Karen Les Pierre, Director of Path to College

Karen currently serves as the Director for the Path to College program. With a wealth of experience and expertise, Karen partnered with The First Tee of Metropolitan New York and her business, Ms. Karen’s A+ Tutoring Center, in order to provide quality tutoring services to participants. The First Tee’s Nine Core Values are what first attracted Karen to the program and she firmly believes that these values address the holistic principles that are valuable and determine a child’s future.

Before Karen started working with the Path to College program, she was also a TASC/HSE Prep Instructor with the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) and helped prepare adults 18-21 in five main subjects areas in order to achieve their High School Equivalency (HSE) Diploma.

Karen received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently a candidate for a Master’s in Education from the The City College of New York.

Mark Cognata, Director of Curriculum and Evaluation

Mark Cognata has been a licensed teacher since 2010, with certifications ranging from Pre-K through 8th grade. He is also a certified special education instructor for grades K-12. He has experience writing and following individualized education plans (IEPs) and regularly creates and modifies curricula targeted towards students’ individual needs. Before becoming a teacher, Mark served for six years in the United States Air Force, and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mark is the Director of Curriculum & Evaluation at The First Tee of Metropolitan New York.


Joshua M. Sanchez, Youth Development Advisor & Social/Emotional Health Counselor, Path to College

Joshua currently serves as youth development advisor and social/emotional health counselor for the Path to College program and The First Tee of Metropolitan New York. Joshua is an alum of The First Tee at Mosholu Golf Course and one of the original participants to join the program when it first launched in 2001.  Throughout his time with The First Tee he has managed to provide leadership, advice, and guidance to parents and participants in The First Tee program. From 2010-2014 he served as Program Manager and Instructor for The First Tee at The Golf Club of Chelsea Piers.

Joshua is a recognized Posse Scholar and received a B.A. in theatre from Franklin & Marshall College.  He is currently pursuing a M.S.W at Columbia University School of Social Work focusing on Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice.  In addition to his work with The First Tee, he is a College Advisor with The Door – A Center of Alternatives.