Teacher Development Programs

Member Biographies (in alphabetical order)


Mr. David Babikian
Membership Category: Teacher
Social Studies Teacher
North Syracuse Central School District
North Syracuse, New York

David Babikian has taught social studies at Cicero-North Syracuse High School for seventeen years. Prior to that, he was a social studies and ELL teacher at Proctor High School in Utica, New York.  He has taught nearly every social studies course from seventh through twelfth grade including Global Studies, American History, Participation in Government, and Modern European History.  Babikian created the Modern European History elective to fill a void in traditional social studies curricula.  The course views history through the eyes of the Europeans who lived it by integrating history, film, and other primary sources.  He has served on multiple committees and has been selected for various initiatives throughout the district.  Babikian has participated in curriculum mapping and data analysis of Regents tests for the district.  He has dedicated time to students outside of school by becoming a coach for both Mock Trial and Lacrosse.  A dedicated Union member, Babikian also has been involved in raising awareness through Vote Cope and negotiating fair contracts, and currently serves as the local treasurer.

As part of Babikian’s work with NYSUT’s Innovation Fund, he has helped to shape the way that teachers are evaluated and supported throughout the state.   When North Syracuse was chosen as one of five New York State districts to pilot the new teacher evaluation system, he was selected as just one of five teachers to serve on the district’s PAR (Peer Assisted Review) panel.  The PAR panel, a group of administrators and teachers, is committed to supporting and nurturing new and developing teachers throughout the district, recommending teachers for tenure, and supervising the consultant teacher program.  The PAR Panel has become nationally recognized and Babikian has travelled throughout the country speaking about the positive benefits the program has had in North Syracuse.  Babikian also has extensive background in the use of student surveys to inform practice.  Babikian is currently seeking National Board Certification.

Babikian has a B.S. from Butler University in Indiana in Secondary Education and a M.A. from Oswego State University in History.

Top


Ms. Grace Barrett
Membership Category: Teacher
Art Teacher
Commack Middle School
Commack, New York

For the past 21 years, Ms. Barrett has been an art teacher with the Commack School District. Her school is a Middle Year Program school (the developmental predecessor for the International Baccalaureate Program) and in this capacity she has been practicing literacy in the visual arts in preparation to transition naturally into the Common Core Learning Standards.

Ms. Barrett, a NBCT candidate support provider, has been on the NYSUT Subject Area Committee for the Arts since its inception. This group’s purview has included putting forth recommendations to SED such as calling for all instruction in the arts be delivered sequentially and by certified teachers of the arts. As a former President of the Suffolk County Art Leaders Association, she is involved with the professional development opportunities for art teachers in her county. In this capacity, Ms. Barrett makes sure that the offerings for teachers maintain a balance between current pedagogical issues, special needs training, and innovative technology for the art room.

Ms. Barrett, a finalist for the New York State 2013 Teacher of the Year, is currently a member of the Executive Panel of the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Arts and the Arts Standards Review Committee.

Top


Dr. April Bedford
Membership Category: Higher Education
Dean, School of Education
CUNY, Brooklyn College
Brooklyn, New York

April Bedford is the Dean of the School of Education at Brooklyn College and a Professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Art Education. Before her arrival to Brooklyn College in July 2014, Dr. Bedford was a full professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) at the University of New Orleans (UNO) in Louisiana. From 2010 through 2013, Dr. Bedford served as interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development at UNO.

Dr. Bedford received her B.S. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, Elementary Education with Reading Specialist certification and a Kindergarten Endorsement from Texas A&M University, and from there she went on to Baylor University, where she received her M.S. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an endorsement in Gifted Education. Dr. Bedford returned to Texas A&M to obtain her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a certification in Women's Studies.

An author of over 20 publications and several edited books, Dr. Bedford's scholarly interests include children's literature, teacher education, and literacy development. She has presented at national and international professional conferences and has served as an elected board member of a number of educational associations. Currently, she is a member of the Editorial Review Board of Urban Education and the co-editor of the Journal of Research in Childhood Education.

Top


Mr. Jack Boak
Membership Category: Public
Retired District Superintendent
Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida BOCES
Watertown, New York

In July, 2014 Mr. Jack (Jay) Boak retired from the position of District Superintendent of the Jefferson- Lewis- Hamilton- Herkimer- Oneida Board of Cooperative Services following forty four (44) years of service in public education.  In his role as District Superintendent and the regional representative of the Commissioner of Education he collaborated with parents, students, teachers, administrators, Boards of Education and business/industry leaders throughout Northern New York to create and enhance educational opportunities in the region.

Mr. Boak began his career in education as a secondary English teacher in the Holland Patent Central School District.  His work as an administrator began as an Assistant Principal in the Cazenovia Central School District followed by his appointment as the Senior High School Principal in the Fayetteville-Manlius District.  Prior to his tenure at BOCES he served as the Field Coordinator for the State Education Departments' Futuring Project which resulted in the restructuring of the curricula for Industrial Arts, Business and Agriculture Programs across the state.  In his role as District Superintendent, he served as an evaluation team leader assigned to districts throughout the state designated as Schools Under Registration Review by the State Education Department.

Mr. Boak holds a B.S. in Secondary Education- English from the State University of New York at Oneonta and a M.S. in Educational Administration from Syracuse University.  Throughout the course of his career Mr. Boak has served on numerous educational and civic Boards including past  Chairperson of the Board of Trustees for WPBS Public Television, member of the Syracuse University Study Council, founding member of the Jefferson-Lewis Teacher Center Governing Board, member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce, member of the Board of Directors for the Jefferson County Historical Society, member of the Board of Directors for the Seaway Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America, member of the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization and Charter Member of the Thousand Islands Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa.

Top


Ms. Heather Buskirk

Membership Category: Teacher

Hamilton-Fulton- Montgomery BOCES

Johnstown, New York

Originally from St. Louis, Heather Buskirk earned her BA in astronomy-physics and Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Virginia.  She became a Knowles Science Teaching Fellow in 2004, and continues to work with KSTF as a Senior Fellow and a member of their Board of Trustees.  After earning her National Board Certification in 2010, Mrs. Buskirk became a candidate support provider and served on the committee to revise the National Board's Standards for Accomplished Science Teaching.  For twelve years she taught physics and math for the Johnstown School District in both traditional classrooms and in the Learning Project, a STEM academy for Johnstown students.  The Learning Project is a fully integrated project based learning program for seniors for which they receive credit for math, physics, participation in government, economics and English through real-world project experiences.

Now a teacher on special assignment for Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES, Ms. Buskirk is an instructional coach for HFM P-TECH and the Adirondack Academy where she works with students and provides support for teachers using project based learning to design and deliver curriculum.  Beyond the school year, Heather provides professional development in project-based learning, standards-based grading, and differentiated instruction.  She is also a NYS Master Teacher and served on their delegation to the TeachNY Advisory Council, the Common Core Task Force, and the State Education Department's National Board Certification Work Group.

Top


David T. Cantaffa

Membership Category: Higher Education Assistant Provost for Educator Preparation

System Administration of the State University of New York

Albany, New York

David T. Cantaffa is Assistant Provost for Educator Preparation within System Administration of the State University of New York. In this role, he reviews all educator preparation program proposals for SUNY campuses, works with campus leadership, faculty, and staff as related to their implementation of educator preparation programs, serves as educator preparation liaison between SUNY and a wide range of statewide and national educator preparation policy bodies and professional organizations, and is part of the leadership team working on the TeachNY initiative as related to SUNY educator preparation policy and other collaborative policy and practice efforts throughout the state. Dr. Cantaffa is a member of the Clinical Practice Commission of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, member of the Board (and past treasurer) of the New York State Association of Teacher Educators, and has served on various New York State Education Department advisory groups, including the edTPA Task Force (for which he served as co-chair), CAEP Partnership Agreement Work Group, Clinical Practice Work Group, National Board Work Group, and Principal Preparation Advisory Group.

Prior to his position at SUNY, Dr. Cantaffa served as Assistant Dean for Teacher Education and Director of the Teacher Education Institute for the Graduate School of Education within the University at Buffalo. In these roles, he had a range of responsibilities, including leading the office that organized clinical experiences for the teacher education program, serving as teacher certification officer, leading teacher education accreditation and other accountability efforts, and representing the teacher education program throughout the campus, in the local community, and at statewide and national convenings. In addition to his administrative roles, he also served as an adjunct instructor for several education courses. And, while at the University at Buffalo, he was a member of the Board (and past chair) of the Enterprise Charter School.

Prior to the University at Buffalo, Dr. Cantaffa began his career in education as a high school teacher, teaching students in tenth grade biology as well as a senior elective he developed and titled biochemistry of nutrition and disease. His graduate studies were all completed at the University at Buffalo, where he earned a Ph.D. in social foundations of education, Ed.M. in general education within the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, and an M.A. in biochemistry, as well as completed the non-degree initial teacher education program. His undergraduate studies were completed at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, where he studied biology and philosophy.

Top


Dr. Kathleen M. DaBoll-Lavoie: co-chair

Membership Category: Educator

Dean of School of Education

Nazareth College

Rochester, New York

Kathleen DaBoll-Lavoie has served as Professor in the School of Education at Nazareth College for the past five years, and has been teaching at Nazareth since 1991. She is currently Dean of the School of Education overseeing undergraduate and graduate teacher education programs.. She has served as the co-director of the Robert Noyce Scholar Program, funded through the National Science Foundation. She has also served as Chair of the Department of Inclusive Childhood Education, Associate Chair of the School of Education, the Director of Graduate Inclusive Early Childhood and Childhood Education Programs, and the Director of the Undergraduate Inclusive Childhood/Middle Childhood Education Program.  Prior to her tenure at Nazareth, Dr. DaBoll-Lavoie taught at Syracuse University.  She began her career in education as a high school social studies teacher at South Jefferson Central School and Lowville Academy.

Dr. DaBoll-Lavoie is immediate Past President of the New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and serves on the Teacher Education Advisory Group to the New York State Education Department.  She is past president of the New York State Association of Teacher Educators, and was a member of the New York State Higher Education Task Force on Quality Inclusive Schooling/ New York State Partnership for Statewide Systems Change.  She was also a member of the planning group for “Building a New York State P-16 Educational Quality Information System.”  She was an invited member of the New York State Teacher Standards Development Working Group, and the New York Assessments for Initial Teacher and School Building Leader Certification Work Group.  Dr. DaBoll-Lavoie has presented extensively at state and national conferences; her work has focused on the development of inclusive teacher education programs, school/college partnerships, and assessment.

Dr. DaBoll-Lavoie has a B.A. in history, art history and secondary education from the State University of New York College at Potsdam; an M.S.Ed. in secondary education from the State University of New York University Center at Binghamton; and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Syracuse University.

Top


Ms. Claudia Engelhardt

Membership Category: Public

Retired Juvenile Justice Administrator

Cohoes, NY

A native of Albany NY, Claudia is a graduate of the College of St. Rose holding both a bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Sociology/ Political Science. She is a member of Delta Epsilon Sigma.  Claudia’s career has focused on children and their social/emotional wellbeing.  She began her career at the Albany County Department of Social Services. After the Department of Social Services, Claudia served as the first Director of Trinity Place Child Care Center in the South End neighborhood of Albany; one of the first Federally funded day care centers. Claudia was the co-founder of The Capital District Childcare Coordinating Council. She was then recruited as the CEO of Samaritan Shelters Inc., a non-secure juvenile detention center housing both boys and girls ages 7 to 17. Claudia served as the Executive Director of Samaritan Shelters for 39 years.      

Claudia is a member emeritus of the Juvenile Detention Association of New York State having served as President, 1st Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Legislative Chair.   She also served as a member of the Delegate Assembly of the American Correctional Association. She is a member of the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents.   Claudia was chairperson of the advisory council of the Albany County Department of Social Services, member of the Albany County Juvenile Justice Steering Committee, member of the City of Albany’s Mayor’s Safe Communities Advisory Board and served as Vice-Chair of the finance committee of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution. She served as Treasurer of the NYS Society of Daughters of the American Revolution.  Currently, Claudia serves on the Boards of Community Maternity Services, Albany County Historical Association and the City Club of Albany.  In addition, she is active in several community organizations.

Top


Ms. Kathleen Ferguson

Membership Category: Teacher

Jessie T. Zoller Elementary School

Schenectady, New York

Katie Ferguson is a 2nd grade teacher in Schenectady City School District. She grew up in Schenectady and proudly graduated from Mont Pleasant High School in 1992. Her college of choice was SUNY Oneonta, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Upon returning to Schenectady, Katie attended Sage Graduate School to achieve her Masters of Science in Education, became certified in Special Education, and began her career in teaching.

Katie has had a passion for teaching since she joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School of Math, Science, Technology, and Invention as a first grade teacher in 1998.  Katie began her career by embracing professional development and taking numerous additional PD courses. During this time Katie was recognized for her extensive work with videoconferencing through Project VIEW. In 2007, Katie became a part of the Jessie T. Zoller Elementary School community as a 2nd grade teacher where she was lucky enough to join the teachers in participating in a grant which enabled her to learn and grow as a literacy educator and to lead professional development in literacy. Throughout her career she has mentored new teachers. In May, 2010, Katie was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Schenectady City School District, which led to her being selected as the 2012 New York State Teacher of the Year. In her role as New York State Teacher of the Year, Katie has had the opportunity to speak at colleges across the state as well as nationally, lead professional development at numerous conferences, and was fortunate to have several television appearances including Connect NY with Susan Arbetter and the WMHT American Graduate Project. Following her selection as NYSTOY, Katie has also had the privilege of collaborating with teachers from around New York on the New York State Teacher of the Year Council and the Commissioner’s Advisory Council at the New York State Education Department.  She has also been named an NEA Pearson Global Learning Fellow and received the California Casualty Award for Excellence. She is a proud member of Delta Kappa Gamma and was recognized as the Delta Kappa Woman of Distinction for her chapter in 2015.

Katie is currently pursuing National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist.

Top


Ms. Andrea Fortin-Nossavage
Membership Category: Teacher
Social Studies Teacher
Niagara Falls City School District
Niagara Falls, New York

Andrea Fortin-Nossavage is a native of Western New York, and proud alum returning to teach in the same public school system which she credits for her strong educational foundation. After high school, she attended SUNY Cortland and SUNY College at Buffalo; receiving a B.S. Degree in Social Studies Education in 1991. Andrea holds three Master’s Degrees from Niagara University: Foundations and Teaching, 1996; School Counseling, 2006; and Educational Leadership- School District and School Building Leadership, 2012. In her final semester at NU, she was awarded a full tuition scholarship sponsored by the Department of Professional Studies.

Andrea is NYS Certified in the areas of Social Studies, School Counseling, School District Leadership and School Building Leadership. She has amassed and shared a wide range of experience by delivering professional development, support and training to colleagues at the Classroom, Building, District, and State level. For nearly a decade, Andrea was a Teacher on Special Assignment and Coordinator of the Mentor Program (NYS-MTIP), working out of the Teacher Resource Center. Additional duties in the District Curriculum Office allowed for extensive opportunities to support various programs, grants, and initiatives in New Teacher Induction, Curriculum, Instruction, Professional Development, and Technology Integration. Andrea served as Chairperson of the District’s Character Education Committee, Co-Facilitator of the District’s Shared Decision Making body; the Executive Quality Council. Additionally, she collaborated on the District’s Professional Development Plan, Technology Plan and Annual Professional Performance Review Plans, and maintained numerous District webpages. Andrea has served as Instructional Coach for Social Studies/ELA, and assistant to the Building Administrator for Assessment; serving as PSAT/AP Coordinator and liaison to the College Board.

In July 2016, Andrea was awarded the honor of the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award. This award honors outstanding individuals who exemplify the highest standard of teaching and work to foster creativity, instill a love of learning, and inspire independent thinking and student initiative. She is currently working on achieving her National Board Certification, teaching United States History and Government, and advising the Local History Club.

Top


Dr. Virginia Goatley

Membership Category: Higher Education

Professor, Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning

University at Albany

Albany, New York

Dr. Virginia Goatley is the Department Chair and a Professor in the Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning at the University at Albany-SUNY.  With a goal to prevent reading and writing difficulties for children, her recent research focused on teacher preparation and professional development that supports effective classroom practice, including the accreditation and assessment of teacher preparation. In collaboration with colleagues at the Child Research and Study Center, she was co-investigator for two recent federally funded grants through IES and FIPSE, focused on the early literacy coursework in teacher preparation programs.  From 2011-15, she was a co-investigator on a graduate level clinically rich teacher preparation grant funded by the New York State Education Department.  In her recent role as a member of the International Literacy Association’s Literacy Research Panel, she participated in efforts to use research as a framework for improving classroom practice and the policies that influence it.

Dr. Goatley is currently the Chair of the IB Commission and a Board member (ex-officio) for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).   She is a committee member for the International Literacy Association’s Standards for Specialized Literacy Professionals (2017 edition) and is chair of the Standard #3 Assessment and Evaluation sub-committee.  She is a  co-editor of the Journal of Literacy Research, a publication of the Literacy Research Association.  Her publications have appeared in several journals including the Journal of Educational Research, Language Arts, Language and Literacy Spectrum, Reading Research Quarterly, Reading and Writing Quarterly, and The Reading Teacher. She is a co-author of Engaging Elementary Students in Disciplinary Learning and Literacy (TC Press, 2014).

After teaching first grade for three years, she received her MS in Reading Instruction and PhD in Educational Psychology/Literacy from Michigan State University.  A faculty member at the University at Albany since 1995, Dr. Goatley also served as the Associate Dean for Professional Studies (2003-08) and Vice Dean (2008) in the University at Albany School of Education.  In 2011-12, she was the Director of Research for the International Reading Association.

Top


Dr. Albert Inserra

Membership Category: Administrator

Dean, College of Education, Information, and Technology

LIU Post

Brookville, New York

Dr. Albert Inserra is Dean of LIU Post’s College of Education, Information and Technology and is the Interim Dean for the School of Education at LIU Brooklyn.

Dr. Inserra began his career as a high school biology and chemistry teacher. He was then appointed to the position of Superintendent of Schools, a position he held for 10 years in the Carle Place Union Free School District and 7 years in the Port Washington School District. Following his public education career, he joined the Dowling faculty as an Associate Professor, achieving tenure and becoming a full Professor in 2010. As chair of Dowling’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership and Technology, Dr. Inserra oversaw more than 40 doctoral students, many of whom went on to become leaders in their fields after completing research in areas related to public and private education, health care, and higher education. He was asked to assume Dowling’s presidency in 2014 and held that position until the College’s closing on August 31, 2016. Dr. Inserra maintains a research interest in public school finance, the future of liberal arts education in the United States, and the potential for partnerships between higher education and public schools.

Top


Ms. Katie Lobato

Membership Category: Teacher

Plattekill Elementary School

Plattekill, New York

After earning her B.A. in Inclusion Elementary and Special Education from Niagara University in 2001, Katie Lobato began her career as a middle school instructor of Spanish as a foreign language in the Hyde Park CSD. In 2007 with her M.S. in Education from SUNY New Paltz, Ms. Lobato switched to the field of TESOL and currently teaches English as a New Language in the Wallkill Central School District.  Katie has 18 years of classroom experience and has focused on collaborative co-teaching in grades K-8 for the past 11 years.  As a Mentor Teacher in the District ENL department, Katie facilitates professional development opportunities, designs ENL curriculum, and coordinates district wide ENL parent and family events. She has also served as a cooperating teacher for future TESOL educators.

As a member of the Ulster BOCES Title III Consortium team, Ms. Lobato has been a presenter for designing successful Student Learning Academies. She has developed curriculum and project- based learning experiences to help meet the needs of English Language Learners at both the elementary and secondary levels.  Ms. Lobato serves on a wide variety of school and district improvement teams, including the Professional Development Committee, CDEP team, and the RtI team. She is an advocate for bringing the spotlight to culturally and linguistically relevant teaching practices district wide.  Ms. Lobato has been a member of the NYSUT Subject Area Committee for English language Learners since 2014. This group’s work has included partnering to create guidance publications including “Yours, Mine, Ours: English Language Learners (ELLs) in New York State,” as well as putting forth recommendations to SED.

With a passion for volunteer service, Ms. Lobato serves as a liaison for Spanish speaking families in the community. She dedicates countless hours teaching families how to gain access to programs and resources as well as fundraising to help families in need. Ms. Lobato recently volunteered to serve as Co-President of Wallkill Nursery School and helped to improve the teacher performance evaluation process. As a dedicated advocate for all students, her goal is to continue to improve resources and enhance understanding of our diverse learning community.

Top


Dr. Margaret Madden
Membership Category: Higher Education

Vice President for Academic Affairs
Siena College
Loudonville, New York

Dr. Margaret E. Madden is Vice President for Academic Affairs at Siena College.  A social psychologist specializing in gender issues, she was the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at SUNY Potsdam from 2002 to 2015 and previously was Dean at Long Island University (NY), Associate Dean of Faculty at Lawrence University (WI), and Professor of Psychology and Assistant to the Academic Vice President at Franklin Pierce College (NH).

In prior positions, she taught Feminist Research Methods in the Women's and Gender Studies Program and courses in gender, social, developmental, personality, and research methods in psychology. She was awarded a Sears Foundation Teaching Excellence Award and was voted Faculty Member of the Year at Franklin Pierce College and the Distinguished Teaching Associate Award in the Psychology Department of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Dr. Madden is a former chair of the Board of Educational Affairs of the American Psychological Association and former president of the Society for the Psychology of Women (Division 35 of APA). A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, she received the 2008 Sue Rosenberg Zalk Award for Distinguished Service to the Society for the Psychology of Women.  She was a member of the Canton Potsdam Hospital Board of Directors from 2004 to 2015, chairing it from 2011-2015 during a period of rapid growth and transition into a larger health care structure.

Dr. Madden holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in social psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  She also completed Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management in 2012. She is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and presentation on higher education administration, gender and leadership in education, integrating diversity into the psychology curriculum, and attributions for various negative events.

Top


Ms. Yvette Malavé Diaz
Membership Category: Public Manager
Dormitory Authority of NYS
Albany, New York

Ms. Yvette Malavé Diaz has professional achievements in the fields of Educational Administration and Human Resources.  She has worked for the ASPIRA of New York, INC., NYC Board of Education, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, New York State Education Department, Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth, the New York State & Civil Service Education Association Partnership for Education and Training, and the Dormitory Authority of NYS.  She earned a B.S. from SUNY New Paltz, MPA from CUNY Baruch College and credits towards doctoral studies in Educational Administration from SUNY Albany.  She competed for and was selected as a National Urban Fellow, NYS Regents Minority Fellow and CORO Fellow.  She also served as a public member of the NYS Board of Social Work.  Ms. Malavé Diaz has worked for government for 25 years and spent 10 years working for a nonprofit child welfare organization.  Her understanding of education includes delivering services to underserved students at the local level and contributing to and implementing educational policy at the state level.

Ms. Malavé Diaz pursued her studies in teaching as an undergraduate and holds permanent certification in teaching and administration. She is originally from NYC and attributes her strong sense of community and family to growing up in Spanish Harlem also known as “El Barrio” which was predominately Puerto Rican.   For the past 25 years she has lived in Albany, New York where she and her husband are actively involved in the Hispanic and greater Albany community.  She is a founding member of the Capital District 100 Hispanic Women and her husband is the co-founder of the Albany Latin Festival association.

Top


Dr. Dwight Manning

Membership Category: Higher Education

Associate Director, Office of Teacher Education,

Teachers College

New York, New York

Dr. Dwight C. Manning, a first generation college graduate, has over twenty years of experience as a teacher, teacher educator, and administrator. He holds Lifetime Teacher Certification from the Texas Education Agency and taught middle school in the Garland Independent School District. While still in graduate school, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia and rose to the rank of tenured Associate Professor and Graduate Faculty. In 2008, he won a competitive Excellence in Teaching Award presented by the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. In 2010, he relocated to New York to accept a position as Senior Lecturer and Music Education Program Director in the Arts and Humanities Department at Teachers College, Columbia University.

He currently serves as Associate Director for Assessment, Outreach and Programming Support, and edTPA Coordinator in the Office of Teacher Education at Teachers College, where he supports teacher candidate preparation of certification assessments; serves as liaison between internal offices and the New York City Department of Education, the New York State Education Department, and the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities; collaborates on international projects; and engages in research presentations disseminating institutional findings in wider educational contexts.

Manning earned a Bachelor degree in education (cum laude) at the University of Texas at El Paso; Masters degree at the University of Oklahoma; and his Doctorate degree at the University of North Texas. His research, peer-reviewed articles, and critical editions appear in four languages in professional journals and in library holdings worldwide. He has served on conference selection committees and presented at professional conferences of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE), American Educational Research Association (AERA), European Educational Research Association (EERA), and NYACTE-NYSATE.

Top


Ms. Colleen McDonald
Membership Category: Public
Retired English Teacher/ Director of NBCNY
Cambridge Central School District
Cambridge, New York

Colleen McDonald is a native of New York, educated in New York State public school system from kindergarten through graduation. She then continued in NY with her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the College of St. Rose. During her  NYS career, Colleen has worked as a special education teacher with BOCES and as both a special educator and an English teacher in a small rural public school in upstate New York. At one point, Colleen moved into administration as Director of Pupil Services but was drawn, by the desire to interact more directly with students, back to the  classroom. After, teaching in a middle school inclusionary special education model, Colleen pursued National Board Certification in English Language Arts and moved into a new stage of her career as a middle school and high school English teacher where she has served as a classroom teacher, department chairperson, and professional developer.

Colleen recently retired from a 32 year career in public education, yet continues to work at NBCNY, as site director for the NYS SEED grant  and write competitive district grants as well.

Top


Mr. Derek Pope

Membership Category: Teacher

Commack High School

Commack, New York

Derek Pope is a teacher at Commack High school, where he has taught multiple levels of mathematics, including International Baccalaureate courses, for the past twelve years. For the past three years he has also worked as an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University, where he teaches courses in methods for teaching mathematics to undergraduate and graduate students. Besides working with pre-service teachers in this capacity, he has hosted student teachers and observers, and worked as a mentor.

Mr. Pope is a National Board Certified Teacher as well as a NYS Master Teacher. In the beginning of his career he was a Teaching Fellow for the Knowles Teaching Initiative and continues to work with them as a Senior Fellow. As a classroom teacher, Mr. Pope is passionate about using various tools to teach his students to understand mathematics conceptually. He recently published an article in NCTM’s Mathematics Teacher journal highlighting one example of how technology can be used to help students understand mathematics more deeply. Beyond the classroom, Mr. Pope has led professional development experiences in his district, notably using the method of “lesson study” as a tool for professional growth. Mr. Pope holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Seton Hall University and an M.A.T. in Mathematics from Stony Brook University.

Top


Theresa Reynolds

Membership Category: Administrator

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction at Orange-Ulster BOCES

Goshen, NY

Theresa Reynolds (Terry) is the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction at Orange-Ulster BOCES. She is responsible for the Special Education, Career and Technical Education, Adult Education and Instructional Support Service Divisions. Within Human Resources, Terry supervises all personnel needs and requirements for certified staff and is the Title IX Officer. In addition to the role she plays in the BOCES, Terry also provides support to 17 component school districts. Prior to joining the BOCES team, she was the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in the Marlboro Central School District for four years and a Principal in the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District for fifteen years.

Terry possesses a clear understanding of K-12 curriculum, new State initiatives including Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR,) New York State Learning Standards, Data Driven Instruction, and Dignity for All Act, as well as, state and federal regulations and grants. In her work with Human Resources, she has experience in K-12 certification requirements, labor management relations, and state and federal labor laws. She was a member of the design team that created one of the NYS approved Teacher Rubrics and is a trainer for the APPR process.

Terry is on the Executive Board for Staff/Curriculum Development Network (SCDN) and a member of Orange County’s Interagency Collaborative Team, Traffic Safety Board, Suicide Prevention Committee, and Youth Bureau Board. She is also on Sexually Aggressive Youth Assessment and Review Team (SAYART), the Education Committee for Dutchess-Orange United Way, and is certified by the New York State Education Department as a State trainer for the Dignity for All Act. Terry has presented at numerous state and national conferences focused on helping schools develop effective teacher evaluations and practices.

Terry has a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from the State University College at New Paltz, an M.S. in Secondary School Administration from the University of Scranton, and a B.S. in Art Education from the State University College at New Paltz. She is certified as a Grade 1-6 Elementary Education Teacher, K-12 Art Teacher, and School District Administrator.

Top


Ms. Annette Romano
Membership Category: Teacher

Special Education Teacher/National Board Certified

Niskayuna Central School

Niskayuna, New York

Annette Romano is a first grade teacher in the Niskayuna CSD. She has a B.S. Degree in Special Education from SUNY Plattsburgh and a M. S. Degree in Reading from University at Albany. Annette became a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, Early Childhood Generalist, in 2001. Annette has taught elementary and special education in the Capital Region of New York for over twenty-five years.

From 2007-20012, Annette was a Teacher on Special Assignment, as the National Board Coordinator for New York State. She established the National Board Council of New York Network in 2007. Through the National Board Council of New York State Network, Annette collaborates with Teacher Centers, school districts, higher education, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), and the State Education Department to increase awareness about National Board Certification, provide candidate support, and promote teacher leadership throughout the state. She is currently the NBCT consultant on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards-- Supporting Effective Educator Development Grant.

In 2010, Annette received the Bertha Brimmer Medal from the University at Albany Alumni Association and in 2013, she receive an Excellence in Education Award from NYSUT. Annette is also a member of the NBPTS Faculty and NYSUT. Teacher Leader Network, IRA, and ASCD. She has expertise in National Board Certification, Common Core Learning Standards, Teacher Leadership, edTPA, Teacher Evaluation, and CAEP.

Top


Dr. Michael Rosenberg

Membership Category: Higher Education
Dean, School of Education
SUNY New Paltz
New Paltz, New York

Michael S. Rosenberg was appointed as dean of the School of Education at the 
State University of New York at New Paltz, effective August, 2012. As the Dean of the School of Education at New Paltz, Rosenberg serves as the chief academic and administrative officer for the School. His responsibilities include mentoring department chairs; recruiting and developing new faculty; supporting and initiating regional partnerships; and coordinating with faculty to promote innovative programs responsive to the needs of the region and to the State University of New York (SUNY). Rosenberg also manages financial resources and external fundraising; oversees accreditation procedures; and implements SUNY and State Education Department policies.

Rosenberg previously served as the associate dean for research in the School of Education and a professor in the Department of Special Education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Prior to his 26 years at Johns Hopkins (11 as department chair), Rosenberg was an assistant professor for four years at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and also a visiting scholar at Westminster College in Oxford, England. Prior to his return to graduate study, Rosenberg taught secondary students with learning and behavior disorders for the Orleans-Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services in New York.

Rosenberg was the co-editor of Teacher Education and Special Education, the journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children. He also co-authored five textbooks on various topics in special education. Rosenberg has authored or co-authored more than 60 articles and chapters, and served as a field editor for a number of special education journals.

Rosenberg completed a term as president of the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education and has served as research committee chair, publications chair, and secretary for the Council for Learning Disabilities. He was the first president of the Maryland Council for Learning Disabilities and completed a term as PTA president for Rodgers Forge Elementary School. He has advised over 35 doctoral graduates and was a recipient of the 2007 Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children/Merrill Teacher of Excellence Award.

Rosenberg holds both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in special education from the State University College at Buffalo (Buffalo State). He earned his Ph.D. in special education at Pennsylvania State University, and was a 2008 Fulbright Fellow at Saint Patrick's College in Dublin, Ireland.

Top


Joseph Schaefer

Membership Category: Higher Education Dean, Coordinator of Student Teaching Supervision College of Saint Rose

Albany, New York

Joseph Schaefer is currently the Coordinator of Student Teaching Supervision and faculty member at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. He has held these positions at the College since 1999. Mr. Schaefer retired from public school administration after thirty-one years of service to the Guilderland and Bethlehem School Districts. Prior to school administration he taught at the elementary level for four years in the Guilderland Central School District.

Mr. Schaefer earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from the State University of New York, Plattsburgh; a Master’s Degree in Education from the College of Saint Rose, Albany; and additional graduate work from the State University of New York, Albany.

Mr. Schaefer teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level in the Teacher Education Department at the College of Saint Rose. He has presented at ACTE conferences in Montreal, New York City, and San Diego and the annual Constructivist Conference in Canton, NY. Joseph has also presented more locally for the New York Reading Association, Empire State College, New York State Home Economics Association, and the New York State Education Department.

Mr. Schaefer has been a curriculum associate for the Eastern Regional Institute for Education and has published several articles for Ambit Publications’ Principal’s Principles. He is an Honorary Life member of the New York State Congress of Parents and Teachers and received the Distinguished Educator Award from the Institute for Development of Educational Activities (a Charles Kettering Foundation affiliate).

Top


Amanda Silvestri

Membership Category: Teacher Hudson Falls Central School District

Hudson Falls, New York

Amanda Silvestri is originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia. She earned her BS in Human Development and Learning from Lynchburg College, and her MS in Teacher Education from SUNY Plattsburgh. Immediately following graduation from Lynchburg College, Amanda began her career in elementary education teaching kindergarten at Smith Station Elementary School, located in the Spotsylvania County School District, in Spotsylvania, Virginia. After moving to New York State, Amanda became the Director of the Thelma P. Lally Childcare Center in Scotia, New York. In the fall of 2008, Amanda began teaching kindergarten in the Hudson Falls Central School District. She currently remains in this position. Beginning in 2012, she has taken on the role of kindergarten grade level coordinator. This role has allowed Amanda to continue to pursue her passion for teaching and learning both inside as well as outside of the classroom. Amanda enjoys working with fellow colleagues to help strengthen and foster faculty and student engagement practices and assist in the process of effective teacher development. Amanda appreciates her administrative teacher leadership roles in addition to her teaching, as she truly loves to share her limitless passion for teaching and learning with others.

While serving in her current faculty role as a kindergarten teacher, as well as her administrative role as grade level coordinator, Amanda has also created, presented and participated in a vast array of faculty development initiatives, and other professional development opportunities within her district, region, and the state. She has served as a mentor teacher within the Hudson Falls Central School District. Amanda was also selected to be a contributing member of the Washington County School District Collaborative in 2015. Currently, she is a member of the Hudson Falls Central School District’s Learning Team.

Top


Ms. Pilar Sokol, Esq.
Membership Category: Public
Deputy General Counsel
New York State School Boards Association
Albany, New York

Pilar Sokol, Esq. is deputy general counsel to the New York State School Boards Association.  She holds a B.A. Degree in History from the College of the Sacred Heart in Santurce, Puerto Rico and a J.D. degree from Albany Law School, Albany, New York where she was a member of the Albany Law Review.  First joining the Association in 1989, she returned following a two year absence to work in private practice representing school districts.  Prior to joining the Association, Ms. Sokol clerked for the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department.  Before attending law school, she worked on Wall Street, primarily in the area of investor relations.

Ms. Sokol is the editor of the Association’s School Law publication, and a frequent lecturer for the Association and other organizations on legal issues related to public education.  She is a member of the State Education Department’s ESSA Think Tank and committee of practitioners. Throughout the years, she also has served as a member of the Department’s former NCLB committee of practitioners, APPR Task Force and Race to the Top Sustainability workgroup, among others.  Ms. Sokol is also a member of the Council of School Attorneys of the National School Boards Association where she serves as an officer of the Council’s board of directors, and as a member of the Council’s Special Education Task Force.  She sits, as well, on the board of directors of the New York State Association of School Attorneys.

Top


Ms. Ellen Sullivan
Membership Category: Public Member
New York State United Teachers
Albany, New York

Ellen works in Research and Education Services for New York State United Teachers. She worked on a 5 year federal Investing in Innovation grant with American Federation of Teachers developing teacher evaluation systems. Her current policy areas are teacher quality with National Board Certification, teachers leadership, early career teachers and early childhood.

Previous to her serving on the board for the center Ms. Sullivan was Director of the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center which encompasses 93 public school districts, four BOCES and 83 non-public schools in the Capital Region. Ms. Sullivan first joined the teacher center staff in 1996 as a program assistant. Prior to this, she was the Education Director for the Junior Museum of Troy, Education Assistant for the Albany Institute of History and Art, and Instructor and Education Assistant at Hudson Valley Community College. She was an Adjunct Instructor at the College of St. Rose teaching Business Communication and she began her career in education as an elementary school teacher in Albany.

Ms. Sullivan has previously served the department as a member of the NYSED Career and Technology Task Force, and as a grant reviewer for the NYSED Comprehensive School Reform Program, the Learning Technology Grants program and Goals 2000 grants program.

Ms. Sullivan has presented for numerous conferences and committees including the NYS Teacher Center Higher Education Committee, AFT, NEA the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and the NYS In-service Conference on Mentoring Programs.

Ms. Sullivan has her B.A in Education, magna cum laude, from the College of St. Rose, her M.S. in Education from SUNY Albany and an A.C. in Grant Making and Foundations from New York University. In 2008, she completed the Federal Policy Institute program at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Top


Mr. James Vasquez
Membership Category: Teacher
Social Studies Teacher
Newcomers High School
New York City Department of Education
Long Island City, New York

For the last 19 years, Mr. Vasquez has taught United States History, Participation in Government and Economics at Newcomer’s High School in Long Island City. Newcomers High School’s mission is to provide new immigrant students with an instructional program that emphasizes the development of English language proficiency as well as helping students and their parents with the adaptation process to a new school system, a new city, and a new country.

Mr. Vasquez has embraced the challenge of teaching his academic subject and simultaneously teaching language and literacy skills to students that are primarily English language learners. He works in close collaboration with his colleagues trained in English as a Second Language to develop and adapt curriculum to meet the needs of the school’s unique population of students. He is recognized by the principal of Newcomers as being one of the reasons the high school has had numerous accolades including being a top high school in NYC for US New & World Report.

Mr. Vasquez had served as the Chairperson of the Newcomer’s School Leadership Team for seven years. This team fosters the initiative of shared leadership and bridges connections between parents, teachers, administrators and community organizations. He also serves as the District Representative for the Queens High Schools for the United Federation of Teachers.

He has taken on student teaching candidates and mentored new teachers. He has facilitated professional development sessions and has a leadership role in the District Leadership Team, conducting needs assessment, and framing goals and objectives to improve student performance.

Mr. Vasquez earned his B.A. in History and Philosophy and his Master’s in Secondary Education from The City University of New York Queens College.

Top


Ms. Elizabeth Waite

Membership Category: Teacher

Mathematics Teacher

Union-Endicott Central School District

Endicott, New York

Ms. Waite has been teaching mathematics for 25 years, most recently at Union-Endicott High School for 7 years. Prior to teaching at Union-Endicott she was a mathematics teacher at Binghamton High School and East Middle School in Binghamton, New York. Elizabeth also spent 3 semesters as an adjunct professor of mathematics at SUNY Broome. Ms. Waite has experience teaching all levels and types of mathematics, ranging from 7th grade math to AP Calculus. She has taught math to students in co-taught classrooms, classrooms consisting entirely of English language learners, classrooms with adult learners, and classrooms filled with students on an accelerated math pathway. Throughout these diverse experiences she has had the opportunity to teach using traditional schedules, semester block schedules, and double period lab based schedules.

Over the years, Elizabeth has been an active leader in mathematics education, volunteering in numerous positions for the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State. Ms. Waite has served on the AMTNYS Executive Board many times, and since 1997 her service to AMTNYS has included a multitude of capacities such as presenting workshops to other teachers, coordinating the Annual Fall Conference in 2012, and serving as President for the 2015-2016 academic year. In addition to volunteering in the state level professional organization for mathematics teachers, Ms. Waite has worked with the New York State Education Department on various projects including being a member of the Math Content Advisory Panel for the Common Core, reviewing Algebra 1 modules, working on the Integrated Algebra Format Committee, and being involved in the review process for several Regents exams.

Elizabeth Waite has a B.A. in both Mathematics/Statistics and Mathematics Education from Canisius College and a M.S.Ed in Mathematics Adolescence from Binghamton University.

Top


Keith Wiley

Membership Category: Teacher Buffalo Public Schools

Buffalo, NY

Keith Wiley has taught 7th and 8th grade Mathematics at Houghton Academy for 16 years. Prior to that he was in venture capital and investment banking. In response to growing concern with helping Buffalo’s inner-city students pass the New York State Math A Regents exam, Mr. Wiley began tutoring high school students in preparation for the exam. His 100% success rate was noticed by parents, students and members of the Buffalo Board of Education. Mr. Wiley has experience teaching all levels of Mathematics from 7th grade to college Calculus. He has taught in co-teaching environments, 8th grade advanced algebra classes, single gender classes and semester block schedules.

In 2013, Mr. Wiley led Houghton Academy students, with an 85% poverty rate, in the Buffalo City School Middle School Math League competition and toppled one of the top ranked schools in the nation, City Honors. This tremendous accomplishment was recognized and featured on the front page of the Buffalo News Sunday September 22, 2013 edition entitled. “An Underdog Story of Academic Glory.” Four years later, on May 19, 2017, Houghton Academy won the League Championship again. Over the past seven years, Mr. Wiley has served as an Adjunct Professor at Medaille College, teaching Math Methods for undergraduate and graduate teaching candidates. He has won numerous awards including the Buffalo News 2014 Outstanding Citizen Award.

Mr. Wiley has a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from Canisius College, a M.B.A. in Finance from Canisius College; and a Secondary Math certificate from Canisius College.

Top

Last Updated: February 22, 2019