Our Board of Directors and Staff!
Board of Directors
April Giancola- Chair has been Chief Legal Programs Officer at Disability Rights North Carolina since May of 2012. Previously, she was an attorney at NC Prisoner Legal Services, Inc. in Raleigh, NC where she served as managing attorney for the post-conviction team. April has been practicing law for over 10 years with her main focus on indigent defense and civil legal services. Originally from Centereach, NY, April is married and has a son. She enjoys hiking, cooking and singing.
Dan Hatley is a resident and small business owner in Chapel Hill, NC, where he maintains a solo-practice law firm. In his free time, Mr. Hatley serves as a board member on several non-profits and community groups. Mr. Hatley is a native North Carolinian, and having grown up in small mill town, he is fully aware of the need for outreach to women and girls in rural NC communities. As an advocate, Mr. Hatley’s writing has been published on topics related to women’s reproductive rights and state sponsored discrimination of homosexuality.
Sarah Jessica Farber is a solo practitioner in Raleigh, North Carolina, with a statewide criminal defense practice in criminal trials, appeals, and post-conviction litigation in our state and federal courts. She is a life-long lover of the printed word, and majored in English with a concentration in publishing at Penn State. At North Carolina Central University School of Law, she served as articles editor on the Law Review, and helped put out three issues of the Review, was part of Moot Court Board, and as a founding board member of the Public Interest Law Organization. She was named a Lawyer’s Weekly Emerging Legal Leader in 2011, and serves on the board of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and is an advisor to the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina’s Legal Foundation. She is active with the North Carolina Central University School of Law Alumni Association and local dog rescue groups.
Vanessa Lucas, Vice-Chair is a partner at the law firm of Edelstein & Payne in Raleigh, North Carolina where she represents workers in civil matters including employment discrimination, labor and workers’ compensation cases. She is active with the National Lawyers Guild, where she serves as the Philippines Subcommittee Chair to the International Committee, as well as a long-time active member of the Beehive Collective, a Raleigh women’s philanthropic organization. Vanessa graduated from the University of San Diego where she received a joint International MBA and JD. She did her undergraduate work at University of Michigan majoring in Creative Writing and Literature. She enjoys North Carolina’s biking trails and dog parks.
Jennifer Wyatt is founding executive director of R2JNC and a licensed attorney in Raleigh. She loves stories and learning why things are the way they are, and so studied History at the University of California, Riverside. She earned a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law with a concentration in Public Interest Law. During law school she worked at the Child Care Law Center and volunteered in disability, homelessness and veterans issues. Jennifer is a veteran of the US Navy herself! As a solo practitioner, she practiced special education, school discipline, and juvenile law. She was a staff attorney on the Racial Justice Act Study. Jennifer was a Guardian ad Litem and is a trained Parent Defender by the UNC School of Government in Chapel Hill.
Jennifer’s primary interest is in children and families. Her life changed in 1998 when her infant daughter was diagnosed with cancer that rendered her child paraplegic. Jennifer learned the importance of legal education to parents. She understands first hand the plight of families trying to escape poverty. She graduated from college when she and her daughters were living in Section 8 Housing. Today, she has two amazing teenage daughters who continue to inspire her to work for a better future. Jennifer attends Christ Church in Raleigh and loves to volunteer for various organizations, including the North Carolina Museum of Art. She travels throughout North Carolina- enjoying the music, stories and especially the food!
- DeDreana Freeman is the Program Manager at Partnership Effort for the Advancement of Childrens Health and has Bachelors of Arts in Communications and Economics from Rutgers University. DeDreana works to improve environmental conditions for her community, which is an important aspect of our long-term health. She is an activist in the Golden Belt District of Durham, NC where she lives with her husband and three children.