The School of Education Alumni Advisory Board advises The School of Education (SOE) regarding its progress with external individuals and organizations. They work to create opportunities for professional development, networking, community service, and socialization for our alumni and current students.
I am a triple alumna of St. John’s. I received a BS in Elementary Education and an MS in Curriculum and Teaching from the School of Education and a PD in Child Psychology from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. I also hold a degree in Administration and Supervision from Long Island University. I taught a multiplicity of grade levels in the North Babylon School District for fifty-one years, have worked as a bilingual psychological/educational consultant for BOCES of Nassau County and Western Suffolk BOCES, and have been an adjunct professor at LIU and Touro College. Presently, I am an adjunct in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching of the School of Education. I have received many prestigious awards throughout my career. One of which I am most proud is the St. John’s University School of Education Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Education.
I never really left St. John’s after I graduated. I have been a member of the School of Education Alumni Board since the 1990’s, served as its president for many years, and I am a member of the Loughlin and McCallen Societies. I am excited about the many initiatives the School of Education is pursuing, and I am delighted and humbled to be serving on this committee. Hopefully, I can play a part in helping the School of Education achieve its goals and continue as well as expand upon the excellent training it provides its students within the framework of the University’s mission.
Mark is the Director of Alumni Relations at St. John's. He oversees alumni programming and engagement opportunities for St. John’s graduates as well as the daily operations for the alumni office.
Previously, Mark held the position of Associate Director for Alumni Relations managing activities and events for special constituencies. He began at St. John’s as Assistant Director in the Office of Annual Giving. In this capacity, Mark helped maintain and cultivate relationships with alumni and friends in support of a variety of annual giving initiatives at St. John's.
Prior to joining St. John’s, Mark was Development Associate at the Academy of Mount St. Ursula in the Bronx. He also held the position of Regional Director in the Cardinal’s Appeal at the Archdiocese of New York.
He graduated from Iona College with a B.A. in Journalism and his M.A. in Public Relations/Corporate Communications.
Dr. Fino M. Celano has been Superintendent of the Herricks Public Schools since 2015. Prior to coming to Herricks, Dr. Celano served for 10 years as an Assistant Superintendent in the Garden City Public Schools. He has also served as the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources in the Roslyn School District. Dr. Celano began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher was a middle school Assistant Principal, and served as Principal of Grand Avenue Middle School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. Dr. Celano is a Past-President of the Long Island Association of School Personnel Administrators and the New York State Association of School Personnel Administrators. He holds a B.A. from Marist College, an M.A. from Manhattan College, a Certificate of Advanced Study in educational administration from Hofstra University, and a Doctor of Education degree from St. John’s University. In addition, Dr. Celano has participated in professional development at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Dr. Celano’s research interests include new teacher mentoring, trust and teacher efficacy. His research on these topics has been presented at national conferences, including the American Educational Research Association, and has been published in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Celano has also presented a variety of professional development workshops at school district, state and regional conferences. He has been the recipient of many honors and awards throughout his career, including the St. John’s University Leaders in Education Award (2013), St. John’s Distinguished Alumni Award (2017), the New York State P.T.A. Distinguished Service Award, and membership in Kappa Delta Pi National Honor Society in Education. Dr. Celano currently serves as a member of the St. John’s University School of Education Leadership Committee and the Hofstra University School of Education Advisory Board.
In July of 2007, Karina Costantino became the Community Superintendent of District 20 in Brooklyn, serving the children of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Borough Park.
Prior to being appointed District 20 Superintendent, Ms. Costantino was the Principal of P.S. 22 in District 31 from 1992- 2007.
Upon assuming the Superintendency of District 20, Ms. Costantino began to develop a strong relationship with the variety of communities the district serves with a focus on their specific needs.
Working side by side with the Community Education Council, her emphasis has been to explore new programs to bring into the District and to provide training and resources to empower parents enabling them to to be true partners in their child's education. Ms. Costantino's focus has been
A strong advocate for After school and the creation of a seamless school day, Ms. Costantino is also actively involved with CBO's in the community to create the best possible project-based learning environment for the children of District 20 after school from three to six. p.m. Currently, all 39 District Schools have a Seamless Day hosting various community-based organizations in their schools.
As the most overcrowded school district in New York City, as well as the district with the largest immigrant population, District 20 is one of two Districts in the city that is in good standing with N.Y.S. The District is most proud of this accomplishment since they test over 23,000 students, with
20% of them being English language learners taking the state test for the first time. Ms. Costantino credits this success to her strong team, principals and teachers who focus on collaborative teacher inquiry to understand all of their student needs, as well as the implementation of Advanced Literacy strategies and a strong Social Emotional Intelligence base.
A former candidate for the New York State Assembly in Staten Island in 1984, and again in 1986, Ms. Costantino was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to the Governor’s Commission on Domestic Violence in 1988. She served as a member of the Commission, traveling across the State addressing the concerns of the Commission until it became a State agency in 1990. In addition, Ms. Costantino has been an adjunct professor at Touro-College, St. Francis and CITE.
Her strong beliefs around leadership, which she models in her day to day
practice can be best expressed in the following quote:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” - John Quincy Adams.
Recipient of the following awards:
For the past 20 years, Paul Engelhart has been part of the executive management team of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, where he is currently serving as the agency’s Chief Operating Officer. He also is a member of the St. John’s University School of Education Leadership Committee.
Paul received a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from St. John’s University in 1982 and a Master’s degree in Theology from the Immaculate Conception Pastoral Institute in 1985. He also received post-graduate certificates in Not-for-Profit Management from Columbia University and the University of Notre Dame.
Paul spent the first 13 years of his career working in the field of chemical dependence treatment and research focused on vocational rehabilitation services. He has been a contributing author to a number of research articles and four editions of Substance Abuse: a Comprehensive Textbook, a training resource for physicians.
In 2009 Paul received the Caritas Medal from Molloy College in recognition of his service to the Long Island community.
Paul and his wife, Ann, a painter, illustrator and educator, have been married for 30 years. They have two children, Thomas, an English teacher, and Elisabeth, a graphic artist, and also a graduate of St. John’s.
My professional career in teaching spans over a period of 45 years. After 12 years as an elementary and junior high teacher, I became an Elementary school principal for 16 years. Upon graduating with a Master’s degree as a reading specialist, I worked part-time as a diagnostician in the St. John’s Reading Clinic for 15 years. My professional career in higher education began as an adjunct instructor teaching graduate and undergraduate classes and then in 1999 I joined the ranks of the full-time faculty at St. John’s University as a member of the Graduate Literacy Program. I served as an assistant chair for several years before becoming the chair of Human Services & Counseling for 8 years. I have written 11 programs for my department and 1 for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Over the past 17 years, I have served on various university and college committees and I am a member of several organizations on campus. My interests are photography, painting, and gardening and sports.
Lauren Leigh Kelly is an Assistant Professor in the Urban Social Justice Teacher Education program at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education. She is also the founder of the annual Hip Hop Youth Research and Activism Conference. Kelly taught high school English for ten years in New York where she also developed courses in Hip Hop Literature and Culture, Spoken Word poetry, and Theatre Arts. Kelly received her bachelor's degree in English from Wesleyan University; her master's in Adolescent Education from St. John's University; and her Ph.D. in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Kelly’s research focuses on adolescent critical literacy development, Black feminist theory, Hip Hop pedagogy, critical consciousness, and the development of critical, culturally sustaining pedagogies. Kelly’s work on critical Hip Hop literacies has been published in several academic journals and has been featured in Education Week, Education Update, and School Library Journal.
Dr. Reginald Landeau Jr., Principal of George J. Ryan Middle School 216 has served the public school children of New York City for 31 years. The last 16 years of his career has been as the principal of MS 216 in Queens. Under Reginald’s leadership, MS 216Q transformed from the district’s lowest performing school to becoming its top middle school. In 2019, the school was highlighted in the NY Times for being one of the top ten middle schools in New York City with regards to successfully admitting students into NYC’s prestigious Specialized High Schools (Ranked #1 in the top ten for acceptances for African-American and Latino acceptance- 34%). In 2015, Reginald’s school was ranked in the top 1% of all middle schools in NYC in student progress. In 2019, his school was ranked #26 out of 1431 New York State middle schools (top 2%) as well as #15 in NYC (top 2%) in student performance. In November 2018, MS216Q was awarded the United States Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon Award for Exemplary High Performing Schools. At the ceremony, Dr. Landeau was personally awarded the Terrel H. Bell award for Outstanding School Leadership.
Dr. Landeau’s other professional accomplishments include: 2015-17 NYC Department of Education Master Principal, President of the Black Caucus of the CSA, 2015 NYC Chancellor’s Fellow, 2016 St. John’s University Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, 2016 Black Caucus of the Council of Supervisors and Administrators Legendary Leaders Award recipient, Mentor Principal for NYC’s Leadership Academy (2006-2016), published in ASCD’s Educational Leadership magazine, Phi Delta Kappa’s 2012 Educator of the Year, 2013 Cahn Fellows recipient for Distinguished Urban Principals, and Master Principal in NYC’s Learning Partners Program.
Madeline Larsen has been with St. John's University for 34 years. She has worked as the School of Education's Executive Assistant for 25 years. Her work involves coordinating and overseeing senior-level administrative operations for the Office of The Dean.
During her tenure, she has organized numerous programs, conferences, and events and will continue to act as the primary contact person and liaison between the Alumni Advisory Board and School of Education.
Bill is the Director of Development and is responsible for all fundraising for The School of Education. Previous to this position, he was a Loughlin Society Gift Officer for the Annual Fund, where he identified and solicited potential members for the Society while continuing the stewardship of current members.
Before joining the St. John’s family, Bill worked at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, in the Office of Development, organizing special events for various groups including alumni. He also held the position of Alumni Relations Associate at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he managed a full range of local, national, and international programming for more than 80,000 alumni.
Bill holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Northeastern University and a Master of Professional Studies degree in Sport Management from St. John’s University.
Currently, the Training Director for a NYS Regulatory Agency, Anna Lukachik’s career as an educational leader spans learning environments in corporations. schools, and most recently, the public sector. Anna has held a variety of positions within Learning & Development in the financial services industry. She has partnered with business leaders to solve performance gaps with end-to-end learning solutions that work across cultures and continents. Anna has directed learning functions responsible for developing and delivering compliance, technical, professional, and management skills for various client-facing and managerial roles.
Anna is a dedicated Red Storm fan since her undergraduate days. Anna has a Master of Science from Syracuse University in the field of Instructional Design, Development, and Evaluation.
Vincent G. Maita BS Ed.'82, MS Ed.'85 is a graduate of St. John's University Jamaica, Queens New York. Mr. Maita is a retired NYS K-6 educator who taught public school in Nassau County on Long Island. While attending SJU as an undergraduate, his academic achievements appeared in the National Register, as well as Who's Who in American Universities. He was invited to join Kappa Delta Pi in April1980, and as a result of his scholarship, he was placed on the Dean's List in his junior and senior year. Soon after graduation, Maureen A. Hartigan '55 invited Vincent back to campus to speak at a SOE forum. Mr. Maita was very active while at SJU. He worked as a work-study student, he sometimes attended and participated in student government meetings, illustrated for the campus newspaper from time to time, raised funds for MDA, was a member of Campus Ministry, and would volunteer time at various functions sponsored by the School of Education at the request of his instructors. In addition to completing his MS Ed. '85 while employed full time, he worked part-time at both summer and winter camps for the Town of Hempstead Anchor program instructing mentally and physically challenged children and adults for several years. He later enrolled at CUNY Queens College to study Linguistics and then returned to SJU in 2001 to complete a TESOL K-12 certification. Vincent taught ESL on weekends to the parents of his students, as well as instructing evening classes to adults at Sewanhaka High School Floral Park, New York from 1984-2005. He then became an evening adjunct professor at Nassau Community College Garden City, New York from 2000-2005. He continues to remain politically active in his community. In 2019, he reconnected with Dean Bell and the School of Education. He is very proud to be invited and included as a member of the Alumni Advisory Board. In addition, he will serve on the Executive Board as Alumni Liaison for the SJU chapter of Kappa Delta Pi
Mary Carole Schafenberg graduated from St. John’s University Schermerhorn Street in 1970 with a B.S. in Elementary Education. A P.D. in Administration and Supervision followed in l980. Ms. Schafenberg is a retired New York City elementary school principal who has worked in the NYC Department of Education for 45 years as a teacher, educational administrator, Assistant Principal, and Principal. Currently, she enjoys volunteering for her village of Steward Manor where she is serving as Deputy Mayor.
In 2010, Ms. Schafenberg received the St. John’s University Presidents Outstanding Achievement Award for her work in establishing the Schermerhorn Street Reunion initiative. Mary Carole is a member of both the McCallen and Loughlin Societies and continues to work on Schermerhorn Street reunion activities.
Joseph Sciame, Vice-President for Community Relations at St. John's University since 1994, and graduate of the School of Education as of January 1971, has been a seasoned administrator in higher education, having been a vice-president in several areas, namely, enrollment management for admissions and financial aid. He commenced his studies at the University and transferred to evening classes while working at the University in 1962 in the registrar and admissions offices. A staunch believer in consensus building, he has been a major force in sound community relations at St. John's, as he helped to guide the community during the years of transforming the University from a day hop school to on-campus living, and was therefore involved in community meetings that brought about a greater respect for the growth and ongoing development of a university that celebrates this year its 150th Anniversary. Sciame is a founder in 2010 and immediate past chair, as of June 30, 2020, of the Bedford Stuyvesant New Beginnings High School and a former chair of the Futures in Education foundation of the Diocese of Brooklyn founded for the preservation and fund raising of Catholic Schools. He has been the National Chair of the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators and is currently the President of the Sons of Italy Foundation, having been its National President. Joseph Sciame has been honored by St. John's University with the President's, St. Vincent de Paul, Pietas and Outstanding Administrative medals on various occasions. Born in East New York, he is a resident of New Hyde Park since 1955.
Kevin Sullivan earned a Bachelor of Arts from St. John’s University in English with a minor in Secondary Education in 1999; he returned to St. John’s University to earn a Master of Science in Secondary Education in 2002. In 2006, he earned a Professional Diploma in Education Leadership and in Administration from SUNY Stony Brook and is currently enrolled in the Hofstra University Educational Policy and Leadership Doctorate program. During his time at St. John’s University, Kevin partnered with the Sewanhaka Central High School District at Elmont Memorial High school as a student teacher in May of 1999 and began his teaching career as an English teacher at Elmont Memorial High School in September of 1999. Kevin taught English for grades 7-12 at Elmont Memorial High for seventeen years; during this time, he served the Elmont learning community as Dean of Students, Interim English Chairperson and coach. In September of 2016, Mr. Sullivan became the Chairperson of English and Library at Floral Park Memorial High School, also in the Sewanhaka Central High School District; he currently serves in this capacity. In 2009, he was named the Elmont Memorial High School Teacher of the Year and was recognized by St. John’s University School of Education as a LEAD Award honoree. Kevin is the youngest of four children in the Sullivan family to attend St. John’s University; all four Sullivan children are currently teachers in New York. Kevin has served on the School of Education Alumni Board for two years; his work on this board includes serving as a panelist for the Hartigan Forum and assisting with SOE events.
Dr. Edwin Tjoe is the Assistant Dean of Fiscal Affairs and Planning in the School of Education. His research and teaching focus on the preparation of forward-thinking leaders in college and university settings. His dedication to the promotion of education is seen through his academic service in programs enhancing community partnerships. During his term at St. John’s University, he has authored textbooks, book chapters, and journal articles. He served on the Technological Strategic Planning Committee for the Diocese of Brooklyn, NY from 2012-2016. That committee determined how to inform and equip our school administrators, teaching staff, and students to take the best advantage of technology and information as they continue to evolve. Dr. Tjoe has been an Adjunct Associate Professor at St. John's University since 2006 and has also lectured at Stony Brook University since 2005. Over the past 14 years of teaching, he has taught over 16,321 students. Dr. Tjoe was also a member of the SUNY FACT Committee that developed the 2014 CIT that focused on connection strategies to move higher education forward using assessment strategies and learning analytics as a key way of understanding the effectiveness of learning and to the changing learning environments. He has also worked with over 30 doctoral students as a committee member for their dissertations. He is an inspired leader, working to ensure there is understanding and respect between all people by recognizes diversity as a central component in achieving desired student/teacher/administrative learning outcomes, and it puts diversity and inclusion efforts at the center of its decision-making. His devotion can is articulated by his support of the university at large. Dr. Tjoe is part of the Respond and Partner to Engage our Community Team (RESPECT) serving to provide direct support to any individual impacted by prejudice-based aggression. Dr. Tjoe is also part of the Institutional Accountability and Mission Committee who is responsible for organizing strategic collective action to change oppressive practices and policies within and beyond the University. In addition, he was part of St. John’s University’s first practitioner cohort that helped to advance St. John’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by facilitating professional development discussions and developing and supporting inclusivity practices in their individual departments/units.
Dr. Walsh is a highly experienced educator with teaching and leadership roles in the education systems of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre, the New York City Department of Education and in and public schools on Long Island. She earned her Doctorate in School Administration and Instructional Leadership from St. John’s University in 2001 and is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Fellowship. She also possesses a master’s degree in Library Science from St. John’s and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Fordham University as well as a Professional Diploma in School Administration from the College of New Rochelle. She earned her BA in Child Study and Speech from St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn and earned additional credits in special education from Brooklyn College. In addition to serving as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Assistant Superintendent for Elementary schools for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Dr. Walsh has extensive experience as teacher and administrator including recent service as Assistant Superintendent for K-12 Curriculum and Instruction for the Wappingers Central School District. Previously, she served as principal of Valley Stream Memorial Junior High School, Valley Stream and as founding principal At W. E. B. DuBois HS in Brooklyn.
Dr. James M. Sheerin founded Sheerin Associates LLC, to provide expert advice and direction on educational issues facing school districts. He brings nearly 40 years of educational experience to every client.
Since founding Sheerin Associates, Dr. Sheering has serves as an interim superintendent in Lebanon Borough, Monroe Township and Clinton Township, all in New Jersey. Hr has also represented educational software companies, companies marketing computer services to school districts, and non-profit educational organizations as well as lobbying in Washington, D.C. Dr. Sheerin served as an adjunct instructor at Kean University and has consulted for the State of New Jersey on Abbot School Districts
Previously, Dr. Sheerin has served as superintended of schools for the Livingston Public School and Hackettstown Public Schools, as well as principal of East Brunswick High School, all in New Jersey, and Center Moriches Junior-Senior High School in New York. Dr. Sheerun has also taught classes in elementary, middle school, high school and college.
A graduate of St. John's University with a B.S. in Elementry Education/Social Science, Dr. Sherin earned his Masters in Elementary Education/Social Science from Queens College and Doctorate in Education-School Administration from Nova Southeastern University. He is the author of numerous articles on education and has been a frequent workshop presenter in New Jersey and nationally.
The mission of the Alumni Advisory Board is to advise The School of Education (SOE) regarding its progress with individuals and organizations external to SOE. As part of this mission, the Alumni Advisory Board develops, plans, and facilitates specific targeted activities to inform these communities and advance the SOE goals.
In carrying out this mission, the Board and its members will
Board members who have already exceeded this annual amount are exempt from this expectation.
Membership on the Alumni Advisory Board begins with a nomination by an existing Board member. The nomination form and the nominee’s résumé are submitted to the Chair and Director of Development for distribution to the Committee. The Dean and the Director of Development meet with the nominee. Based on a review of the nominee’s qualifications and the visit with the nominee, the Advisory Board decides not to extend an invitation for membership, or they make a recommendation to the Board for approval based on the above process. Board membership is held at 20 members and each member is asked to serve a three-year staggered term, renewable to a maximum of two terms.
The Chair presides at all meetings of the Board. The Chair has the power to appoint, with the approval of the other members of the Board by simple majority, any committees that may be necessary and valuable for the achievement of organization’s mission. The Chair is an ex-officio member of all such committees. The chair should serve for a three-year term.
All standing committees help the advisory board fulfill its purpose. The Alumni Advisory Board shall form and maintain the following standing committees:
The board meets four times a year and sets meeting dates for the upcoming year. Meetings are conducted either face-to-face or virtually.
These bylaws may be amended at any regular or special meeting of the Board (at which there is a quorum) by a majority vote of the members present at such meeting, provided that a 20-day notice of the proposed amendment shall have been given to each member by written communication at his or her last known address.
Michael J. Coppotelli ’07GEd
Archdiocese of New York
Karina A. Costantino ’67Ed
District 20 Brooklyn, New York City Department of Education
Maria Dove ’10Ed.D.
School of Education and Human Services, Molloy College
Joshua Furnell ’18Ed.D.
Milton L. Olive Middle School, Wyandanch Public Schools
Ronald D. Gimondo ’00PD
John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Great Neck Public Schools