Many remarkable individuals are a part of Peak Year's mentoring and leadership efforts.


Ahron Friedberg, MD, Head of Leadership Advisory

Dr. Friedberg is Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine and serves as Co-chair of its Psychiatry Advisory Board. He practices as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Manhattan. At Mount Sinai Dr. Friedberg has developed and led several academic and teaching initiatives including their Innovations in Psychiatry Symposium. Dr. Friedberg also co-leads the Psychoanalytic Symposium, a national meeting held annually at Mount Sinai. He participates in clinical research as part of the Department’s Mood and Anxiety Program, which focuses on relevant translational neuroscience and understanding mechanisms of resilienceDr. Friedberg has twice served as President of the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians as well as other professional leadership roles. This past year he was elected Chair of the prestigious International Council of Editors of Psychoanalytic Journals.

He has published in several peer-reviewed journals such as The Psychoanalytic Review, The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Neuropsychoanalysis, and Psychodynamic Psychiatry. His works for a lay audience include Flashing Seven: Seven Essential Skills for Living and Leading, which he co-authored with Dr. Jack Hirschowitz, a Clinical Professor at Mount Sinai, and Between Us: A Father and Son Speak, which he co-authored with his father, Dr. Eugene Friedberg.


Adele Diamond, PhD, Executive Functions Senior Advisor

Dr. Diamond is the Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and was recently recognized as one the 15 most influential neuroscientists alive today. Adele is at the forefront of research on Executive Functions and on the brain’s prefrontal cortex on which they depend. Executive Functions include “thinking outside the box” (cognitive flexibility), mentally relating ideas and facts (working memory), and giving considered responses rather than impulsive ones while resisting temptations and staying focused (inhibitory control, including selective attention). She has made discoveries that have improved treatment for two different medical disorders and discoveries that have impacted education, improving the lives of millions of children. Her work has shown that executive functions can be improved even in the very young.

Dr. Diamond was educated at Swarthmore (B.A., Phi Beta Kappa), Harvard (Ph.D.), and Yale Medical School (postdoc). Her discoveries have improved treatment for medical disorders (including ADHD) and impacted education worldwide, improving millions of children’s lives. Her many awards include an honorary doctorate (Honoris Causa) from Ben-Gurion University and the Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society. She was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the YWCA and named one of the “2000 Outstanding Women of the 20th Century.”


Cindy Puccio, PhD, MA, LCSW, Head of Mentor Education

Cindy is a developmental psychologist and clinical social worker who began her career twenty years ago in New York City. She has a wide range of professional experience and expertise including individual, family and group therapy for children and families, school counseling, child-centered play therapy, and educational remediation. She also leads in-service trainings on relevant research and practice.After completing her B.A. in Literature from Middlebury College, Cindy earned her Master’s degree in Child Development from Sarah Lawrence College and then her M.S.W. from New York University. She recently earned her Ph.D. in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Developmental Disorders and is on the Faculty of Sarah Lawrence College.

Outside of her work at Peak Year, Cindy also specializes in therapeutic work with children who are on the Autism spectrum and she has studied and practiced Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s DIR/Floortime® method for over 15 years. She currently teaches training courses in this method to graduate students who are pursuing their certification through The Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning. Her other passion and area of expertise is in child centered play therapy and Cindy has been teaching seminars in play therapy at Sarah Lawrence College for twenty years. She is also a faculty member of the Sarah Lawrence College Child Development Play Institute and Graduate School. This program includes students and professionals from all over the world who are devoted to learning about the ways in which play impacts child development. Cindy also sits on the advisory board of The Meeting House, a non-profit after-school community program in Manhattan.

At Peak Year, Cindy provides non-psychological mentoring support for students and staff and serves as Peak Year’s Head of In-Service Mentoring Education.


Taj Bailey

Co-Founder and CEO of Presher Fitness,Taj has exceptional tenure and expertise in the fitness industry and has a proven track record of successful leadership and management skills. Mr. Bailey began his career at Crunch Fitness over 17 years ago. His accomplishments range from positions such as sales manager, general management, training program manager, and one-on-one personal training. Mr. Bailey was a core figure in managing, strategizing, and growing a 21,000 sq ft gym into the highest grossing gym within the corporation, generating over $230k per month. Key contributions include designing strategic layouts for club equipment, creating and implementing future manager training programs, spearheading sales coaching, and developing on-boarding processes for new trainers in the New York City territory.

As part of his accomplishments in managing that facility, he developed and retained the highest producing staff in the company. His trainers averaged more than double the company average. Mr. Bailey held corporate level honors, including East Coast Manager of the Year and Crunch’s Dream Team (reserved for top company performers). Mr. Bailey started his career as a personal trainer, where he developed his philosophy in mind/body wellness. His outside certifications include NASM CPT, CES, PES and ACE.


William “Bill” Dennett

Bill brings a lifetime of invaluable education, life experiences and professional career success in diverse educational positions to all of his endeavors at Peak Year. He heads our Life Path Guidance work and our University and Boarding School outreach and relations. He is a graduate of the Choate Rosemary Hall School and St. Lawrence University, where he received his B.A. in sociology and M.Ed in Counseling. He also holds a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) from the Department of Education at the University of Chicago. Bill was a US Army Sergeant in the US Medical Field Service Corps and a Peace Corps Volunteer, serving in Paraguay. He has a long and distinguished record of service, working with schools, churches, ecological stewardship, and on the SSAT exam development committee of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), where he worked to develop ethical guidelines.

Bill has held numerous positions at secondary and university educational institutions, including St. Lawrence University, The New England Conservatory of Music, Dartmouth College (Asst. Dean of Students), Lake Forest College (Asst. Dean of Students), the University of Chicago (Associate Director of Admissions, Sexual Harassment Complaint Counselor and Rugby Club Advisor), Denison University (Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid), Emma Willard School (Director of Admissions), and the Choate Rosemary Hall School (Director of Admissions). Bill also has a broad and deep history of experience and accomplishment as an educational consultant, including at Steinbrecher and Partners (where he first met Dr. Rudin some twelve years ago, sending him one of our most successful early students); Greenwich Educational Group (Director of College Counseling); Dennett, Holt and Hetzel Consulting Group; and Wakefield Educational Consulting.


Gabriel “Gabe” Rudin

Gabe is a NYC native who graduated with honors from Carleton College in 2014, earning his B.A. in International Relations. Gabe has an eclectic background, having worked across multiple industries in the United States as well as in Copenhagen, Denmark. His personal passions lie in tai chi, goju-ryu karate, travel, creative writing, and exploring emerging technologies.

Gabe, who currently serves on the Leadership Advisory, has served as the prototype for a Peak Year student and has been invaluable in helping to develop Peak Year’s communications as well as various specific Peak Time experiences.

Gabe is currently considering a career in law.


Dr. Tony Stern

Tony attended Harvard College and Mount Sinai School of Medicine; he trained in psychiatry at Cornell and did a neuropathology research fellowship year. He has worked in a variety of settings as a community psychiatrist, including many years on a mobile crisis intervention team and more recently in mental health services for the homeless.

He teaches a course called “How Doctors Think” at Riverdale Country School, one of the leading centers for character education in the country. He has written and presented nationally and internationally in the last 30 years about the interfaces between psychology, religion and the humanities.

At Peak Year, Tony brings his vast understanding of people, humanities and wisdom path practices to his roles as a non-medical, non-psychiatric life path counselor and mentor in Eastern mindfulness and meditative studies.