Our Team of Instructors

Richard Acritelli has been a social studies teacher for 18 years. He is currently teaching at Rocky Point High School where he is active in creating assemblies on 9/11, Veterans Day, and the Holocaust. He teaches all on-line and on-site courses on the different aspects of global, American, Long Island and New York State history, social concerns, respect, family issues, violence in our society and schools, and race and ethnic issues in our nation. Rich has been recognized as the 2008 Teacher of the Year by the North Shore Times Beacon Record, North Shore Sun and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 9-12 for New York State. He has five military history articles published in the Long Island Historical Journal, is an advocate for veterans affairs, writes history/film reviews for his local town paper. Rich has conducted massive research on General George S. Patton in the Modern Military Archives in College Park, Maryland and at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 2009, he completed his second masters degree through Norwich University on military history studies. Rich is his school's varsity club advisor, coached wrestling, baseball, cross country,and was a senior class advisor. This educator served in the Army Reserves/Air National Guard for nine years as a staff sergeant. As a younger teacher, Rich had an internship at a juvenile detention center for troubled youth. For the last eight years, this teacher is also an adjunct professor at a local community college where he has taught Early and Modern American History classes. Over the last ten years, he has worked with his former service members to organize one of the largest Wounded Warrior Golf Outings in the Tri-State area. These efforts have collected over $200,000 for our local veterans that are wounded during the War on Terror. Rich has also been busy writing a book on the military life of General Ulysses S. Grant, where he has conducted research at Princeton, Columbia, US Military Academy at West Point, Stony Brook University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Amy Adkins - Weingartner is a veteran Special Education teacher for the Connetquot School District for the past 18 years. As one of the first to be involved in inclusion in her school district, she is a highly skilled practitioner in a variety of special education programs including co-teaching, special class and the resource room. She has extensive experience with the special education process, academic testing and IEPs. She also has chaired annual review meetings and is highly knowledgeable in the field. Amy has teaching experience on both the elementary and secondary levels. On the middle school level she has co-taught multiple subjects including Math, English, Science and Social Studies. She is certified in elementary education, special education and reading. In addition, she has a Master’s degree in literacy from C.W. Post University.

Lauren Andersen is a certified doctoral candidate in Autism and Intellectual Disability at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she also obtained her master’s degree in multiple and severe disabilities in 2012. She has taught graduate courses at Teachers College, Columbia University and Hunter College in the area of special education and severe disabilities. She has eight years of experience as a high school special education teacher at Long Beach High School, where she continues to work. Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from Providence College in Rhode Island. She has written a variety of publications over her career, including her most recent collaboration on a book chapter on post-secondary transition with Dr. Hsu-Ming Chiang in the textbook Handbook of Treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder (in press) and an article in the Autism Spectrum News entitled “Next Stop, Adulthood: A Framework for Effective Transition Planning for Students with Severe Disabilities.” Lauren has taught in-service classes for teachers in the Long Beach School District on transition and technology in the classroom. For the last eight years, Lauren has served as a scholarship reviewer for the Organization of Autism Research’s Schwallie Family Scholarship.

Patricia Anzalone-Fuerst is currently a reading teacher in the Commack School District. She has been teaching for fifteen years. She has taught reading at the intermediate, middle school and high school levels. Patricia is certified in elementary education and special education and holds a masters degree in reading. She is also certified in the Wilson Reading Program to help struggling readers. In addition, Patricia has had experience working as a resource room teacher and teaching Italian during the summer months. Patricia takes pleasure in integrating new resources to enhance reading instruction and enjoys sharing her ideas with others. She currently is an instructor for three classes through NYCTD: Emotional Literacy, Enhancing Your Reading Instruction and Enhancing Your Writing Instruction.

Marcella Biordi is an English as a New Language teacher in the Deer Park School District. She holds certificates in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Birth-12, General Education 1-6, Students with Disabilities 1-6, and Early Childhood Birth-2. Marcella has experience co-teaching in kindergarten, second grade, and 1-2 self-contained classrooms. During her teaching experience, she has prepared informational workshops regarding English Language Learners to both parents and teachers. She has created and taught a professional development course in the Deer Park School District that showcased appropriate accommodations and modifications for ELLs in the mainstream classroom. Marcella was selected by the New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages to present at the organization’s annual TESOL conference with her ENL colleagues. They presented how to create culturally relevant and globally empathetic lesson plans (K-12). During her summer months, Marcella spends her time as an ENL summer school instructor for the Deer Park ENL Summer Enrichment Program.

Kyle Black For over 12 years Kyle has taught in the inner city of London, rural upstate New York, and suburban Long Island where he is currently a middle school special education teacher. He has worked with grades 4-8, in self-contained, inclusion and resource room settings, for all subject areas. His certifications include Students with Disabilities Grades 1-9, Literacy Education Birth-Grade 12, Childhood Education Grades 1-6, and Generalist Grades 5-9. Kyle Black specializes in teaching 6th grade ELA. For three years and counting, he is a participant in extensive Process Writing training which includes professional development workshops, collaborating with colleagues, creating curriculum, sharing and analyzing student work, observing a consultant, co-teaching with a consultant, and modeling lessons for colleagues. He is excited to have the opportunity to share what he has learned about the value of the writing process with his fellow teachers.

Gary Bodenburg, PhD began working as a Special Education Teacher for the South Huntington School District after graduating from St. Joseph's College in 2002. He has taught at all levels in the elementary, middle, and high school during his experiences. Gary is also an ABA therapist and a Behavior Intervention Specialists for students with Autism. Gary had been invited as a guest speaker for the senior class of Zephyrhills High School in Tampa, Florida on the topic of "Overcoming Adversity" through his experiences and scholarship work for the school. In 2016, Gary earned his doctorate in Educational Supervision and Leadership through St. John's University.

Carol Bottstein has been a School Psychologist for the Special Education Division of Western Suffolk BOCES for 31 years. Carol has extensive experience with the various student populations that Western Suffolk BOCES services, from preschool through age 21. She is trained in TEACCH , has trained staff in Non Violent Crisis Intervention through the Crisis Prevention Institute (including Autism Spectrum and Applied Physical Training) and is also a facilitator for STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) . Carol has provided numerous staff and parent workshops.

Steven Bromberg I have been an elementary classroom teacher in the Glen Cove City School Distric for more than 9 years. Throughout my career I have been in the Deasy Elementary School, all of those years in first grade. I have been an instructor for two classes through NYCTD: Integrating an Interactive Whiteboard to Enhance your Lessons and Advanced IWB I am also a varsity level coach for the Jericho School District I earned my Master's Degree from Hosftra University in Elementary Education, and I am certified in grades 1-6. Many of my lessons feature differentiation, modification, and the use of technology to greater enhance understanding throug utilizing different learning styles.

Christina Buckner is currently in her 15th year of teaching at Spencerport High School. While teaching there, she has taught Living Environment, Chemistry, Food Science, and Forensic Science. This past year, she received training from Syracuse University and is currently teaching Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) Forensics (Chem 113) and is considered an adjunct professor in the Department of Forensic Science. Christina has a bachelor’s degree in science in biology from SUNY Fredonia. After leaving Fredonia, she worked in a laboratory at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse studying autoimmune diseases for several years. After this, she went on to receive her teaching certification from the University at Buffalo and her master’s degree from SUNY Stonybrook.

Laura Cafarella is a Math Intervention Teacher in the Greece Central School District. She was an adjunct professor in the Education Department at SUNY Brockport for six years, and worked as a special education teacher in a variety of settings. She has also facilitated parent workshops and teacher training. Laura is certified in elementary education, special education and literacy.

Frank Cafarella is a Social Studies teacher at Cosgrove Middle School in Spencerport. He graduated with a history degree from SUNY Geneseo, received teaching certification at SUNY Buffalo, and completed his master’s degree at SUNY Brockport. Frank began teaching in 2002 and is currently serving as the teacher leader of his department, a position he has held for over 10 years. He provides instructional leadership in curriculum and assessments, coordinates implementation of the NYS Social Studies Framework, and supports colleagues with professional development. In 2015, Frank was the recipient of the Organization of American Historians National Teacher of the Year award. Frank is currently a 1:1 technology pilot teacher and is interested in building engaging inquiry and performance-based learning experiences for students using technology.

Patricia Calise is an elementary teacher in the Pearl River School District in Pearl River, New York.  She is certified K-6 with a masters in Developmental and Remedial Reading.  Presently she teaches second grade but has taught grades K-4. She has been teaching for 26 years including a year in the Bronx.   She is also employed by NYSUT Education Learning and Trust (ELT) for the past 15 years.   

Amanda Cordovani Sawall is a Library Media Specialist at Cosgrove Middle School in Spencerport, NY. She graduated from St. John’s University with a Bachelor of Science in English Education and later earned a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a school librarian for seven years, serving schools in Western New York, New York City, and Pennsylvania. Throughout her career, she has held roles such as department chair, technology coordinator and instructional leader.

Jean Marie D'Aversa has been a foreign language educator on both elementary and secondary levels since 2006. Over the past few years she has additionally taught a study skills prep course for incoming high school students. Jean Marie recently received her Advanced Certification in Administration on both the building and district level. She also has a Master of Science in Adolescence Education from Long Island University at C.W. Post, and a Bachelor of Arts in both Spanish and History from Hofstra University.

Danielle Greenbaum is currently an elementary school teacher in the Longwood School District since 2000. Her teaching experiences include second and third grades. She holds degrees in elementary education, English, and literacy. She has facilitated many parent/student workshops for reading, math and science.

Tina Grippa has been a special educator for over 30 years. She has experience working with pre-school through secondary levels. She taught preschool in a private, specialized setting where she had the opportunity to teach pre-k students in an inclusion classroom. Additionally, she created and carried out individualized ABA programs with students on the spectrum in a 6:1:1 classroom. The last twenty years have been devoted to working with students diagnosed with varying degrees of Autism and Emotional Disturbance disorders. She currently teaches middle school at Western Suffolk BOCES in grades 5-8.

Richard Haase teaches 8th grade English at Candlewood Middle School in Half Hollow Hills. Presently in his 14th year in the district, he is a national grant recipient, Disney’s American Teacher and New England League of Middle Schools’ Promising Practitioner nominee, and has received two independent awards for his class website. He has sat on five district and Teachers’ Association committees, including staff development, technology, and three on the Achievement Gap. He has also led such curriculum initiatives as English/SS integration and Backwards Design, sat on the Newspapers in Education Advisory Board, and is currently the Technology and Curriculum Coordinator here at NYCTD.

Jessica Haase has been teaching for the Half Hollow Hills School District (NY) for eighteen years. She taught English at the middle school for fourteen years and has spent the last four years teaching High School English. Aside from teaching traditional English classes, she has also taught English classes geared toward English Language Learners. She has participated in curriculum writing for middle school English, cross-curricular writing, and curriculum for ELL English classes. She has been trained at the University of Virginia in differentiated instruction, and has received training to engage students in socratic and inquiry based work.

Amanda Harvey has eighteen years teaching experience using Character Education as her basic foundation towards educating children. She is currently completing her thirteenth year as a first grade teacher with 4 years experience in fourth grade in the West Islip School District. Amanda has completed her administrative SDA & SAS from C.W. Post University.

Jessica Janowsky is a permanently certified teacher in the state of New York for grades Pre -K- 6th. She has been teaching for the Elmira City School district for the past 15. She is currently on special assignment as a full time Yoga and Mindfulness Instructor. The 2019-2020 school year is the second full-time pilot year. She is able to pilot this program because of her academic and special qualifications. She is a nationally registered Yoga Instructor with Yoga Alliance, a certified Kidding Around Children’s Yoga Teacher, and holds a certificate in Trauma Informed Yoga for Children through Childlight Yoga. She has been trained in Breath, Body, Mind by Dr. Richard P. Brown and Dr. Patricia L. Gerbarg. Additionally, she has been certified in Stress Reduction, Calming Techniques, and Mediation. Her qualifications, along with the district’s vision to develop curriculum which enables students to better self-regulate and calm themselves in the face of adversity in a positive, prosocial way, was the premise for her program, tilted Y.O.G.A. (Your Objectives Get Accomplished).

Barry Kaufman Barry is currently with the Long Island Rail Road as Senior Manager Operations Support and Analysis. He has over 30 years of management experience. Barry was on the Smithtown Central School District Board of Education for nine years. He has been teaching management development and leadership courses at Dowling College since 2003 and is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society.

Christopher Kauter Christopher is a Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer, Google Certified Teacher and a Certified New York State Social Studies Teacher (7-12). Christopher was most recently selected as the 2014 NYSCATE Lee Bryant Outstanding Teacher Award recipient for technology implementation in the classroom. He was also recognized as a 2014 PBS Digital Innovator and is a recipient of the 2014 Teacher Technology Integration Grant, “Using Mobile Technology in the Classroom”, from Western Suffolk Boces. In July 2013, He was selected as 1 of 63 teachers worldwide into the Google Teacher Academy held in Chicago, IL. Currently, Christopher is the District Administrator of Instructional Technology in the Deer Park Union Free School District in Deer Park, New York. He believes in focusing on 21st century skills and using technology in the classroom to prepare students for their post secondary education careers.

Aimee Keller Aimee has experience co-teaching in all core academic areas of the 11th grade curriculum. Aimee also has experience within the Resource Room setting at the elementary level as well, supporting students in grades K-12. She also has experience with Multi-sensory Reading techniques and individualizing programming for students with special needs. She has experience meeting the varying learning needs that special education students encounter in and out of the general classroom. Aimee is currently pursuing her School District Leadership Certificate at Stony Brook University.

Kevin Keller Mr. Keller began his career teaching Earth Science in the Connetquot School District fifteen years ago. He has been the lead inclusion Earth Science teacher for eleven years. In addition, Mr. Keller has taught Sports Science and helped develop and teach a Natural Hazards course. Mr. Keller has been an instructor with NYCTD for almost eight years. He previously taught the course, "Exploring National Parks Through Virtual Field Trips".

Andrea Kempster Andrea Kempster was a special educator in the Connetquot School District from 1982 - 2014. She recently retired as the Special Education Middle School Coordinator and Elementary CSE Teacher Member. Andrea taught on both the elementary and secondary levels. She has experience in special class, integrated co-teaching classes, and resource room services. Andrea is certified in elementary education, special education, and as a school counselor.

Bryan Mandracchia is currently a third grade teacher in the Three Village Central School District. This is his 18th year teaching and has previously taught 2nd and 5th grade. Bryan develops and instructs several courses for the New York Center for Teacher Development. His courses are designed for educators that are looking for practical ways to incorporate instructional techiniques in order to meet the needs of students. These courses include "Next Generation English Language Arts Learning Standards," "Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards," "Reading and Writing Strategies for Non-fiction and Informational Texts," and "Strategies for Success with ESL, ENL and ELL Students. Besides having extensive experience working with children in a school setting, he has been a musician since the age of 6 and has been a private music instructor teaching guitar and bass to chidlren and adults since the age of 15.

Michele Milgrim Michele is a graduate of Pace University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in General Studies with a strong concentration in Elementary Education and Mathematics. She continued at Pace for most of a Master’s degree in Secondary Education, however was unable to finish due to a tragic change in her life at the time. Michelle finished her graduate work, at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been a Senior High School Math teacher in an urban community, Ulster County for the past eleven years. She also taught for two years at a high school in Monticello, NY. Prior to her public school teaching career, Michele worked for 9+ years in the corporate industry in Organizational Development. She worked for some large New York City Law Firms, and other companies like Bloomberg, L.P., and CompUSA, to better enable the employees to meet the demands of a growing and competitive marketplace. Michele taught everything from Leadership and Management to Ergonomics, Interviewing and Hiring and PC Application Software. She taught these classes all around the US and in many other parts of the world including Hong Kong, and Brazil. Michele grew up on Long Island, New York and moved upstate to go to college . She now lives in Kingston, the first capital of NY State.

Dawn Nachtigall has been a science teacher for the Three Village School District for more than twenty years. She graduated from Stony Brook University with both a Bachelor's and Master's degree and is certified to teach Chemistry, Biology and General Science. She has experience teaching life, physical and earth science to 7th and 8th grade students, as well as High School Living Environment. For several years, she has worked with the Inclusion program presenting differentiated instruction to students of all learning abilities. Dawn was named a New York State Master Teacher and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Science Education at Stony Brook University.

Pamila Pahuja started her career sixteen years ago in Islip School District where she taught Regents Biology, Living Environment and Earth Science as well as General Chemistry and Marine Biology. She has been at the Three Village School District for the last thirteen years where she has taught 8th Grade Physical Science, Regents and Honors Earth Science and Honors Biology.

Melissa Palombini is a NYS licensed and ASHA certified speech-language pathologist who holds a masters degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is qualified to teach in the public schools and is currently a speech-language pathologist for the Katonah-Lewisboro School District. Melissa has provided evaluations and treatment for children ranging from birth-school age in a variety of settings including home-based, center-based, preschool, an out-patient rehabilitation center, and a children’s hospital. Throughout this time, Melissa has gained experience in evaluating and treating children with expressive and receptive language disorders, motor-speech disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and social pragmatic deficits.

Vanessa Pizzo is an ENL teacher for the Deer Park school district. She currently co-teaches in a kindergarten and first grade classroom. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education K-6 and Early Childhood Education B-2nd from Long Island University. She also holds a master’s degree in TESOL K-12 and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. She has participated and held numerous parent workshops and academies. She has taught Professional Development courses to her colleagues and staff. She has experience working with Special Education in a self-contained, 1:1, and inclusion setting. She continues to develop differentiated lessons and modifications for her ELL students and for faculty and staff. She was selected by the New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages to present at the organization’s annual conference with her ENL colleagues. They presented how to create culturally relevant and globally empathetic lessons, K-12.

Jessica Rivera is currently an elementary school teacher in the Longwood School District. She has experience teaching first, second and third grade. She holds degrees in elementary education and literacy. She has facilitated many parent workshops and has sat on several committees that were set up to enhance instruction for technology and literacy.

Jeanne Schnupp Jeanne started teaching in the mid-1990s, initially English then moving into Business and Computer Education at both the junior and senior high school level, and in both public and private schools. She has certifications in English, Business, Cooperative Work-Study Programs, N-6 and School District Administration. When at Three Village, she developed a school-community advisory alliance, bridging interactions and support among local businesses, community organizations and the district. After retirement, Jeanne worked part-time under a one-year grant with the William Floyd SD to facilitate Professional Development for K-12 Math teachers. She has also developed and grown her own business providing lectures on a variety of topics at local libraries and community centers.

Lisa Seligson has been teaching in the Three Village Central School District for twenty years. She began her career as a kindergarten and first grade teacher. Lisa received a Master's in Literacy and has been trained in Reading Recovery and Multi-Sensory Reading Instruction. Currently, she is a Reading Specialist and the RtI Lead Teacher at Setauket Elementary School. Lisa spends the summer months as Program Director at Camp Kennybrook in Monticello, NY.

Jennifer Sierzputowski has been teaching in the Three Village Central School District for ten years. She holds certificates in Early Childhood and Childhood Education, as well as Students with Disabilities (Birth-6th grade). Jennifer received a Master’s Degree in Literacy from C.W. Post. She is currently working as a Reading Specialist at Setauket Elementary School where she uses various reading intervention programs to meet the diverse needs of her students.

Tracy Souhrada is a board certified music therapist for Western Suffolk BOCES. She has worked as a music therapist for over 25 years in many schools. Tracy has treated children ages 2 to 21, with a wide variety of intellectual, physical and emotional disabilities. She is currently a music therapist at the James E. Allen Elementary School and the James E. Allen Jr/Sr High School. During her time at BOCES she has received the Outstanding Achievement Award twice. Tracy is also a special education teacher and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist. She has given numerous presentations at conferences throughout the years, on topics including adaptive music, and music and inclusion.

Katherine Squires Katherine Squires has been teaching at Garden City High School for eleven years. She is dually certified in Special Education and Social Studies. She attended the University of Scranton and Dowling College. In 2011 she was awarded a teacher fellowship for graduate study from the New York State PTA. In addition, Katherine was nominated as a semi-finalist for 2017 NYS Teacher of The Year. Besides teaching course through NYCTD, Katherine is an Attendance Dean, Yearbook Advisor and Class Council Advisor at her school. Katherine is also on the national “Yes I Can Committee” for the Council of Exceptional Children and on the Kiwanis Committee for the New York District of Key Club International. Katherine is the lead teacher of the special education department for Garden City High School and is in the educational leadership degree program through Stony Brook University. Katherine is also the director of Successful Students Tutoring Service

Danielle Tauriello is a science teacher in the Connetquot School District. She has been teaching for 9 years and is NYS Certified in Biology 7-12, Chemistry 7-12, and General Science. She has experience teaching a wide variety of subjects at the middle school and high school levels. On the high school level, Danielle has taught Living Environment, Forensics, Marine Science, and Astronomy. Currently, she is co-teaching 7th grade science at Ronkonkoma Middle School. Danielle is passionate about teaching and integrating new techniques to help all her students be successful learners. In addition, Danielle started the Garden Club at Ronkonkoma Middle School in effort to reconnect students with nature. The garden has evolved into an exploratory classroom for her students and community members. She is currently working on expanding the garden in order to incorporate the students’ harvest into the school lunch program.

Minu Thomas has been a school psychologist for the past 10 years in K-12 school settings. She has extensive experience with diverse student populations from preschool to 12th grade. She is a licensed psychologist, the chairperson on the committee on special education, and holds a diplomate in school neuropsychology. She earned her doctorate degree in school psychology in 2012 from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Minu is an adjunct professor and is passionate about increasing educator’s awareness of mental health and teaching coping skills.

Elizabeth Williams is an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist. She holds her license in Pennsylvania and is a qualified teacher of the speech and language impaired. Elizabeth was employed by Blue Mountain School District for 8 years, where she served elementary and secondary school-age children. During that time she also provided speech services to the birth to three population on a part time basis in the home environment. Elizabeth gained additional experience with special populations such as MDS, ASD, and Life Skills during a year of employment with the Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit. She currently works for Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital in Outpatient Pediatric therapy with a focus on bilingual speech therapy.

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