List of Members

Sherry M. Cleary, Co-Chair

New York City Early Childhood Professional Development Institute - Executive Director
http://www.earlychildhoodnyc.org/
Sherry M. Cleary is the Executive Director of the New York City Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, housed at the City University of New York. Ms. Cleary has worked in the field of early childhood education as a classroom teacher, a program administrator, and as both a faculty member and higher education administrator for more than 35 years. She is the founder of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Currently, she serves as President of the New York State Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NYSAECTE) and on the Board of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators.

Patricia E. Persell, Co-Chair

New York State Head Start Collaboration Office - Collaboration Director
http://www.ccf.ny.gov/HS/index.cfm
Patricia E. Persell is New York State Head Start Collaboration Director, working to ensure that Head Start is included in state programs and policies. She began her career as a nursery school teacher, worked as Education Coordinator for Albany County Head Start and then served as Director of the Bank Street Head Start in New York City. A longtime La Leche League Leader volunteer, she also serves on the Obesity Prevention in Child Care Partnership, a state level steering committee.

Melissa Alexander

NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance - Employment and Income Support Programs
Melissa Alexander works in Employment and Income Support Programs (EISP) at the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). Melissa’s focus at EISP is on employment-driven programs that support OTDA’s mission to enhance the economic security of low-income individuals and families. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare from the College of Saint Rose, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, where she focused her studies on human resources management and social welfare policy.

Evelyn Blanck

New York Center for Child Development - Associate Executive Director
http://www.nyccd.org
Evelyn Blanck is the Associate Executive Director of the New York Center for Child Development and Program Director for the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Treatment Program. She is Co-President of the New York Zero to Three Network and Chair of the New York City Early Childhood Mental Health Strategic Work Group, an advisory committee to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Evelyn has focused much of her work on the integration of mental health in education, primary care and all child serving systems. She has a New York City mayoral appointment to the Community Services Board Subcommittee on Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

Kate Breslin

Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy - President & CEO
http://www.scaany.org
Kate Breslin is the President & CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, a statewide nonprofit organization working to shape policies to improve health and human services in New York State. Kate has spent her career working for policy solutions that improve the lives of low-income and vulnerable people. She serves on the Capital Region Advisory Committee for the Health Insurance Exchange; Medicaid Evidence-Based Benefit Review Workgroup; and Behavioral Health Services Workgroup. She helps lead several statewide coalitions, including Winning Beginning NY; Medicaid Matters New York; Health Care for All New York; and the New York State Coalition for Adult Home Reform.

Meredith Chimento

Early Care and Learning Council - Executive Director
http://www.earlycareandlearning.org
Meredith Chimento is the Executive Director of the Early Care and Learning Council (ECLC). Meredith began her career as a Community Education Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic, followed by many years at the Capital District YMCA. Prior to ECLC Meredith worked for the United Way of the Greater Capital Region focusing on ways to change community conditions specific to basic needs, education, income and health.

Phillip Cleary

North Syracuse Central School District - Special Education Teacher
http://nscsd.org/webpages/pcleary/
Philip Cleary is a special education teacher in the North Syracuse Central School District. He teaches preschool special education at the North Syracuse Early Education Program at Main Street School. In addition, Philip is an active advocate on behalf of children and working families as the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) Political Action Coordinator in Central New York.

Pedro Cordero

Goddard Riverside Community Center - Director of Child Development Services
http://www.goddard.org
Pedro Cordero is Director of Child Development Services at Goddard Riverside Community Center in Manhattan. He previously served the City of New York, with positions in the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)/Division of Community Planning and Development, Human Resources Administration (HRA)/Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Mayor’s Office for Children and Families. A certified Federal Evaluator for Head Start programs, he is also a member of the Latino Early Care and Education Coalition and teaches in the Professional Development Institute’s Child Program Administrator Credential (CPAC) initiative at City University of New York.

Denise Dowell

CSEA - Director Early Learning and Care Programs
http://www.cseany.org
Denise Dowell currently directs the Civil Service Employees Union’s (CSEA) Early Learning and Care Programs. She brings more than 20 years experience in early childhood education a family child care provider, classroom teacher, center director, educator, and advocate. In 1998, she co-founded the Philadelphia Worthy Wage Campaign, the United Child Care Union, and the Philadelphia Area Jobs with Justice Coalition. As Coordinator of Child Care Providers Together, a project of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), she provided support and technical assistance to AFSCME affiliates and Child Care Providers United, a new union for family child care providers in Pennsylvania and California.

Andre Eaton

The Parent-Child Home Program - New York State Regional Coordinator
http://www.parent-child.org
Andre Eaton is the Regional Coordinator for The Parent-Child Home Program, a home-based literacy and parenting program for at-risk families. Before joining The Parent-Child Home Program, he worked for Covenant House New York, as Southeastern Regional Director for Jumpstart for Young Children, Inc. and served as Executive Director of Covenant House Georgia. He is currently a candidate for a Masters of Divinity at The Interdenominational Theological Center and works as a student supervisor to those studying social work.

Maggie Evans, C.P.A.

Agri-Business Child Development (ABCD) - Executive Director
http://www.abcdny.org/
Maggie Evans joined Agri-Business Child Development (ABCD) in 1995 as Director of Finance and became Executive Director in 1999. ABCD serves over 1,500 children annually, with 12 Migrant and Seasonal Head Start centers throughout New York State, a traditional Head Start Program in Seneca County and an Early Head Start Program in Orange County. Maggie began her career in the corporate world, working at both KeyBank and Earst & Young. She is a member of the CEO/Community Partner Affiliate of the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association’s Board of Directors and the New York State Community Services Block Grant Advisory Council.

Melanie Faby

NYS Education Department - Title 1 and Homeless Education

Robert G. Frawley

Early Childhood Policy Consultant
Bob Frawley's work has been directed at building effective systems of supports and services for children and families. This includes working on a variety of research and policy initiatives, including projects addressing such issues as runaway and homeless youth, child abuse and neglect, juvenile justice, prevention programs, and services for children with disabilities. For the last 23 years, he has focused his efforts primarily on issues related to young children and their families. Bob has led many statewide early childhood initiatives. On ​t​he ECAC, he Co-chairs the Coordinated and Responsive Systems Focus Area, which is comprised of six work teams. He also co-chairs the Data Development Work Team. Outside of the ECAC, he supports the Adirondack Birth to Three Alliance, which is a project of the Adirondack Foundation.

Jeanne S. Gallbraith

State University of New York College at Geneseo - Visiting Assistant Professor of Inclusive Early Childhood Education
Jeanne S. Galbraith begins a new position as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Inclusive Early Childhood Education in the fall at the State University of New York College at Geneseo (SUNY Geneseo). Prior to this position she was an Assistant Professor and Early Childhood Coordinator at the State University of New York College at Cortland (SUNY Cortland). Dr. Galbraith has worked in the field of early childhood and early childhood special education as a classroom teacher and as a faculty member for over 20 years. Currently, she serves as the President of the New York State Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NYSAECTE).

Timothy Hathaway

Prevent Child Abuse New York - Executive Director
http://www.preventchildabuseny.org
Tim Hathaway has served as the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse New York since 2014 and in this position he has focused on promoting proven child abuse prevention strategies such as home visiting, community based sex abuse prevention, advocacy and public awareness. Tim is passionate about eliminating racial disparities, promoting best practice standards to prevent child abuse, excellence in non-profit administration and advancing place based, partner-driven solutions. He also believes in the value of professional development and has been a trainer and consultant to early childhood professionals for 25 years.Prior to his work with Prevent Child Abuse New York, Tim was the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse in North Dakota and for almost 20 years before that he worked with Head Start programs in a variety of capacities. Very early in his career, he managed and directed early care and learning programs for the YMCA and faith-based communities. In sum, Tim brings nearly 30 years and a great range of experience working with children and families.

Liz Isakson, Ph.D.

Docs for Tots - Executive Director
Dr. Isakson is the Executive Director of Docs for Tots, a non-profit organization that promotes practices, policies, and investments that will enable young children to thrive. Docs for Tots creates linkages between doctors, policymakers, early childhood practitioners, and other stakeholders to ensure that children grow up healthy. Dr. Isakson is a pediatrician and public health practitioner with over 20 years of experience. She has multiple publications published across the systems of early care and education, health, and family economic security. She teaches advocacy to graduate level students at Mt. Sinai School of Public Health. Dr. Isakson trained in general pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of New York where she was Chief Resident. She received her medical degree from the University of Connecticut Medical School.

Mark K. Jasinski

Newfield Central School District - Director of Curriculum and Instruction
http://www.newfieldschools.org
Newfield Central School District http://www.newfieldschools.org Mark K. Jasinski serves on the New York State Prekindergarten through Grade 3 Administrators’ Association Board of Directors and brings over 20 years of experience as an educator and school district administrator. As a certified special education teacher and father of two children with special needs he has a keen understanding of the importance of quality early childhood programming. In 2007, he served on the Temporary Task Force on Preschool Special Education.

Ira Katzenstein

Cattaraugus County Project Head Start - Director
http://headstartnetwork.com/wordpress/
Ira Katzenstein is Director of Cattaraugus County Project Head Start, which expanded to serve Wyoming County in 1990, and to include Early Head Start in 1998. Eleven years ago, Head Start became the local Success by Six program lead. In his tenure, the program has partnered with many agencies and school districts on projects that include Universal Pre-K programming, Cavity Free Kids, and Early Reading First as well as accreditation of all sites by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Ira is a member of the Town of Olean planning board and Olean Board of Education. He also serves on the boards of the Cattaraugus County Arts Council, Teacher Resource Center and New York State Head Start Association.

Kristen Kerr

New York State Association for the Education of Young Children - Executive Director
http://www.nysaeyc.org
Kristen is the Executive Director of the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children, (NYSAEYC), a membership association for early childhood professionals. She first joined NYSAEYC as Public Policy Coordinator and as a longtime member of the association, brings more than 20 years of experience as an early care and education professional. She represented NYSAEYC as co-convener of the Winning Beginning NY coalition.

Abbe Kovacik

Capital District Child Care Coordinating Council, Inc. - Executive Director
Abbe Kovacik is the Executive Director of the Capital District Child Care Coordinating Council, Inc. located in Albany, NY. The Capital District Child Care Council is a non-profit agency focused on improving the quality of early childhood education and after-school programming across the community. Abbe served as faculty at Schenectady County Community College, Fulton Montgomery Community College, and at the College of Saint Rose where she taught courses in early childhood education. Abbe holds a B.S. in Psychology from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, and a Master of Education in Educational Psychology from the College of Saint Rose. She is the co-author of Observing and Understanding Child Development: A Child Development Manual published by Delmar Cengage Learning.