Staff Members

Meryl Phipps – Executive Director

Meryl Phipps has lived in Ithaca since 2005.  She has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and a JD from Cornell Law School. Prior to joining the Village, she was a staff attorney at Citizens Concerned for Children and represented young people in the court system.  She and her husband Bailey are the parents of ten amazing kids.  

You can reach her at

Kat Hauger – Administrative Coordinator

Kat came to the Village at Ithaca from Alternatives FCU where she had been Senior Accountant.  Previously, she had worked as the Administrative Coordinator for the IURA, owned her own Real Estate Appraisal company and currently has her own part time hypnosis/energy work business. Kat has a B.S. in psychology, philosophy and religion, and a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Peace Studies. She is also a L.M.T., and a Consulting Hypnotist (NGH). Kat is the Administrative Coordinator for the Village, blending bookkeeping with office management and administrative support.

You can reach her at

Sarah Wolff – Program Educator

Sarah Wolff is an Ithaca native, attending Ithaca schools for much of her life. She graduated undergrad at Sarah Lawrence College and proceeded to get a Master of Divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary and a Master of Art in Literature from SUNY Cortland where she defended her thesis “The Life and Times of Austin Reed”, a pedagogical text which exhorts its audience from whiteness to witness. Before working for us, she was a teaching artist with Teachers and Writers Collaborative where she taught poetry writing while publishing anthologies of student writing in mostly special education classrooms. Now, she teaches Academic English and English Literature at TC3 and works as a Program Educator for the Village at Ithaca.

In her free time, Sarah likes to collect fabric, sew and quilt, garden, read, bake, and spend time with her 5-month-old puppy and rather tall son whose name means star in Douala.

You can reach her at

Jeremiah Sokol – Program Assistant

Jeremiah grew up in Ithaca and graduated from LACS in 2017. While earning a degree in Human Services at Tompkins Cortland Community College, he also works as a Program Assistant for the Village at Ithaca. He looks at the Village as the space to be a quality mentor to other Black men who need a role model to look up to and rely on.

When he’s not working for the Village at Ithaca, he can be found studying, speaking excitedly about his classes, and weight-lifting.

You can reach him at

Sophie Sparrow – Social Worker

Sophie Sparrow is the Village at Ithaca’s social worker! She graduated with a B.A. in psychology from St. Olaf College, and proceeded to get her MSW from Boston University’s School of Social Work. Growing up with six black siblings, she grew up witnessing the disparities between how they were treated, and she was treated. Sophie is determined to create a better experience for children of color than her siblings had growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood in the 1990’s.

When she’s not working tirelessly for the Village at Ithaca, she is caring for her dog, Mia, or embracing her love of music by singing in her church choir or playing the trombone.

You can reach her at

Chris E. “Chrissy” Suter – Program Educator

Chris E. “Chrissy” moved to Ithaca in 2012 in pursuit of a Master’s degree in education, and decided to stay. Before joining Village, she taught students in grades 2-6, and specialized in mathematics curriculum as well as academic coaching and staff development. Suter also holds a B.A. in philosophy, and a nagging one-third of a doctorate in education (completion TBD). As a school leader, Suter was known mainly for providing a sense of safety, belongingness, and acceptance for both staff and students alike, as well as for analytical problem-solving and the gifts of a neurodivergent brain that functions almost as well as a 2007 Excel Workbook. She believes that building meaningful human connections opens minds to alternate perspectives, cultural humility, and social justice, and she will never stop pursuing these ideals. That being said, most of her time outside of work is spent with her dogs!

You can reach her at

R.J. Lavine – Development Coordinator

With over 20 years of service and management experience in a wide range of non-profit sectors, R.J. brings curiosity and determination to their role at the Village. She was recently the Managing Director of the Hangar Theatre Company. She served as Director of Development and Communications at the Kitchen Theatre Company for two years prior, expanding the theatre’s development portfolio through strategic foundations, corporate, and individual stewardship. R.J. is a performer and writer who believes in the transformative power of the arts to connect and heal communities.

You can reach her at

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