Silver Spring Citizen's Advisory Board
EVAN GLASS, Chair
Evan has served on the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board since 2006 and was elected Chair in May 2012. A communications professional and former CNN journalist, he co-founded the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association and is currently president of the Indian Spring Citizens Association.
During his tenure on the Advisory Board, Evan has advocated for transit-oriented development, more green space in downtown Silver Spring, and he continues to support the area's independent mom-and-pop businesses through various initiatives.
An active participant in the community, Evan is also a graduate of Leadership Montgomery and serves on the boards of Equality Maryland, Conservation Montgomery, Montgomery Housing Partnerships and Safe Silver Spring.
Evan came to Silver Spring after graduating from American University and loves tending to his community garden with his husband Jason and walking around the neighborhood with his dog Percy.
Bernice North, Executive Vice-Chair
The daughter of immigrants from Ghana, West Africa Bernice Dansoah North is a lifelong Montgomery County resident and a graduate of Montgomery Blair High School. After graduating from University of Maryland, College Park in 2003 with a B.A. in Government and Politics, she attended Howard University School of Law.
She currently serves as Executive Vice-Chair, after an energetic year as Co-Chair of the Neighborhoods Committee. She also serves on the Board of the African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation and has previously served on the Board of the Literacy Council of Montgomery County and as a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee.
Bernice works as an Assistant State's Attorney in Anne Arundel County, Maryland where she prosecutes criminal and traffic cases including domestic assault, theft, and driving while under the influence of alcohol. Bernice resides in Takoma Park with her husband Terrill and enjoys Terps basketball.
Uri Pasternak, Secretary
As a practicing civil engineer who is also working towards a Masters in Community Planning, Uri Pasternak is tuned in to balancing the need for continued growth and development against the needs and desires of the established community. With a surge in development underway in Downtown Silver Spring, Uri’s attention is focused on how this is working in our community and how our community’s voice is reflected back to the County government.
When Uri, raised in Wheaton, and his wife, of New York, returned to Montgomery County from Philadelphia (where they attended college), they considered amenities available in various communities and moved to Silver Spring for its urban accessibility and convenience. From bagels in the morning to Fillmore events at night, the walkability and offerings of our community present continuing appeal.
Mark Mendez, Parliamentary Vice Chair
Mark Mendez has participated actively in both the Rosemary Hills and Lyttonsville Neighborhood Associations for many years. He and his family are now in their second home in the same neighborhood they’ve called home since 1990.
His professional communications and marketing talents were put to good use working with a neighborhood coalition to keep open a railroad bridge connecting Rosemary Hills to North Woodside, to persuade the County to keep the valuable green space surrounding the Gwendolyn Coffield Recreation Center as a park, and to shift the planned location of the Purple Line Train Yard from a commercial area to one that is already industrial.
Former SSCAB Member Charlotte Coffield, one of Mark’s neighbors and a sister to Gwendolyn – for whom the Rec Center is named, encouraged Mark’s participation on the Advisory Board. He is pleased to convey relevant and timely information to his neighbors and to the broader community.
Jonathan Bernstein joined the SSCAB in March 2013. He and his wife Linda raised their daughter in Silver Spring, first in the Indian Springs neighborhood and then in Seven Oaks-Evanswood. Long a government campaign finance lawyer, he works and writes in the field but is able to spend more time contributing to a wealth of community projects.
Jonathan is very active in his community. He serves as vice chair of communications for Silver Spring Green, serves on the board of the Old Blair Auditorium Project, moderates his neighborhood list serve and continues to assist with the planning of Taste the World in Fenton Village. A fan of using technology more effectively, he is also a nonprofit director for Washington Apple Pi, a Metro area Mac user group.
A regular participant in SSCAB meetings and events, Jonathan is happy to officially join the SSCAB. He will focus his time on the Economic Development Committee while continuing to support the valuable programming of the Neighborhoods and TREE Committees.
Sue Decker, Chair, Commercial & Economic Development (CED) Committee
Sue Decker and her husband have made the Takoma Park and Silver Spring areas their home for 28 years, raising a son who is now attending college. Over the years, Sue has actively volunteered for many family-centered activities at her church and at area schools. She joined the Advisory Board in 2011 to serve a broader role.
Sue assisted with the inaugural Taste the World in Fenton Village and served as Co-Chair of the Neighborhoods Committee, leading efforts focused on youth and intergenerational issues. In 2012, Sue was appointed as Co-Chair for the CED Committee and is planning further efforts to bring together local businesses and the community.
Her professional background includes over 25 years in the communications industry working in finance, strategic planning and marketing. Most recently, she held a Senior Director position for Intelsat Corporation where she led an international finance staff. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in economics from the University of Maryland.
Praj Kasbekar, Co-Chair, Neighborhoods Committee
Praj Kasbekar moved to Silver Spring in 2007, attracted by the diversity of its people and the level of their involvement in the community. As a community planner and developer by profession, Praj contributes her knowledge, ideas and passion for building vibrant communities to the efforts of the Advisory Board and its committees.
Praj joined Montgomery Housing Partnership in 2007, a non-profit developer of affordable housing in Montgomery County, and is responsible for managing acquisitions, financing, and development of multi-family buildings.
Kasbekar received her Master of Regional Planning from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Pune, in India. Praj and her husband love the July 4th parade and fireworks display in Takoma Park and can regularly be found people watching in downtown Silver Spring and along Maple Avenue.
Dan Lautman is fully committed to Silver Spring: the IT consulting firm he works for is based in downtown; he and his wife and son have made their home in Rosemary Hills; they walk to their synagogue, homes of friends and neighborhood parks; and he takes courses at Montgomery College at Takoma Park.
Originally from Israel, Dan is intensely interested in the arts and entertainment aspects of our community. Participation in the community’s nightlife, including free-lancing as a DJ, has diminished some since his son’s arrival, however. Now, he says, most of his activities have shifted to things that happen before 7 PM.
Dan is pleased to serve on the Advisory Board and finds it a great way to learn about the community and strengthen connections between individuals and also between the many neighborhoods within Silver Spring.
After an accomplished 32-year career with the U. S. Department of Commerce, Ed Levy brings his enthusiasm for public policy and politics to the Silver Spring community that has been his family’s home for more than 30 years.
His increased activity in the community has been widespread. In addition to his commitment to the Advisory Board’s efforts – especially on Taste of Fenton Village, he has been a freelance writer/editor writer for several non-profit organizations and is a regular contributor to the Silver Spring Voice.
Originally from Baltimore, Ed had hitchhiked to 49 States by the time he was 20 years old. He has been to 71 countries and on every continent but Antarctica. He loves coming home to the friendliness and informality of Silver Spring and is deeply committed to “the success of our diverse, economically vibrant, and naturally beautiful county.”
Dan Morales, Co-Chair, Neighborhoods Committee
Dan Morales is an architect and urban planner who believes that buildings and communities should be designed for the people who will live in and among them. He volunteers his time to influence project outcomes that are attractive, human scaled, and sustainable over the long term.
In collaboration with ESSCA, Dan provided feedback on aesthetics and massing for the Baptist Church redevelopment project at the corner of Wayne and Fenton to reflect the neighborhoods interests. He was able to help the community articulate its needs and help the developer satisfy the community's aspirations. In collaboration with the SSCAB, Dan contributed to the Taste the World in Fenton Village.
Attracted by Silver Spring's diversity and livability, Dan and his wife Melanie decided to move their young family from DC to make downtown Silver Spring their home.
Sara Mussie, a native of Ethiopia, came to the US in 1991 after living in Europe for five years.
Sara is a facilitator and outreach coordinator for Impact Silver Spring, a local community-based organization, where she works with immigrant parents at Montgomery County public schools and is the lead organizer of the Parent Educator Program (a parent empowerment/workforce development program).
She is also a co-producer and organizer of the Annual Ethiopian Festival held in downtown Silver Spring and is the co-founder of Blessed Coffee, the nation’s second benefit corporation. Blessed Coffee was founded as a socially responsible business sharing profits with small coffee farmers in Ethiopia and supporting local, US non-profits to build communities across geographies and around the world.
Sara makes her home in Takoma Park, MD with her husband and partner Tebabu, their son Yared and daughter Helina.
An attorney for the Department of Justice, Civil Division, Constance’s area of expertise is civil appellate litigation, including drafting briefs and arguing cases in the courts of appeals. In addition to her legal duties, Constance is interested in diversity issues at the Department of Justice with particular focus on minority recruitment.
As for community concerns, Constance is interested issues related to youth and cultural issues. Her tenure on the Advisory Board has focused on issues related to local small businesses, including working on Taste the World in Fenton Village.
Constance is also a docent for the National Gallery of Art responsible for leading tours for area school groups with the goal of exposing students to art and teaching students how appreciate art through active looking and questioning.
A native Washingtonian, Suzy was born in DC, raised in Kensington, and schooled in Bethesda. She earned an MBA at GWU and lived in Kalorama and Cleveland Park while marketing real estate development and architectural services. During the 1990s, at the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation, she was involved in guiding the planning and development of Penn Quarter as major new residential buildings, retail, and arts uses were built and occupied.
Her continued interests in the decisions that produce vibrant cities and neighborhoods drew her to invest in a home, to serve on the Advisory Board, and to launch her business as a real estate agent in Silver Spring.
Suzy is committed to understanding local issues and supporting community efforts aimed at enhancing our quality of life. In addition to serving on the Advisory Board, she serves on the Board of Montgomery Preservation Inc., an organization that looks at how growth impacts historic resources countywide.
Silver Spring Regional Center · Silver Spring Civic Building · One Veterans Place · Silver Spring, MD 20910
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