Instructor Profiles

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 is a resident of Shirley, New York, where she has been teaching Special Education for the past 26, years. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Dowling College in Oakdale, New York with a Masters Degree in Special Education, she 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 for Dowling College, teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in Special Education. Currently, she is Teaching for Long Island Learning Institute for Educators. 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, she is in charge of the Backpack Program for her 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. This program assists these diverse learners in integrating into the community and taking part in the real-world experiences offered by the public library system. 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. Also, Ms. Currao-Mcaleavey’s educational career has been enriched by her position as a board member for Colonial Youth and Family Services, an organization that strives to meet the diverse needs of the local at-risk population.

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.

Danielle Sicari

B.S. ED. and PSY, M. Art Therapy, Registered Art Therapist, C-YRKT, RYT-200

Danielle has worked in the Sachem Central School District for twenty years. A love for children and children's self-growth has always been part of her being. Having a Dual Bachelor's Degree in Education and Psychology and a Master's in Art Therapy, she has always worked on programs in the school to promote positive self-esteem and positive relationships.

Danielle gratefully found the Yoga Rocks Program and became a C-YRKT (Certified Yoga Rocks Kids Teacher) in May of 2013. In February of 2015, Danielle graduated from Yoga Yama, receiving her 200 hour Yoga Alliance Ashtanga/Vinyasa Teacher Certification. Danielle was trained by the SHY staff to teach the Beginner's Hot Yoga class. Danielle also has a 50 hour chair yoga certificate.

Children are required to fulfill very specific tasks in school and this can cause heavy stressors on students of all ages. Throughout her mindfulness journey Danielle has realized that mindfulness and yoga can have a profound impact on children. She now uses a mindful approach and breathing techniques in her own classroom to increase stamina and promote healthy living. She currently has a mindfulness/yoga club for children in her school for grades 2-3. Danielle believes that mindfulness can help children deal with their emotions and help children to become strong, centered individuals.

Over the past years Danielle has taken a journey through mindfulness that is unexplainable and would like to foster children to experience this journey in a safe, creative and fun environment.

Danielle is thrilled to be sharing mindfulness techniques with educators who can in turn teach students to include a mindfulness practice within their educational journeys.

Ed Storck

Ed Storck is a former English teacher (AP Capstone Seminar & Research, ELA Grades 8-12) and current Project Manager for a grant-funded program that provides cutting-edge educational technology to Title 1 schools across the U.S. 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, Ed holds certifications in Special Education, ENL, Childhood, and School Building and District Leadership.

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

Kerri Coudrey has been an educator for the past 20 years in the William Floyd School District. She attended Dowling College where she was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education and a Master of Science degree in Adolescence Education. She spent a majority of her career as a history teacher and eventually a Dean of Students. She continued her education at the College of St. Rose where she pursued Educational Leadership Certification. After earning her School Building and School District Leadership certification, she made the transition from teacher to assistant principal.

Her career in education has been enriched by her active participation in Professional Development, Curriculum Development, Character Education, Regents Readiness as well as working with the most at-risk student population at the High School level. She has revamped the district’s Credit Recovery program enabling students to recover credits needed to graduate.

In her current role, Ms. Coudrey is the social studies department supervisor, High School DASA Coordinator and oversees academic awards.

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.

Kim Turri

Kim Turri is a retired elementary teacher with over 34 years of experience who has placed students at the center of learning throughout her career. She presently shares her expertise throughout New York State in various professional learning communities. She is passionate about creating a quality education that incorporates the thoughtful integration of technology with traditional classroom methods at a scale that works for every student and honors their individuality as learners. Kim Turri also desires to engage educators in conversations regarding inclusive, equitable, and innovative learning landscapes that meet our diverse learners' needs.

In her current role, Kim Turri is a field supervisor for Molloy University, preparing future educators for a dynamic career in education. Within this role as a mentor, her expertise and passion are shared with teachers entering the field of education.

Kysten Ellison

Kysten Ellison has been a health educator for over 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, she is a NYS certified Paralegal specializing in special education advocacy, and she is a certified medical scribe. Ms. Ellison 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 has experience as an Adjunct Professor at Stony Brook University and has taught 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 nineteen years. The past seventeen 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 thirteen 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 the Principal of a 3rd - 6th grade Elementary School in Suffolk County. Prior to this position he was an Assistant Principal at William Floyd High School for 5 years and a Special Educator at Shoreham-Wading River High School for 8 years. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Stony Brook, a Master's Degree in Special Education from Dowling, and received his Educational Leadership Certificates from Stony Brook.

Mr. Fabian has developed skills to improve the educational and social-emotional outcomes for the most at-risk populations of students throughout his career by working closely with students, staff, and families. He enjoys collaborating with participants as a LILIE instructor and facilitates several different courses related to supporting at-risk students.

Valerie Capriotti

Valerie Capriotti has been a special education teacher in the Middle Country School District since 2003. She has worked in the resource room, integrated co-teaching and self-contained settings at the kindergarten through middle school levels. In addition to working in Middle Country, she taught a summer skills program for at-risk incoming college freshmen and worked as an educational strategist in several Long Island school districts. She is currently a LETRS professional learning facilitator candidate, a role that will allow her to expand her ability to share the Science of Reading with teachers throughout the country. She has received training in the Wilson Reading System, Visualizing and Verbalizing, and the University of Kansas' Strategic Instructional Model, and is currently completing Orton-Gillingham Classroom Educator Certification. She is passionate about learning best practices for supporting students with diverse needs. Valerie holds a 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.