QUESTIONS@LILIEONLINE.COM     P.O. BOX 634, STONY BROOK, NY 11790     PH: 631.696.LILIE     FAX: 631-331-7213 

Instructor Profiles

Allison Montesanto

For the past 14 years, Allison Montesanto has worked as a Guidance Counselor in the state of New York. Her experience has been primarily at the high school level, but her early years included both elementary and middle schools. Prior to beginning her counseling career, Allison worked as a 6th grade teacher in a small private school while also teaching computers classes to 2nd through 12th graders. While working in this school, she designed and ran the school's first formal Guidance Office. Since moving to public education, she has been the BOCES liaison for her district and an active member of the East End Counselor’s Association. Finally, before working in education, Allison was an employee of a major LI computer corporation as an Executive Events Coordinator. Allison holds a Baccalaureate in Sociology and a Masters degree in School Counseling.

Colette Tarantino

Colette Tarantino earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Stony Brook University with a major in Psychology with a minor in Child Care and Family Studies She followed with a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavioral Psychology from Adelphi University and then took additional credits at St. John’s University to obtain her School Psychology Certification from New York State. Colette has been working in Middle Country School District for the past 26 years as a School Psychologist. Most of her years have been spent in Dawnwood Middle School, however a few of them were in the elementary schools within the district. She is an integral part of CSE meetings and chairs the Annual Review meetings within the building in which she works and with the incoming 5th graders. Colette has been on curriculum writing and Building Safety Committees. She has been the advisor for Peer Leadership and this year started The Best Buddies Club. She covered a leave placement for the Alternative Learning Center where she worked with children in the district who have difficulty attending school during the day for different reasons. Colette has taught various in-service and graduate classes for LILIE over the past years.

Gerard Siani

Gerard Siani has been teaching for twelve years in Mount Sinai. He spent the first ten years in first grade. He is currently team teaching in sixth grade. Gerard is a member of the Site Based Committee in his school and is advisor of the Courtyard Club in his building. After school hours, you can find him at the Port Jefferson Village Center. He is the Assistant Director of the after school program that is housed there. During the summer, Gerard is the Assistant Director of the Summer Beach Program in Port Jefferson Village. He has presented a workshop and a poster board demonstration at an ASSET conference on using technology in the primary classroom.
Hal Kench

Hal Kench is a former Law Enforcement Officer with 11 years of experience, and a veteran teacher of the East Islip School District since 1998. He’s dealt with Cyber-Bullying as a teacher, and seen the results of cyber-bullying as a policeman. Hal has also played the role of “Conflict Resolution Facilitator” in the middle school environment, and serves on both the district DASA (Dignity for All Students Act) Committee, and Technology Committee. He is “voracious reader”, and will read anything he can find to gain a new perspective on internet safety, and cyber-bullying. Hal holds a BS in Technology Education from SUNY Oswego (K-12), and an MS in Instructional Technology (with distinction) from NYIT.  He currently teaches Introduction to Technology Education, Graphic Communications, and Computer Aided Design at both the East Islip Middle School and East Islip High School.

Liz Catz

Ms. Catz has been an educator and coach for over 17 years. She is certified in Family Consumer Sciences, Business, and Elementary Ed as well as being a certified American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor. She currently teaches Middle School Family and Consumer Sciences at Selden MS (previously known as Home and Careers) and swimming lessons for the WHB School District Summer Recreation program. She earned her Associate’s Degree from Katharine Gibbs, Bachelor’s Degree from Dowling, and her Master’s Degree from C.W. Post. She has won the LIFACS Promising New Educator East award (2008), NY Lady Liberty “Outstanding Educator” award (2009), the MCCSD and Town of Brookhaven “SPARC” award (2010) and is the MCTA Professional Development Coordinator  since 2013. Her teaching career has been enhanced by her active participation in character education programs, curriculum development, conferences, and committees. She is currently a member of her district PDP (Professional Development) committee, DCC (District Curriculum) committee, DASA committee, MCBAB (Business Advisory Board) committee, MCTA PD Committee and two APPR committees (MCTA and a joint MCTA/MCAA). She has been the building coordinator of the Second Step Violence prevention program, wrote a 7-8th grade character education resource guide for monthly virtues, and is the coordinator of Spirit Days and a nationwide MS Job Shadowing Day for her district. She is the advisor of the SMS Home and Careers Club and is one of the afterschool detention administrators. She has participated in Dr. Thomas Lickona’s 3-day character education training at BOCES, Bullying Prevention conferences,NEFE HS Financial Literacy training program and attended the NYSFACSE Summer Professional Development Workshop in Owego, NY. She’s attended the NYSUT 2-day Stakeholder Academy- Teacher Practice Rubric training workshop, the NYSUT TED training – New Views on Teacher Evaluation and a workshop on Data Driven Instruction. She also has presented at her district’s Supt. Conference Day opening session speaking about 21st Century Skills, 2 faculty meetings about Teacher Reflection and the NYSUT rubric priorities and presented her Best Practices at the LI FACS Annual Professional Development Conference Days (4 years running) promoting literacy in the content area as well as guest speaking at a SCALA workshop about incorporating literacy and the Common Core Standards into art. For the last 7+ years, Ms. Catz has been rounding off her career by teaching a multitude of in-service and graduate level courses for LILIE (Long Island Learning Institute for Educators).

Jennifer De Collibus

Jennifer De Collibus earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Philosophy from Siena College. She later completed a Master of Science degree in Adolescence Education with a Middle Childhood Extension from Dowling College.  Jennifer has been an English teacher at the Middle Country School District for sixteen years. During this time, she has taught writing and language arts courses at both the middle school and high school levels and been a member of an inclusion team. She has been a member of district wide curriculum writing committees, a facilitator for professional development on reading strategies and differentiated instruction, a scoring leader for the NYS ELA Assessment, a member of the Optimums Scoring Solutions Corporation World Scoring Team, and the team leader for her building’s English Department. Jennifer is a member of the NCTE and ASCD.

Kysten Ellison

Kysten Ellison-Martin has been a health educator for fifteen years and has been an instructor for LILIE since the inception of the company. She obtained a BS in Community Health and Human Services, a certificate in counseling specializing in both nutrition and drug/alcohol addiction, and a MS in Special Education. Ms. Ellison-Martin is a certified health educator K-12.  She currently teaches health on the middle school level in the Middle Country School District and facilitates many health related courses on the graduate level such as "Addictions and the Adolescent", "Adolescent Health issues and School Health Policies", "The Effects on the Mind-Body Connection and Learning", "Drug Education", "Peaceful Schools", "Building Self Esteem in Adolescence", "Body Image, Eating Disorders and Obesity", "The Effects of Nutrition on the Student Body", "Adolescent Brain and Behavior", "Dignity for All: Bullying Legislation and Initiatives," and "The Humanistic Approach to Education".  Ms. Ellison-Martin is also a member of LIGALY and is an advocate and trainer for educators on the prevention of violence and sexual bullying in youth and a certified DASA (Dignity for all students act) instructor. In addition, Ms. Ellison-Martin is an Adjunct Professor at Stony Brook University in the Health and Technology Department where she teaches courses such as "Complimentary and Alternative Medicine" and "Health and the Aging Process" for health professionals such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, physician's assistants, nurses, and physicians.

Marci Stern

Marci Stern has been teaching English on the secondary level for a total of 20 years in Middle Country Central School District, Commack School District and Elwood School District. She has been an instructor with Long Island Learning Institute for Educators since 2007. She is designed and taught many courses in subjects such as: Curriculum and Instruction, Teaching with the Arts in Mind, Research and the Common Core, Portfolio Assessment, Formative Assessment, and several others. She received her bachelor's degree in English and Fine Arts from SUNY New Paltz, her first master's degree in secondary education and English literature from CW Post/Long Island University. She received her second master's degree in curriculum and instruction and educational technology from the University of Phoenix. Marci Stern is a member of National Council of teachers of English, and the international Reading Association.

Matteo DeVincenzo

Mr. DeVincenzo has been a school administrator for the past fourteen years.  The past eleven years he has been the Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics in the Comsewogue School District. He has been an instructor at LILIE for over eight years. Matteo holds a Bachelors of Science Degree from SUNY Cortland and Masters Degrees from LIU Post and The College of New Rochelle (School Administration). He has a teaching license in Physical Education as well as an SAS and SDA school administration license(s). He serves on the Section XI Modified and Policy Committees. Matteo is currently the assistant Section XI Wrestling Chairmen and represents Section XI on the NYSPHSAA Life of an Athlete program. He is a member of SCADA, NYSAAA, NIAAA and NYS AHPERD (council of administrators).

Mihaela Kuhnle

Mihaela Kuhnle has been an ESL teacher for the Eastport South-Manor Schools for 13 years, and has been an educator for over 20 years. Mrs. Kuhnle is a graduate of the University of Bucharest, Romania, and received her Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies from SUNY Stony Brook. She has partnered with NYSUT ELT and became an associate professor in 2010. She also joined the LILIE instructional staff in 2013. Currently, she teaches graduate, in-service, and professional development courses that focus on supporting the ELLs in mainstream classes, in addition to her high school ESL teaching position.

Paul Pedersen

Mr. Pedersen has been a physical education in the Middle Country School District for the past 17 years. He is presently the head coach for Newfield Varsity Baseball, in which he has coached for 15 years. Mr. Pedersen has also coached a variety of sports including soccer, field hockey, basketball, and softball. Mr Pedersen is a Member of AAHPERD, America Alliance for Physical Education Health Recreation and Dance and a Member of SCBCA Suffolk County Baseball Coaches Association. Mr. Pedersen holds a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology from Towson University, MD and completed his masters degree at SUNY Stony Brook. He currently teaches the NYSED coaching courses Health Science Applied to Coaching and Theory and Techniques of Coaching.

Robert Bolen

Mr. Bolen has been teacher at Eastport South Manor Junior-Senior High School since 1997.  He currently teaches Advanced Placement Biology and Science Research, and has taught many science courses such as Living Environment, Astronomy, and Meteorology.  He earned his BA in Biology and MS in Secondary Education from Hofstra University and holds an Advanced Graduate Certificate in School District Administration from SUNY Stony Brook. In addition to teaching, Mr. Bolen has experience as a building administrator, science department coordinator, and teacher's association officer.  He has served on a variety of committees and is a current member of his district's APPR committee, Technology Sub-committee, and Principal's Advisory Committee. Collaborating with district and building level administrators has provided a fresh perceptive on the communication, motivation, and the culture needed to drive a successful academic program. Mr. Bolen is also a New York State Biology Mentor for the Nassau-Suffolk Region which enables him to facilitate professional development for colleagues in his district as well as throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties.  He also works with several research scientists and professors at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and SUNY Stony Brook to provide high school students access to high-level academic  and research opportunities.  

Valerie Capriotti

Valerie Capriotti has been a special education teacher in the Middle Country School District since 2003. During this time she has worked in the resource room, integrated co-teaching and self-contained settings at the kindergarten through middle school levels. Prior to working at Middle Country she taught a summer skills program to at risk incoming college freshmen for four years. She has received training in the Wilson Reading System, Visualizing and Verbalizing, and the  University of Kansas’s Strategic Instructional Model. Valerie earned a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Political Science and a Master of Science Degree in Special Education from Dowling College.  She is a member of the National Association of Special Education Teachers. 

Valerie Fiano

Valerie Fiano has been a Spanish teacher in the Middle Country School District for the past several years. She holds her teaching certification in Spanish; Kindergarten - 12. She obtained her undergraduate degree from SUNY Oneonta and her Master’s degree from SUNY Stony Brook. She has taught various levels from 7th grade to levels 2 and 3 at the high school. She has taught summer school in the past that ranged over several levels. She is currently the team leader for the LOTE department in her building and serves as the advisor to the newspaper and yearbook clubs.