Meet Our Presenters
Rand Bellavia is the Director of the Montante Family Library at D'Youville College. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Masters of Library Science program at the University of Buffalo's School of Informatics, and teaches a "poetry for physicists" style Poetry appreciation class at D'Youville. Outside of academia, Rand is a member of the Pegasus and Logan-award winning nerd-rock band Ookla the Mok. Rand likes guilelessness, comic books, Asian cuisine, Sufi poetry, and Oxford commas.
Suzanne Bracci, MS, LMHC, CAS
Suzanne is the owner of Stress Management and Wellness Solutions, LLC which was formed in 2015 out of a growing concern for the increased need for more education, awareness and empowerment in the areas of personal and workplace stress. After working in business for 15 years and the counseling and education field for 10 years, Suzanne realized what a problem stress was for so many people she encountered...herself included! She is passionate about empowering others to live a happier, healthier life through education, self-awareness and the development of skills, positive mindset and actions necessary to conquer the adverse mental, emotional and physical effects of stress.
Suzanne is an award winning educator and has been a guest presenter for students at the University at Buffalo, Niagara University and Hilbert College. She was selected to present her research at the New York Counseling Association Conference, has presented her school's success with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) at Erie 1 BOCES, and has conducted staff development day presentations and trainings for various school districts throughout WNY.
Suzanne holds a BS Degree in Marketing, a MS Degree in Counselor Education, and a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in school counseling from Canisius College. She holds a permanent NYS Certification in School Counseling and was a full time school counselor for 8 years. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and a Certified Stress Management Coach (CSMC).
Suzanne is the current Vice President of The Character Council of Western New York (CCWNY). Through this organization, she is a Licensed Strata Leadership Associate and is qualified to facilitate the following Strata Leadership training modules: Stress Management, Time Management, Setting and Reaching Goals, Communication and Listening Skills, and "The C3 Concept" (Character: The Key to Success).
For more information about Suzanne or her business, Stress Management and Wellness Solutions, LLC, please visit her website.
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.
A literacy specialist who has taught students from preschool through college, Judy is the author of The Read-Aloud Scaffold: Best Books to Enhance Content Area Curriculum, the Children's Book Corner series of resource books for teachers, librarians, and parents; and the Christopher Counts! series of picture books for ages 4-7. Empowering Families: Practical Ways to Involve Parents in Boosting Literacy, Grade Pre-K—5, co-authored by Susan E. Busch, is Judy's eleventh book. She also has written a monthly column on character education for LibrarySparks and has published dozens of articles in Children's Writer and the annual editions of Writer's Guide. Judy teaches graduate courses in literacy and writing for children. She is a freelance editor and writing consultant for educational publishers, businesses, organizations, and individuals interested in writing for children. An advocate for promoting reading through community initiatives, Judy has received awards from the New York State Reading Association and the Niagara Frontier Reading Council, for whom she is the Professional Development Chair.
Susan E. Busch
Susan received her BA Degree and Elementary Education Certificate from the New York State University College at Brockport in 1974 and her EdM as a Reading Specialist from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1979.
With a career in education spanning 38 years, Mrs. Busch taught in four public school districts and the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. She received certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in Early and Middle Childhood Reading and Language Arts. Susan also completed training as a Ready, Set, Read facilitator for Every Person Influences Children (EPIC). For the past 18 years, Susan has focused on her passion- strengthening the home-school connection by researching and developing parent education programs while working full time as a reading teacher. She has conducted over 150 workshops for parents and students for the Ken-Ton School District and state and local professional organizations.
A member of the International Reading Association, New York State Reading Association and Niagara Frontier Reading Council (NFRC) for over 20 years, Susan served on the Board of Directors of the NFRC for 17 years and was the Outreach Chairperson for 13 years, instituting a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to supply books for Habitat families.
Mrs. Busch received the Niagara Frontier Reading Council's Service to Reading Award and the New York State Reading Association's (NYSRA) Service to Reading Award in 2000. Promoting collaboration between school children and those serving in the military, Susan received the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) NYS Citizenship Teacher of the Year Award in 2007. Susan was also honored in 2008 by the Town of Tonawanda Youth Board with the Robert Swift Service to Youth Award for her widespread efforts in schools, after school clubs and her work with the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program.
Having retired from full-time teaching in 2012, Mrs. Busch continues to present workshops to students, parents and teachers as a Family Literacy Consultant.
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.
Dr. Donegan joined D'Youville College as assistant professor in January 2010. Prior to this appointment she was a Clinical Research Coordinator in Neuro oncology at Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Donegan has over twenty years of teaching experience, the majority in departments of psychology and more recently in medical and schools of pharmacy. She assumed an appointment as assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2000. While there her main teaching focus was on the "human dimensions of pharmaceutical care" which included the psycho-social elements of adherence to healthy lifestyle changes and medication therapy. Her clinical experiences include work in children/youth services, forensics, private practice, addictions recovery, and community mental health. Dr. Donegan is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Association: Division 32 Humanistic Psychology. Dr. Donegan has been devoted to student welfare and underserved populations. While at the University of Pittsburgh she chaired the Senate Student Affairs Committee and led an effort to assist faculty in accessing support services for students struggling with mental health issues. She received a student-nominated award for teaching excellence at Duquesne University. Dr. Donegan earned her BA in Psychology from University of Waterloo, Ontario, her MA in Clinical Psychology from Duquesne University, and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Duquesne University.
Dr. Donegan's research interests include new and innovative teaching approaches that facilitate higher levels of learning, stress management (including healthy coping mechanisms) for student and health providers, and applications of motivational interviewing to improve adherence and adoption of healthier life style choices.
Ellen Dunwoodie is an experienced elementary physical education teacher and high school and middle school coach. She holds a Masters of Education in both Physical Education and Adaptive Physical Education. She has co-authored "Manifesting Change...Your 30 Day Journey To Having What You Really Want In Your Life", "Reaching Your Highest Potential in 8 Steps", and "Inspirations To Start Your Day Morning Motivators to Get Every Day Moving in a Positive Direction".
Ellen is the founder and co-owner of Think It And Have It LLC, and along with her business partner Deborah Gromek have been presenting to school districts and state conferences for the past four years. Ellen is driven by the belief that everyone can be successful and is passionate about promoting a positive attitude to increase happiness. She brings excitement, passion and humor to her trainings. She has organized and facilitated numerous staff development and conference presentations using proven positive strategies, techniques and ideas to get conference attendees moving in a positive direction in there life. Her ability to communicate and connect with a wide-ranging audience, while still having fun, has gained her much praise and high recommendations from administrators, coordinators, students, parents, colleagues and school community.
Dr. Thomas Eberle MSPT, DPT, KTCC, FAAOMPT
Dr. Thomas Eberle MSPT, DPT, KTCC, FAAOMPT is a native of Buffalo, New York where he completed his Master of Science, Physical Therapy in 1998 and immediately moved to south Florida to practice. Dr. Eberle completed his Doctorate of Physical Therapy/Orthopedic Residency in 2000 with the Ola Grimsby Institute and completed an Orthopedic Fellowship program for the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (AAOMPT) through the Ola Grimsby Institute in 2006. Dr. Eberle works clinically at the Holy Cross Orthopedic Institute and he is an adjunct professor at Florida International University, teaching orthopedic physical therapy. He also teaches continuing education courses for his company the Florida Institute of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (FIOMPT). Dr. Eberle is the Director for the South East District of the FPTA and an active Fellow in the AAOMPT. He has published an orthopedic manual for the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic pathologies, is published in several medical journals, is certified in Kinematic Taping, and presents research and educational seminars nationally and internationally. He enjoys all kinds of sports, cooking, art, music, and traveling.
Mario Fucinari, DC, CCSP, MCS-P, MCS-I
Dr. Mario Fucinari is uniquely qualified as a Certified Insurance Consultant, Certified Medical Compliance Specialist, Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician and a full-time practitioner. Dr. Fucinari has helped train doctors and staff over the last 27 years. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1986. After graduating from Palmer College Davenport, Dr. Fucinari completed studies in chiropractic orthopedics and attained his certification as a chiropractic sports physician and a Certified Insurance Consultant. Dr. Fucinari is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Practitioners. He is the first chiropractor to attain the Certified Medical Compliance Specialist Physician (MCS-P) designation. He currently practices full time in Decatur, Illinois. He is a national speaker for NCMIC and Foot Levelers. His colorful and outgoing personality guarantees an entertaining presentation, while his program will help provide up-to-the-minute information.
Brian Graham, Ed.D.
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.
Deborah Gromek has been working in Public education since 1981. High School Math and Computer Programming kept her very busy until 2001. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree and two Master of Science degrees, one in Education and one in District Administration. She was appointed as an Administrator as Frontier Central's District Technology Coordinator. Of course being a true teacher she could not stay out of the classroom. So for 14 years she has been an Adjunct Professor for Niagara University. Go Purple Eagles!!!
Deborah has co-authored "Manifesting Change...Your 30 Day Journey To Having What You Really Want In Your Life", "Reaching Your Highest Potential in 8 Steps", and "Inspirations To Start Your Day Morning Motivators to Get Every Day Moving in a Positive Direction". She is co-owner of Think It and Have It LLC, presenting to schools districts and state conferences for the past three years. Deborah has always lived her life looking at what is possible and now goes out to share her views. She knows life is wonderful and we need to be reminded of everything we should be grateful for. She enjoys life with her husband, Michael and her three children.
Jennifer Illes MS, DC
Born and raised in Canada, Dr. Illes obtained a bachelor of science degree with a minor in psychology at Brock University. After graduation, she then crossed the border and attended New York Chiropractic College. She was the class salutatorian, a member of the Phi Chi Omega honors society for excellence in academic standings, and the recipient of the Clinical Award of Excellence. Her practice included a unique blend of contemporary techniques such as electro-acupuncture, soft tissue manipulation, joint manipulation and mobilization techniques. The majority of her primary care clinical practice was working with amateur to professional athletes and teams.
Dr. Illes a graduate of Hamilton's McMaster University Contemporary Medical Acupuncture course, and NUHS's Master of Advanced Clinical Practice Degree.
Her personal and academic goal is to continually publish both peer and non-peer reviewed literature for health care physicians.
Robert Leopold, Pharm D.
Dr. Robert Leopold began his position as Chair, Department of Pharmacy Practice in July of 2009 after having served as Director of Experiential Education since November 2008. Dr. Leopold comes to D'Youville from the University Of Appalachia College Of Pharmacy where he was an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice. Recently, he received an M.D. degree having completed his basic sciences in Belize, Central America (2007).
In addition to studying medicine in Belize, Dr. Leopold was an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at his medical school, he has completed clinical rotations in medicine in Guatemala City, Florence, Italy, Chicago, as well as Albany Medical College, Albany, New York and Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York.
Dr. Leopold possesses extensive experience in community pharmacy having owned and operated pharmacies continuously for 25 years in New York State. Dr. Leopold has also held pharmacy positions at Roosevelt Hospital and Beth Israel Medical Center both in N.Y.C., Keller Army Hospital, West Point, N.Y. and The University of Chicago Hospitals
Jessica Mascle has been studying and practicing Eastern philosophies, medicine, and meditation for twenty years. In 1996, she learned Transcendental Meditation and moved to a meditation community in Fairfield, Iowa. More recently she has cultivated a personal practice in Mindfulness meditation and sees great value in teaching this to others, especially in the education field. She has been teaching United States History and Government at the high school level for ten years and sees a natural progression of combining her classroom and school setting experience with her passion for holistic health and mind-body integration systems.
Suzanne S. McKenney is President of The Character Council of Western New York, previously known as the Character Council of Hamburg, an award-winning, not-for-profit, 501(c)3, volunteer organization dedicated to fostering the development of character excellence for all citizens within the Greater Buffalo and Western New York Region. A founding member of the Council in 2000, Suzanne's consistent leadership since the Council's inception, continues to galvanize support for the implementation of character-centered initiatives within all sectors throughout the regional community.
Through the Character Council of Western New York, Suzanne is a Licensed Strata Leadership Associate and is qualified to facilitate the following Strata Leadership training modules: "The C3 Concept" - Character: The Key to Success; Building Trust; Building Teamwork; Setting and Reaching Goals; and Dynamic Leadership: Active, Engaging, and Transforming.
As an invited guest lecturer, Suzanne has shared her passionate commitment to community-supported character development with undergraduate and graduate level students of education; business and educational professionals; and community members. She has served as Conference Director for the Character Council's annual "Creating a Culture of Character" Conference helping to nurture character-focused, leadership programming for middle and high school students, educators, business professionals, and athletic coaches. In tribute to her hometown of Rome, New York, Suzanne was instrumental in encouraging the up-start of the Rome Character Initiative in 2005.
Suzanne graduated from Springfield College in Massachusetts, earning her BS in Health Fitness in 1982. Her graduate studies at Springfield College were in Exercise Physiology. Among other passions, Suzanne is a nutrition enthusiast, and has championed sound nutrition practice and physical activity as it relates to the fight against the "epidemic" of obesity in children.
Visit the Character Council of Western New York website for more information.
Dr. Karen Panzarella
Dr. Karen J. Panzarella strives to facilitate the transition from the academic to the clinic environment for optimal patient care. Dr. Panzarella serves an associate professor at D'Youville College. She holds a bachelor's degree in physical therapy, a master's degree in exercise science, and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Buffalo. Dr. Panzarella has over twenty-five years experience as a clinician and twelve years as an educator. Her courses focus on education, case management, basic PT skills, and critical thinking. Dr. Panzarella's research includes the use of standardized patients and medical simulation to promote and assess clinical and cultural competence.
Dr. Robert J. Perelli, CJM
Dr. Robert J. Perelli, CJM has been a student of Bowen Family Systems Theory since 1986. His specialty is the application of the theory to families living with a chronic or life-threatening disease.
In response to the increasing interest in "systems thinking," Dr. Perelli founded The Center for Family Systems Theory of WNY, Inc. to serves families in transition or crisis as well as the professionals who care for them. The Center accomplishes its mission by providing individual, couple and family counseling; consultation for communities of faith and family owned businesses; and training programs for professionals who work with families (e.g. faith-leaders, educators, social service providers, attorneys, medical professionals. etc.) as well as anyone interested in "systems thinking." Dr. Perelli has provided these services locally, nationally and internationally.
Ordained in 1976, Father Perelli is a Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Eudist Fathers and the weekend priest at St. Joseph University Church in Buffalo, NY.
Sarah P. Pictor, PT, DPT, PCS
Sarah is a licensed Physical Therapist in the state of New York, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Vermont in 1981. She obtained her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2005. Sarah is an APTA Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatrics, recently recertifying for the PCS. Over the past 30 years of clinical practice, her professional interests are in the areas of pediatric and adult neurodevelopmental disabilities and hippotherapy. She is a full time Clinical Associate Professor at D'Youville College in Buffalo, New York, teaching since 1998.
Molly Rosinski has been in education for the past 16 years. She taught special education for 8 years at elementary and high school level. She also worked with the Job Corps program and helped improve disabilities services and programs at Job Corps centers. She has been a school counselor at the elementary level for the last 4 years. Mindfulness has been apart of her personal and professional life for the past 2 years. In addition to training received at Mindful Schools she has also attended 1-2 day workshops on the topic and participates in a weekly meditation group. Incorporating mindfulness and gratitude techniques both professionally and personally has been life changing. She is excited to share what has worked for her and hopes to help others achieve greater satisfaction both personally and professionally.
Vicki Schroeder has been in education for the past 9 years. She is a certified high school math teacher and taught Algebra and Geometry for two years. She then decided to pursue a school counseling degree and has been a high school counselor for the last 6 years. Through personal reflection and conversations with Molly and Jessica, she became interested in mindfulness practice and through her research and training through Mindful Schools has incorporated the practice into both her work and personal life. Mindfulness has forever improved her well-being and she is excited to embark on this experience of sharing what she has learned and is still learning with other professionals in education.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is author of the award-winning children’s poetry book, Forest Has a Song, as well as five forthcoming children's books with Random House, Houghton Mifflin, Boyds Mills Press, and Scholastic. Co-author of the second grade poetry book in the new Units of Study (Heinemann), Amy has been a fifth grade teacher, and for the past seventeen years, she has worked with hundreds of teachers studying the crafts of writing and teaching. Amy shares notebook nosy-ness at her blog Sharing Our Notebooks and offers hundreds of poems and mini lessons at The Poem Farm.