The Foundation to Inspire Excellence in Nyack Schools, Inc.

Helping to maintain educational excellence
in the Nyack Public Schools

Board Of Directors

The volunteers behind Inspire Nyack

Inspire Nyack is led by an independent all-volunteer Board of Directors. Our Board members are drawn from the community and provide diverse representation. Board members are community members who share a deep commitment to public education in the Nyack School District.

Executive Board

Karen P. Hughes

President – Chairman – Executive Committee
Karen has spent over 20 years in Investment Banking Technology, as a Software Engineer, and has been instrumental in various diversity recruiting and mentoring initiatives throughout the industry. Karen is an active volunteer and currently a member of the District’s Board of Education. She was a volunteer partner for many years with VRH Children’s Literacy Charity, a UK-based program designed to help children with reading difficulties. She served as treasurer for St. Philip & St James Episcopal Church on Long Island for 10 years. Karen volunteers her time as a soccer coach in the OMM League. Karen was born and raised in London, England and graduated with a BS in Computer Science and Statistics from London Metropolitan University. She is a 15-year resident of Upper Nyack and lives with her partner and their two children.

Marc A. Burns

Vice President
A Long Island native who attended Congers Elementary School and went through the Clarkstown School District, State University of New York at Buffalo and Graduate School for Creative and Professional Writing at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. Marc is an Information and Technology & Security Executive as well as an Insurance training and a seasoned sales & marketing executive with a vast understanding of business processes that enable organizations to overachieve. With over 25 years of management and leadership experience at rapidly growing companies, Marc has a proven and consistent track record of exceeding company goals and increasing sales & profitability. Marc is a past (4) term Board of Director with Nyack Valley Cottage Little League, a past PTA President at Valley Cottage Elementary School, A former Cub Scout Den Leader and soccer, baseball and football coach. Marc, his wife Lori, and three children, Ayden, Andrew and Addison reside in Valley Cottage.

Kathleen Lawrence

Treasurer – Chairman – Budget & Finance Committee
Kathleen graduated from Rutgers University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a focus on biochemical systems. She worked at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals for nine years, most recently as a Program Manager with the Ophthalmology Development Team responsible for the initiation of the pivotal clinical trials for a drug now approved to prevent and reverse vision loss for certain retinal diseases. Prior to working in project management, Kathleen was a researcher in the science of cell culture and purification development for multiple biological drug candidates. Kathleen has lived in the Valley Cottage/Nyack area for nine years with her husband and three young boys, two who currently attend Valley Cottage Elementary. She is an active member of the Valley Cottage Elementary PTA and works with her church on community outreach projects.

Kirstin Stacey

Kirstin is a third generation graduate of Nyack High School. Her great-grandfather, Herbert Baldwin, served on the Nyack Board of Education for seventeen years. Kirstin is also the daughter of the beloved, retired Liberty Elementary school teacher, Carol Russell. Kirstin graduated from Hamilton College with a B.A. in comparative literature, and obtained her M.S. in Reading from St. Thomas Aquinas College. She has been employed by the Byram Hills School District as a first grade teacher for the past 19 years, and spent several years as a teacher liaison to the Byram Hills Education Foundation. She is also a past president of the Rockland Reading Council. Kirstin lives in Valley Cottage with her husband and two sons.


Laura Alessi

Laura has a BA in Italian from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in Teaching. She lived and worked in Italy for five years after graduating from college, first as an English teacher, and then as a Project Manager for a Technological Innovation Research Group. She worked on some exciting projects for the European Commission and European Patent Office. Upon return to the USA, she got certified to teach Italian, and has been teaching at Suffern High School since 2007. She lives in Nyack with her husband and children.

Cara M. Bonomolo

Cara, a graduate of Nyack public schools, is an attorney with the law firm of Snyder & Snyder, LLP in Tarrytown, NY. She has a B.S. in Communications from Cornell University. Ms. Bonomolo obtained her J.D. from Pace University School of Law with a certificate in Environmental Law. While in law school Ms. Bonomolo participated in the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic and worked at the Pace Battered Women’s Justice Center. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for the Nyack Public Schools. Ms. Bonomolo currently practices in the areas of land use, telecommunications and environmental law. She resides in Valley Cottage with her husband and two daughters.

John Dabney

John has been in-house counsel at Viacom since 2005. In his role, he advises all of Viacom’s diverse brands and businesses (including MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures) on labor law and related issues. John is responsible for providing daily guidance and support to Viacom’s business units outside the U.S. with a focus on acquiring and integrating new businesses, and overseeing and managing outside counsel in 25 countries. Prior to joining Viacom, John spent seven years in private practice, first at the New York-based law firm of Proskauer Rose, and then with the boutique labor and employment firm of Kauff McGuire & Margolis. John earned his BA degree in Political Science from Colgate University in 1992, and his JD degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1998. As an undergraduate, John also studied Political Science and Government in the United Kingdom at the University of Manchester. John and his wife Anna have lived in Nyack for 10 years and have 3 children. John serves as a coach for both OMM Soccer and St. Paul’s CYO.

Christine Delaney

Christine graduated from SUNY Albany with a BA in English. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Education from Long Island University. An active PTA member, Christine co-chaired the Playground Committee where the dream of building a new playground was implemented from concept to completion. She is a sixteen year resident of Valley Cottage where she lives with her three young children.

Richard DiBlasi

Rich DiBlasi has over 20 years’ experience as a Services Delivery Professional providing strategic IT solutions within the Financial Services, Retail and Healthcare industry. A results-oriented leader adept at problem-solving and building trusted client relationships. Proven experience in all aspects of delivery management, client relationships, business development, financial budgeting and resource planning. Rich currently holds the position of Sr. Director with Cisco Systems, Inc. in New York City. Prior to Cisco, Rich spent 10 years as the VP of Professional Services at ThruPoint, Inc. based out of New York City.

Rich has Master’s degree in Information Systems from Iona College, New Rochelle, NY and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Finance from the University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT. He has been a resident of Nyack for over 15 years with his wife and 3 children. He enjoys spending time with friends, watching sports and cooking with his family, as well as playing golf and coaching his son’s basketball team.

Leeann Irvin

Leeann Irvin received her J.D. from Pace University School of Law and her B.A. from Nyack College. She has over 20 years’ experience in the Insurance industry, concentrating in commercial insurance litigation and claims in construction, pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing, and general liability involving fortune 1000 businesses. Prior to that, she practiced law in Rockland and Westchester Counties. She regularly volunteers in the community, having served for 6 years as a trustee and Vice-President of the Nyack Public Schools Board of Education, and serving as the Liberty Elementary PTA co-president. Leeann, her husband and children are long time Valley Cottage/Nyack residents and her children both attend Nyack schools.

Chris Pade

Chris, a graduate of Nyack High School is currently a physics teacher at North Rockland High School. From Manhattan College he received a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.B.A. in Finance. From Fordham University he received an M.S. in Childhood Education with a middle school extension in physics. Chris works in the summer as an assistant tennis pro at Montammy Golf Club in Alpine, NJ. Chris also sits on the board of a local charitable organization called The Chance Foundation that provides gifts for families during the holidays through schools in Rockland County. He lives in Valley Cottage with his wife and daughter.

Terence Rock

Chairman – Nominating Committee
Terence has over 20 years of experience in the field of Data IP & Telecommunications and is currently the Americas Director of Headquarter Sales & Operations at Juniper Networks. He graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and is a Certified Network Engineer from the University of Toronto. Terence was a previous board member for INROADS -Fairfield-Westchester Counties serving the Fairfield, Westchester, Stamford, and Rockland communities. The Mission of INROADS is to develop and place talented underserved youth in business and industry, and prepare them for corporate and community leadership. Terence volunteers his time locally at St. Paul’s Athletic League, Nyack Valley Cottage Little League and various parent volunteer groups in the Nyack School District. Terence currently lives in Valley Cottage with his wife and two children.

Jeffrey Rothman

Born and raised in New Jersey, Dannon executive Jeffrey Rothman first began his career in politics. After graduating from the School of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University in 1994 with a B.A. in Government, he worked in Washington, D.C. for then-Representative Robert Torricelli. But another life in California beckoned, and Rothman later found himself at the Anderson School at UCLA, from which he earned an M.B.A in marketing in 2001 and began his career in brand management. After a three-year stint in brand management at Unilever, Rothman was hired by Dannon to lead the launch Activia Yogurt in 2006. Rothman has since held numerous roles at Groupe Danone (Dannon’s parent company), including international assignments in Paris, France and Bath, England. Currently Vice President of Marketing & Innovation at Dannon, Rothman is responsible for a varied portfolio of brands, corporate partnerships, and the company’s innovation program. A certified managerial coach, Rothman enjoys playing tennis, running and guest-lecturing at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. He resides with his wife and two yogurt-loving children in Nyack, New York.

William Sullivan

Bill is the Senior Associate Director of Athletics at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York. At Mercy, Bill’s main responsibility in running the Athletics Department day to day operation. His tenure at Mercy spans 26 years including 3 years as Assistant Baseball Coach, 15 years as Head Baseball Coach, and his current administrative position since 2009. In addition to his responsibilities at Mercy, Bill also sits on the Board of Directors for the Eastern College Athletic Conference based out of Danbury, Connecticut as well being the President / Owner of Hardball Training Center in Elmsford, New York. Bill received his degrees in Education and History from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He currently resides in Valley Cottage, New York with his wife Tara and his son’s Billy and John.

Michele Whalen

Michele Whalen is Chief Investment Officer and a Managing Director of Morgens Waterfall Vintiadis, an investment management company that specializes in investing in distressed securities. Michele has worked at MWV for 17 years and is responsible for managing and investing the firm’s capital. Some of her responsibilities include marketing, managing a team of analysts and risk management. Previously, Michele worked at Stechler & Company, where she was a senior portfolio manager and led a US equity research joint venture with Credit Lyonnais. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in finance and economics from Ithaca College and her Master’s in Business Administration degree from Fordham University. Michele serves on several boards and has affiliations with the Upper Nyack PTA, the Nyack Field Club and St Ann’s. She grew up in Rockland County and resides in Upper Nyack with her husband and three young children.

Emeritus Trustees

Daniel M. Juechter
Emeritus –Co-Founder

Michael P. Lagana
Emeritus – Co-Founder

Michael D. Leifer
Emeritus – Co-Founder

Patrick B. Mahoney
Emeritus – Co-Founder

Donna Castellano

Jeffrey Wanamaker