Nelson Ribon


Mr. Ribon joined the New Jersey Youth Challenge Academy in January 2019 to serve as the principal and leader of the educational programs offered to our residents. At the conclusion of Class 49 in April, he was promoted to serve as Deputy Director of Programs where he oversaw all academic offerings, counseling, medical services, service-to-community, staff training & professional development, religious services, assessments, mental health, and academic and community partnerships. In addition, he actively supported the Academy’s strategic planning, recruiting, marketing and post-residential planning efforts. On August 1, 2019, Mr. Ribon was appointed by the Adjutant General to serve as the new Director.

Nelson Ribon

Sean M. Chapman


Sean Chapman

Sean M. Chapman is the Deputy Director of the New Jersey Youth Challenge Academy.

In this capacity, he is responsible for executive management of operations, providing academics, leadership, physical training, and personal growth to educate and train at risk youth. He manages day-to-day operations of the Academy, staff coordination, and project management.   Mr. Chapman monitors compliance with federal and state cooperative agreements, laws, and agency policies. He oversees concurrent projects, mentors staff, and represents NJYCA at internal, external, and private meetings and briefings.

Melissa Stubblefield


New Jersey Youth Challenge Academy

Ernie Razzano


New Jersey Youth Challenge Academy

Samuel Hayes, Jr.


Samuel Hayes, Jr. is a native of Detroit, Michigan.  He enlisted in the United States Air Force at 17 years of age and retired with 25 years of honorable service. He is a decorated combat veteran receiving meritorious honors for his contributions as an airman. 

While serving in the Air Force, he pursued a degree in education attending Southern Illinois University. He acknowledged his call into the ministry in 1995 while worshipping in Friendship African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Samuel entered New Brunswick Theological Seminary attending night classes while serving on active duty. Seminary completion took seven years as he managed military duties, family responsibilities, and church obligations. It was all worth it as the graduation moment coincided with his retirement from the United States Air Force and a first appointment as a pastor. 

He has served as a Hospice Chaplain for  Cooper Hospital, Samaritan Hospice, and serves as the Chaplain for Pemberton Township, NJ First Responders. He is currently a Division Director for the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs New Jersey Youth Challenge Academy at Joint Base MDL where he changes the lives of At Risk Youth from across the Northeast region of the United States. 

He is faithfully serving on his fourth pastoral charge at Friendship AME Church in Browns Mills, New Jersey. He and his wife, Evangelist Donna Hayes, have three wonderful children: Sam III, KaiLoni, and Arianna.

Samuel Hayes