Our Team of Instructors

Richard Acritelli

Rich has been a social studies teacher for twenty four 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 race/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 2008/2021 Veterans of Foreign Wars, 9-12 for New York State Teacher of the Year, and was the Hometown Hero for all of Long Island for the Jones Beach Air Show in 2023. He has five military history articles published in the Long Island Historical Journal, is an advocate for veterans affairs, writes history/film reviews, political, social, athletic, and educational stories 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 fourteen 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 fifteen 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 $250,000 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.  Most recently he was the Newsday Hometown Hero for Long Island and was again the New York State VFW Teacher of the Year for Citizenship and Service.  On December 7th, 2023, he opened the VFW 6249 Suffolk County World War II and Military History as the curator that is located in Rocky Point, New York.  He has been a proud instructor for the New York Center for Teacher Development since 2005 and enjoys teaching  course professional development with educational peers from many different communities and school districts.

Amy Adkins - Weingartner

Amy 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.

Dr. Lauren Andersen - Miller

Lauren earned her Ed.D. 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 works as an adjunct assistant professor at Teachers College, Columbia, teaching coursework in the area of special education. She also works as an instructor at Hunter College in the severe and multiple disabilities program. Dr. Andersen-Miller has nine years of experience as a special education teacher in Long Beach Schools, first as a high school life skills teacher and currently as a self-contained elementary special education teacher. 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 Systematically Treating Autism: A Clinician’s Guide for Empowering Families (2019). In 2018, she co-authored a book chapter in the textbook Curricula for Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Andersen-Miller has taught in-service classes to teachers in the Long Beach School District on transition and technology in the classroom. She also serves as a peer reviewer for various journals of special education and a scholarship reviewer for the Organization of Autism Research’s Schwallie Family Scholarship.

Patricia Anzalone-Fuerst

Patricia 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

Marcella is currently a Kindergarten teacher in the Deer Park School District. Prior to this position, Marcella taught English as a New Language teacher in the Deer Park School District, as well. 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, first 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 15 years Kyle Black 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 literacy to students with disabilities. 

Kyle is a certified Wilson Reading Sytem Dyslexia Practitioner/Therapist.  He has completed over 100 hours of coursework, plus practicums that include observations and exams.  

For over three years, he participated 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 teaching students with dyslexia, the value of the writing process, and how to stay happy and motivated with his fellow teachers.

Contact:  kyleblack603@hotmail.com, 631-807-3384, or leave a message in the course

Carol Bottstein

Carol 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. She currently serves as a resource  and advocate for the Suffolk County Boy Scouts of America special needs troops.  Carol can be reached at 631-664-2477.

Christina Buckner

Christina 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

Laura is a third grade teacher in the Greece Central School District. She was an adjunct professor in the Education Department at SUNY Brockport for six years, taught as a Math Intervention Teacher, 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.

Patricia Calise

Tricia is a retired elementary teacher in the Pearl River School District in Pearl River, New York.  She retired with 30 years of service. She is certified K-6 with a masters in Developmental and Remedial Reading.  She has her masters plus 60 credits in various courses.  She is also employed by NYSUT Education Learning and Trust (ELT) for the past 21 years.   

Jean Marie D'Aversa

Jean Marie was a  world language educator on both elementary and secondary levels since 2006.  Jean Marie received her Advanced Certification in Administration on both the building and district level and is currently a building level administrator. She is in the process of defending for her doctorate degree in the fall of 2022 from St. John's University. 

Contact Info: 631 338 8695 or jeanmarie.daversa@gmail.com

Danielle Greenbaum

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

Jessica Haase

Jessica 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.

Brian Harvey

Brian earned his BA in Communications from Monmouth University and his MA in Elementary Education from Dowling College. In the classroom for over 20 years, Mr Harvey has taught 4th grade for the first 12 years of his career, and the last 10 years he has spent in the 6th grade classroom where he teaches Science, Math, ELA and STEM. He was recently acceptedinto the New York State Masters Teachers Program, where he will be working with other educators across the state to develop his skills as a math and science teacher.



Amanda Harvey

Amanda has twenty-five years teaching experience using Character Education as her basic foundation towards educating children. She completed nineteen years as a first grade teacher, four years experience in fourth grade, and her first year as a building adminstrator in the West Islip School District. Amanda completed her administrative SDA & SAS from C.W. Post University.

Jessica Janowsky

Jessica 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.

Laura Kazmierski

Laura is currently a Social Studies teacher at Cosgrove Middle School in the Spencerport Central School District.  She has also worked at the high school and as a K-8 Instructional Specialist.  Her education background includes degrees in Adolescent Education, Special Education and History from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.  Additionally, she holds a K-12 Literacy degree and a Certificate of Advanced Study in District Leadership.  She has facilitated professional development and trainings for blended learning, differentiated instruction, student learner styles, writer’s workshop, and implementing the inquiry model.  Laura currently lives in Churchville, NY with her husband and daughter, Ellie. 

Aimee Keller

Aimee has devoted her career to meeting the varying learning needs of special education students in the classroom. She has experience as a special educator in the Integrated Co-teaching program and Self-Contained settings at the secondary level. She also has experience within the Resource Room setting at both the elementary and secondary level, supporting students in grades K-12. Aimee also has a background utilizing multi-sensory reading techniques and individualizing programming for students with special needs. She has experience as a CSE chairperson at the elementary level and as a Transition Coordinator assisting with post-secondary plans for students in grades 9-12. Aimee also has received her advanced graduate degree in school administration from Stony Brook University.

Andrea Kempster

Andrea 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

Bryan is currently a third grade teacher in the Three Village Central School District. This is his 21st 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. Michele finished her graduate work, at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been a Senior High School Math teacher in a suburban community, Ulster County since 2003. 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

Dawn has a doctoral degree in Science Education from Stony Brook University, where she also graduated with Bachelor's and Master's degrees, as well as School Building and School District Administration Post-Graduates Certificates. She is currently the Assistant Principal of RC Murphy Junior High School in Stony Brook, NY. She is certified to teach Chemistry, Biology, and General Science and was a science teacher for the Three Village School District for 24 years before moving to building administration. She has experience teaching middle school level life, physical, and Earth Science, as well as High School Living Environment. For several years, she worked with the Inclusion program presenting differentiated instruction to students of all learning abilities. Dawn was named a New York State Master Teacher and has also served as the Chairperson of the school Science department.

Kathleen Nicholson

Kathleen currently serves as the Assistant Head of the Middle School and an 8th-grade science teacher at Greens Farms Academy. With over 15 years of teaching and student life experience, she is committed to providing students with predictable, engaging, and clearly communicated expectations, lessons, and assessments. In addition, she mentors faculty members on implementing self-paced units, providing students with a variety of tools through which to learn, and inspiring each student to reach their fullest potential. Kathleen earned her M.A in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University and her B.A. in Biology and Education from Colby College. 

Pamila Pahuja

Pam 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.

Vanessa Pizzo

Vanessa 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

Jessica 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.

Lisa Seligson

Lisa Seligson has been teaching in the Three Village Central School District for over twenty-five 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 the Wilson Reading System.  Currently, she is a Reading Specialist and the RtI Lead Teacher at Setauket Elementary School.




Jennifer Sierzputowski

Jennifer Sierzputowski has been teaching in the Three Village Central School District for seventeen 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.  

Katherine Squires

Katherine 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

Danielle 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.

Elizabeth Williams

Elizabeth 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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