Nico Amador, Community Organizer
Nico Amador joined the ACLU of Vermont in 2017 with more than ten years' experience as a community organizer, organizing trainer, educator, and consultant. His prior work included grassroots efforts to close prisons, fight discrimination, win a living wage, support urban farming, and defend the rights of conscientious objectors, among others. As an organizer in Philadelphia, Nico helped direct a successful grassroots campaign to end a Philadelphia public transportation system policy that discriminated against transgender passengers, and took on the casino industry in a community-led campaign to keep predatory gambling out of residential areas. Nico was previously Director of Training for Change, where he worked with a wide range of community-based organizations and trained thousands of activists from around the world on skills for making social change. Nico is a 2004 graduate of UC Santa Barbara.
Kate Connizzo, Communications Director
Kate Connizzo came to the ACLU of Vermont in 2015 as Director of Philanthropy, before moving into the position of Communications Director in 2017. Prior to joining the ACLU, Kate worked in development and strategic communications at the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and at Dartmouth College, her alma mater. She serves on the board of trustees for the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier.
Jay Diaz, Staff Attorney
Jay Diaz has been an ACLU of Vermont Staff Attorney since 2015. Previously, Jay was a staff attorney with the Disability Law Project of Vermont Legal Aid, representing low-income Vermonters with disabilities through direct representation and legislative advocacy. He was also the 2012-2014 Poverty Law Fellow, defending the rights of Vermont’s students and youth. In addition to his work at ACLU of Vermont, Jay is Health Law and Policy Faculty with the Vermont-LEND program and the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and serves on the boards of Voices for Vermont’s Children and the Conservation Law Foundation. Jay is a 2012 graduate of Boston College Law School and received his undergraduate degree from New York University in 2006.
Lia Ernst, Staff Attorney
Lia Ernst joined the ACLU of Vermont as a Staff Attorney in 2015. She previously served as a judicial law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, a legal intern at the ACLU of Michigan, a legal fellow at the ACLU of Massachusetts, and an associate attorney for a small Michigan firm focused on criminal defense and attorney ethics. Lia graduated from the University of Michigan Law School. She received her undergraduate degree in biology from Swarthmore College and a Master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
James Lyall, Executive Director
James Lyall joined the ACLU of Vermont in 2016, becoming the 12th director in the organization’s history. From 2011-2016, James was a staff attorney for the ACLU of Arizona, where he opened the first ACLU satellite office in Tucson, Arizona to investigate and litigate civil rights issues related to the U.S.-Mexico border. Prior to joining the ACLU, James was a law fellow at the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project in Los Angeles, where he provided legal representation to detained and unaccompanied immigrant children in deportation proceedings. A New England native, James is a graduate of Middlebury College and has a law degree from Georgetown University.
Barbara McAndrew, Senior Development Director
Barbara McAndrew joined the ACLU of Vermont as Senior Development Director in 2017. She is a skilled nonprofit leader with 30 years of experience in project development, fundraising, organizational development, and public relations with mission-driven organizations in New York and Vermont. Prior to joining the ACLU, Barbara was Vice President of Institutional Advancement at the Montpelier-based Institute for Sustainable Communities, where she led the development and stewardship of ISC’s relationships to increase funding, strengthen partnerships, and advance strategic communications. She previously served as Development Director of the Foundation for a Civil Society in New York. Barbara is a member of the Main Street Alliance of Vermont Advisory Council, as well as several community boards. She is a member of the Vermont Leadership Institute class of 2011, and a graduate of Colgate University.
Andrea Warnke, Associate Director
Andrea Warnke is associate director of the ACLU of Vermont, where she has worked since 1981. During that time, she has seen the ACLU of Vermont take on a broad spectrum of issues, and her work at the organization has likewise been wide-ranging. Andrea was the ACLU of Vermont's pioneer of computing in the days when the organization used cutting-edge 8-inch floppies and shared one computer between five non-profit organizations, and has overseen the many technological changes since, along with all of the civil liberties efforts they have supported. Andrea is a graduate of Manchester University with degrees in political science and environmental studies.
Chloé White, Policy Director
Chloé White joined the ACLU of Vermont in 2017 after completing a fellowship at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, & Security in Washington, D.C., where she researched legal and policy issues related to international women’s rights. Chloé is a 2015 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a managing editor of the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice, and completed clinical work in Georgetown’s Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic. During law school, she also volunteered as a clinic escort coordinator for the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force. Prior to law school, Chloé was a government affairs assistant at the National Safety Council and worked as a legislative correspondent and assistant in the office of Congressman Dennis Moore. Chloé is a 2009 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.