Member Biographies (in alphabetical order)

Riley Arnold

Membership Category: Student

The College of Saint Rose

Albany, New York

Riley Arnold was born on October 3rd 1995 to a small family from Long Island, New York. She later moved to a small town outside of Poughkeepsie called Poughquag, where she attended public school in the Arlington School District. Throughout her academic career Riley was always a dedicated and hardworking student. She enjoyed music, reading and language.

After graduating in 2013, Riley went on to study at The College of Saint Rose. A few years into her upper education, Riley realized that her true passion in life was teaching and working with children. Therefore, she decided to change her educational path in hopes of becoming a teacher. In her off time, Riley has worked at a summer camp in Lagrangeville, New York. During her time spent in Albany she works with children who are on the Autism spectrum. She is grateful for all of the opportunities that have come from moving to Albany and attending The College of Saint Rose.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



Ms. Debra Calvino: co-chair

Membership Category: Administrator

Director of Curriculum, Instruction, & Data

Valley Central School District

Montgomery, NY

Debra Calvino is the 2010 New York State Teacher of the Year and currently co-chairs the Professional Standards and Practices Board (PSPB) of the New York State Education Department which serves in advisement to the Commissioner of NYS and the Board of Regents.  She began her teaching career in 1981 as a high school special education teacher, taught high school mathematics from 1984 – 2014, served as Mathematics Department Supervisor from 2004 - 2014, and was appointed Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Testing in 2014; all in the Valley Central School District.  Her current responsibilities include coordinating K-12 curriculum, initiating instructional programs, maintaining Academic Intervention Services, overseeing the district’s state data reporting systems, creating and directing the Professional Development plan, writing and managing Title I and IIA Grants, and administering NYS assessments including grades 3-8 ELA and math, Regents exams, NYSAA, NYSITELL, and NYSESLAT.    

Ms. Calvino received her B.A. in Mathematics from Mount Saint Mary College and her M.S. in Special Education and C.A.S. in School District Administration from SUNY New Paltz.  She has served as Adjunct Lecturer of Secondary Education for SUNY-New Paltz and as a member of the American Federation of Teachers Common Core State Standards Teacher Work Team. She has been the recipient of the SUNY New Paltz Dean’s Award of Excellence and has been honored as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow.  She was the co-author of the text BASIC Programming for the Classroom Teacher and has reviewed several publications in mathematics and the NBC News Parent Toolkit.  Ms. Calvino has presented at many workshops and seminars including the Hudson Valley New Teacher Institute, NNSTOY 2014 Annual Conference, EduStat University 2013, Kappa Delta Pi Anniversary Celebration, Delta Kappa Gamma (Pi State Alpha Chapter), NYSUT Representative Assembly, Celebration of Teaching, NYS PTA State Conference, NYS School Board Association, and numerous colleges and universities.


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.


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. 


Ms. Maria DeWald
Membership Category: Public Member
New York State Family Engagement Coalition

Dutchess BOCES Arts in Education/Exploratory Enrichment Coordinator

New York State Parents and Teachers Association (PTA)® Past President and current Partnership Consultant

As a past President of the NYS Parent Teacher Association and current Partnership Consultant, as well as a current Management Team member of the New York State Family Engagement Coalition, Ms. DeWald continues to focus on standards-based family engagement initiatives in support of the Regents Policy Statement on Improving Student Achievement and School Performance Through Parent and Family Partnerships.

Maria was extremely involved in the planning and execution of three Family Engagement Summits working with Chancellor Emeritus Bennett and the federally funded Parent Information Resource Centers (EPIC and Cornell Cooperative Extension) which have now transitioned into the current statewide NYS Family Engagement Coalition.  She also previously served on the NYS Alliance for Arts Education. She has helped to guide public policy formation on Family Engagement issues in the reauthorization of ESEA/NCLB, the Juvenile Justice Act and IDEA and continues to work through the Coalition on the current federal reauthorization, ESSA.

Ms. DeWald, a former mathematics teacher, is currently Arts in Education/Exploratory Enrichment Coordinator for Dutchess County BOCES where she: facilitates SED aid reimbursement for Arts in Education/Exploratory programs in the schools of Dutchess County, identifies and oversees resources for participating schools, and works with statewide coordinators to advocate for the arts integration in the schools. She is also involved as an active community volunteer in many local organizations.

Ms. DeWald is recipient of: the St. John's University School of Education Outstanding Achievement Award; the NYS PTA Honorary Life, Distinguished Service and Diamond Awards; the National PTA Lifetime Achievement Award; the Empire State PTSA Muriel Berk Service Award; the Pleasant Valley Lions Club of the Blind Award; the Dutchess County Executives Arts in Education Award; and the R.E.A.L Skills Network Rosa Parks Creativity Award



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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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 

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.


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


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


Ms. Therese Torchon, NBCT    
Membership Category: Teacher
Science Teacher
Westbury Union Free School District
Westbury, New York

Ms. Therese Torchon started teaching at Springfield Gardens High School in Queens, New York and then moved on to the neighboring Susan B. Anthony Intermediate School 238 in the same district. There she taught Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth Science Regents classes for 17 years to a diverse student population from Asia, West Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean Region.  For the last ten years, Ms. Torchon has been at the Westbury Schools in Nassau County, Long Island, where she teaches a variety of science courses at the middle school level: Earth Science to Beginner ESL students from Haiti and Central America; Life Science; Intermediate Level Science to Inclusion Classes; Earth Science Regents and Living Environment Regents.
Ms. Torchon is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Instructional Leadership from St. John’s University.  In addition, Ms. Torchon is a National Board Certified Teacher and Candidate Support Provider for teachers seeking the nation’s highest teaching credential: National Board Certification.   She also served as a teacher consultant for the New York Geographic Alliance.  Ms. Torchon seeks to improve science teaching and learning by participating in many webinars and workshops; inviting guest speakers to her school; leading science workshops for teachers; mentoring new teachers; helping teachers infuse technology in the curriculum; serving as the Lab Assistant for the Science Department; and helping to revise the science curriculum at the middle school level.

She also holds permanent certifications in Science Education 7-12th grades and in School District Administration.  She obtained a B.A. from Frostburg State University, and a Master of Arts in Science Education from The City College of New York.


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.


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.



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.




Last Updated: April 11, 2018