CASDA Adds New Faculty for the 2017-2018 School Year

September 11, 2017

Over the next few months we will introduce you to a number of new faculty members we have added to our team for the 2017-18 school year. In this edition, we are pleased to introduce you to: Sharon Holder, Agnes Zellin and Stevan Abelson.


Sharon Holder

Dr.  Sharon Holder retired from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) 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. Sharon 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. 

As a new faculty member for CASDA, Dr. Holder looks forward to working with schools in urban settings to improve teaching and learning and effective school leadership.

Curriculum and Instruction
School climate and Culture 
Instructional Leadership
Transformational Leadership
Struggling learners 
Early Childhood Education 
Data to Improve Instruction
Family and Community Engagement



Agnes Zellin

Agnes’ career has been in public policy and education. She is a National Board Certified teacher, taught for 13 years at the intermediate level in rural and suburban school districts, served as a district elementary science coordinator and developed a field based science program in collaboration with the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station in Upstate NY. She has written grants to fund arts-in education and science enrichment programs, and has been an adjunct professor at The Sage Colleges, and Siena College. Prior to teaching, Agnes directed policy and research on local, state and federal in child welfare, child daycare, and early education, and on policy issues including the NYS Child Care that Works Campaign, Winning Beginnings, and the framing of the NYS Universal Prekindergarten Legislation.


As a new CASDA faculty member, Agnes looks forward to collaboratively working on initiatives that build teachers’ skill and instructional leadership in implementing the NYS Science Standards through creative curriculum planning across content areas. She looks forward to contributing to CASDA’s education services focused on curriculum and instruction, school climate, culture, and community, and national board teacher certification.



Next Gen Science Standards K-5

Project-based Learning

Math and ELA Common Core Instruction

Grant Writing

Family/Child Welfare/Early Education Policy


Stevan Abelson

Stevan Abelson is an Educational Consultant for CASDA working with area schools on improving literacy, The ELA Common Core, professional development planning, teacher evaluation, bullying prevention and curriculum mapping. Recently Steve developed a standardized test curriculum which incorporates a strategic approach coupled with differentiated instruction an implementation. 


Previously Steve was the Director of Staff Development and in this role was a lead trainer for NYSED and conducted statewide training in aligning common core to curriculum. His motto is "Treat Everyone Differently in Order to Treat them the Same."




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