Adults and Children in Trust
1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025   212.316.7530

Contact & Staff

Office Hours:
Weekdays 8:30 am- 6:15 pm

Check our calendar to find out the days we are closed.
Mailing Address
A.C.T. Programs ~ 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, NY, NY 10025
Phone: Main office at the Cathedral: (212) 316-7530
E-mail:    Send resumes to

Administrators, Specialists and Counselors:
A team of qualified administrators develop plans, insuring that children will safely enjoy themselves. Summer Camp swim staff are certified by the Red Cross. Head teachers have experience in similar settings. Counselors are teachers and college-age students with an expressed interest in working with our youth. Staff return to A.C.T. year after year and have been enrolled in our programs themselves. Our staff is encouraged to directly communicate with parents regarding each child's progress. Staff meetings and training sessions are held before and during each program season. All staff are closely supervised and formally evaluated.

Administrative Staff

Jennifer Gowers:Executive Director as of 3/12/18. Here is a message from Jennifer:  

I am delighted to join ACT as the new Executive Director. It is a true privilege to join such a beloved program with such a beautiful legacy, and to listen and learn from current staff, families, and young people as I begin. I have great respect for Jose and for everything he has built, and am excited to celebrate and elevate ACT in the years to come.

I have worked in education for most of my life: it is in my blood. My mother is a dance teacher, my aunt teaches theatre, my cousin teaches music – and I have always been committed to and inspired by work with young people. In my own career, I have largely served as an educator and educational leader, spending the past 13 years working in NYC schools, public and public charter, in a variety of roles. Beginning as an English Teacher at Banana Kelly High School in the South Bronx where I looped with my students for three years, I moved into Literacy Coaching and Educational Consulting at Teaching Matters before serving as an Instructional Specialist for the New Visions network. I then had the honor of helping to found a brand new charter school, Equality, in the Castle Hill neighborhood of the Bronx before moving to manage Literacy at the network level for 5,000 young people at Ascend Public Charter Schools in Brooklyn. Additionally, I had the pleasure of serving as a summer camp counselor during my undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I studied Elementary Education. I continued studying education at the Graduate Level, obtaining my Master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education and my doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University (and I received my hood right here at the Cathedral)!

I am excited to employ all of these skills in service of the young people at ACT. I look forward to continuing to learn from Jose from now through his retirement at the end of March, and I look forward to opportunities to listen to you: please contact me if you’d like to share your thoughts, ideas, or experiences at ACT, it would be my pleasure to meet you!


José V. Torres, Executive Director and Day Camp Director: Retiring 3/28/18
José Vicente Torres received his Masters in Social Work from Columbia University after teaching in elementary school. Mr. Torres is the chief executive for A.C.T. Programs. In addition to year-round responsibilities for all A.C.T. Program operations, Mr. Torres is the Summer Camp Director who has had the pleasure of sharing his work experiences with his own wife and children on the beautiful setting of the Cathedral since 1981. Formerly a teacher, Mr. Torres created and developed all A.C.T. Program activities since 1981 that include its preschool components, expanded summer camp program, Divine Parties and Holiday Vacation camp.

Marie Del Tejo, Director of Programs, August Camp Coordinator, Nursery Head Teacher
Ms. Marie Del Tejo has worked in the educational field for two decades. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science in Education from Hunter College. She also attended Columbia University Middle Management program for Youth Services. Marie has worked in the A.C.T. Programs since the summer of 1990. She is the Director of Programs, responsible for the day-to day operations of all programs activities. Marie also teaches Parent-Toddler classes and oversees the August Camp Program.

Nancy Torres, Educational Consultant
Mrs. Nancy L. Torres has a Masters in Education from New York University. Mrs. Torres has 30 years of teaching experience in private and public schools. She is currently retired, having taught in all elementary school grades, most recently at Hunter College Elementary School. She is certified in Gifted Education. She is currently serving as an adjunct professor for Hunter College School of Education and is a consultant for several nonprofit organizations including A.C.T. She coordinates all day camp theme activities and supervises specialists who offer expert instruction in their fields.

Early Childhood Staff ( all part-time staff assistants and aids are not listed)

Barbara Ciner, Preschool Head Teacher
Barbara Ciner has worked in the educational field for over a decade. She received her a Master's degree in English Education from New York University, and reading certification from Hunter College. Ms. Ciner, who has permanent certification in early childhood through grade 8, is in her third year as Head Preschool Teacher at our A.C.T. Program. She implements lesson plans and oversees preparation of all materials related to curriculum development. Ms. Ciner also mentors classroom assistants and aids.

Ann Shepherd, Nursery Head Teacher, Parent-Toddler Instructor
Ann Shepherd, better known as Ms. Ann to our Nursery school children, has been teaching for almost two decades. A graduate of Wells College, with studies in English Literature, Ms. Ann has experience in a wide range of settings with children between the ages of three and eight years old. She has worked in Head Start and in full and parttime programs at the YMCA Coop Nursery. Before becoming a lead teacher, she did a student internship at P.S. 234, tutored children at the Northside Center of Child Development and worked as a volunteer at The Lenox School and the Mabel Barrett Fitzgerald Day Care Center.

Orissa Woods, Assistant Preschool Teacher, School-Age Program Coordinator
Orissa Woods has nine years experience as an early childhood education teacher. In 2003, she established Unity Group Family Daycare Services and administered the entire operation while maintaining a healthy educational environment. During the year, Ms. Woods serves as A.C.T.'s Preschool Assistant Teacher, is a program specialist in the Afterschool Program and, in the summer, is an Assistant Teacher in the Summer Camp MiniACT Program. She is completing an Associate's degree in Information Technology at Monroe College.

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