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Sarah Bentley-Garfinkel (she/her) is the School and Early Care & Education Program Coordinator at the Health Initiative in Potsdam NY, currently in the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities project. Sarah has been with the agency since 2008, partnering with area schools and coordinating the North Country Jr. Iron Chef competition. Sarah is especially enthusiastic about collaborations that enhance opportunities for well-being, serving on various coalitions and teams. Sarah enjoys cooking, yoga and digging in the dirt of her small perennial gardens. Most of all, she is delighted to be a parent and an aunt to kiddos from infant to young adult. You’ll find Sarah smiling if she’s playing outside, hiking, snowshoeing or simply taking a walk with any of this amazing bunch!
Kayleigh Bowles is a fifth-grade teacher at Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary School in the Monticello Central School District in Sullivan County. Kayleigh works with an organization called Sullivan 180 as the Healthier Generation Advisor. Through this organization, Kayleigh is able to use grant funds to promote healthy choices for the next generation. She also works with community organizations, such as Cornell Cooperative Extension, to provide all students with nutrition education. She is currently working to making her school a CATCH school!
Sean Brock, MEd, serves as the Associate Director for Whole Child Health. In this role, he supports a variety of content areas including tobacco-free districts, family and community engagement, school wellness policy, physical education/physical activity, and staff wellness at both school and out-of-school time sites. Sean helps schools and districts identify strengths and challenges, provides expertise on creating and implementing action plans to close the gaps in creating healthier environments. Prior to joining the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Sean served in K-12 education as a teacher, school administrator, district supervisor and state coordinator overseeing K-12 programming for health and physical education.
Erica Dahl is a SNAP-Ed Community Nutrition Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orange County. She has a BS in Nutrition Science from Russell Sage College and an MPH from Southern New Hampshire University. She has worked with schools across the Hudson Valley for six years, leading workshops on movement in the classroom. As an avid runner, she is passionate about teaching families how to transform their physical and mental health by finding joy in living active lives.
Jessica Dean is a Kindergarten teacher at the Matilda Ave School in Bronx, NY. She has been teaching for 17 years. Her partnership with CookShop started over ten years. Jessica teaches CookShop in her classroom and is both the CookShop Coordinator and CookShop Parent Coordinator for her K – 5 elementary school.
Chef Dave Dunn has a B.S. in Food industry Management from Cornell University, 1985. He was Food service Director for Aramark Corp from 1985-2005, Food Service Director for P.C.S.D from 2005-2021, and is currently the Food Service Director for K.C.S.D.
Julie Ennis taught elementary education in the Bronx for 7 years; she has worked for the Town of Ramapo Parks department on and off for over 20 years; she has also coached basketball, field hockey and Lacrosse. Family Resource Coordinator for 13 years.
Bryan M. Fairbrother has been with Morrisville-Eaton Central Schools since July 2018, first as the Director of Special Education, Response to Intervention (RtI) and Data, and as the Elementary Principal and Director of Special Education, RtI, and Data since August 2020. In his capacities, he leads the elementary school as its principal, and oversees special education, Response to Intervention, instructional data, and data security and privacy for the district. He also serves as the district’s Chairperson for the Committees on Special Education and Preschool Special Education (CSE & CPSE). Through this position, he provides leadership and oversight of the district’s special education programming, response to intervention services, and all data verification and certification needs.
Before taking on his current role, Bryan served as the Educational Data Leader and an Educational Data Analyst at the Mohawk Regional Information Center (MORIC). He previously worked as an elementary special education teacher for eight years, five years at Utica City School District and three years at Inlet Common School. Bryan is certified to teach in New York State and also holds certifications in School Building Leadership, School District Leadership, Childhood and Early Childhood Education, and Students with Disabilities (Grades 1-6) and Students with Disabilities (Birth – Grade 2). Bryan is also a 2017 recipient of a Mohawk Valley Educator Distinguished Service Award from The Genesis Group.
Bryan earned his bachelor’s degree in childhood education from SUNY Oneonta, and his master’s degree in special education from Touro College. He also holds a Certificate of Advanced Study from SUNY Cortland in educational administration.
Caitlin Fitzpatrick is the Associate Director of Nutrition & Health Services at Food Bank For New York City, overseeing Food Bank’s CookShop nutrition education program. She has been with the Food Bank for over a decade, putting her creative skills to work realizing the need for improved access to good food, better health and quality education.
Daniel W. Hatcher is the Director of Community Partnerships at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation where he has served since 2008. At Healthier Generation, Daniel oversees partnerships and manages technical assistance services and resources for before and after school and summer programs as they work to achieve national standards for healthy eating and physical activity. Daniel’s work includes blogging on wellness and the integration of physical health into STEM, nature, creative arts, and social-emotional health, among other topics. A nationally recognized workshop facilitator, he has spoken at education and youth development conferences in over 30 states and Canada. Previously, Daniel served as Director of Outreach at Youth Service America where he managed the organization’s national youth advisory board and supported the implementation of Global Youth Service Day – the largest youth service day in the world. Daniel has a BA in International Relations and a Master of Public Health. You can follow Daniel as he speaks on the topic of healthy communities via Twitter @hatchdw.
Justine Hays is a SNAP-Ed Nutritionist and registered dietitian. She has worked with SNAP-Ed and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County for 7 years. She holds a M.S. in Dietetics from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY. She lives in Buffalo with her husband and daughter.
Bintou Hinds holds a M.S. in Human Nutrition from University of Bridgeport. She has worked in the field of public health nutrition in Dutchess county for the past 11 years. She was the Women Infants and Children (WIC) nutritionist and breastfeeding coordinator with Sun River Healthcare for 6 of those years. She now serves as a regional team leader and occasional Spanish language nutrition educator for SNAP Ed HV-Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and son.
Jacqueline Iaria has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education for SUNY Old Westbury, taught preschool for many years, Coordinator for the Rockland County TEENWORKS program which runs over the summer. Ten years as a Family Resource Coordinator.
Mallory Jackson is a Human Services and Chemical Dependency Counseling Professor at SUNY Jefferson Community College (JCC) in Watertown, NY. She began her career with Eat Smart New York at CCE Dutchess County as a Community Resource Educator, working with individuals and groups in the Hudson Valley. She holds a Master degrees in Public Administration and Counseling, where she specialized in trauma-informed care and education. Mallory’s professional work has led her to a deeper understanding of the realities of a lack of personal and professional balance and the impending burnout as social constructs that can be identified early and addressed holistically when one identifies their personal burnout archetype. She lives in the North Country (yes it’s cold…Odds are it is snowing as you read this) with her husband, two sons and geriatric chocolate lab.
Suzy Koontz, Founder and CEO of Learn Thru Movement, is an actuary, an educational consultant, a math teacher, and the creator of Math & Movement, Movement & Literacy and over 150 kinesthetic teaching tools. As the author of over 20 books, Suzy’s passion is helping students recognize their ability to learn and helping them lead healthier lives while achieving academic success. Suzy’s mission is for ALL students to be on grade level in math and reading. As a national presenter for schools, conferences and PTA/O, Suzy shares how movement-based learning can assist in accomplishing this goal. Suzy’s work has been featured in television, radio and print. Please see Suzy's media performances, at https://mathandmovement.com/
Isabel Kashani Lara is a National Advisor for Whole Child Health focused on Family and Community Engagement with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. She has served in a variety of formal and informal education settings, beginning as a classroom-based teacher, school site and district administrator, and a community advocate, organizer, and non-profit project manager. Isabel holds a Master’s in Education from University of California: Los Angeles’ Teacher Education Program, and an administrative credential from the School Leadership Program at California State University: Dominguez Hills. Isabel is committed to providing young people, families, and communities with enriching experiences in the process of learning through collaborative partnership so we may all transform the reality we see – into the future we dream about. One where all are given the space to grow, learn, heal, and receive what we need to reach self-actualization.
Adrienne Markworth is Executive Director of Leah’s Pantry, a California-based thought-leader on trauma-informed nutrition security. Leah’s Pantry leads the national movement to catalyze resilience and build protective factors through community nutrition and food security. She lives in the San Diego area with her husband, three children, and an energetic puppy.
Joan Martin is currently a SNAP-Ed nutritionist for Schuyler and Yates Counties based at CCE Schuyler, working with youth and families in schools, afterschool programs, and community settings. She was previously a project coordinator for Seven Valleys Health Coalition in Cortland, NY and a substitute teacher at Cortland Junior Senior High School. Experience also includes working as a Registered Dietitian with inpatient and outpatient Cardiac Rehab programs at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, CT, before moving to community-based health and nutrition. She has a BS in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut and a BA in English from SUNY Cortland. She has also been a Master Gardener Volunteer and involved with several community garden projects.
Kelsey Monks is the Regional Environmental Nutritionist for SNAP-Ed New York Southern Finger Lakes Region. Kelsey is responsible for coordinating the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, as well as School Wellness initiatives for partner schools in the Southern Finger Lakes Region. She received a Master of Public Health from Michigan State University with a focus on wellness interventions that improve accessibility of healthy food and exercise spaces for underrepresented populations. Kelsey is committed to positively impacting policies, systems, and environments related to nutrition and physical activity in the pursuit of health equity.
Brian Muse is a lifelong resident of the City of Poughkeepsie. Brian has always had a passion for youth. He worked at Anderson School for Autism as a teacher and coach for over 20 years. Brian is also a Special Olympics coach, Entrepreneur, and recently promoted to the Youth Services Supervisor for Family Services, Teen Resource Activity Center program. Prior to his promotion he was hired as an Outreach Worker for SNUG, a gun violence reduction program. Brian is well known in the community and continues to service the youth of this community on a daily basis. Brian is appreciated by many as he continues to work with youth, building a plethora of tools for their toolboxes. Brian loves outdoor activities especially fishing and hiking.
Becky O’Connor is a Farm to Institution Coordinator for an 11 county region in Western NY and the Finger Lakes. As part of Cornell Cooperative Extension – Harvest NY’s Regional Farm to School Program she provides comprehensive support to Farm to School (F2S) stakeholders, including School Food Authorities (SFAs), farmers, distributors, manufacturers, processors, and food hubs. The team works together to bridge connections between these stakeholders to strengthen the local food system with a primary goal of increasing the volume and variety of local farm products purchased by SFAs for use in child nutrition programs. Prior to focusing on Farm to School and Farm to Institution efforts, Becky was the Eat Smart Western NY program manager.
Sue Osborne is a physical education teacher with over 25 years experience. She teaches at E.R. Andrews Elementary School grades K-5. CATCH came to us through our wellness committee and the Cooperative Extension offering to train us in the program. We trained in the summer of 2017.
Jessica Pino-Goodspeed, LMSW serves as a school nutrition program & policy expert at Hunger Solutions New York – a statewide nonprofit dedicated to alleviating hunger. In this role, Jessica serves as a program and policy resource for a diverse group of organizations, agencies, schools; advocates to increase awareness of, support for, and participation in the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs and the Community Eligibility Provision; conducts data analysis to identify trends and gaps in program participation and develop strategic plans for statewide and local targeted outreach and education; disseminates best practices to improve school meal participation through one-on-one technical assistance and dissemination of resources; collaborates with a diverse group of national and state partners to expand the reach of school meals; analyzes policy to identify areas for administrative improvements and advocate for legislative changes to increase access to school nutrition programs. Jessica leads Hunger Solutions New York’s statewide policy campaign, Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids, and its diverse multi-sector coalition aimed to enact state legislation that ensures free school meals for all NYS students.
Joanne Robinson-Silas has a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts – School of Visual Arts. I started my journey in East Ramapo as a PTA mom at Grandview Elementary School. I loved developing and executing events. Becoming a Family Resource Coordinator was a natural progression for me. Fourteen years later I can say that I still love the work and the families. It is truly an honor to serve our community.
Shayna Russo is currently SNAP-Ed’s Project Manager for the Hudson Valley Region and Coordinator for Technical Assistance (TA). She is driven to create ‘change’ that supports healthy lifestyles, while simultaneously utilizing knowledge, skills and abilities relative to health, education, nutrition, fitness, collaboration and teamwork. With degrees in Health Promotion Management and Exercise Science, she has worked as a Personal Trainer, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Swim Instructor, Public Health Educator and Regional Coordinator. For over 20 years Shayna has used her facilitation and communication skills to promote an all-inclusive, high-performing culture where groups embrace and leverage each other’s talents to achieve full potential. Over the past 12 years, through grant funded roles with Cornell Cooperative Extension, much of her efforts has been focused on the health and wellness of low-income communities in the Hudson Valley. Shayna and her husband live in Dutchess County with their two kids and two dogs (Brownie and Cupcake). You will often find her around town on some early morning runs, drinking some hot tea and bringing her kids to soccer and gymnastics practice.
Carrie Steindorff has had a long career in public health that has emphasized improving environmental support for child health and wellbeing. For the past 20 years in her role as a school health coordinator, she has worked with numerous educators and other professionals to bring learning opportunities and funding to local schools that enhance access to physical activity, healthy nutrition and robust wellness policies. She has led training programs and organized seminars/webinars on topics for educators and community leaders to create sustainable change that supports communities where children can thrive.
Jennifer Tuthill studied Elementary Education, Biology and Theatre at SUNY New Paltz and has a Master of Arts in Education from Stony Brook University. She currently teaches in the Newburgh Enlarged School District. She is a certified children's yoga and mindfulness teacher and loves bringing her creativity into the elementary classroom. Jennifer is dedicated in helping children grow socially, emotionally as well as academically.
Julika von Stackelberg, MA is a credentialed parenting educator and certified parenting coach who focuses on building resilience for families and the community at Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange. Julika teaches on a variety of parenting and family life topics, including workshops for individuals who are working with families and children. She co-chairs the Orange County Parenting Coalition and currently spearheads the Orange County Resilience Project. Julika also serves on a number of committees that address structural racism and implicit biases and that strive to create anti-racist services in the community.
Julika has an international background, which includes working toward ending gender-based violence and community building. She loves to spend time outdoors, as well as socializing with friends and family. If you’d follow Julika around the house, you’d probably find her with a speaker in her back pocket as she loves to listen to podcasts and audiobooks to satisfy her ongoing thirst for learning.
Founder and CEO of Equity Design, Maurelhena Walles' personal narrative from NYC schoolyard tag champion to representing the United States and becoming both World Champion and World and National Record Holder as a part of the World Masters Athletics Championship, dictated her professional journey of creating healthier lives for underserved communities through the design of nontraditional and sustainable physical activity programming.
Amanda Williams is the Associate Director of Community Partner programs at Food Bank For New York City. In her current role, she oversees the Campus Pantry program, our cornerstone program for alleviating food insecurity for students and their households in schools and youth-focused community centers. She also oversees their Pantry RX program, which aims to provide food insecure patients at health centers and hospitals access to nutritious meals for sustainability and ultimately improved health outcomes. Amanda holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. In her spare time, she likes to bake and explore various fitness trends.