NY Teachers Summit Advisory Group

Teacher Advisory Group

The Teacher Advisory Group (TAG) consists of approximately 20 PreK-12 teachers from New York State schools. The TAG members voluntarily work with the Teachers Leadership Project Director, Dr. Yolanda Davis, and the SUNY Teachers Summit planning team to help plan and lead the 2017 Teachers Summits. Take a look below and learn more about our TAG members!

Frank Adamo

Frank Adamo

Born and raised downstate, I was trained at both the University at Albany (M.S. in Curriculum Development) and SUNY Oneonta (B.S. in English Education). I'm very lucky to have spent almost my entire 16 year ​career at Iroquois Middle School in the Niskayuna Central School District teaching 8th grade English. Since 2002, I've worked with middle school students, helping to promote reading, writing and thinking skills while keeping an eye on edTech and how to best serve growing writers and readers. I accomplished National Board Certification in 2010, became an authorized Google Education Trainer in 2015, and I was honored to be recognized in 2016 as an Empire State Excellence in Teaching awardee. I have also spent almost my entire career as the modified lacrosse coach as well as the WIRO Television Studio Advisor. I currently work with a team of teachers dedicated to helping students to build skills that will follow them far beyond the middle school classroom. Lucky is an understatement... blessed is more accurate.

Rayhan Ahmed

Rayhan Ahmed

Rayhan earned his B.S. in Chemistry and Computer Science from SUNY Binghamton and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from CUNY City College. Rayhan began his decade long career teaching inquiry-based and culturally-relevant mathematics in the South Bronx. He is currently teaching project-based inquiry chemistry and an innovative STEM course, with a dual emphasis on climate change and common-core aligned mathematics, at the Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders High School in Coney Island, Brooklyn. He serves as a crew leader and is on the team facilitating restorative justice practices. He is a Nationally Board Certified Science Teacher, Math for America Master Teacher, New York State Master Teacher, a Senior Science and STEM Common Core Fellow for the New York City Department of Education. Ray is inspired every day by his students, who will be the change in their communities.

Outside the classroom, Rayhan is responsible for creating a professional learning community, one of his duties as an NYC DOE Model Teacher is to support the development of his peers through meaningful, authentic and job-embedded professional development. He likes to read, swim, bike, run, and kayak.

Michele Armani

Michele Armani

NOT IN PARA FORM Education B.S. Sp. Ed. SUNY Plattsburgh M.S. Health Ed. SUNY Cortland M.S. School Leadership Western Governor’s University (in progress) Years in Teaching: 25 Awards Empire State Excellence in Teaching Delta Kappa Gamma, International Society for Key Women Educators Fellow: NYS Healthy Schools Leadership Institute. Current Teaching Experience Coordinator: ADK P-TECH Courses: Career Life Planning Memberships and Committees North Country STEM Network Eastern Hub Co-Chair Cornell Cooperative Extension Executive Board: Vice President United Way of the Adirondacks Allocation Committee STRIVE: North Country THRIVE Network Executive Committee Member Outside of the Classroom I take my students on adventures. We have completed the Ropes Course at Paul Smiths College, hiked the Saranac Six, went to the Treetop exhibit at The Wild Center, and many Field Trips, we love to explore. Columnist: Plattsburgh Press Republican

Elisabeth Bostwick

Elisabeth Bostwick

Elisabeth Bostwick combines her passion for teaching and learning with her vision for enhancing a collaborative culture of thought leaders. In her 14th year as classroom teacher, Elisabeth holds a BS in elementary education and a MS.Ed in elementary education math and science, from SUNY Cortland. Elisabeth teaches fourth grade at Gardner Road Elementary. She also serves as grade level chairperson and instructional coach. As someone who avidly seeks alternative methods to innovate in the classroom and support systemic change, Elisabeth is the NY recipient of the 2017 PBS Digital Innovator Award and also received the Empire Excellence in Teaching Award in 2016. She facilitates a variety of district professional learning on topics such as Igniting a Culture of Future-Ready Learners. As an educator who is passionate about giving back to the profession, Elisabeth has spoken at multiple conferences. She will present at ISTE17 on Leveraging Technology to Sculpt School Culture and Ignite Innovation. Elisabeth is also the co-founder of #LeadUpTeach on Twitter and YouTube. Additionally, she collaborates as a Maker Mentor for www.YearInTheMaking.com. Elisabeth is thrilled to be a part of the Teachers Summit where she can connect and learn with fellow educators and celebrate their incredible work.

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Adel Bouallagui

Adel Bouallagui is an ESOL teacher at the Rochester City School District. He has been an educator for the past twelve years, where he served in multiple capacities. He graduated with Bachelor's Degree in Journalism & mass communication. He holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching from SUNY Empire State College and a Master of Arts in Media & Arts from Long Island University.

Adel is a devoted teacher who strongly believes that all students can learn and succeed. His instructional practices and decisions stem from his firm belief that every student deserves a world-class education that meets his/her individual learning needs regardless of his/her ethnic, socio-economic background or any individual difference that he/she may have.

He is involved in various committees and clubs: School Based Planning Team, Response To Intervention team, and World Culture Club. In his spare time, he enjoys photography, music, and reading. He is highly interested in education policy. He strives to pursue a career as a policy analyst/maker. Adel is currently pursuing a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership to expand his knowledge in instructional leadership and become an effective leader in the field of education.

His areas of interest include but are not limited to Education Policy, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Multiculturalism, Pedagogies for English learners, ESOL/Foreign Language Teacher Preparation Programs, and Issues of Equity in Education.

Wendy Cremeens

Wendy Cremeens

My name is Wendy Cremeens, and I am an Academic Intervention Services (AIS) teacher at Lansing High School, in Lansing, NY. I earned my masters degree MSEd in Reading at Elmira College, and my BA in Sociology at SUNY Geneseo. I am currently enrolled in classes at SUNY Stony Brook for my Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership. I am certified in Reading K-12 and Social Studies 7-12. I am also Hootsuite Social Media Certified. I received an award for teaching called “Pulling Together for Students,” while teaching Social Studies at Broadway Middle School. I have been teaching for 13.5 years. I am currently serving as the co-advisor for the Class of 2020, chaperone student events, facilitate 9th Grade Team Meetings, am an active member of both Building and District Curriculum Councils, and an active member of Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). I am co-director of the 5K Chili Challenge and work with NYS Parks to facilitate First Saturday Educational Hikes in the Finger Lakes. I truly enjoy hiking, and I am currently training to walk a half marathon later this year. I also spend some of my free time quilting, and I am always reading something.

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Beth Goldberg

Beth Goldberg is a New York State Master Teacher in the Mid-Hudson Region. She earned her BA in Mathematics from Wellesley College, MS in Business from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Bard College. Ms. Goldberg has been in the classroom for eleven years, and she teaches Middle School Mathematics at Linden Avenue Middle School in the Red Hook Central School District where she teaches Eighth Grade Mathematics and Algebra I. Prior to teaching, Ms. Goldberg was a senior executive at JP Morgan Chase. Ms. Goldberg is a founding member of the Mid-Hudson Math Teachers’ Circle, which provides enriching workshops throughout the year for middle and high school mathematics teachers. Beth is a frequent speaker at regional and state mathematics conferences. In November, she was a presenter at the AMTNYS conference in Rye, NY. Ms. Goldberg likes teaching STEM because she enjoys anchoring mathematics in real world experiences. Beth is excited about the upcoming Teachers Summit as she is looking forward to collaborating with educators from across the state to create a network for teachers to share best practices and mentor new teachers.

Joan Hamer

Joan Hamer

Joan Hamer earned her BS in Forest Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Master of Arts in Teaching from SUNY Binghamton. In the classroom for 27 years, she teaches Advanced Placement Biology and Biotech/Forensics at Honeoye Falls Lima High School. Mrs. Hamer is a strong advocate for hands-on, inquiry-based learning and the Socratic Method. She supports her students’ by using their prior knowledge so the students see themselves as having an active role in advancing their content knowledge. Mrs. Hamer’s professional interests focus on cooperative learning groups, design-your-own -lab activities, curriculum development, and working with pre-service teachers. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she serves as adviser to the Gay-Straight Alliance, member of the master scheduling committee and safety committee for her school, and both a SAR (subject area rep) for elective sciences and a conference assistant for the Science Teachers Association of NYS. She was also adjunct professor for Genesee Community College teaching Human Biology and Cell Biology. Mrs. Hamer was honored with the Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year Award 2015 from the National Association of Biology Teachers, the Educational Testing Service's (ETS) Recognition of Excellence Award for exceptional individual performance on a content Praxis II exam, and was selected to be a NYS Master Teacher. Additionally, Joan enjoys hiking, traveling, reading and cooking; all of which enhance her lively lessons and inspired her to be part of the Teacher Advisory Group. She is passionate about encouraging everyone to be life-long learners.

Matthew Harbinger

Matthew Harbinger

Matthew Harbinger earned his BS in Applied Mathematics and Master of Arts in Teaching from SUNY Oswego. In the classroom for 12 years, Mr. Harbinger teaches Geometry, AP Computer Science and other computer programming classes at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. As a strong advocate for Computer Science education, Mr. Harbinger involves his students in computer programming, app development, interdisciplinary projects, IBM’s Master the Mainframe Competition, and National Center for Women and Information Technology opportunities. His professional interests focus on increasing enrollment in computer science (particularly among women and people of color), mobile app development, and developing sound pedagogical approaches to teaching computer science. He was honored with the Technology Alliance of Central NY Award for his use of technology in the classroom and twice honored with the National Center of Women in IT NYS Educator Award for encouraging young women to pursue careers in computer science. From his participation in the NYS Master Teacher Program, Mr. Harbinger has shared with his colleagues “The Common Core Math” Workshop, developed PreCalculus lessons from the Math Literacy Professional Learning Team and worked with other Master Teachers to create Computer Science programs around the state. Currently, he is working with the Teacher Advisory Group and its upcoming Teachers Summit.

Jessica Keane

Jessica Keane

Jessica is a French teacher with the North Syracuse Central School District in Central New York. She is in her third year of teaching at this district, and previously taught for five years in Adams, New York at the South Jefferson Central School District. This year, she is teaching French III and French 4/5 at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. In the past, Jessica also taught French IA, IB, and II as well as Spanish IA and II. Jessica graduated from SUNY Geneseo with her Bachelor of Arts in French and initial teaching certification in 2007. In 2009, she received her Master of Arts in Romance Languages (French Track) from SUNY Stony Brook. Jessica received the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award in June of 2016; an award given by Governor Cuomo to recognize teachers across New York who are successfully preparing a new generation of learners for the future. Through this award, Jessica has been able to make connections throughout the state, including the opportunity to be a part of the Teacher Advisory Group. She is currently a member of the American Association of Teachers of French and the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers. Jessica is the advisor for the French Club at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. At South Jefferson, Jessica was the co-advisor of the French Club for five years as well as the advisor of the Multi-Cultural Club (4 years) and co-director of the Middle School Musical (one year). Jessica has been very blessed over the years with being part of amazing experiences ranging from teaching English in New York City to studying at the Sorbonne University in Paris to studying Art History at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and now to be a part of the Teacher Advisory Group to plan the New York State Teacher’s Summit.

Lon Knappenberger

Lon Knappenberger

Lon Knappenberger is in his 22nd year teaching science at Westfield Academy and Central School. In 2016-2017, Mr. Knappenberger taught Science 8, Functional Anatomy of the Limbs, Biotechnology Techniques, Zoology & Animal Behavior, and Principles of Biology (co-credit with Buffalo State). He his BS in Biology from SUNY Fredonia and MA in Anthropology with a concentration in Primate Behavior from the University at Buffalo. Prior to teaching, Mr. Knappenberger spent six years studying primate behavior for University of Veracruz, The Caribbean Primate Research Center, and the Erie Zoological Society. While working for the Erie Zoo, Mr. Knappenberger also drove the train, gave camel rides and voiced “Flakey the Snowman” and “Jack the Pumpkin” at the holidays. Mr. Knappenberger was appointed a Master Teacher by the governor in the inaugural cohort of 2013. He coaches Boys Varsity Track and Boys Modified Soccer. Lon Knappenberger is a consultant teacher for the Western New York Genetics in Research and Health Care Partnership and enjoys bioinformatics. Mr. Knappenberger lives on a small farm with this wife, 5 children, 2 horses, a donkey, a pony, 2 dogs, a cat, 2 rabbits, a chinchilla and a parrot. As for the summit, one-word-EDUTAINMENT.

Jason Manning

Jason Manning

Jason Manning is a National Board Certified teacher who has been teaching in the Oceanside School District for the last thirteen years. Mr. Manning graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York & also received his Masters in the Art of Teaching from Union University. Mr. Manning has taught American History, Government, Economics, Global History, and has been a pioneer on Long Island in the teaching of the new Big History Course. As the lead teacher for The Big History Project, Jason works with teachers around the country helping them construct interdisciplinary lessons to meet the needs of students. For his work with Big History and ELA in Oceanside, Jason was presented the Collaborator of Excellence Award by the New York State English Council and in 2016 Jason Manning was awarded the New York State Excellence in Teaching Award. In addition to teaching Jason was also the women's basketball coach for six seasons and is currently the Varsity Baseball assistant coach at Oceanside. Along with coaching Mr. Manning also has been the advisory for the Model Congress Debate club for the High School for the past ten years.

"​I have a passion for improving my teaching practice and I am passionate about working towards improving the teaching profession as a whole. Having the opportunity to work with TAG, I felt, would be a great opportunity to meet and learn from dedicated professional from around the state while working toward improving the profession that I love. I am extremely excited to be a part of this incredible group."

Brandi Meacham

Brandi Meacham

Brandi Meacham has taught 11 years and holds teacher certifications at the early childhood and childhood levels in the areas of general education, special education and literacy. Brandi earned her BS in Education and her MS in Literacy from SUNY Fredonia. She is currently attending Stony Brook University’s Educational Leadership program. Brandi Meacham teaches first grade at Carlyle C. Ring Elementary School. She is a professional learning community leader, a member of the Shared Decision Making Team and the district’s early literacy team, and co-chair of the monthly PBIS assembly team. Brandi helped run the Primary Playground Project to build students a new playground at her school. She is co-chair of the school’s motivation team, which promotes activities to uplift teachers, staff and students and to spread love throughout the school and community. Brandi’s passion for teaching has led her to present at state and international conferences, teach building professional development and to become a peer coach. Brandi was the recipient of the Empire Excellence in Teaching Award in 2016. She is excited to be a part of the Teacher Summit where she hopes she can continue her work of motivating and uplifting teachers.

Danielle Michielini

Danielle Michielini

Danielle Michielini received her Bachelors of Fine Arts and her Master's of Art and Teaching in 2007 and 2008 from Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. Danielle has been teaching in Brewster NY at C.V. Starr Intermediate School since 2008. She teaches art to 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students where she hopes to continue to inspire and instill a love of art in her students. Her students' enthusiasm and eagerness to learn keep her approaches to education exciting and fresh where she is constantly inventing new ways to challenge and push them forward.. Danielle also is a member of her district's technology and innovation team. She teaches a makerspace club and is a member of the Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES Makerspace Forum. She is currently teaching workshops for art teachers on integrating STEAM approaches into the classroom and was honored to be one of the 1st annual winners of the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award from Governor Cuomo in 2016. In her personal time she enjoys working with Fibers on different art projects and spending time with her husband, family and friends. She resides in Hudson NY and her and her husband lots of time "picking" at flea markets, antique shops and yard sales. Danielle is looking forward to planning the teacher's summit as a way of bringing pre service and in service teachers together as we push towards a new era in education.

Natasha Murray

Natasha Murray

Natasha Murray is an expert practitioner, teacher educator, administrator, and researcher with experience in urban and suburban K-12, post-secondary, and graduate settings. She holds certifications in English, mathematics, and administration; a Master’s degree from Queens College (CUNY); and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania with specializations in English education and mathematics education, respectively. During her career, she has been recognized as an outstanding teacher by Suffolk County, a New York State Master Teacher, an Emerging Leader in Education by Phi Delta Kappa International, a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), a finalist for New York State Teacher of the Year, and a recipient of the Sustained Leadership in Education Award from the University of Pennsylvania. To support the continued learning of mathematics teachers throughout the United States and Canada, she has served on the leadership team of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) as the Editorial Panel Chair of Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, one of NCTM’s teacher journals. She’s excited to engage with other educators at the Teachers Summit to continue to improve the practice of teaching for the purpose of enriching educational experiences for all students.

Tiffany Piatkowski

Tiffany Piatkowski

Tiffany Piatkowski holds a BS and MS in Technology Education (both from SUNY Oswego) and a permanent NYS certification in Technology Education K-12. Additionally, she is certified to teach Project Lead the Way Introduction to Engineering Design, Digital Electronics, and Engineering Design and Development. In her 14th year of teachings she is currently the STEM Integration Specialist and Lead Instructor for P-TECH OHM at Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES. Through collaboration with her fellow staff, industry, and higher education she creates authentic project based learning experiences that incorporate STEM concepts into traditional course content. In the summer she teaches a variety of youth summer camps at Mohawk Valley Community college, including unmanned aerial systems, nanotechnology, and coding.

In 2016 Tiffany received the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award, presented at the New York State Association of Career and Technical Education on Project Based Learning and STEM Integration, and was selected to attend her local Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching conference.

Tiffany is excited for the New York State Teacher’s Summit because every teacher has their own unique experiences to offer and together we can make education the best it possibly can be for our students.

Valerie H. Pond

Valerie H. Pond

Valerie H. Pond earned her BA and Master of Science in Teaching in Mathematics Education from SUNY Potsdam. In the classroom for 20 years, she teaches Calculus, Precalculus, and Algebra 2 at Carthage Central School. As a Jefferson Community College EDGE adjunct instructor, Mrs. Pond also teaches dual-enrollment courses for which high school students can simultaneously earn high school and college credit. Mrs. Pond’s professional interests focus on developing and researching Early College High School and the flipped classroom teaching model. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Mrs. Pond serves as the 5-12 Mathematics Coordinator. She was honored with the Senator Ritchie Teacher of Excellence award in recognition of her dedication and commitment to education. As a NYS Master Teacher, Mrs. Pond has facilitated programs on the flipped classroom model, Google Classroom and TI Education Technology. She attended NTI training in Common Core Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II. In addition she attended AP and Early College Conferences. Valerie is excited to be a part of the Teachers Summit where she can connect and learn with fellow educators.

Justin Wiedrick

Justin Wiedrick

Justin Wiedrick earned his BS in Elementary Education and Mathematics, and MS in Literacy Education from SUNY Oswego. Justin is Permanently Certified in Elementary Education and Professionally certified in Literacy and 7-12 Mathematics. Over the first 15 years of his career, Mr. Wiedrick has taught 5-10 mathematics. Currently at Adirondack Central, Mr. Wiedrick teaches 6th Grade Mathematics, and has coached multiple levels of football, basketball, baseball, softball, and lacrosse. He has taught multiple levels of summer school (mathematics 5-10) over the course of his career and ran an Advantage After school program that helped at-risk middle school students succeed in and out of the traditional school setting.

Mr. Wiedrick is devoted to fitness and the outdoors and aspires to become an Adirondack 46er (along with his wife and dogs of course). Justin is an avid sports fan who abides by the Arthur Ashe quote, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Malika Willis

Malika Willis

Malika Willis is honored and humbled to be a member of the first NYS Teachers Summit! She was inspired to become an educator during an internship with the Children’s Defense Fund’s program, Freedom School. Malika earned her BS from Cornell University, her M.S. Ed from Bank Street College of Education, and her MA from NYU in Educational Leadership. She received the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award and was a finalist for the Big Apple Teaching Award. Malika is in her 11th year of teaching as a special educator in Brooklyn, New York. She currently teaches third grade at The Brooklyn New School in Carroll Gardens, and is a member of several committees: School Leadership Team, Professional Development, the Progressive Redesign for Schools of Excellence, and Race and Equity, of which she is co-chair. She is also a mentor and cooperating teacher. Malika interned at the central Department of Education at City Hall with the Deputy Chancellor of NYC public schools. She is a member of the Math Collective, a team across the city working together to improve math instruction. Malika is most looking forward to connecting with pre-service teachers in the hopes of keeping them inspired and proud of the profession they are choosing to join!

Barry Witte

Barry Witte

Barry Witte earned a Masters of Science in Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia. He completed his 21st year teaching in the South Colonie School District this year, teaching Technology Education courses such as Principles of Engineering, Engineering Design & Development, Design & Drawing for Production, Digital Electronics and Aircraft Piloting and Navigation. He is the SWE Next club advisor.

He was the first recipient of the Robert Horan Memorial Technology Educators Award, awarded by the Albany Business Review, in 2017.

Beyond the classroom, Barry works as an adjunct at Hudson Valley Community College, where he teaches Photovoltaic (solar power) theory classes.

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