Our Team

CASDA's staff is made up of a diverse team of former educators and professionals who are dedicated to providing quality services to New York State school districts.

Michael Piccirillo headshot_2018.jpg

Michael Piccirillo, Ed.D

Executive Director


Dr. Michael Piccirillo joins CASDA as Executive Director after serving  six school districts throughout the Capital Region over the last 31 years.  Most notably, Dr. Piccirillo spent the last five years of his career in the Saratoga Springs City School District as the Superintendent of Schools, and in the five years previous to that held the position of Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education at Saratoga Springs. During his tenure in Saratoga Springs, the school district consistently ranked in the top ten in the region for student achievement and made significant improvement in graduation rates for economically disadvantaged and special education students.

Dr. Piccirillo earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Sage College, his master’s degree in Social Studies Teaching from Binghamton University, and a bachelor degree in Sociology from Binghamton University.  His research interests focus on the impact of the belief systems of individual leaders on their school systems, with a special emphasis on intentionality of leadership decision-making  as grounded in core values and beliefs.

Dr. Piccirillo has been heavily involved in his local community serving on several not-for-profit boards including the Saratoga Regional YMCA, Saratoga Sponsor-A-Scholar, Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning, and the Saratoga Springs Rotary Educational Foundation. 

Elizabeth Waterbury.jpg

Elizabeth Waterbury

Assistant Director of Business Operations


Elizabeth brings her experience in customer relations, project management, as well as accounting to the CASDA team. Elizabeth joined CASDA in August 2015 as the Financial Operations Coordinator and is responsible for CASDA’s account payable and receivable, purchasing, contract management, third party vendor management, and business operations reporting.

Elizabeth received a BA in Economics from SUNY Albany in 2012 and an MBA from Sage Graduate School in 2015. Before joining the CASDA team, Elizabeth acquired numerous years of experience in the financial and employee benefits fields.


Ciara Hassenpflug

Director of Communications 


Ciara brings a keen eye for design, a creative approach and a collaborative mindset to her role as the Director of Communications for CASDA. She oversees the creation and design of all communications and marketing materials, maintenance of CASDA’s website, social media channels and more.

Ciara previously worked as the Communications Coordinator for the New York State Association of REALTORS. She earned a BA in Public Communications from The College of Saint Rose in 2008.

Jerome Steele headshot.jpg

Jerome A. Steele

Assistant Director of Research and Program Development 


Jerome brings an interdisciplinary approach to identifying and integrating peer-reviewed research into CASDA's programming. He develops or supports many of CASDA professional development offerings in collaboration with both CASDA faculty members and partners from other organizations.

Jerome collaborates to produce CASDA's podcasts and frequently contributes to the monthly newsletter. 

Melissa Mace.jpg

Melissa Mace

Executive Office Assistant


Melissa earned a Bachelor of Social Work from Siena College and a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. She has more than 10 years experience as a Clinical Social Worker/Consultant working at St. Anne Institute, Parsons Child and Family Center, and the Schenectady Community Action Program. Additionally, Melissa spent 5 years as Clinical Training Coordinator for Parsons Sidney Albert Training and Research Institute. She also comes with a wealth of experience, 12+ years, as an Administrative Assistant within the fitness industry.