Meet Our Presenters
Dr. Elizabeth Bradley
Dr. Beth Bradley is the president and senior consultant of E.J. Bradley and Associates. She was the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and the human rights officer of the Frontier Central School District in Hamburg, New York for 23 years. Dr. Bradley earned her doctorate in curriculum planning at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has conducted trainings for schools and corporations on leadership, effective supervision, team building and trust building for employees across New York State, Massachusetts, and Arizona. Her work as an executive coach has been commended. As a trainer and consultant for school districts, corporations, insurance companies and law firms, Dr. Bradley has experience handling complaints of unprofessional, boundary crossing behavior as well as sexual harassment. In addition, Dr. Bradley has served as an expert witness in civil and employee dismissal cases. She has received the Distinguished Service Award from the New York State Health Educators Association, Administrator of the Year Award from the Western New York Women in Administration Group, the Distinguished Dissertation Award from the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Pathfinders award from Business First and the Niagara Frontier Industry Council.
Rosalia Carraba believes that libraries should be noisy places – filled with learning, exploration, curiosity, and collaboration. That type of library experience is what Rosalia has provided the learners in the West Seneca Central School District since 2001. As the Library Media Specialist at Northwood Elementary School, Rosalia utilized a flexible library schedule to foster purpose driven, project based library learning. Rosalia was the primary driver of thoughtful technology integration into all of Northwood's classrooms. She continues this work as the Library Media Specialist at the recently expanded East Middle School. Rosalia believes that learning is a social endeavor and that all members of a school community are learners. With that intent in mind, Rosalia has long insisted that teachers co-teach in the library and take what they have learned about technology back to their own classrooms.
Rosalia earned her BA in Biology from D'Youville College followed by her MLS at the University of Buffalo. From 1986-2001, Rosalia collaborated with scientists, doctors, nurses, and administrators on medical research being conducted at Buffalo General Hospital. Rosalia brought her experiences as a research librarian with her to her position as Library Media Specialist in the West Seneca Central School District. In 2011, Rosalia was awarded the International Reading Association East Regional Award for Reading and Technology along with her Northwood colleagues, Sheila Herr and Kristin Krypel.
Jennifer (Jenny) Conklin-Frank currently serves as Director of Accountability, Assessment and Staff Development for Cheektowaga-Sloan Union Free School District. Mrs. Conklin-Frank holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from D'Youville College, and a Master of Education in Education Leadership from Canisius College.
Throughout her educational career, Mrs. Conklin-Frank has served as classroom teacher, program director, staff and curriculum developer, and educational consultant. She has extensive experience in professional development, as well as strategic planning for school improvement at the both the school and district levels.
Her current passion is working with teachers and leaders to continually foster increased levels of staff development that meet the National Staff Development Council (NSDC) standards and research on adult learners. She is continuously looking for new ways to enhance teaching and learning to ensure students are receiving a high quality education that ignites life long learning.
Since 1998, Sam D'Amato has enjoyed learning alongside students and faculty at all levels — pre-K through graduate school — in many spheres of education including: designing program and course curricula, managing classroom procedures and student behavior, assessing learning outcomes, constructing instructional rubrics, mentoring, and using strategies to enrich study and communication skills. He has facilitated professional development workshops on a range of topics for the Association of Teacher Educators, the International Reading Association, and the New York State School Counselor Association.
Sam earned two master's degrees from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York: an MS in Education in 2000 and an MS in Educational Administration and Supervision in 2004.
As D'Youville College's assessment coordinator, Sam enjoys working with faculty in every program and administrative staff in every nonacademic unit in the development of ongoing assessment plans for continuous improvement. Previously, Sam taught 18 different courses for the School of Education at Medaille College in the departments of curriculum and instruction, literacy, and early childhood and adolescent education.
Sam is currently earning a doctorate in Educational Leadership at D'Youville College. His dissertation concentrates on how the development of standards, particularly program and course goals and the measures employed for assessing student learning outcomes, are unique to individual disciplines, and should remain within the purview of the faculty.
Throughout his experiences as a coach with the Western New York Writing Project and as a supervising teacher of future educators, Sam gained insights into how to implement and sustain professional learning communities that are purposeful, productive, and rewarding. He encourages the formation of learning communities that address topics identified by individuals interested in finding new ways to increase institutional effectiveness, enhance curriculum and instruction, and improve student learning outcomes.
Mark Garrison, Ph.D.
A graduate of the University of Buffalo (BA, MA, PhD), Mark has extensive background knowledge in both sociology and education. From his years of research and experience as a college professor, academic programs developer and administrator, Institutional Review Board director, and accreditation report writer, Mark brings a keen understanding of education policy and how it is shaping the education landscape. His research and writings have garnered national attention, including two national-level awards for his book on standardized testing. Mark is known as one of the most engaging, incisive and entertaining public speakers commenting on education today. He conducts research on and writes about both K12 and higher education issues, focusing on educational standards, standardized testing and the role of assessment in learning, as well as the relationship between student motivation, technology and the social context of education. Mark has also actively collaborated with K12 professionals to strengthen the link between primary, secondary and post-secondary institutions, working with organizations to build capacity, advocate for policy change, providing both professional development and consultative services.
Brian Graham is an experienced classroom teacher, adjunct professor, principal and assistant superintendent. For 16 years, he taught in a variety of classrooms as a special education teacher. Currently, Brian is the Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services in the West Seneca Central School District. Brian served as a Middle School principal for 8 years and he spent 3 years as an elementary principal in the same district. In addition to his professional development work with teachers and administrators, Brian has also worked with teachers in training as an adjunct professor in the Daemen College graduate program for teacher certification.
Anne Henry has over thirteen years of experience teaching English language learners (ELLs) in urban and suburban school districts. She was the Director for the Bilingual/ESL Education Technical Assistance Center (BETAC) at Erie 1 BOCES, currently known as RBE – RN, before becoming an ESL Supervisor with the Buffalo Public Schools. Anne is currently the Coordinator/Teacher Mentor with the Model Induction program in Buffalo. In addition to her work in the K – 12 setting, Anne has been an adjunct at D’Youville College, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Buffalo, and Niagara University.
Mara Huber, Ph.D.
Mara Huber sees untapped potential everywhere. Using her training in Cognitive Psychology, Mediation, and Strategic Planning she works with individuals, organizations, and communities to help them get “unstuck” and leverage their resources toward greater impact. She currently serves as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education at the University at Buffalo, working to strengthen experiential learning opportunities for faculty and students. Past leadership roles have included Founding Director of the UB Center for Educational Collaboration, Special Assistant to the President for Educational Initiatives and Director of the UB – Buffalo Schools Partnership. Huber's signature programs include the “Wiggle Your Power” children's book and summer camp, the Buffalo Tanzania Education Project (BTEP), and the MOVE framework and toolkit for making big things happen at work, home, and in the world.
Mara has been recognized for her professional and community efforts through the 2010 “40 Under 40” designation from Buffalo Business First, the UB Department of Psychology Distinguished Alumni Award, and a recent Paul Harris and Lighthouse Award for her presidency of the Buffalo Sunrise Rotary Club. In her free time Mara serves on the boards of Nardin Academy and the International Institute of Buffalo, while raising her four children with husband John, President of O'Connell's Clothing.
Norma Joy, MS, LCAT
Currently living in Western New York, Norma recently retired from Clarence Central Schools after 20 years of teaching art. She earned her Masters degree in Art Education from the State University College at Buffalo, completed her Post Masters work in Art Therapy at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York and received her License from New York State as a Creative Arts Therapist. In addition, she holds a diploma from the Arscura School for Art in the Healing and Social Fields in Toronto.
Her experience has included work with adults from an Aphasia Clinic, and adults and children with special needs. She also worked with the Life Transitions Center in their school-based program with children in elementary and middle school who were dealing with the loss of a loved one. She has conducted workshops for teachers, adults living with cancer, and worked with seniors who were writing their life stories. She opened her own studio for therapeutic art making 8 years ago where she continues to offer classes for adults and children, individuals, as well as groups, and continues to work as a painter.
Greg J. Neimeyer, Ph.D.
Dr. Greg J. Neimeyer is professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Florida where he currently teaches the doctoral course on Psychodiagnosis (DSM-5 and ICD) and has served both as Director of Clinical Training and as Graduate Coordinator. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, he is also a recipient of its Award for Outstanding Contributions to Career and Personality Research. Dr. Neimeyer has published over 200 articles and 10 books, with an emphasis on aspects of professional training and development. A former Chair of the Executive Board of the Council of Counseling Psychologists in the United States, Dr. Neimeyer has also been elected as a Fellow to the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars. Dr. Neimeyer currently divides his time between the University of Florida, where he has maintained a practice in the Family Practice Medical Residency Training Program, and Washington, D.C., where he directs the Office of Continuing Education in Psychology at the American Psychological Association.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is author of children's poetry books Forest Has a Song (Clarion, 2013), Reading Time (Boyds Mills Press, TBA), With my Hands (Clarion, TBA), and two forthcoming picture books. She is also co-author, with Lucy Calkins and Stephanie Parsons, of Poetry: Big Thoughts in Small Packages (Heinemann, 2013). Amy teaches children and teachers about the craft of writing and blogs hundreds of poems and mini lessons at The Poem Farm.
Mimi Wright grew up with a love of literature in Madeleine L'Engle's neighborhood of Morningside Heights in New York City. At Barnard College, she negotiated successfully the "English major now, law school later" trade agreement with her parents. Subsequent short-term careers in civil rights advocacy and college student affairs taught her that education is the great equalizer. Reading and writing workshop has been the focus of her ten years of teaching 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts and still is in her current high school English classroom. Every day she witnesses the power of literature to open minds and hearts in people of all ages.
Graduating from Hunter College (BA) and then Teachers College, Columbia University (MA), Agnes brings extensive background knowledge in organizational psychology, effectiveness and change. Agnes specializes in emotional intelligence and motivation, focusing on learning organizations. She is an expert on retention and has created active learning workshops, best practice seminars and coaching sessions. Agnes’ pioneering research focuses on how an advanced new understanding of motivation can be applied to improve how educational technologies are used, and how that knowledge can lead organizations to adopt practices that enhance student learning and retention. Agnes also has extensive experience working in the non-for-profit Arts sector. This work has been recognized with awards and grants from foundations and government officials. Agnes grew up in Poland and is bilingual. Her experience as an immigrant and English Second Language student brings a unique perspective to her study of student motivation and learning. Agnes is currently completing her doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Elena Zelfond is an ESL teacher with college-level teaching experience informed by many years of ESL teaching in the public schools. She has a background as a multilingual ELL (English Language Learner). Elena is committed to fostering ESL (English as a Second Language) students’ linguistic, academic, social, and emotional growth. Her skills and knowledge include ESL regulations, ESL / bilingual education methods, content-based ESL instructional approaches, collaboration with mainstream teachers, educational research, educating students with limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE), and SIOP (sheltered instruction observational protocol). Elena is a presenter at university and association conferences as well as at local elementary and middle schools. She brings a teacher-researcher approach with an emphasis on continual research-based improvement of TESOL methodology. Elena is a NYS TESOL (New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Teacher Education regional chair for Buffalo, NY, and a member of NYSABE (New York State Association for Bilingual Education).
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