Meet Your Alumni Council
2018-2019 Alumni Council Members
President and President Elect
After a long career in TESOL (in the US and Asia), I came to Teachers College in 1989, to pursue a doctorate in International Educational Development. Soon after arrival, I was able to get a workstudy job in the International Student Office. Twenty happy and rewarding years later, I retired from TC as Director of International Services. I always said I had the best (and most fun) job at TC, as I worked with the College's wonderful international students and scholars, truly 'the best and brightest' from all around the world. 'About 20 minutes' after I retired, I was asked to join the Alumni Council, and for six years I served as co-chair of the International Outreach Committee and as a member of the Awards Committee. My tenure as a Council member enabled me to stay connected with TC’s international alumni and to learn more about the entire TC alumni community. We are a most impressive Association! I am honored that my fellow Council members elected me to serve in the presidential “stream.” I believe that all of TC’s alumni can play important roles in identifying and supporting prospective students; offering networking and professional opportunities to current students; and facilitating life-long connections with the College and fellow alumni. It is the role and responsibility of the Alumni Council, in coordination and cooperation with the Office of Alumni Relations, to create and implement strategies that will increase alumni engagement in all these areas. I am fully committed to leading the Alumni Council and the Association toward these goals.
Connect with Marion
Ed.D. '96 | International Educational Development
Having earned three degrees and having been an adjunct professor at Teachers College, my horizons were significantly broadened and I have been constantly invigorated to learn more.
Connect with Philip
M.A. '72, M.E. '73 | Psychological Counseling
Ed.D. '81 | Guidance in Elementary Education
Executive Committee Members
"I now know all about how to motivate employees, so they are productive and satisfied. In fact, I am now obsessed with Management Theory and I am proud of this skill I learned at TC!"
Galit Ben-Joseph is an Executive Director and Financial Advisor with J.P. Morgan Securities, a wealth management division of J.P. Morgan. She provides investment management services to a varied client base, including high-net-worth individuals, professional services practitioners, small business owners, and foundations.
With more than 20 years’ experience in financial services, Galit is a wealth management veteran, establishing her career first at J.P. Morgan and later at Goldman Sachs & Co. and Neuberger Berman, where she oversaw customized portfolios for high-net-worth investors. She transitioned back to J.P. Morgan Securities in 2014 in her present capacity. Galit was born in Israel, and grew up in the New York City metropolitan area. She lives in New York City and Connecticut with her husband, Neil and their three children. She is an active volunteer at her children’s schools.
M.A. '98 | Social-Organizational Psychology
From the moment that I first arrived at TC I felt "Changed". I felt a sense of history wash over me and a feeling that I could become a part of that TC history. Given that I attained 3 graduate degrees at TC and spent 8 years as a student at TC I know that I've been impacted in many ways and continue to be impacted everyday. The greatest impact has been in how I view myself as a College Professor...as an educator first. I learned from great examples of mentors at TC that it is our students that come first and that we should do whatever we can to assist them,shape them, and educate them in their fields and as people. TC also gave me a great understanding and appreciation for the enterprise of Higher Education, that so many are lacking. When I first got to TC I just paused and touched the wood paneled walls of Zankel and Thompson halls. I was even moved by the cafeteria given it's beauty (obviously not the food). The lounge in Zankel and the Library might have been my favorite spots, but so was the court yard. I never took TC for granted and always appreciated the fact that I had the privilege to be a part of such a great institution....the best there is.
Dr. Gibaldi is a Professor of Management and Organizational Behavior at both Harvard University and St. John’s University. He also maintains an Organizational Consulting practice, and is a Fulbright Scholar. He has over 30 years of experience in the education and corporate consulting sectors.
During his career thus far he has published in the areas of Human Resource Management, Career Planning and Development, Strategic Planning, Organizational Development and Change, Issues Related to the Changing face of Retirement, and The benefits of Working with an Executive Coach. His present research and writing is in the areas of “Fear in the Workplace”, “Organizational Behavior in a Global Context”, and “Possible Causes of a Failure of Leadership”. He has written and delivered over 40 professional papers at international conferences and recently returned from the University of Bologna (Italy) where he carried out a number of professional academic activities as a Fulbright Senior Specialist.
His educational background is in Psychology, Management, Organizational Behavior, Understanding the Adult Learner in the Workplace, Curriculum and Faculty Development, and Management Development (post doctoral studies at Harvard University). He presently teaches and has taught numerous Management courses both traditionally (in the class room), as well as “live” via web-conference.
Dr. Gibaldi has many personal interests that he is fully engaged in and has sat on many nonprofit boards. Presently he serves as the Board Chair of a nonprofit organization in Brooklyn, NY that provides social services to the poor, Pre-K programs, and College Scholarships to underprivileged NYC youth.
M.A. 83 | Psychology-Organizational
M.E. '87, Ed.D. '89 | Higher Education
Connect with Carmine.
Teachers College truly gave me the vision of always trying to improve and excel in the education of young people. As educators, we must strive to continue learning, doing research, and collaborating with our peers in order to stay “cutting edge” in our knowledge and experiences in education. Teachers College challenged me to widen my educational philosophy to a growth mindset in that we never stop learning ourselves. My time at TC was invaluable and was truly the best education I have ever received.
M.A. '92 | Education Administration
TC provided me the perfect balance of theory and practice I needed to become a successful school administrator. As a principal, director, and now superintendent of schools, I still find myself referencing lessons learned from professors and fellow students - in short, TC taught me what real leadership is about.
Rory McCourt is the Superintendent of Schools for the River Vale Public School District in River Vale, New Jersey. Prior to this, he served as both the Interim Superintendent of Schools and Director of Curriculum for the Westwood Regional School District, after starting his administrative career in Westwood as Principal of the Brookside Upper Elementary School. Rory also served as a fourth grade teacher and eighth grade social studies/English teacher in the Ramsey School District, as well as a 7th grade teacher in the Paterson School District. In addition to Rory's work on the Teachers College Alumni Council and in River Vale, he is also the Bergen County Association of School Administrators's New Jersey Small Schools Committee representative, chairs the BCASA Professional Development wing, and serves as a mentor to aspiring administrators in northern New Jersey.
M.Ed. ' 07 | Education Leadership
My specialty in human capital and the economics of education was finely honed at TC, and has continued as my consummate passion throughout a most interesting and fulfilling career. I am honored and delighted to serve on the Alumni Council, a forum with a mission that enhances all alumni ties to the College and to one another.
Ph.D. '79 | Philosophy and the Social Sciences
My involvement with Teachers College is both long and rewarding. My first visit to TC was during my senior year at college, when I came to New York to be interviewed for the Teachers for East Africa (TEA) program, which was administered by TC and with which I then spent a year studying at Makerere University and two years teaching in Tanzania. At the two-week orientation for American "Group B" participants (those who went to Makerere to study for the Graduate Diploma in Education before being assigned to a school in Uganda, Kenya or Tanzania), I met such TC luminaries as Karl Bigelow, R. Freeman Butts, Lawrence Cremin, and David Scanlon. After TEA and then teaching at a private school in New Jersey, I returned to TC to enter an EdD program in African History and International Affairs. In my first semester, I happened to take a course with Harold Noah, a life-changing event that convinced me to switch my focus from history to comparative education and economics. For my PhD research, I returned to East Africa (Kenya), after which I went to the University of Michigan as an economic researcher. In 1973, I was hired by the Department of Philosophy and the Social Sciences to join Harold Noah and teach economics and education at TC. I did this for ten years before leaving teaching to join the World Bank as an education economist. In recent years, having retired from the Bank and working as an independent consultant, I was hired as part of a TC-led technical assistance team fielded by the Asian Development Bank to assist the Government of Mongolia on issues of education reform and poverty alleviation. Serving on the Council is rewarding and an opportunity for me to pay back, in small part, my great debt to the College.
M.A. '68 | Comparative Education
Ph.D. '73 | Economics and Education
Jane E. Neapolitan
I am currently Professor of Education and Assistant Provost for Academic Innovation at Towson University, Maryland. With more than 30 years’ experience in higher education as teacher and administrator, I have a passion for collaborations and partnerships that result in opportunities to learn for people from all backgrounds. The majority of my career has been in teacher education where my scholarship has focused on research about school-university-community partnerships. In 2013, I was given the opportunity to create a new unit at my university that would create communities of practice centered around teaching with technology and online learning. My current work focuses on faculty learning through experiences such as course redesign, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and virtual learning communities.
Ed.D. '94 | Curriculum and Teaching
Kate is a Senior Consultant at Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking, and solutions company. Currently, she serves as Head of Change Management and Communications for the organization’s European business, as well as its Operations and Technology function. During her tenure with the company, Kate has worked on a variety of global and regional assignments, including a three-year assignment in Hong Kong as Chief of Staff for Asia Pacific. Her professional interests include executive coaching, leadership development, organizational development, corporate governance, employee engagement, and talent management. She resides in London.
M.A. '12 | Psychology-Organizational
Alumni Council Members
Megan Benay is the Director of Instructional Support for Diverse Learners at Great Oaks Foundation where she leads the work to support schools across the network to improve social, emotional and academic outcomes for students with disabilities, English Language Learners and other special populations. Prior to joining Great Oaks, Megan supported the education program at the Carnegie Corporation of New York as a Program Analyst in the New Designs to Advance Learning portfolio. Megan started her career at a public elementary school in New York City, serving as a special education teacher, music teacher and administrative intern. An alumna of the NYC Teaching Fellows program and Teachers College Summer Principals Academy, she holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Vermont’s Honors College, an M.S. in education from Hunter College and an M.Ed. in organizational leadership from TC. In order to gain an understanding of education systems outside of the U.S., Megan also traveled to Chile to work for the United Nations Development Programme and the Chilean Ministry of Education as an English teacher through the English Opens Doors Program.
M.E. '17 | Public School Building Leadership
Dr. Renée J. Blumstein is an educational psychologist with over 30 years of experience working in programs of all types and at all levels (PK-16). A graduate of the Teachers College Ph.D. program in Educational and Psychological Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics, Dr. Blumstein has successfully applied her qualitative and quantitative skills to a host of different organizations including the largest corporations in the U.S. However, she finds the most satisfaction working with schools to identify and implement programs and practices to enhance their curricula and policies so that their students are able to reach their highest potential.
Since moving to Long Island in 1996, Dr. Blumstein has worked with high needs suburban schools to strengthen programs and services using evidence-based research and evaluation. She has worked with these schools on developing competitive grant proposals, winning more than $100 million over the last 20 years for schools that serve predominantly at-risk students.
Dr. Blumstein is interested in connecting with current Teachers College students to discuss educational research and evaluation, statistical methods, and fund raising for high needs schools.
Connect with Renee
Ph.D. '86 | Measurement and Evaluation
Dr. Beatrice L. Bridglall has a doctorate in education and health psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing and World Literature from Fairleigh Dickinson University; and a Masters in Public Affairs (Health Policy and Management) from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.
This unique combination of credentials has led to her appointment as Dean of Humanities at Bergen Community College (BCC) in New Jersey. At BCC, she is not only responsible for providing students opportunities that enable their capacity to read, write and think analytically, but also working with faculty and staff to conceptualize transitional/bridge programs that will serve diverse and nontraditional students; integrate humanities content or texts in developmental and required courses that emphasize close reading and analytical writing; and integrate humanistic content into other disciplines within the college, including the sciences, technology, mathematics and medicine.
Additionally, Dr. Bridglall is a Fulbright Specialist in higher education; most recently as a Fulbright grantee in Greece in 2015. Her research draws on multiple disciplines (including educational, social, and developmental psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, and sociology) to understand the phenomenon of student academic development / socialization, curriculum,assessment and instruction, educational / organizational systems and conditions that impact successful learning (including parental involvement), learning and cognition, faculty expertise, and student motivation.
As a scholar, Dr. Bridglall has published 5 books and over 80 research,journal and literary articles in the past decade. Her most recent book On Exploring Craft: Writers as Architects (2015; Rowman and Littlefield Publishers), takes an interdisciplinary approach to examining the art and technique of writing vis-à-vis the parallel concepts found in the architecture of antiquity and the crafting of literature that endures.
Dr. Bridglall has published French to English translations of three of Guy de Maupassant’s short stories (including Ma Femme, Spring/Summer, 2016, and Le Bûcher, Winter/Spring 2016). Her translation of Le Bûcher was a Finalist for The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multi-Lingual Texts in honor of Gabriel García Márquez, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982.
Ed.D. '04 | Health Education
Jane is currently a Major Gift Officer at Le Moyne College, her undergraduate alma mater, in Syracuse, New York. Jane has twenty-five years’ experience in higher education, educational testing and executive training. She has worked for several universities, including New York University and Teachers College, Columbia University. Jane worked in varied areas of student development before moving to academic administration. She has published in the fields of education and psychology and has presented workshops on international education, higher education policy, intercultural competence and women’s leadership and mentorship. She is the editor and principal contributor to The International Student’s Survival Guide to Living in NYC, 3rd Edition.. While living in Hong Kong, China, she was the Asia representative for a major educational testing company, and worked with international students wishing to study in the U.S. She also conducted research in Chinese schools and in intercultural psychology. Jane has been an executive trainer with major U.S. corporations and Executive MBA programs.
Jane holds a B.A. in Romance Languages from LeMoyne College and an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University with additional coursework in counseling and clinical psychology and independent school leadership.
M.A. '10 | Developmental Psychology
Jessica Cardichon is currently the Director of Washington DC Office and the Director of Federal Policy at the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) where she plays a leadership role in developing federal legislative and regulatory strategy and co-leads LPI’s policy team. She is also a member of LPI’s Educator Quality and Deeper Learning teams and is the lead author of Advancing Educational Equity for Underserved Youth. Jessica began her career teaching upper elementary school in New York City for seven years and then working for Teachers College, Columbia University, as a program manager for implementation of early career educator induction programs. Upon moving to Washington, DC, she served as Education Counsel to a member of the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. She then served as Senior Director for Federal Policy and Advocacy at the Alliance for Excellent Education where she also published numerous policy reports. Jessica received an M.A. in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1999 and an Ed. D. in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2003. She earned a J.D. from Pace University School of Law in 2010 where she graduated Cum Laude and served on Law Review as a Case Note and Comment Editor. Jessica is admitted to the New York State Bar, Third Department and the District of Columbia Bar, D.C. Court of Appeals. Jessica’s time at Teachers College provided her with an understanding of the historical and structural reasons that resulted in the educational inequities she witnesses while teaching. The foundational knowledge and policy skills that she developed as a result of her time at Teachers College is something that she continues to draw from and has been instrumental in her career.
M.A. '99 | Psychological Counseling
Ed.D. '03 | Guidance in Elementary Education
Arnold F. Fege is President of Public Advocacy for Kids, a national group devoted to federal and national education and child advocacy policy with a focus on low-income and special needs children and families. You will find Arnie working on the Hill, with federal agencies, school districts and community based organizations where he contends that policy must be shaped and crafted from the bottom-up, but with a strong federal presence in assuring equity. His personal and professional passion is to fight for the rights of students, parents and families who have no voice in the education of their children, in the United States and internationally.
Arnie is a 1974 TC graduate majoring in Education Leadership and Policy and has been working in the fields of public education and child advocacy for over 35 years. He has served as a public school teacher, principal, assistant superintendent for curriculum, and desegregation director, and is former journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times and AP covering the Vietnam War and urban problems in education, Director of Governmental Relations with the National PTA, and Director of Public Engagement and Advocacy for the Public Education Network. As a staff member for the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, he helped draft provisions of the original ESEA (The Elementary and Secondary Education Act), and has been involved in each ESEA reauthorization since 1965.
Fege has written and spoken widely on issues of education equity, civil rights, teacher professionalism and community engagement. He serves on numerous non-profit boards, and has received awards, some of which include the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Peace Award, Roosevelt Center Congressional Child Advocacy Award, the National PTA President’s Recognition for Outstanding Child Advocacy, and the Nelson Mandela Award for International Education Leadership and Social Justice. He is currently working with seven South East Asian nations on education, social justice, and community development. Arnie is a staunch TC advocate and credits TC with “having a major influence in crafting his education philosophy and TC professors in inspiring his policy work.”
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M.Ed. '75 | Education Administration
I was born and raised in California, and moved to New York for graduate school. I am fascinated by people and what makes them tick, and this motivated me to study cognitive neuroscience in undergrad, and then Organizational Psychology and Conflict Resolution for my masters degree. I love being outdoors and enjoy spending time in any New York City park (especially Riverside Park). I do not take myself too seriously and seek out others that want to be themselves and live out their passions fully. I have been an HR Business Partner at Google for over 4 years.
M.A. '13 | Organizational Psychology
James Gibaldi currently serves as an Outreach Coordinator at the NYC Mayor’s Office, focusing his efforts on ThriveNYC, New York City’s groundbreaking mental health initiative. In this role he works to build strategic partnerships with communities, corporations, and non-profit organizations in an effort to connect these entities to quality mental health resources provided by the City. As a third-generation New Yorker, James has a passion for connecting with communities throughout the city to change the culture and eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, James was a researcher and clinical intern at NYP-Weill Cornell Medicine’s Department of Neurological Surgery. His work on sports-related concussions has been published and he had the privilege of working within the NFL’s Concussion Protocol for the New York Jets. He graduated with a Master’s degree in neuroscience and education from Teachers College and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from The George Washington University. A proud resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, you can find James spending most of his free time at Zabar’s or relaxing at Central Park’s Great Lawn.
Connect with James on Twitter: @jamesgibaldi
M.S. '15 | Neuroscience and Education
Michael C. Gillespie
Michael Gillespie was the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs whose primary responsibility was for academic support services and faculty
development. Dean Gillespie also managed the college’s immersion programs, high school partnerships, Urban Male Leadership Academy,
IRB and COPE.
Prior to coming to BMCC, Dean Gillespie served as Professor of Education and Senior Director of Collaborative Programs at Bronx
Community College. He has served as founding director of the City College/Hunter College Principals’ Center and has taught secondary
English, worked as a guidance counselor and corporate trainer. His primary research interests are on urban schools and the best
practices for preparing both teachers and principals to lead them effectively. Dean Gillespie earned his combined AB/MAT in English
at Brown University, M.A, and Ed.D at Teacher College, Columbia University.
M.A. '80 | Student Personnel Administration
Ed.D. '83 | Entry into Educating Professions
I develop programs that build equitable, sustainable communities. During my time at TC, I cultivated my professional identity as a educator, intellectual and activist. I also met my closest friends who share in my passion for this work. I then went on to launch two new middle schools in New York City dedicated to progressive adolescent pedagogy, and now work for the Girl Scouts.
M.A. '12 | TESOL (K-12)
Eric Hassler began his career in education as an elementary and middle school teacher for eight years. Both his bachelors and masters degrees are in elementary education from SUNY New Paltz. He then made the transition into school administration by becoming a middle school assistant principal, a position he held for three years. He furthered his career as an elementary principal for six years. During this time, he completed his doctor of education degree at Teachers College, Columbia University. The topic of his dissertation dealt with the influence of accountability-based reform and teacher accountability on the classroom practice of suburban middle school teachers. He is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District.
Ed.D. '11 | Curriculum and Teaching
David Hoff is Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Leadership Development at EASI·Consult. David leads organization transformation projects for private sector companies and large public sector agencies of the Federal government. David spent 17 years at Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. as Director of International Human Resources, Director of Human Resource Development and Selection, Manager of Management Development and Training and Organization Development Consultant. He's held corporate positions such as Vice President of Human Resources for Dimension Data, Inc. and Director and Managing Director of International Human Resources for Proxicom, Inc.
Ph.D. '73 | Guidance
Allan Hoffman is the President of the Institute for Clinical Social. He received his Doctorate in 1975 in Higher Education, a masters in 1976 in Philosophy and the Social Sciences and a masters in 1973 in Higher Education. He was also a Kellogg Fellow.
M.A. '73 | Philosophy and the Social Sciences
Ed.D. '75 | Philosophy and the Social Sciences
Jennifer received her master’s degree in Communication and Education from Columbia University, Teachers College and her bachelor’s degree with a double major in Communications and Women’s Studies from Fordham University.
Jennifer currently works as the Coordinator for the Dance/Movement Therapy Graduate Program at Sarah Lawrence College. The Program is one of only six Graduate Programs in the country for Dance/Movement Therapy.
A member of MENSA, Jennifer served many years as a mayoral appointed Yonkers Public Library Trustee. She was the Alumni Council's first elected Secretary, a position she held for two years. Jennifer serves on the Executive Board of the North Shore Beach Property Owners Association in Long Island.
Jennifer completed training to become a certified ProVetus Mentor through the Teachers College Resilience Center for Veterans and Families.Additionally, she has participated in Undoing Racism workshops through The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond.
A native New Englander, Jennifer resides in Westchester County and Long Island with her husband, son, two rescue dogs, and a bird.
M.A. '99 | Communication and Education
Delmy Lendof is a Student Affairs professional with over 20 years of experience working in higher education and serving students at public and private universities. She currently serves as the Director for Residential Staff and Programs at New York University, and prior to that worked as Assistant Director for Residential Life at Rutgers University, and Teachers College, Columbia University.
Dr. Lendof is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Higher & Postsecondary Education Program at NYU and Teachers College. She is highly involved in regional and national organizations and has presented at a number of conferences. Dr. Lendof was a recipient of the NYU Team achievement award, Student Affairs Hallmark Award, and Residential Life and Housing Services Hallmark Award. She was also recognized as an outstanding higher education professional by Rutgers University Graduate School of Education during the 2011 commencement.
"TC made it possible for a first generation, low-income student, born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the South Bronx to have access to outstanding faculty and academic resources that have impacted my personal and professional journey in more ways that words can describe. To teach in the program I graduated from and serve as a member of the Alumni Council is all but a dream come true and I will forever be grateful for this experience, the faculty, the great network of colleagues and the extended family TC has become."
Ed.D. '13 | Higher & Postsecondary Education
Emmanuel "Noel" Leyco
M.A. '80 | Organizational Psychology
I learned, at TC, not just about anthropology and education, but (perhaps more importantly) about myself. Looking back, those were the most precious years shaping me as a person. Currently, as the Director of Education at China Institute in America, I truly value the formative years at TC, which broadened my vision and mind, sharpened my thoughts, and connected me with some of the most passionate and brightest people I have ever met. For me, while TC wasn't an immediate launching pad, it truly built the most critical foundations with lasting values for my career until today.
Connect with Shenzhan
M.E. '04 | Anthropology and Education
TC taught me to understand the intricate complexity of education, and to look for different ways to approach the challenges we face in classrooms and policy. Currently, I am back in Brazil and have focused my work on disseminating and implementing social and emotional learning programs. I have worked in classrooms, developed curriculum and started nationwide programs in public schools - and TC’s teachings has been with me along the way. Serving in the Alumni Council is a chance to contribute and give back to the place that has given the world so much knowledge.
Connect with Leticia
M.A. ’11 | Elementary Inclusive Education
Belinda Nicholson is the Middle Division Director at The School at Columbia University. She is the product of a multinational, multiethnic background and education; and professionally seeks to reap its infinite possibilities. Her educational passions center around educational equity and access, empowering individual voice, and supporting the crucial identity development of adolescents and teens. She is on the board of ChildsPlay International, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help children deal with trauma and displacement by rebuilding the essential structure of childhood through active play and imagination. Belinda’s first foray into teaching was as an elementary ESL teacher in Osaka Japan. After receiving her B.A and M.A in International Development and Social Change from Clark University, Belinda shifted her focus to pursue a career as a public school special education teacher. Prior to moving to New York to attend Teacher’s College, Belinda served as the Dean of Students for St. Edward’s High School in Vero Beach, Florida. In addition to her role as Dean, she taught honors courses in Global Studies and Current Affairs, sponsored the student council and the diversity club, and traveled extensively with the model UN student group. As an alumna of the Teachers College’s Klingenstein Center’s Leadership Academy, her experience from her time at TC continually informs her work in independent schools. As a life-long learner, Belinda is back at Teacher’s College pursing a M.E in Anthropology and Education.
M.A. ‘98 International Development and Social Change
M.E. ’10 | Private School Leadership
Bob Obrohta is a leader in college access to higher education for first-generation and low-income students. His nearly 30 year career has spanned providing direct service work for thousands of students in both urban and rural communities to policy advocacy at the state and national level. A first-generation college student, Bob received his Bachelor’s degree, in Political Science, from the University of St. Francis. It was through his participation in student government that Bob found his passion for college access and affordability, which led him to enrolling in TC’s Student Personnel Administration program. During his studies, he concentrated on issues of admissions, affordability, poverty and education.
Bob is the founder of both Oasis College Connection (Nashville, TN) and the Tennessee College Access and Success Network. Oasis annually provides college access services to 2,000 Nashville youth. In his current position as executive director of the Tennessee College Access and Success Network, Bob has provided leadership on grant funding, professional development, and policy advocacy that has distributed nearly $2 Million in grant funding, trained thousands of professionals, and reached over 60,000 students and families. He has worked on many state and national college access projects with partners like the Lumina Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and President Obama’s White House Call to Action Summit. His current work includes The TalentED Project, a national project in partnership with UBS Americas that focuses on the creation of a free technology solution to address the issue of student “undermatching.” Launched in 2016, TalentED currently includes over 100 undergraduate colleges, and 230 college access organizations from 30 states.
Bob sits on the National College Access Network’s National Policy Council and is a representative on the Nashville Sports Authority which oversees Nashville sports facility operations including Nissan Stadium (Tennessee Titans) and the Bridgestone Arena (Nashville Predators). He is the 2017 recipient of the University of St. Francis’ Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Arts and Sciences. Bob and his wife, Lora, live in Nashville with their two teenage sons, Ayrton and Lance.
M.A. '89 | Student Personnel Administration
Jalene Spain Thomas
My professional trajectory has been forever shaped by my graduate studies at Teachers College. As a graduate of the Klingenstein Center’s Leadership Academy, I am committed to working for an independent institution that understands the centrality of education in promoting social justice and diversity. My training draws me to schools with a student body and faculty that represent the increasing diversity of our nation. I believe that well-funded schools should serve as a model and resource for students, faculty, and families of under-resourced schools while also appreciating and learning from the best practices used by these schools. I am committed to contributing to the alumni network’s recruitment of teachers to Teachers College who are willing to engage in and forward the public-private discourse. I am also committed to participating in and supporting programs that use the Klingenstein Center’s cohort model to promote leadership development.
In partnership with another Teachers College graduate, Rodney Glasgow, I co-founded the Administrators of Color in the Washington Metropolitan Area (AOC/DMV). I currently serve as the co-convener of the group. We offer support to administrators of color in area independent schools as part of a regional network and cultivate a professional learning community for sharing best practices and engaging in leadership development.
Jalene has recently begun a post as Lower School Head at St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, VA, a JK-12 co-educational Episcopal School. She was previously the Assistant Head of School at Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School in Washington, DC where she served as a teacher and administrator for sixteen years.
M.A. '11 | Private School Leadership
Graduating from TC, directly and indirectly influenced so many parts of my life. Many times I have harnessed my experience at TC as well as TC's strong reputation, in order to gain access to opportunities (both professionally and socially). I got my first role in educational publishing via a TC job fair, which helped to led me into my current role as an Educational Instructional Designer.
Courtney Steers came to Teachers College as a former math and science teacher and graduated with a Masters of Arts in Politics and Education in 2010. Initially, she utilized her degree for policy and grant work as part of the Gates Foundation and the Police Athletic League. Over her career, she continued to expand her skill set and made the transition into educational publishing and elearning. She has worked as a consult with PARCC and SBAC and developed educational software as part of a start-up, StraightAce, and with a large global company, Pearson. Currently, she works as an Educational Design Technologist at New York University (NYU) and works closely with world renounced faculty to develop online courses and materials.
Connect with Courtney
M.A. '10 | Politics and Education
It was at TC that I became immersed in Deaf Culture for the first time since losing my hearing at age 17. Through my program—the wonderful professors, classmates, and opportunities—I discovered confidence and direction. Every single one of those experiences helped shape my identity as a Deaf woman and challenged me to pursue a career in which I would promote inclusion and create opportunities for children and adults with disabilities.
M.A.'05, M.E. '05 | Hearing Impairment
M.S. '10 | Mathematics Education
Ed.D. '16 | Mathematics Education
Katherine Houghton Zatz
Dr. Katherine Zatz is the Assistant Dean for the School of Administrative Science for the Petrocelli College of Continuing Studies, at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. She is the Coordinator of the Cyber Crime labs and programs in Cyber and Homeland Security, Administrative Sciences, Student Services, Sports Administration, and Service Innovation and Leadership.
Dr. Zatz was appointed to the Board of Trustees of American Public University System in 2004, and has served as the Chair for ten of those years. For the past 12 years she has been a member of the Registry of College and University Presidents; and, until 2018, she was a senior consultant in organizational research, change management, and employee engagement with boutique firm Toolpack Consulting LLC.
In addition to serving on the Board of American Public University System, in June of 2017, Kate was named to the Macalester College Alumni Board and the Teachers College - Columbia University Alumni Council.
As Vice President of Student Development at SUNY-Rockland, Kate was responsible for enrollment management, financial aid, student activities and athletics, the student information system, two off-site centers, administration of federal and state grants, and academic advising. Within one year at SUNY-Rockland, she stabilized enrollment after ten years of decline, and increased new student enrollment.
In her eight years at Hudson County Community College, Dr. Zatz was responsible for more than doubling the enrollment from 2,900 to 8,400, without substantial budget increases. She also helped to raise student retention by 26 points.
As the Dean of Students of the Vaughn College of Aeronautics, she raised student retention by 17 points, and substantially increased enrollment. She also instituted a housing program with full occupancy; a peer-based tutoring program responsible for an average of one grade-point increase among participants; and a bridge program for high school students, 80% of whom entered the College. Her initiatives also increased the number of women enrolled from 50 to over 150 over three years.
Kate has served as the President of the New Jersey Deans’ Association for Community Colleges, has been a member of the Legislative Committee for the Council of County Colleges, and acted as a Middle States Commission peer evaluator. She served on the Substantive Change Committee of the Middle States Commission for six years.
Dr. Zatz has been a guest lecturer at Teachers College – Columbia University, served on dissertations hearing committees at Seton Hall and Capella Universities.
Kate holds a doctorate in higher and adult education and two master’s degrees from Teachers College – Columbia University. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Macalester College, and attended the University of Wisconsin - Marathon County Center. In 2017, She earned her certification in Human Resource Management from Cornell University. She also holds certifications from the HERS program at Wellesley College, ACE Women in Education, Institute of Education Management of the Harvard School of Education and in Corporate Governance of The Wharton School of Executive Education.
Kate’s current research interests are the appropriate use of technology in education.
Connect with Katherine
Ed.D. ’93 | Higher Education
M.A. '10 | Psychology-Organizational
Past Presidents and Mentors
Frances O'Connell Rust
Charles D.W. Thompson
Anna Bell Washburn