Meet the Speakers

Linda Saris, Executive Director

Ms. Saris is the founder and Executive Director of LEAP for Education.  Prior to LEAP’s inception in 2002, Ms. Saris served as the Senior Vice President of Operations, IT and Technical Services for RSA Security.  Ms. Saris has a BA in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA in finance and accounting from the University of Chicago and an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Salem State University. She volunteers her time on various boards and committees that help advance education and well-being for underserved youth. 


David Silva, Ph.D.

Dr. Silva has been Provost and Academic Vice President at Salem State University since h 2015. He has served in numerous capacities at the University of Texas at Arlington.  As a scholar of linguistics, Dr. Silva has an extensive research portfolio that focuses on phonetic variation and language change in Korean. He has also published and presented on issues germane to university-level teaching and assessment. Dr. Silva holds an AB from Harvard University and an MA and Ph.D. in linguistics from Cornell University.  Dr. SIlva has been a member of LEAP for Education’s Board of Directors for six years, serving as its chair from 2016 – 2020.


Manny Cruz, Latinos for Education

Mr. Cruz is the Advocacy Director for Latinos for Education and is an elected member of the Salem School Committee.  Prior to this, Mr. Cruz was a legislative aide to State Representatives Juana Mathias and Paul Tucker. Mr. Cruz received his BS in political science from Northeastern University in 2016. Mr. Cruz attended LEAP for Education programs from 2004 until his graduation from Northeastern. Mr. Cruz has been a member of LEAP’s Board of Directors since July 2018.


Julianny Vittini, LEAP Alumna

Ms. Vittini is a human resources generalist for the Town of Danvers.  Ms. Vittini started attending LEAP programs in 7th grade when she moved to Salem from Dominican Republic and was in the first cohort of English learners in LEAP’s innovative EL Street program at the Collins Middle School. She stayed in LEAP programs through her 2018 graduation from the Salem State University Bertolon School of Business with a BA in business administration with a concentration in human resources.


Stephen Zrike, EdD

Dr. Zrike has been Superintendent of Schools in Salem since July 2020. Prior to this Dr. Zrike served as the state-appointed receiver for the Holyoke Public Schools. Dr. Zrike began his career as a teacher before going on to lead turnaround efforts at urban schools. He has extensive experience working with teachers and principals to improve student achievement. As chief of a network of elementary schools within the Chicago Public Schools from 2011 to 2013, he led instructional improvement efforts across 26 K-8 schools. Prior to that, he led turnaround efforts at two Boston public schools and had a leadership role in improving two middle schools and two high schools. Dr. Zrike holds AB in history from Dartmouth College and an MEd and EdD from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.


Patrick Tutwiler, Ph.D.

Dr. Tutwiler has been Superintendent of Lynn Public Schools since July 2019, after having served as Assistant Superintendent for three years. He previously spent two years as headmaster of Brighton High School and six years as principal of Wayland High School. His 18-year career in teaching and administration began in 2000 as a history teacher in Brighton.  Dr. Tutwiler earned his AB from the College of the Holy Cross, and MEd  from Harvard University and a PhD  in curriculum and instruction from Boston College.


Joshua Vadala, EdD

Dr. Vadala has been the Superintendent of Peabody Public Schools since 2020 after serving as the Assistant Superintendent in Revere Public Schools for four years.  In 2010, he became the team chairperson for special education at Revere High School. He was the assistant principal at the Whelan School for five years before serving as acting principal. Vadala, 43, holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from Boston College and received his doctorate in educational leadership from UMass/Lowell.

About LEAP for Education

LEAP for Education (Learn-Explore-Aspire-Pursue) is a nonprofit organization empowering over 500 underserved students on the North Shore to achieve social and economic mobility by cultivating personal, educational, and career growth.

Learn more at »

Share This