Director of Professional Development
Dr. Betty Ann Wyks is the Director of Professional Development for Southern Westchester BOCES. She has extensive experience at a variety of school and district level positions. Having served as a teacher, principal, reading coordinator, curriculum specialist, director of special education, assistant superintendent and superintendent of schools, Dr. Wyks possesses a deep understanding of the issues facing education at all levels.
Dr. Wyks holds a Doctorate in Educational Administration from Columbia University, a Master’s degree in Learning Disabilities and a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources. She has presented nationally and is passionate about her work in education. Dr. Wyks was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Rider University for her work in the area of educational technology.
When asked about joining Southern Westchester BOCES in her new role, Dr. Wyks commented, “I am excited about my new position and look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with and support the talented members our constituent districts in Westchester. Our collective synergy can serve to enhance the opportunities afforded the students in our communities.”
Director of Information and the School Library System
Pam Berger is Director of Information and the School Library System at Southern Westchester BOCES. She has over 30 years of experience in education and librarianship. Pam has presented in over 40 states in addition to Canada, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Great Britain, South Africa, Belgium and Switzerland. She has been a National Seminar Speaker for the American Association of School Librarians and the Bureau of Education Research, and has served as a consultant, content developer, lead trainer and project director on multiple IMLS, LSTA and other grant programs. Her latest books are Teaching Inquiry: Engaging the Learner Within (Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2012) and Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for Teaching and Learning in a Digital World (Libraries Unlimited, 2010).
Director of School Partnerships & Innovative Practices
David Luhman, MPS, SDA, David Luhman is the Director of School Partnerships & Innovative Practices for Southern Westchester BOCES. Prior to his current position, David was a Special Education School Improvement Specialist for the Lower Hudson RSE-TASC, a secondary level Humanities Department Chair, a district Supervisor of Special Education and English Language Arts for grades 6-12, and a teacher in both special education and English. He has also been an adjunct professor at Long Island University's Graduate School of Education and has presented at a number of national and state-wide conferences.
Executive Director, Hudson Valley RBE-RN
Carlos Sánchez is the Executive Director of the Hudson Valley RBE-RN. Carlos began his career in education as a Dual Language and English as a Second Language teacher in New Rochelle. He also began his career as an administrator in New Rochelle where he served a total of twelve years. He is entering his 2c1st year in public education. More recently, Carlos served in the capacity Director of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment for the Port Chester – Rye-Union Free School District. He joins the HV RBE-RN after serving a total of eight years in Port Chester in the capacity of both building and district administrator.
Assistant Director of Professional Development
Dr. Michele Darby is the Assistant Director of Professional Development for Southern Westchester BOCES, joining the team in 2017. She is an educational frontrunner who is passionate about helping people improve, producing strong leaders, and collaborating with administrators and staff members to create a rich education for students. Before arriving at BOCES, Dr. Darby was a teacher, assistant principal and principal in Brooklyn and Long Island, where she led student curriculum and professional development. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Morgan State University; two master’s degrees – one in educational administration and supervision from Touro College and the other in school district leadership from Hofstra University; and her doctorate in educational leadership and administration from Dowling College. In 2017, Dr. Darby was honored as a Woman of Distinction by the New York State Assembly.
Assistant Director, Hudson Valley RBE-RN
Kathleen Lowell is Assistant Director of the Hudson Valley RBE-RN. She brings more than 25 years in public education and educational leadership to the team. In the classroom, Kathy has a range of experiences including teaching in a first-grade dual language classroom, teaching Spanish in secondary settings and teaching fifth grade (many years of which were in a co-teaching setting.) Educational leadership experiences include elementary principal and district-level curriculum leadership roles. Kathy holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Fordham University and a Master’s degree in Curriculum Studies from Western Connecticut State University. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Education from SUNY Brockport.
Supervisor of Literacy and Learning
Debra Fishman is the Supervisor of Literacy and Learning for Southern Westchester BOCES. For 21 years, she has been at the Rye City School District, where she has served in many different roles. She began her career as a special education teacher at Windward and then in Rye, shifted to the elementary classroom and then became a language arts coordinator. For six years, she was a full-time staff developer, where she led many workshops in both literacy and technology. Deb helped the district implement differentiated instruction, RTI as well as the Regents Reform Agenda.
Supervisor of Safety and Facilities
Brandon A. Cruz is the Supervisor of School Safety and Facilities for Southern Westchester BOCES. He joined the Center for Professional Development and Curriculum Support in 2017, working to ensure that all school safety and building facilities needs are met throughout SWBOCES’ 32 component districts. Before arriving at BOCES, Mr. Cruz was a middle school special education teacher and a special education instructional support specialist. He most recently spent a decade as a well-respected assistant principal in a high-needs elementary school in the Bronx. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean history, with a minor in education, and his master’s degree in special education, both at SUNY Albany.
Program Coordinator, Homeless Student Program
Maria McGinty has been the Program Coordinator of the Southern Westchester BOCES Homeless Student Program since 2001. She has an MSW from Columbia University and has worked with homeless families for the past 20 years. She initially was the Casework Supervisor for families living in emergency housing and then went on to become the Casework Supervisor in a large Family Shelter. Maria is a NYS Education Department-approved provider in Child Abuse training, and has provided numerous throughout Westchester County.
Resource Specialist for Technology, Hudson Valley RBE-RN
Gregory Bailey is a Resource Specialist for Technology with the Hudson Valley RBE-RN. Greg graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a Master degree in Adolescent Education with a focus in Social Studies. After teaching in the classroom he was hired as a Content Specialist at Ulster BOCES and tasked with the creation of the K12LN Virtual AP (VAP) Program under New York State's VAP Grant. He helped design, develop, and manage six online AP courses offered to students in over 30 districts across New York. He also trained and oversaw dozens of virtual teachers working in the program. In addition to online learning Greg is a Google Certified Educator and specializes in offering workshops in educational technology, 3D printing, and the new Social Studies Framework.
Resource Specialist, Hudson Valley RBE-RN
José Meléndez, Ph.D. is a Resource Specialist with the Hudson Valley RBE-RN. José's career in education spans over 25 years. He started as a Middle School Bilingual educator in Boston, Massachusetts and in Puerto Rico public schools. He has also taught ESL to adults in colleges and community based programs for a good part of his professional life. José has done extensive work on teacher preparation, training and coaching in ENL, Bilingual Education, and reading instruction, among other areas. He has done this work in higher education settings, school regions and districts in New York State and Puerto Rico. José has also extensive experience working as an educational coordinator and administrator in Bilingual and ESL education. He has a Master degree in Reading and Language/Bilingual Education from Boston University. He earned his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice of SUNY at Albany’s School of Education. More recently he concluded his graduate training in Educational Administration at Albany’s College of Saint Rose. He joined the HV RBE-RN as a Resource Specialist after serving as Academic Dean in Tech High Charter School in Albany.
Resource Specialist, Hudson Valley RBE-RN
David Mumper is a Resource Specialist with the Hudson Valley RBE-RN. David has worked in secondary and higher education since 2001. He completed his master’s degrees at Harvard University, City College of New York and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, earning degrees in philosophy, TESOL, and educational administration. Mr. Mumper has taught ELA and ESL at the high school level in the NYC Department of Education since 2008, most recently serving as a Lead Teacher and teacher mentor in District 79 (“Alternative Schools and Programs”). He delights in creating unique problem-based learning experiences for ENL students, and in supporting schools in creatively meeting the learning needs of all students.
Special Education School Improvement Specialist, LH RSE-TASC
Denise Jaffe is a Special Education School Improvement Specialist (SESIS) for the Lower Hudson Regional Special Education Technical Assistance and Support Center (RSE-TASC). She holds a Master’s Degree in Speech/Language Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a second Master’s Degree in Supervision and Administration from Pace University-White Plains. Denise has 32 years of experience working as a staff developer, coach, and facilitator to enhance the educational experience of students with disabilities and diverse learners. Denise has partnered with NYU Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality for many years to address the issues of overrepresentation of minorities in special education. Denise is known for her ability to provide practical research based strategies that are easily implemented to improve educational outcomes for all students. She has taught a 30 hour course for school based speech/language therapists for over 25 years which has developed into a true professional learning community. The class which is always filled to capacity highlights the changes underway in education and research for the 21st century speech/language pathologist.