Meet Our Presenters
Dr. Jason Adsit
Jason Adsit is the inaugural Dean of the School of Arts, Sciences & Education at D'Youville College. Before that, he served as the Associate Provost for Academic Administration at the University of Rochester, the Director of the Teaching & Learning Center at UB, and the Assistant Dean for Institutional Research and Assessment in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. Trained as a philosopher, Dr. Adsit has spent the bulk of his career working in the areas of assessment, instructional design, faculty development, and higher ed policy. He likes dusty old books, loud punk rock music, large data-sets, meme-combat, and hanging out with his brood of little kids.
Mark Beehler serves as the Chief Information Officer in the West Seneca Central School District where he has previously worked as the Director of Science and Science teacher. In addition to his work in West Seneca, Mark served as Assistant Principal at Orchard Park Middle School and as an adjunct faculty member in the Canadian Scholars program at Daemen College. Mark received his BS in Science Education and MS in Educational Leadership from Canisius College. Mark is a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership at D’Youville College.
Mark is a certified Drive™ facilitator and coach
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.
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.
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.
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.
Catie Huber, Ed.D.
Catherine Huber joined D'Youville as Director of the Center for Professional Studies in July 2013. She came to DYC after serving for almost twenty years in public education as an English teacher, staff developer, curriculum coordinator, and administrator. Catherine earned her undergraduate degree in English from Ithaca College followed by Master’s degrees in English Education and Educational Leadership from Canisius College, and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from D'Youville College. Catherine has presented locally, regionally, and nationally on topics such as differentiated leadership practices, the development of norms in organizations, the creation of guaranteed, viable organizational culture, the use of technology in professional development, and effective pedagogy.
Catie is a certified Drive™ facilitator and coach
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
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.
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.
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.
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