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Working with NLADA offers the opportunity to work with a staff with a diverse talents and backgrounds.  Learn about individual members of our team below.

Meet our Staff

Vernina Ali

Executive Assistant

Email: [email protected]


Alison Bloomquist

Vice President, Strategic Alliances & Innovation

She has been a committed public defender for nearly 20 years. Alison has served the last six years as the Director of Training and Education for the Connecticut Public Defender Service. Through her alliances with defenders and leaders from across the country, she launched several new programs like Dialogues for Change, an intensive multi-week anti-racism course, and Defender Lab, a week-long trial skills program where new and experienced defenders can test and try on innovative approaches to litigation. Before moving to Connecticut, Alison served for over ten years as a staff public defender in greater Boston, and two years as Attorney-in-Charge of the Norfolk Superior Court office at the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services. She has tried numerous felony cases to verdict across eastern Massachusetts and Connecticut and has appeared before the Massachusetts Appeals Court. She is a published author on trial skills and is faculty at the National Criminal Defense College. Alison is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and Boston University. She currently lives in West Hartford with her wife, three children, and their silver lab Cooper.

Email: a.bloomquist

Phone: 202-452-0620

LuTisha Buckner

Senior Program Associate, Strategic Alliances & Innovation

Christopher Buerger

Chief Counsel, Civil Legal Services

Chris has spent most of his career fighting on behalf of low-income parents in the family courts of New York City, first at The Center for Family Representation and then with The Bronx Defenders. Before that, he worked and interned in New York, Louisiana, Oregon, and Ghana. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a member of the Human Rights Clinic. Chris received an M.P.P from Oregon State University while focusing on quantitative methods, rural communities, and child welfare policy. He received a B.A., graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from American University with a major in literature and a minor in chemistry.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 232

Cherise Burdeen

Vice President, Mission Support

Cherise Fanno Burdeen has spent more than 25 years working to improve public safety policies and practices across the country. After earning a bachelor’s in public administration from Miami University (Ohio) and a master’s in criminal justice from Indiana University, she began her career with the Department of Justice. After fieldwork that included time with the Safer Foundation in Chicago and post-9/11 federal service with the Department of Homeland Security, Cherise spent fifteen years with the Pretrial Justice Institute. Her work included the development of innovative strategies to raise awareness of justice issues, amassing a broad constituency of criminal justice stakeholder groups, providing technical assistance and training on policy reforms, and engaging in communications and media efforts. She has extensive experience with strategic planning, initiative management, and change efforts across both organizations and within the criminal justice system. Her commitments are to advancing laws and policies that center equity and well-being, operationalizing the vision of those closest to problems, and unlearning white supremacy culture.

Email: [email protected]

Rabiah Burks

Vice President, Communications & Team Building

Rabiah Alicia Burks is a strategic communications executive who has dedicated her career to educating the public about criminal justice reform issues through traditional and non-traditional methods. She has led communications at FAMM Foundation and the ABA Criminal Justice Section, and is a member of a several organizations including the National Association of Black Journalists, Washington Association of Black Journalist and the National Press Club. Rabiah earned her Bachelor of Arts in History & African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Journalism from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Email: [email protected]

Hazie Crespo

Deputy Director, Technology Infrastructure

Katherine Denman

Deputy Director, Development

Email: [email protected]

 Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 220



Otisa Dozier

Senior Program Associate, Finance & Operations

Otisa focuses on office administration and accounting, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, accounting reconciliation, allocations, and onsite registration. Prior to joining NLADA, she was at the American Society of Landscape Architects, where she was responsible for all aspects of membership correspondence and data fulfillment and provided assistance with the implementation of the recruitment and retention programs. Otisa also worked at The American Society of Association Executives as an administrative assistant and later as administration coordinator in its Education Department, working with human resources, membership, and marketing departments. 

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 200

April Frazier Camara

President & CEO

April serves as President & CEO of NLADA. She has been a champion for equal justice for two decades. A graduate of Howard School of Law, she worked as a public defender in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee and at the Public Defender Service (PDS) for the District of Columbia before joining NLADA. She has been a part of the NLADA leadership team for the past five years, most recently serving as Vice President for Strategic Alliances & Innovation and prior to that Chief of Lifelong Learning. She is a co-founder of NLADA’s newest section, the Black Public Defender Association (BPDA), which aims to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in public defense and promote racial equity in criminal legal systems.  As the 2020 Chair of the American Bar Association’s influential Criminal Justice Section, she led the adoption of important ABA policy on race equity and prosecution, raising the age for juvenile prosecutions, reparations, abolition of private prisons, and other complex criminal legal issues. In addition to her J.D. from Howard University, she holds a B.A. in from Tennessee State University.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 212

Darryl (DJ) Hairston

Director of Learning Innovation
darryl Hairston

Yvette Hatcher

Director, Finance

Yvette supports the organization in directing budget and cost controls, and accounting analysis and procedures. She maintains the relationship with external auditors and prepares detailed account analyses. Yvette implements policies related to financial reporting, budgeting, accounting, and payroll activities. She also prepares and reviews monthly financial statements and reconciliation schedules that support the monthly and quarterly financial statements.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 209

Abdul-Hamid Kiawen

Deputy Director, Finance

Anna Ladd

Director, AmeriCorps VISTA Program

Anna brings her passion for people and program evaluation to building capacity in public defense offices. After serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at NLADA and working with people experiencing homelessness, she came back to continue to grow the VISTA program. Anna holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan and a B.S. in Anthropology and Social Work from Kansas State University.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 225

David Miller

Director, Policy

David Miller works to promote state and federal policy that expands access to justice for those who cannot afford to pay for legal counsel. He represents civil legal aid and public defender organizations in national conversations and manages NLADA’s advocacy across a range of issues of importance to the equal justice community, including federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation, state and local pretrial reform, and the preservation and implementation of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. David is the author of NLADA’s 2018 report PSLF and the Justice System: How Eliminating PSLF Would Harm American Communities.

Prior to joining NLADA in 2013, David worked at LandAid, a foundation in the UK focused on supporting young people who are homeless. David has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nottingham and an M.Sc. in Democracy and Comparative Politics from University College London.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 244

Aileen Moffatt

Vice President, External Relations

Aileen is NLADA's new Vice President for External Relations. She is a seasoned fundraiser and a problem solver with solid organizational skills. Prior to joining NLADA, Aileen opened her development consulting practice with a focus on helping organizations adjust or prepare for changing circumstances. She also served as Vice President of Development at Reading is Fundamental. Aileen holds a PhD in history from the University of Manitoba plus MA and undergraduate degrees from the University of Saskatchewan.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 223

Michael Mrozinski

Legal Director, Defender Legal Services and Strategic Policy Initiatives

Michael is the Staff Attorney in the Defender Legal Services division. He supports the work of public defenders nationwide, as well as improvements to indigent defense systems, through research, policy, training and technical assistance, and development of resources and toolkits to assist defenders. Prior to joining NLADA, Michael was a legal consultant at the National Juvenile Defender Center. His experience also spans a broad range of other topic areas, including human rights, women’s rights, international law, racial and ethnic discrimination, LGBT+ rights, labor rights, and workers’ compensation and personal injury law. Michael received his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 236

Keri Nash

Director, Racial Equity Initiatives

Keri is an attorney who has spent her career focused on impacting policy on the federal, state, and local levels to improve the lives of people of color and other marginalized populations.  Prior to joining NLADA, Keri was a policy analyst at the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health, a staff attorney at the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, and the Counsel for the Racial Justice Initiative of TimeBanks USA.  Before graduating summa cum laude from UDC David A Clarke School of Law, she worked at Housing Counseling Services, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Congressman Brad Carson (D-OK).  Keri received her BA in Politics from New York University, raised in Brooklyn, NY, and is a first generation American from Grenada.

Email: [email protected]

Chandra Nicholson

Deputy Director, Member Services

Chandra provides administrative and programmatic support for the membership and training department, where she handles application and dues processing, events registration, and customer service for NLADA members. Chandra has been with NLADA for 16 years, and has also held the roles of program assistant (Member Services) and receptionist/administrative assistant. She is a graduate of Prince George’s Community College.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 215

Radhika Singh

Vice President, Civil Legal Services & Strategic Policy Initiatives

Radhika is the chief of the civil legal services division at NLADA. She works with civil legal aid providers across the country, and represents the civil legal aid community in advocacy and education efforts with federal representatives and in national conversations focused both on civil legal aid's substantive work and increasing resources to support this work. Radhika also leads NLADA's Project to Advance Civil Legal Aid Collaborations, advocating for federal funding and policies to integrate civil legal aid into cross-sector collaborations that serve low-income and vulnerable populations and advance federal objectives. She previously worked in engagement and advocacy at Equal Justice Works and as a staff attorney at the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, focusing on constitutional and civil rights litigation and advocacy. Radhika received her B.A. from American University and her J.D. from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 207

Maria Soto

SVP & Board Secretary

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-452-0620, ext. 216

Luise Stone

Senior Program Associate, Civil Legal Services

Bianca Washington

Deputy Director, Digital Communications

Tiara Wood

Senior Program Associate, Communications

Tiara Wood is the Communications Senior Program Associate. For the past several years, Tiara has been creating and deploying NLADA’s content strategies and managing NLADA’s accounts across all channels. Prior to joining NLADA, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Furman University while playing on Furman’s Division I basketball team. A native of the DMV, she has enjoyed coaching the city’s youth in basketball for more than a decade.

Email: [email protected]                     Phone: 202-452-0620, ext.228