Instructor Profiles

Alana Philcox

Alana Philcox is an English teacher at Riverhead High School. She is a certified AP Capstone teacher and currently pursuing a certification in Special Education (Generalist 7-12). She is a winner of the 2017-2018 LILAC Mini-Grant, as well as a Long Island Youth Summit mentor and award winner. ‚Äč

Allison Jahn

Since 2001, Allison Jahn has worked as a School Counselor in the state of New York. Her most recent years have been primarily at the high school level, yet in years prior, she worked in both elementary and middle school settings.

Before beginning her counseling career, Allison worked as a 6th grade teacher in a small private school. In this setting she also taught computer classes to 2nd through 12th graders. Further, while working in this school, she designed and ran the school's first formal Guidance Office.

Since moving to public education, she has become her current district's liaison for The Academy (formerly "BOCES"). Allison is also an active member of the East End Counselor's Association and on several committees throughout the county. In 2007, Allison became affiliated with LILIE in order to pursue her own continuing education and then starting teaching courses in 2012. Currently, she teaches several classes including graduate, in-service, and professional development courses focusing on emotional health issues for students.

Allison holds a Baccalaureate in Sociology with a concentration in Psychology, and a Masters degree in School Counseling. Further, she has completed over 90 additional educational credits focused on various topics relevant to student services & in counseling today's youth.

Carmella Currao-Mcaleavey

Carmella Currao-Mcaleavey of Long Island, New York, has been teaching Special Education for the past 19 years at William Floyd School District, in Mastic Beach, NY. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Dowling College in Oakdale, New York with a Master's Degree in Special Education, Ms. Currao-Mcaleavey started her career in 1990 at Just Kids Learning Center, where she worked as an Early Intervention and Special Education Preschool Teacher. During this same time period, Ms. Currao-Mcaleavey was an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Special Education at Dowling College, teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in Special Education. Along with this, since 1999 she has been a Special Education Teacher for Suffolk County, New York, providing Home and Community Based Services in an Early Intervention Program. In addition to teaching, Ms. Currao-Mcaleavey is in charge of the Backpack Program for her home school district. This provides a backpack filled with food for students in need to take home in order to ensure they have nutritious food when not in school. Also, together with her local community library, Ms. Currao-Mcaleavey created and developed the Community Enrichment Program for special needs students. She has also been a recipient of many academic achievements and awards. Ms. Currao-Mcaleavey has been both a member and president of the Kappa Delta Pi, Honor Society of Education, a member of National College Honor Scholarship Society, Alpha Chi, and has received the William J. Cordon Kappa Delta Pi Honor in Education Award, and is a Member of the Council of Exceptional Children.

Cathy Carella-Dean

Cathy Carella-Dean has been an educator for the past 25 years in the Middle Country and Patchogue-Medford School Districts. She earned her BA from Cortland College, her MA from Stony Brook University, and her Building and District Administrative Advanced Certificates from the College of St. Rose.

Cathy spent the majority of her career as an English teacher before transitioning into an administrative role as an Assistant Principal at both the middle school and high school levels. Cathy's roles have included: 504 Building & District Chairperson, Building Testing Coordinator, English Department Chairperson, and Professional Development Facilitator. She has presented numerous professional development workshops on a wide variety of topics for teacher organizations and school districts. She has been a LILIE instructor since 2008.

Cathy is currently the Director of Secondary Humanities, Grades 7-12 for the Patchogue-Medford School District. She is a member of LILAC, NCTE, ASCD, Leadership 2.0, CAS, and Kappa Delta Pi (Honor Society of Education). Her drive to pursue her own life-long learning continues as she is actively completing her Students with Disabilities teaching certificate.

Christine Knoell

Christine Knoell has been a Biology teacher at Eastport South Manor Junior-Senior High school for the past 14 years. She currently teaches Living Environment to mostly middle school students. She earned her BA in Biology and a minor in secondary education and MS in liberal arts and sciences at Stony Brook University. She is currently a team leader for the Junior High School Blue team, where she conducts team meetings and organizes team events/activities. Prior to beginning her science teacher career, Christine worked as a Physical Therapist Assistant at Mather Hospital and St. Charles Rehab.

Colette Tarantino

Colette Tarantino is a Certified School Psychologist in New York State, having achieved that certification through her post-graduate studies at St. John's University; prior to that she earned a Master's Degree in Applied Behavioral Psychology from Adelphi University after obtaining a Bachelor's Degree from Stony Brook University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Child Care and Family Studies. Colette served as a School Psychologist for over 30 years in Middle Country School District, the majority of her time being dedicated to Dawnwood Middle School; however she did spend a substantial amount of time in Elementary and High Schools within the district. She was an integral part of CSE meetings and chaired the Annual Review meetings within the school in which she worked and with the incoming 5th graders. Colette has served on numerous school committees, including Curriculum Writing and Building Safety Committees. She served for many years as the advisor for Peer Leadership and was instrumental in establishing the Best Buddies Club in Dawnwood. She also served as the Psychologist for several years for the District's Alternative Learning Center, where she worked with and administered to children in the district who have difficulty attending school during the day for various reasons. Colette has enjoyed teaching various in-service and graduate classes for LILIE over the past decade plus, and looks forward to continuing to providing teachers with valuable information that will benefit them and their students.

Daniela Panasci

Daniela Panasci studied at SUNY Stony Brook where she double majored in Spanish Language and Literature and Italian studies to earn her BA. She later went on to complete her MA in Latin American Studies at SUNY Stony Brook. Daniela has been a Spanish and Italian teacher in the Middle Country School district for the past 15 years. She has taught various levels in both languages from 7th grade to high school. She has also provided professional development through the LILT organization as a presenter on the topic of cognitive learning. Daniela has also coached at both the middle school and high school level for the Miller Place School district and the Middle Country School district. Daniela has also worked with the YMCA community outreach program of Long Island helping to serve local communities. Most recently, Daniela is working with NYS criminal attorneys to better understand youth criminality and prevention within our public schools.

Ed Storck

Ed Storck is an English teacher at Shoreham-Wading River High School where he teaches AP Capstone Seminar & Research. He's a winner of the 2017-2018 LILAC Mini-Grant and a member of the Editorial Review Board Member for NCTE's English Journal. In addition to ELA, he holds certifications in Special Education (Generalist), ENL, and Elementary.

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 a "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.

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 twenty-one 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.

Jonathan Chiaramonte

Jonathan Chiaramonte has been a social studies teacher for the Sachem North school district for 13 years. He has taught a variety of classes such as, 7th and 8th grade social studies, 9th and 10th grade global studies, 11th grade US History and Government and created his own curriculum for Peer Education which is a program recognized throughout Long Island as a program that helps break down social barriers among students. He has taught for LILIE for one year and enjoys helping teachers be a better version of themselves for their students.

Kerri Coudrey

Mrs. Coudrey has been an educator for the past 17 years in the William Floyd School District. She has taught numerous history courses including advanced placement for the first 15 years of her career. She has been a mentor to students and a leader to her colleagues which fostered her to become an effective leader in her new role as an administrator for the past two years.

Her career in education has been enriched by her active participation in Professional Development, Curriculum Development, Credit Recovery, the Character Education Program, Rotary, National Honor Society, as well as working with the district's most at risk students. She earned her Associate's Degree from Briarcliffe College, Bachelor's Degree from Dowling, and her Master's Degree from Dowling. She continued her education at the College of St. Rose receiving a degree in School Building Leadership and School District Leadership.

Kevin Gross

Kevin Gross earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies Education with a dual major in History and minor in English Literature from SUNY Cortland. He later completed a Masters degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) from Stony Brook University. He is a teacher in the William Floyd School District and piloted the district's first cotaught ENL Global History program, ultimately becoming the sole global history teacher of ENL sheltered instruction. He currently teaches newcomers to the U.S, students classified as SIFE (students with interrupted former education), and ENL students of higher English level proficiencies.

Kysten Ellison-Martin

Kysten Ellison-Martin has been a health educator for twenty 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, a MS in Special Education, and she is currently completing her paralegal degree with the ambition of becoming a legal parent advocate for special needs children post retirement. Ms. Ellison-Martin is a certified health educator for grades K–12. She currently teaches health on the middle school and high 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 "Complementary and Alternative Medicine" and "Health and the Aging Process" for health professionals such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, physician's assistants, nurses, and physicians.

Liz Scott (Catz) Pothier

Liz has been an educator and coach for over 19 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), Town of Brookhaven Person of the Year Award (2014), Middle Country Community Service Award (2015) and has been a Professional Development Workshop Facilitator for both the MCTA and Middle Country Teacher's Center since 2012. 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, ENL: Part 154 committee, CTE 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 has participated in Dr. Thomas Lickona's 3-day character education training at BOCES, multiple Bullying Prevention conferences, NEFE HS Financial Literacy training program, and attended NYSFACSE Summer Professional Development Workshops in Owego, NY. She's attended the NYSUT 2-day Stakeholder Academy workshop training on Teacher Practice Rubric, and the NYSUT TED training on New Views on Teacher Evaluation and a workshop on Data Driven Instruction. She also has presented multiple times at: her district's Supt. Conference Day opening session speaking about 21st Century Skills; monthly faculty meetings about Teacher Reflection and the NYSUT rubric priorities and ENL Best Practice. She's also presented Best Practices yearly at the LI FACS Annual Professional Development Conference Days since 2012. And, she has been invited to guest speak at a SCALA workshop to discuss incorporating literacy and the Common Core Standards into art. Last, but certainly not least, for the last 9+ years Liz has been rounding off her career (and loving it!) by facilitating a multitude of in-service and graduate level courses for LILIE.

Matteo DeVincenzo

Mr. DeVincenzo has been a school administrator for the past eighteen years. The past sixteen 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 twelve 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 Policy Committee. Matteo is currently the Section XI Wrestling Chairman and represents Section XI on the NYSPHSAA Student Advisory Development Committee. He is a member of SCADA, NYSAAA, NIAAA and NYS AHPERD (council of administrators).

Paul Pedersen

Mr. Pedersen has been a physical education teacher 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, and completed his master's degree at SUNY Stony Brook. He currently teaches the NYSED coaching courses "Health Science Applied to Coaching and Theory" and "Techniques of Coaching".

Thomas Fabian

Thomas Fabian is currently an Assistant Principal at William Floyd High School, where he has been working since 2016. Prior to that he taught mathematics in the Special Education department of Shoreham-Wading River High School for 8 years. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Stony Brook and a Masters in Special Education from Dowling College.

In addition to teaching and coaching at Shoreham-Wading River, he also served as a CSE and 504 Chairperson, served on various building and district-wide committees, taught at their alternative Principal's Academy, and was nominated by students as a Natural Helpers facilitator. In his current role at William Floyd, Mr. Fabian is the High School Regents Testing Coordinator, High School DASA Coordinator, has overseen the athletic eligibility program, the college scholarship program, is responsible for school safety, transportation, emergency drill training and parent-teacher conferences, and he also is the mathematics department supervisor. He has developed skills in working with the most at-risk populations at the High School and through a collaborative approach with families and support staff, has played a significant role in the recent upward trajectory of the district's graduation rate.

Valerie Capriotti

Valerie Capriotti has been a special education teacher in the Middle Country School District since 2003. During her time in Middle Country, she 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 is currently expanding her role in education, working as an educational strategist in several Long Island School Districts. She has received training in the Wilson Reading System, Visualizing and Verbalizing, and the University of Kansas' Strategic Instructional Model. She is passionate about learning best practices for supporting students with diverse needs and is currently pursuing Orton-Gillingham Classroom Educator Certification. 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 and the Council for Exceptional Children.

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.