CASDA Educational Facilitators
From former school superintendents and principals to teachers and school support staff, CASDA's expert facilitators have the experience and knowledge to assist your school with all of its technical assistance and professional development needs.
Greg Aidala, Ph.D
Greg’s experience in education spans almost 40 years. He retired as superintendent of schools in the Guilderland Central School District after seven years of service. He was also superintendent at Salem Central for 13 years and principal of Chatham Middle School for a 10-year period. Greg began his career as a math teacher in Bethlehem Central Middle School. Since his retirement, Greg has worked in several Capital Region school districts as an interim superintendent and building principal.
Greg is deeply committed to supporting new superintendents and principals as they begin their challenging duties in those respective roles. To help ensure greater success and a smooth transition for incoming chief school officers, he has worked in the WSWHE BOCES superintendent mentoring program for several years. His work at CASDA focuses on organizational and leadership development for administrators and board of education members.
Board of Education Support
Longtime educational leader and retired school superintendent, Anthony Albanese joined CASDA’s faculty in the fall of 2017. Prior to joining CASDA, Albanese retired as the Superintendent of the Margaretville Central School District in Delaware County where he served in the role for six years. He also served as the Interim Director of Special Education at Niskayuna CSD as well as the Director of Pupil Personnel Services in the City School District of Albany and Director of Pupil Personnel Services at Scotia-Glenville CSD. He also worked in many capacities over 23 years at the Wildwood School in Latham, including as executive deputy director.
Albanese brings a background in mental health counseling and social work and knowledge of special education programming and the full-range of student support areas to CASDA.
Special Education Systems and Program Review
Mental Health Supports
Family and Community Engagement
Rural School Advisement
Leadership Coaching and Mentoring
Nancy formerly served as Assistant Superintendent for Instruction in the Guilderland CSD for 12 years. She was in charge of curriculum, professional development and assessment. In Guilderland, Nancy also served as principal of Westmere Elementary School. She began her administrative career in Rensselaer CSD after teaching English and reading there for 12 years. Nancy worked as Assistant to the Superintendent and oversaw special education, curriculum, professional development, Title 1 and literacy K-12. After Rensselaer, Nancy worked as Administrator for Instruction and Special Programs in Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk CSD.
Nancy Andress is able to work with area schools on improving literacy, The ELA Common Core, leadership, professional development planning, teacher evaluation, bullying prevention, team building and curriculum mapping. Recently she has worked with UAlbany professors on the NY KIDS/COMPASS school improvement project and developed a professional development program for schools to work collaboratively to set goals and do action planning. She has trained 10 school teams from all levels in using online research-based planning tools developed at the University.
ELA and Literacy
Professional Development Planning
School Climate and Culture
Dave's 33-year career in education includes a combination of teaching positions, administrative positions and program coordination. Dave held teaching positions in the Central Square Central School District, Averill Park Central School District, and North Colonie Central School District. His administrative positions included District Computer Coordinator at Averill Park CSD and Assistant Principal at Averill Park High School. Dave then became the High School Principal for grades 7-12 at Cairo-Durham Junior-Senior High School. He served as District Instructional Technology Coordinator at North Colonie CSD and District Supervision of Career Technical Education at North Colonie CSD.
Dave’s experiences include Rehabilitation Workshop Management for Developmentally Disabled at Rensselaer County ARC, and he initiated and coordinated the College for Living Program at Russell Sage College. He has served as past president of the Capital District Technology Association and New York State Technology Education Association.
Lee began his career in 1969 as a teacher of science and since then has continued serving in a variety of capacities including middle school principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent of schools. Lee retired in 2007 as Superintendent of Schools of the Lansingburgh Central School District, where he served for 22 years. Lee has also served as Interim Superintendent of Schools/Principal in several Capital Region school districts including Ichabod Crane, Chatham, Webutuck, Catskill, Wynantskill, and Schodack. He also has been an adjunct faculty member at the College of St. Rose.
Lee’s expertise and experience has underscored the importance of effective school leadership influencing school climate and culture. His commitment is to support school leaders as they create educational environments that will have a positive impact on students and staff.
Effective School Leadership
Climate, Culture and Community
Terry L. Brewer
Terry is a career educator and school administrator with 34 years in public education before retiring as Superintendent of Schools from the East Greenbush Central School District in 2007. His educational experience includes 20 years as a school superintendent in a suburban and rural school, as a principal of Clinton Middle School, and principal and social studies teacher with the Whitesboro Central School District.
Terry is currently serving as an adjunct professor at Siena College where he has taught special education and middle school education courses for the Education Department. He also serves as a Clinical Supervisor for student teachers completing their field placements for teaching certification.
Terry joined CASDA in 2011 working on programs and services in school leadership, school organization and restructuring, school safety, and shared service models for school effectiveness. He assisted in the design and development of CASDA’s distance learning center to expand CASDA’s programs and services for teacher and administrator professional development.
Organization and Leadership Services
John was an administrator for 30 years, serving four years as a middle school assistant principal and 26 years as an elementary principal. In this role he directly supervised and managed all instructional and non instructional programs, schedules, and P.T.O. activities involved in the day-to-day functions of an elementary school building. He retired in June 2019.
Mentoring new staff
Creating a positive building culture
Communication with students, staff, and parents
School and community working together
Special Education programming
Ken is a career educator with 35 years of experience in urban education. He retired from the Albany City School District where he held the cabinet level position of Chief Information Officer. In this position he had responsibility for the technology infrastructure, hardware and software selection and deployment, oversight of network applications and building security systems. During his tenure, seven new elementary and middle schools where reconstructed with state of the art technology and security systems. In addition to his technology duties his responsibilities included the testing, assessment and reporting for 8500 students. Ken has had a wide variety of experience in education holding positions that included the Director of Special Education, Alternative Education Principal, Principal of Public School #18, and District Incident Commander.
Since retiring, Ken has worked with Capital Region BOCES to redesign the technology department at Berne Knox Westerlo School district. This redesign included staffing changes, new student systems for Special Education, upgraded camera systems, technology committee development and budget restructure. His work with CASDA has focused on coaching of principals in the Troy City School as well as review of their Central Office structure. He has also worked with the Washington County BOCES STLE grant as a principal coach.
Facilities Planning and Use
John’s career in the field of education spans 31 years and has included both classroom instruction as a high school social studies teacher, social studies department chair and an adjunct professor at UAlbany. Those 31 years were divided among Cathedral High School in New York City (2 years) , North Colonie (10 years), and Ballston Spa (19 years). John has taught in a variety of settings including Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Academic Intervention Services, and students with special needs. As an active member of both the local and state social studies council, John has provided staff develop throughout the region and has presented at the New York State Council of the Social Studies Conference on a wide range of topics including technology integration and reading in the social studies classroom.
As a CASDA Educational Consultant, John can work collaboratively with schools for the improvement of student learning in a variety areas including technology integration, literacy, co-teaching, and the development of social studies curricula, which aligns with the New York State frameworks.
Curriculum development and design
Reading in the social studies classroom
Sherry Dickinson, Ph.D
Sherry’s career in the field of education spans 25 years and has included both classroom instruction as a teacher and school administration as a Principal. With an M.A. in Educational Psychology, an M.S. in Special Education and a Ph.D in Literacy, Sherry is a valuable consultant currently for both CASDA and the Neil Hellman School, focusing on professional development, curriculum development, school leader & teacher training, special education, and ELA instruction.
She also has years of experience in higher education, serving as a Professor at The Sage Graduate School of Education (Emergent Language & Literacy) and as an Intern Supervisor at SUNY Albany, working with special education field placements and advising future educators.
Sherry’s many academic publications and presentations demonstrate a thorough understanding of both theory and practice-based educational issues.
Coaching and Mentoring
ELA and Literacy Education (especially with struggling readers)
Brian has been a NYS Credentialed Substance Abuse Counselor for 20 years, working primarily for St. Peter's Addiction Recovery Centers around the Albany area. He is an Assistant Professor in the Chemical Dependency Program at Hudson Valley Community College where he works with students working towards their counseling credentials. He is a strong advocate for strengthening Recovery and Mental Health laws and regulations in order to provide people with the care and resources they need to live productive lives. He lives in Wilton with his wife of 20 years and their two children ages 16 and 18.
Substance Use and Abuse Issues
Mental Health Conditions and Treatment
Counseling and Self-Help Techniques
Prevention Skills for Youth and Families
During Don’s 37 year career, he has taught and served as an administrator in both private and public schools. In addition to his 16 years as a social studies teacher, he has been a department head, assistant principal and principal at the middle and high school levels, and was also superintendent of schools.
Retiring after 10 years as the principal of Shenendehowa High School, Don served on many district committees covering teacher and principal evaluations, character education, professional development as well as health and wellness. Since retiring Don has worked with Capital Region BOCES and CASDA to create a P-TECH Program in the Mohonasen Central School District and the Watervliet City School District. He has also worked with Empire State College as part of their teacher certification program.
Principal and Teacher Evaluation
School Climate and Culture
Parent/Family Engagement and Communication
Mentoring New Administrators
Dale retired in 2018 from the principalship at Albany High School where she led a diverse team of educators who turned around the high school when in January 2019 it was removed from the NYS Receivership list and named a School in Good Standing. Dale has had a storied career in urban education that includes both teaching (BOCES special-education) and leadership experiences spanning the Pre-K to 12th grade continuum. She was the founding principal of North Albany Academy, a neighborhood Pre-K to 8th grade school, before that, Assistant Principal at William S. Hackett Middle School and has had several turns leading Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the City School District of Albany. In her last CTE role, she developed the internal systems to certify new and re-certify existing career and technical pathways with New York State. She was a member of the 7-12 Alternative Learning Re-Design Task Force and later lent support for the implementation of committee outcomes. She was responsible for Albany High’s Night School programming as well.
Program Design and Evaluation
Special Education Program Review
Myles has 32 years of experience in special education and most recently worked at the Brunswick Central School District where he served as CSE/CPSE chairperson from 2000-2019 and as director of Special Education from 2006 to 2019. Prior to serving as director, he worked as a school psychologist at Brunswick, Chatham and Lansingburgh, and gained considerable experience in pre-referral interventions, individual, group and family therapy, psycho-educational assessment, and consultation. Over the course of his career, Myles has worn a variety of hats, including District Data Coordinator, 504 Coordinator, Homeless Liaison, Technology Administrator, and Alternative Learning program coordinator. He has maintained a deep passion for struggling learners and been a fierce advocate for inclusion and equity for all students.
Deborah Grimshaw, Ed.D
Lifelong learner and educator, Deborah retired in June 2019. As an educator, she held positions in K-12 and higher education including: Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Special Education, professional development specialist, community college extension campus director, adjunct faculty for graduate level teacher training and classroom teacher.
Social Emotional Learning
Leadership Development for Teachers and Administrators
Organizational Development and Change
Sharon Holder, Ed.D
Dr. Sharon Holder retired from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in January 2017 as the Director of the Office of Student Support Services. In this capacity, she provided effective leadership and oversight related to issues on school safety, alternative education, education of incarcerated youth, federal/state funding opportunities for extended learning programs, and collaborative planning with medical, mental health, and ancillary professional service providers to develop safe, healthy social and emotional environments for students in all schools. Sharon is a proponent of on-site visits to schools and interaction with school and district level administrators, staff, students, and family members as the most effective way to assess the quality of teaching and the school’s climate for learning.
Dr. Holder spent many years as a Supervisor of Education Programs in school improvement, as well as more than a decade as an Associate in the NYSED Office of Early Childhood and Parent Involvement and as a Child Welfare Specialist with the New York State Children and Family Services (NYSCFS). Her professional passion is child-focused and supportive of ensuring that all children receive a quality education, including the supports necessary to succeed in school and in life.
In addition to her years of experience with the State, Dr. Holder was an Early Childhood/Elementary Teacher in New York City and an Elementary Principal in Virginia for several years. She received a BA Degree in Elementary Education from Virginia Union University, a MS Degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street School of Education and a Doctoral Degree in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College Columbia University.
Curriculum and Instruction
School climate and Culture
Early Childhood Education
Data to Improve Instruction
Family and Community Engagement
Shari formerly served as the principal for Scotia-Glenville Middle School for 10 years. She worked collaboratively with her staff to transform the junior high into a middle school. She utilized the NY KIDS/COMPASS training to find ways to improve student achievement within their professional learning communities. She and her staff developed programs for students at risk. Prior to Scotia-Glenville, Shari was a House Principal at Farnsworth Middle School in Guilderland. She supervised the counseling and Family and Consumer Sciences departments and programs for students at risk. Shari began her teaching career in Saratoga Springs where she taught Family and Consumer Sciences, health and she was the Family Life Education Instructor/Specialist.
Shari Keller is currently an Educational Consultant for CASDA working with area schools on essential elements of middle school, co-teaching and inclusion, mentoring and strategies regarding the use of student data and improving student achievement. She has also worked with professors at the University at Albany on the NY KIDS/COMPASS school improvement project to develop goals and action plans for increasing student achievement.
NY KIDS/COMPASS Training
Middle School Administration
Improving School Achievement
Data Collection and Use
Tom McKee has been providing special education and assistive technology services in the Capital District for more than 20 years. He has provided evaluations, consultation services and direct intervention with students for many area districts, preschools and early intervention programs. He received a BS degree in biology from Union College and an MS degree from SUNY Albany in educational psychology. He is a certified special education teacher for birth to high school students. As an assistive technology consultant he has sought to find technology solutions for children with communication, physical, cognitive, and behavioral needs. In this role he has been a facilitator and interventionist providing training, modeling, direct instruction, and team building to help educators, students and families to use assistive technology, communication devices, iPads and computer access tools functionally in both school and home settings.
His experience as a trainer and educator provides him with a unique perspective to support teachers, families and districts in getting the most out of these exciting technologies for students of all ages and learning abilities.
iPads in Education
Mike is a 30-year veteran educator currently working as a House Principal at Farnsworth Middle School in the Guilderland Central School District. Prior to his administrative career, Mike taught English Language Arts in middle and high school in Guilderland, achieving National Board Certification in 2006. He has worked extensively in support of students at risk as well as led his building’s professional development efforts.
In addition, Mike has worked closely with the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform: Schools to Watch program. He has worked with the building’s team to help his school achieve re-designation twice as a School to Watch.
Grading for Learning (Using a standards-based approach)
Collaborative Problem Solving
Inclusive Practices (Learning programs for ALL students)
Professional Development (Successful practices at the building level)
National Board Certification
Paul Ripchik Jr.
Paul is a recently retired High School Associate Principal and Director of High School Counseling at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park. He has experiences in the evaluation and development of comprehensive school counseling programs and plans. He is currently a Lead RAMP Reviewer for the American School Counselors Association.
School Counselor Support, Development of a Comprehensive Counseling Plan, RAMP Application
Combating chronic absenteeism/MTMTSS
School Climate and Culture
Parent/Family Engagement and Communication
An elementary math specialist and coach, Katie enjoys the challenge of teaching elementary teachers about math and how to teach math effectively. In her experience, coaching is one of the most powerful forms of professional development for elementary teachers. As a math coach Katie draws on her own experience as a classroom teacher as she works alongside teachers in their classrooms, planning and co-teaching with them in order to illustrate important math concepts and model effective teaching practices.
Katie worked for eight years as an elementary math specialist in the Guilderland Central School District, leading professional development for teachers, including curriculum workshops and grade level planning. Her coaching helps teachers build a repertoire of powerful instructional practices such as student discourse, number sense routines, formative assessment, and differentiated instruction.
Katie has worked with teachers from Kindergarten through grade 5. She has taught students from pre-school through grade 5, both as a classroom teacher and as a math specialist. Prior to becoming a math specialist and coach, Katie was a classroom teacher for 12 years in the Guilderland School District as well as Beekmantown Central School District in Plattsburgh, NY. She also worked for two years as a lead teacher in a Head Start classroom in Plattsburgh.
Michael is a retired administrator from the City School District of Albany, having worked there for 36 years. He is currently an adjunct professor at the College of St. Rose teaching Classroom Management, Educational Psychology and Foundations in Education. He is also the Safe Schools Trainer for WSWHE BOCES and a certified DASA and SAVE trainer. For the past 12 years he has done consulting work in many Capital Region schools regarding topics such as Shared Decision Making, Classroom Management, Strategic Planning for Districts, Effective Communications Skills, Assertive Communications, Academic Interventions That Work, and has conducted Parent Training Workshops on selected topics.
Debby worked for the last 31 years for the City School District of Albany. She started as a Special Education Teacher, then after earning her administrative certification she was hired as the Committee on Special Education Chairperson. After 9 years in this role, she became the Assistant Director of Special Education and for the last 13 years she worked as the Director of Special Education.
Special Education Programming and Services
Special Education Reviews
Coaching and Mentoring
Jerry Steele, Ed.D
Jerry has more than 40 years experience as a teacher and school district administrator. For 17 years he was the superintendent/business manager of the Maplewood-Colonie Common School District. During 2007-2008, he guided his district through the reorganization process with North Colonie Central School District. Jerry holds MA degrees in Educational Administration from the University at Albany. He also earned his Ed.D from Sage Graduate School in Albany. As part of his doctoral work, he studied successful and unsuccessful school mergers and the implications for future reorganization studies. In addition to working with CASDA, he is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at Sage Graduate School in Albany.
As a CASDA faculty member, he shares his expertise in the area of school district organization and reorganization, system leadership, financial operations, instruction and the use of instructional technology. He has completed studies for CASDA regarding district efficiency and collaboration for rural school districts and has worked with a local urban school district in the areas of building leadership capacity, data driven instruction, and central office transformation.
Rural School Advisement
Building Leadership Capacity
Central Office Transformation
Pat retired from Shenendehowa where she held the position of Coordinator of Professional Development K-12. She developed and presented workshops in many areas including PLC’s, literacy and RTI. She also coordinated the mentor program K-12. Prior to this she was a reading specialist and classroom teacher.
She is able to work with area schools on improving implementation of the CCSS, literacy skills in care areas, writing K-12, Professional Learning Communities, cooperative learning, RTI, mentoring, teamwork, crafting professional development plans, as well as Apple and S20 training.
Professional Development Coordination
Professional Learning Communities
Mentorship and Coaching
Susan retired after having served 34 years as an educator in urban, suburban and rural schools. Susan was a special education and Reading Recovery teacher and teacher leader in the Glens Falls City Schools and a building administrator and central office administrator serving the Ballston Spa and Greater Amsterdam School Districts. Susan served for nine years as a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, training teachers in more than 14 districts in the region regarding best practices in early literacy. In her administrative roles, Susan facilitated curriculum mapping and development, coordinated intervention programs, developed an Early College High School Program, Out-of-School Suspension program and Pathways programs. Susan also wrote and secured more than 4 million dollars in competitive grants, including the Carol M. White PEP grant, The Smart Scholars Early College High School grant, Stem and ELL grants.
Susan also served as the Director of Secondary Instruction in the Greater Amsterdam School District. In addition to leading curriculum and instruction at the secondary level, Susan supervised the music, art, library and guidance programs, supervised curriculum and program leaders, and collaborated with Centro Civico, St. Mary’s Hospital, local governmental leaders, community agencies, HFM BOCES and regional colleges and universities. Susan assisted in increasing STEM initiatives within the district and developed FIRST, FLL, VEX and summer Robotics programs and coordinated three annual regional FLL Competitions at Amsterdam High School, in collaboration with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
Susan has a Certificate of Advanced Study in Reading from The University of Albany and a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Study from St. Joseph’s College. Her passion is working with teachers and administrators to improve student achievement for struggling learners.
Best Practices in Literacy (K-12)
Curriculum Mapping, Analysis and Development
Programs for At-Risk Students
Mentoring New Administrators
Grant Writing and Management
Bob Stulmaker, CAA
Bob is a Nationally Certified Athletic Administrator with more than 38 years of experience in Health, Physical Education and Athletics. Bob was employed for 30 years in the Saratoga Springs CSD where he taught Physical Education K-12 and coached. For 12 years, he served as the District's Director of Physical Education, Athletics and Health. Bob was the assistant director with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association for more than eight years. He is also an Adjunct Professor for SUNY Cortland supervising student teachers as well as an Adjunct Professor teaching an online graduate course titled "Current Trends and Topics in Athletic Leadership" for Castleton University and an adjunct professor at Sage College teaching courses in sports management, sports leadership and event management. Additionally, Bob has served on numerous National, State and Sectional Committees and is the Past President of the New York State Athletic Administrators Association and Past President of the New York State Federation of Secondary Schools Athletic Association.
Athletic Directors Roundtable
Contemporary Issues in Athletics
Interpretation of Athletic Eligibility Standards
Hiring of Coaches
Evaluation/Mentoring of Coaches and Athletic Directors
Developing Codes of Conduct
Physical Education Evaluation
Health Education Evaluation
David B. Torres
David retired from the Saratoga Springs City School District in June 2018 after spending 28 years as Supervisor of Attendance, K-12. His responsibilities included working collaboratively with elementary, middle and high school administrators, faculty and staff to decrease chronic absenteeism. During his tenure at Saratoga, David was involved with the School Attendance Committee, Crisis Response Team, and was instrumental in creating the Student Truancy Prevention Program with the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office, the first of its kind in New York State.
In addition, David has served on the Saratoga County Youth Advisory Board, NYSED School Attendance Advisory Council, and is Past President of the New York State Attendance Teachers Association.
Combating chronic absenteeism
Residency Investigations procedures and techniques
Improving chronic absenteeism among homeless students
Collaboration with outside community service agencies
Colleen’s career in the field of special education spans more than 31 years. During those years she served as a special education teacher, CSE/CPSE Chairperson, and Director of Student Support/Special Education Services in several school districts. She has worked in both rural schools and small city school districts and has learned to successfully navigate through the ever-changing regulations and requirements of special education. Colleen retired in June 2015 after working 12 years in the Gloversville Enlarged School District as their Director of Student Support Services. During her tenure there she was involved in special education program restructuring, DTSDE training, facilitating team and building initiatives, and grant writing. During the 2015-2016 school year she served as the Interim CSE/CPSE Chairperson in Mayfield Central School.
Colleen joined the CASDA Faculty in February 2016. A large focus of her work is with conducting Special Education Program Reviews to provide guidance and support to districts to help improve overall achievement for students with disabilities and struggling learners.
Special Education Program Evaluation
Special Education Systems and Procedures
Professional Development (Co-teaching)
Lynette served for more than 18 years in the Saratoga Springs City School District. She began her career at Saratoga as a business teacher and internship coordinator. After completing the educational administration and leadership program at The College of Saint Rose, Lynette served as an Assistant Principal at Saratoga Springs High School. In 2013, she became Director of Personnel Development for the district, managing all human resource and professional development activities. She also served as Interim Principal at Saratoga Springs High School for the 2017-2018 school year.
Lynette has an extensive background in business ownership and management, which adds to her perspective as she works with school district staff members across all departments. She also enjoys working with prospective educators, providing guidance to aid in job searches and mentoring during their early years in the classroom or administration.
Building and District Leadership
Recruitment, Hiring and Employee Retention