2012-05-18 / Community

Brother Tom’s Successor Named


Alissa Deakin, LMSW. Alissa Deakin, LMSW. St. John’s Residence for Boys announced this week the appointment of Alissa Deakin, LMSW, as the new Executive Director to replace the departing Brother Thomas Trager.

Deakin will be responsible for the administration of all of St. John’s programs, including its residential treatment program, non-secure detention group home, and educational service center.

Deakin, a licensed social worker, replaces her longtime mentor Brother Thomas Trager, a much beloved presence in the Rockaway community, who served with distinction as executive director for almost four decades. The Marianists, the religious order that has staffed St. John’s since 1937, will end its association with St. John’s on June 30, 2012 after 85 years of dedicated service. Faced with declining vocations and an aging workforce, the congregation has decided to redeploy its remaining active priests and brothers, including Brother Tom, to support other ministries.

St. John’s Board Chair Paul Garavente said, “For the generations of young boys who have passed through our halls, St. John’s has been so much more than a foster home. This is where they learned the importance of education, and that love and service to family and community are paramount. This is where they became upstanding young men. None of this would have been possible without the leadership, commitment, and vision of Brother Tom and all of the Marianists who have served here over the years.

“While they will be missed, St. John’s is now in the capable hands of Alissa Deakin who has proved herself a compassionate and capable leader over the last seven years here at St. John’s. As we start a new chapter with Alissa at the helm, we are re-committing ourselves to the standards of excellence that have defined St. John’s since our founding in 1868,” Garavente added.

Deakin said, “I am humbled by this appointment and by the challenge of filling Brother Tom’s shoes. Continuing the good work of the Marianists and doing everything in my power to help transform the lives of children and families in need will be my top priorities.”

As Executive Director, Deakin will oversee the agency’s finances, compliance and contractual issues, and programmatic operations. She will also be responsible for the management of all treatment services including the residential treatment program, non-secure detention group home, and educational service center. Among her other key responsibilities, Deakin will serve as liaison to all relevant city and state agencies, as well as to the Rockaway community.

Prior to today’s appointment, Deakin held the position of Program Director at St John’s. She has been with the agency since 2005. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University- Douglass College and Master of Social Work Degree from New York University, she worked at the Salvation Army, Social Services of Greater New York, where she rose through the ranks to become Assistant Director of the Group Home Department.

Between now and June 30, Brother Tom Trager will play an active administrative role as the Marianist community ends its ministry at St. John’s Residence.

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