting, and coordinating all accounting and financial policies and procedures.  Previously, he served as Chief Financial Officer of NewBridge Services in Pompton Plains, NJ where he was responsible for the accounting and financial operations, financial reporting, and client billing department.  During his professional tenure, he also served as Chief Financial Officer and Controller of First Hope Bank in Hope, NJ, where he oversaw the company’s accounting and financial operations, coordinated the company’s interest rate risk management, and also managed the company’s investment portfolio. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), he earned a BA in Business Administration and a BS in Accounting from Upsala College.  He is a member of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and is also a member of the AICPA’s Not-for-Profit Section.

Colleen Hicks, Director of Grow NJ Kids

Colleen Hicks is Director of the Grow NJ Kids Technical Assistance Center at PCA–NJ. As the TA Center for seven counties in Central and Northeastern NJ, Colleen’s team provides support through coaching, mentoring, and collaborative networking opportunities to infant, toddler, preschool and family child-care programs participating in Grow NJ Kids – NJ’s quality rating and improvement system. Colleen joined PCA-NJ in 2005 as the Community Education Specialist for the Parent Education and Technical Assistance (PETA) program. Since then, she has worked extensively with multiple agency programs to conduct program evaluation, oversee model compliance and quality assurance, and provide technical assistance and training to prevention programs and their professional staff statewide. During her tenure at PCA-NJ, Colleen has developed and authored the Title I Parent Involvement Self-Evaluation Toolkit for NJ Schools in collaboration with the NJ Department of Education and was one of the key developers of the Family Friendly Walkthrough; a self-evaluation tool and process adopted by over 80 early childhood and K-12 schools statewide. Colleen has an M.A. in Public Policy from Monmouth University in New Jersey and a B.S in Education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and is a certified trainer in the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework, Every Person Influences Children (EPIC), National Network of Partnership Schools, and Great Beginnings Start Before Birth Pre-Natal curriculums.

WEB PHOTO Karen Benjamin

Karen Benjamin, Area Director, Northeast

Karen Benjamin joined PCA-NJ in 2006, working on initiatives related to prevention of shaken baby syndrome and child sexual abuse, a public health approach to trauma, training of home visitors and systems building. She earned a Master of Public Health degree from the UMDNJ School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science degree from Richard Stockton College of NJ. She is a Certified Master Health Education Specialist (MCHES), a past president of the NJ Society for Public Health Education, and most recently she has served on the boards of the NJ Association for Infant Mental Health and Family Link Regional Early Intervention Collaborative. Karen oversees PCANJ’s Newark office, including the Essex Pregnancy and Parenting Connection (Essex Central Intake) and Essex Project LAUNCH.

Patty Mojta, Director of Adolescent Programs

Patty Mojta is a licensed Social Worker who has been working with children and families for more than 10 years. Patty joined PCA-NJ in 2007 and has worked in various capacities on statewide initiatives to prevent adverse childhood experiences.  Her positions at PCA-NJ have included the focus areas: early childhood home visitation, child sexual abuse prevention, childhood obesity prevention, substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, and several research projects.  As Director of Adolescent Programs at PCA-NJ, Patty oversees the Human Trafficking Prevention Program and the Parent Linking Program for adolescent parents.  Prior to her work at PCA-NJ, Patty worked as a Care Manager with families of vulnerable children and teenagers and completed an internship at a shelter for runaway and homeless youth.  Patty has both a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University.

WEB PHOTO Jessica Nugent

Jessica Nugent, Director of Home Visiting and Community Initiatives

Jessica Nugent joined PCA-NJ in 2012. Jessica provides technical assistance, support, and training to all the Healthy Families (HF) and Parents as Teachers (PAT) home visitation programs in New Jersey.  Combined, they reach over 3,500 families annually.  Jessica also manages the Regional Technical Assistance Center designated by PAT National Center, providing support services to PAT sites in New York, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC.  In addition, Jessica participates in many national CQI and evaluation initiatives, focusing on data collection and analysis to determine how to strengthen and expand home visitation programs nationally. She is a Healthy Families America National Peer Reviewer and an HFA Nationally Certified Parent Survey Trainer.  Jessica earned a Master of Public Health degree from the Rutgers School of Public Health.