Join Us

Friday, April 21, 2023
7:00 PM – Midnight

Terrace on the Park
Flushing Meadows Park, New York

Dress to Impress






Meet Our Honorees

Jackson Heights Beautification Group

Non-profit devoted to preservation and well-being of life in Jackson Heights


The Jackson Heights Beautification Group (JHBG) is a grassroots not-for-profit organization founded in 1988 with the mission of promoting the well being and quality of life in our unique Queens, New York neighborhood. That mission is served throughout the year via a wide array of JHBG’s diverse civic, environmental and arts programming.

Joan Zinner

Past President NYSACAC

Former Garden School Administrator
1991 – 2008


Joan Zinner graduated from Finch College in 1964 and began her career as a nursery school teacher at Robin Hill Nursery School in her hometown of Suffern, NY. After taking time away from teaching to raise her daughter, she returned to school life as one of the founders of the two-year old program at Temple Israel’s early childhood program in 1975. She was the director of admission at Manhattan’s Episcopal School and then opened The Laughing Giraffe, an educational toy store (featured in New York Magazine) on East 72nd Street. Joan’s transition to college counseling in the early 1980s began at The McBurney School on the Upper West Side and continued at The New Lincoln School until its merger with The Walden School in 1989. The head of school at what was then known as New Walden Lincoln was none other than Richard Marotta, and so began a friendship and work partnership that lasted until her death. Richard coaxed her to Jackson Heights in 1991 with the promise of a parking space and a 4-day week, but what he really gave her was a second home, a place where she met her closest colleagues and worked every day with students who inspired her.

During her tenure at Garden, Joan was director of college counseling, director of upper division admissions, and ultimately, head of the upper division. Joan worked with Mary Maisano to create the first Walk-a-Thon and this quickly became both a beloved community tradition and an important school-wide fundraiser. She worked with Richard Marotta to develop and implement the English Language Academy (ELA), a program that has continued to bring talented international students to Garden School where they have thrived and enhanced our community.

Joan was a leader within the New York State Association for College Admissions (NYSACAC), serving as president from 1992-1993 and receiving the association’s highest honor, the President’s Award, in 2000. Her service to the profession she loved included committee service for not only NYSACAC but also the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) and The College Board, which recognized her service the Bernard P. Ireland Award in 2006.

Joan was elegant, generous and supportive. She was an avid traveler, a talented needlepointer, an enthusiastic shopper and an expert in her field. She is missed, but her legacy — at Garden and beyond — remains.

Meet Our Event Chairs

Dr. Elizabeth Crum

Parent Chair

Dr. Elizabeth Crum

Dr. Crum is a New York State licensed clinical psychologist who has served in various clinical, academic and supervisory capacities. For many years, she worked as frontline clinician and unit administrator on the admissions service of the largest state psychiatric center in NYC. She has also worked extensively as a clinical supervisor to masters and doctoral level students and an adjunct professor of forensic psychology. In 2018, she founded Ditmars Psychological Services, a group practice in Astoria, NY that provides psychotherapy services to children, teens, and adults. All of this is in combination with being loving parents to two current students here at Garden; Olivia '31 and Charlotte '36.

Jeremy Barr

Parent Chair

Jeremy Barr

Jeremy's work includes the representation of issuers and underwriters in public and private debt, equity and hybrid securities offerings, and related capital markets transactions. He regularly advises on the US securities law aspects of public M&A transactions. In 2019 he received the Jeremy G. Epstein Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service from the New York City Bar Association.

Lydia Garb Kontos '67

Honorary Event Chair

Lydia Garb Kontos '67

Lydia Kontos, Class of 1967, recently completed a forty year career at Kaufman Music Center, a place which she led from bankruptcy to great success and relevancy in the crowded Music and Performance scene in New York City. Her many “inventions” advancing music education included the founding of the Special Music School, a NYC public school for musically gifted students. It was one of the very first public/private educational partnerships in NYC and is now in its 25th year.

Jean Kinn

Board Event Chair
2011 - 2023

Jean Kinn

A longtime supporter and leader in the Garden community, Jean has served on the Garden Board of Trustees for 15 years. Jean served as PTA President during her daughter Sarah’s time at Garden. During this time, she was able to put in place solid fundraising programs. Sarah ’06, attended Garden from K-12. A lifelong resident of Jackson Heights and consistent advocate for Garden School, Jean has been the leading voice and force behind every Garden School Development, Advancement, and Fundraising initiative. Jean led the team that launched our first annual campaign, the Garden Fund, and has helped grow it ever since. She also was instrumental in bringing the Giving Tuesday initiative to the school. Without Jean there would be no Garden Gala and each year for the last 12 years, Jean has assembled a committee of other devoted Garden families and alums to pull off our annual benefit.

Thank You to our 2023 Sponsors

$10,000 - Griffin-Level Sponsors

$5,000 - Blue-Level Sponsors

5,000 Tier

$2,500 - White-Level Sponsors

Thank You Also to our Special Supporters...

2023 Gala Journal

Thank you to all of our sponsors, our classes, and those who purchased an ad in this year’s Journal!

First held in 2010, the Garden Gala is one of Garden School’s most important fundraiser. It is a yearly event attended by all members of the Garden Community including alumni, parents, alumni parents, faculty, administration, members of the senior class and friends of the school. The Garden Gala helps support the school’s mission of offering the finest education in Queens at the lowest tuition of any NYSAIS accredited, Queens independent school.

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