Instructors

The Learning Collaborative attracts a vibrant group of instructors, ensuring an ongoing stream of long-term and new educators. Many bring an intense passion for their subject, which while not necessarily connected to their earlier careers, is deeply learned and embraced.  Our student body often expresses its enthusiasm for these instructors. 
We listen to them!

Suzanne Altman

Suzanne Altman, B.F.A., Tyler School of Art, Master’s in Art Education, Pace University, has taught art and art history in public and private schools. She lectures on art history at many venues in the Hudson Valley and New Jersey. Suzanne is also a painter who works and teaches out of her studio in Ossining. Her works have been widely exhibited.

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Susan Barnett

Susan Barnett holds a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from Queens College. She has taught at Bronx Community College and at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She has also taught ESL for many years in the Teaneck Public Schools as well as at the Tenafly Adult Education program.

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Robin F. Brancato

Robin F. Brancato has taught English, journalism, and creative writing at Hackensack H.S., Teaneck H.S., and Kean University, all in New Jersey. She has published eight young adult novels with Alfred Knopf and two nonfiction books for teenagers with Scarecrow Press. She is a member of the Authors Guild, PEN International, and Writers Guild East.

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Karen Caccavo

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Vincent Cina

Vincent Cina has 42 years experience in Information Technology (IT) positions including systems programming management at N.Y. Telephone Co., various technical and senior management positions in computer science, and IT management at IBM Research. Now retired, Vincent challenges himself by trying to keep up with advances in computer technology.

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Dr. Marty O. Cohen

Dr. Marty O. Cohen has a doctorate in Nuclear Science and Engineering from Columbia University. He has lectured on history, science, and the historic approach to Bible at Road Scholar (nee Elderhostel) seminars, the Melton Institute, alumni associations, synagogues, culture clubs, and many times here at the Collaborative. He is a member of TLC board and is the catalog editor.

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Marty L. Cohen

Marty L. Cohen is Adjunct Professor of History and Geography at CUNY. He was chairman of social studies at the Clarkstown Central School, is the director of the Rockland County Mentoring Collaborative, and has lectured at the Rockland and Bergen YMHAs. He has written numerous articles for magazines and journals on history and politics.

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Ilana Davidson

Ilana Davidson has a singing repertoire that ranges in time from the Renaissance to world premieres. Her performances of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony alongside maestros Leonard Slatkin, Keith Lockhart, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya remain among her most cherished experiences. Additionally, she has sung in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, performing works such as Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Max von Schillings’ Mona Lisa with the American Symphony Orchestra, Shostakovich’s Songs of Jewish Folk Poetry, and Krenek’s Der Diktator. Ilana frequents chamber music festivals in North America and is the artistic director of the Serenata Chamber Series in Nyack, New York. William Bolcom’s “Songs of Innocence and of Experience”, for which she is a…

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Tom DeStefano

Tom DeStefano taught American History at Paterson H.S. for 30 years and currently teaches at Bergen Community College. He has presented many programs at local libraries. His specialties include the American presidents, the Civil War, and New Jersey history.

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Vivienne Dieckmann

Vivienne Dieckmann holds an M.A. in English from SUNY, New Paltz, an M.S. in Computers from LIU, and a certificate in Horticultural Education from Cornell University. She taught English and AP English in Pearl River H.S. for 31 years as well as Project Advance, a freshman English program through Syracuse University. Since retiring, she has presented many programs in libraries and in continuing adult education centers throughout Rockland County.

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Lauren Eisen

Lauren Eisen is an Estate Planning/Elder Law attorney in Rockland with over 25 years of experience. She is a partner with Cane, Boniface & Eisen, PC, based in Nyack, NY. Lauren is licensed in New York and New Jersey and has clients throughout Westchester, Rockland, and Bergen Counties as well is in NYC.

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Rick Feingold

Rick Feingold holds a B.A. in History and Business from Rutgers and an M.B.A. from Penn State. He has 30 years of teaching experience, currently teaching “American Business History” and “The Air Force in World War II” at Bergen Community College. He also teaches at Ridgewood Community School and Emerson Community School. He has lectured at over fifty local libraries and has written for the Boston Herald and Christian Science Monitor.

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Laura Goodman

Laura Goodman is a school psychologist at Clarkstown South HS. She is the current president of PFLAG Rockland, and co-facilitator of the Gay, Straight, Transgender Alliance. She is the mother of a transgender woman, and a cisgender daughter.

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Mimi Goodman

Mimi Goodman was a social worker for 25 years in the Clarkstown School system. She was the co-facilitator of the Gay, Straight, Transgender Alliance,  the past president of PFLAG ( parents and friends of Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Non-binary people,) the current Vice President of PFLAG Rockland, and the co-founder of a support group, Bronx Parents of Pride. She is the mother of a gay man and a non-binary adult child.

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Dr. Floyd Lapp

Dr. Floyd Lapp’s admiration for the music of Frank Sinatra goes back to his childhood at the Paramount Theatre stage shows in Times Square where his uncle was the managing director and his sister’s records played in their Bronx apartment. As a teenager, he was a rock ’n’ roller but had a greater appreciation for the American Songbook and Sinatra as the “Chairman of the Board.”

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Dr. Duncan Rogers Lee II

Dr. Duncan Rogers Lee II is a local attorney who has taught a variety of Constitutional Law and science classes for the Collaborative. His former newspaper column and WRCR radio show, The Law and You, has explained legal issues to the general public for almost two decades. A former acting judge for the Village of Upper Nyack, he coaches the award-winning Nyack H.S. Mock Trial Team.

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Sheryl LeRoy

Sheryl LeRoy holds a BS in Biology from Fairleigh Dickinson and led global teams in the pharmaceutical industry until her retirement. Her passion for gardening and desire for community service led to her current position as President of the Friends of River Hook, a non-profit organization, working with the Village of Upper Nyack to build a natural preserve to support the environment, community, arts, and learning.

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Sylvia Lewis

Sylvia Lewis is a retired journalist whose long-time beat was urban and environmental planning. Over the course of 40 years, she wrote and edited magazine articles and edited books while serving as the chief editor and publisher of a national nonprofit organization. In addition to a B.A. and M.A. in English literature, she earned an M.S. in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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Joan Adinolfi Mallory

Joan Adinolfi Mallory has been an educator for 54 years both in public school and as head of the music education Department of Nyack College, 1998 to 2015. She received the Model Classroom Teacher award from MENC at the end of her public teaching career and now enjoys taking her “Opera Experience” class on the road.

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Richard Markowitz

Richard Markowitz has made a lifelong study of domestic and foreign record catalogs (from 78s to LPs and CDs) and has focused in detail on the history of sound recordings and published scores in the areas of concert works, folksong, and musical theater.

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Ronni Miller

Ronni Miller is an award-winning fiction writer with eight published books. She created and founded Write It Out®, a motivational and expressive writing program in 1992 and teaches it in the US, Bermuda, and Italy at colleges, education centers, and private venues. She is a Book Midwife/Developmental Editor and guides her clients to birth their books from inception to delivery.

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Katie Palmer

Katie Palmer is the Executive Director of Together in Dance. As a creator/performer, she has worked with dancers, singers, actors, and musicians across multiple performing arts organizations including NY Theater Workshop, Theater in Asylum, Alvin Ailey, and Disney Theatrical Group. She is delighted to draw on the rich talents of Together in Dance artists to present six amazing musical theater and dance professionals as they share their virtuosity with The Learning Collaborative.

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Dr. Alan J. Pierce

Dr. Alan J. Pierce, Ed.D., is the co-author of six textbooks on technology published by West Publishing and Glencoe McGraw-Hill. He was the technical consultant on the children’s book Discover How Things Work and was an editor for the six books created by The Techknow Project and published by Centre Pointe Learning. His magazine column on new and emerging technology is published monthly in the magazine TechDirections.

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Dr. Carl Rattner

Dr. Carl Rattner is a graduate of Grinnell College (B.A.), Cranbrook Academy of Art (M.F.A.), and New York University (D.A.). He is a sculptor and a recently retired art professor.  

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Jay Rifkin

Jay Rifkin has spent over 35 years teaching math and almost twice that time as a BIG TIME baseball fan. By the age of 7, he was collecting baseball cards and could recite the starting lineups of all 16 Major League teams. He also spent countless hours voraciously reading whatever he could about baseball. He looked forward to and enjoyed Opening Day with the same enthusiasm and excitement as his birthday. By March 1st, he was in full countdown mode to the start of a new baseball season. Not much has changed through the years. [Ed. Note: Except for the…

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Judith Rose

Judith Rose, the founder of Vital MovementTM, is an experienced educator, choreographer, published poet and movement artist. She has an extensive background in a variety of movement arts, therapeutic modalities and specialized trainings. Her private practice and therapeutic wellness work is located in Nyack, New York.

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Mike Rossi

Mike Rossi was an undergraduate at Saint Thomas Aquinas College, a graduate of LIU, and a post graduate of Iona College. He taught high school social studies and was a high school administrator. As a retired educator, he has authored four mystery novels, has become an education consultant, and advocates for elder care providers.

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Martin Schneit

Marty Schneit is a born and bred New Yorker and a historian. He has lectured at many local institutions such as the NY Public Library, JCCs, The 92nd Street Y, The Health Outreach Program of New York Presbyterian Hospital, Central Synagogue, The Hebrew Home for the Aged (Riverdale), The Ziegfeld Society of NY, for patients at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, and the Lincoln Center Campus of Fordham University. The Jewish Braille Institute has recorded Marty’s lectures for their audio magazine and lecture series.

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Jeffery Shannon

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Marcia Simon

Marcia Simon wrote A Special Gift after taking a class on writing children’s books at Radcliffe College. She did her research at the Papermill Playhouse in N.J., where a friend’s daughter was dancing in The Nutcracker. While she was backstage watching the show, several of the boys in the program came up to her to tell her how hard it was for them to dance in public because they were teased by kids at school. That became the subject of Marcia’s novel about a brother and sister who dance in The Nutcracker.

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Karen Tarapata

Karen Tarapata has an MS from Boise State University in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning. After a career in consulting for non-profits and public agencies, Karen now serves as Mayor of the Village of Upper Nyack. As a lifelong environmentalist and outdoor enthusiast, she is dedicated to using natural methods and native plants to restore the landscape at River Hook and provide the community a place for the quiet enjoyment of nature. 

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Loretta Tito

Loretta Tito graduated from Oswego University (BS) and Fairfield University (MS). She taught for 35 years, including 32 at the Upper Nyack Elementary School. She also taught ESL at BOCES. Loretta is active in several book clubs and the Monday Study Class – a group requiring oral reports. She has traveled extensively, but her trip to Italy was particularly memorable, leading her to offer this class.

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Alice Twombly

Alice Twombly has a B.A. in English from Brandeis and an M.A.T. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She taught Shakespeare and AP English at Teaneck H.S. for over 35 years. An educational consultant, photographer, and poet, Alice frequently lectures on literary topics at regional libraries, is the Curator of Thursdays Are For Poetry, a monthly poetry reading in Teaneck, and a member of Brevitas, an online poetry collective of over 70 poets in the NY Metro Area.

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Marc Wantuch

 Marc Wantuch received a B.A. in Mathematics from Adelphi in 1970. He was immediately sent back to high school where he taught for about 25 years, despite earning an M.S. somewhere along the way. Having no children of his own, he helped raise an estimated 8,000 – that’s 8 x 103 – teenagers. Marc was also a computer programmer-analyst for AT&T (the original one) and has taught professional and college courses (and also skiing and horseback riding).

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Bette Willins

Bette Willins, M.S., LDT-C**, 200HR RYT*** is a certified yoga instructor holding advanced degrees in education from Fordham and educational diagnostics from Monclair State. Her teaching experience has targeted the specific educational needs for learners of all ages and abilities. Bette’s personal experience, with the challenges associated with Parkinson’s Disease, has broadened her passion to acknowledge the needs of the whole person, specifically through the practice of yoga, breathing, and meditative exercise. Bette’s expertise in this field, coupled with her compassion, empowers her students to develop the necessary skill set to address a wide range of physical, cognitive and emotional…

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