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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Helena Bardusco

Helena Bardusco is a Golden Circle Member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. She has been providing organizing services in the Manhattan, Westchester, and Rockland areas for over 20 years. She was featured in the Holiday Issue of Rockland Magazine.

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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. 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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Carrie Barratt

Carrie Rebora Barratt is an art historian and museum leader who has deployed her growth and resilience mindset into organizational culture in top NYC cultural institutions. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the New York Botanical Garden, she championed the idea that art and nature inspire us, welcome our visitors, build community, and provide comfort. (More can be found at carriereborabarratt.com.)

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Bill Batson

Bill Batson, a trustee of The Historical Society of the Nyacks, publishes a weekly sketch and short essay about Nyack in NyackNewsAndViews. He chaired the effort, with the Toni Morrison Foundation, that created a monument to the Underground Railroad. Bill has worked for non-profits, labor unions, and in NYS government as an organizer, writer, and public relations specialist.

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Kenneth Bé

Kenneth Bé, performing lute music since 1974, has been taught by notable lute players including Sylvian Bergeron, Ronn McFarlane, Paul O’Dette, and Nigel North. He participated in the Boston Early Music Festival and has played duet recitals with McFarlane. His repertoire for early plucked musical instruments spans from the earliest known lute tablatures of the late 15th century through the twilight of the lute in the late 18th century, plus the surviving music for the vihuela and guitar of the renaissance and baroque periods. Bé is originally from Tappan and has worked as a painting conservator at The Cleveland Museum…

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Rabbi David Berkman

Rabbi David Berkman is Senior Rabbi at the New City Jewish Center. He received both his Master of Hebrew Letters and rabbinic ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Berkman studied sculpture and performance art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he received his B.F.A.

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Prof. Akeel Bilgrami

Akeel Bilgrami is the Sidney Morgenbesser professor of philosophy, and a member of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. He is the author of the books Belief and Meaning (Wiley-Blackwell, 1992), Self-knowledge and Resentment (Harvard University Press, 2006), and Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment (Harvard University Press, 2014). He is contracted to publish two books next year, Gandhi, the Philosopher (Columbia University Press), and What is a Muslim? (Princeton University Press). Prof. Bilgrami is also currently writing a book on the relation between agency, value, and reason.

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Beth Blecker

Beth Blecker draws upon her many years of experience in retirement planning and particular expertise in distribution strategies to provide clients approaching their retirement years, or in times of transition, with proactive financial strategies. She understands that it’s not just your money, it’s your life, and she works towards helping financial balance.

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Courtney E. Boniface

Courtney E. Boniface is the managing partner of Cane & Boniface, PC, a boutique law firm based in Nyack, NY. The firm is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and is dedicated exclusively to planning and settling estates for individuals and families. The firm was recognized in 2015 by the Rockland Development Council with the Corporate Leadership Award.

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Brian Bonvissuto

Brian is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music. He plays all the trombones (alto, tenor, bass), euphonium, and tuba. He has played in the orchestras of the Broadway shows Chicago, Gypsy, The Color Purple, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Come Fly Away with Me. He is a pit substitute on Broadway. He has also performed or recorded with musical acts such as Blood, Sweat and Tears, Lionel Hampton, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Marlene VerPlank, and many others. When he’s not playing at home he’s an arranger and copyist.

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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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Sabrina Chapadijev

Sabrina Chapadijev is a musician, songwriter and musical director who has independently recorded and produced two CDs of her own work and performs all over New York and the country.

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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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Phyllis Citrin

Phyllis Citrin holds a B. S. in Biology and a Master’s in Science Education from CCNY. She did research and participated in leadership institutes at Princeton, Cold Spring Harbor Labs, Nathan Kline, and Cornell University.  She was a finalist for 1999 New York State Teacher of the Year and has taught Advanced Placement Biology and Science Research for over 44 years.

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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

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Karen Curlee

Karen Curlee was a performer on Broadway for 20 years, most notably in CATS, A Chorus Line, and Showboat. She then completed an Arts Management certificate program at NYU and has designed and implemented arts in education programs for Together in Dance, New York City Center, The Bronx Arts Ensemble,  and the University of Michigan.

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Officer Niles Davies

Officer Niles Davies is the Community Police Officer for the Clarkstown Police Department. He has experience in Community Police, Crime Prevention, Scams, Emergency Management, CARES unit, and VIN etching.

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Anna de la Paz

Anna de la Paz,Spanish dance artist, is a performer, producer and educator, specializing in the classical and folkloric dances from Spain. After having studied extensively in Spain and in the US, she feels honored and privileged to share her art form on many important stages as a dancer, teacher and lecturer.

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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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Nancy Diamond

Nancy Khafif Diamond is a Hudson Valley artist born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.  During her 33-year tenure as art teacher and department chair at Clarkstown High School North, Nancy taught in a range of subjects and materials. From painting to ceramics, and photography to art history, Nancy guided teens in a range of artistic skills and techniques. But more significantly, Nancy imparted the power of one’s creativity to help, to heal, to question, and to bring people together. Nancy thrives on the power of collaboration, and shining light on the best versions of ourselves.  She continues to use her art and…

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Vivienne Dieckmann

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Mary Lou Dillon

Mary Lou Dillon is a certified bioethicist from a program jointly sponsored by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She earned an M. A. in History from NYU. She is a Distinguished Scholar at the Hastings Institute.

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Janine Evers

Janine Evers holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from Bard College, attended one year of the MFA program at The School of Visual Arts in NYC, has studied at The Art Students League, both the NYC and Woodstock locations, Parsons School of Design, as well as at numerous art schools and art associations. Her paintings are colorful abstractions that explore the structure of things both internally and externally. Her focus is on inventing a personal imagery of evolving organic forms, the relationships of color and how images exist together in space. She is interested in examining the interactions of form,…

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Jim Evers

Jim Evers, M.A.T., Oberlin, writer, entrepreneur, and retired educator, has taught all grades, K– 12, graduate school, and corporate training programs. He is the Co-Facilitator of Grassroots Community Service Projects. Jim is the founder of the Center for Exploring Creativity and New Possibilities.

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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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Jeffrey Friedberg

Jeff is an award-winning performing musician, a board-certified music therapist, and a NY State licensed creative arts therapist. He sings and plays banjo and guitar. He currently runs Music for Life Creative ArtsTherapy in Nyack. He uses music to help children, teens, and adults build skills, form relationships and improve their lives.

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Karen Gilbert

Karen plays the violin and viola and is the current concertmaster of The Rockland Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed widely in the United States, touring nationally with The Eastern Opera Company, and in Europe with the Allegro Chamber Ensemble. She was formerly a member of the Gotham Piano Trio, The Huntington Trio, River Trio and Gamela Son Of Lion and also recorded for Folkways and A&M records. Most recently she performed at Carnegie Hall for two seasons with the Senior Orchestra of Local 802. She’s left behind a long career as a teacher of strings in Rockland County schools…

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Dr. Nancy Taylor Goldman

Dr. Nancy Taylor Goldman started out in publishing and later switched to education, earning a master’s degree and a doctorate from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She has served as a teacher, nursery director, Director of the Gifted, director of curriculum in a local school district, international consultant, and professor. She is a writer and a member of The Learning Collaborative Board.

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Howard B. Goldstein, M.D.

Howard B. Goldstein, M.D., a pathologist, has studied public policy conflicts, epidemic disease, climate change, and moral philosophy.

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Dr. Leonard (Lenny) Grob

Dr. Leonard (Lenny) Grob is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Fairleigh Dickinson. His expertise lies in the areas of philosophy of dialogue, Holocaust Studies, and ethical issues pertinent to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a member of an NGO committed to resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he currently brings peace proposals to ambassadors and their deputies at UN missions. Among Lenny’s publications are the edited volumes entitled Anguished Hope: Holocaust Scholars Confront the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and Encountering the Stranger: A Jewish-Christian-Muslim Trialogue.

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Warren Grodin

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Patricia Haddad

Patricia’s music education began at a very early age. At six years old she was performing and singing in musicals and theatrical productions. Years later, at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, she studied opera as well. Patricia remains a singer with a 4-octave range, and a prolific songwriter whose compositions are marked by a lyrical and sensuous style. She has taught at several universities in the Philadelphia area and has also published a book, La Giara (The Water Jug), from which she created a musical inspired by the story of her Sicilian family’s emigration to America.

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Colleen Hawks

Colleen Hawks is a Broadway performer (Smokey Joe’s Cafe, The Boy from Oz with Hugh Jackman, and Shrek the Musical – available on Netflix and DVD) who has been teaching voice and musical theatre for many years. Other notable credits include the original Off Broadway production of Andrew Lippa’s Wild Party and Anything Goes with Chita Rivera.

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Louise Heit-Radwell

Louise Heit-Radwell has performed and choreographed in many dance, dance theater and performance art pieces throughout New York City and worldwide. She holds a MA from the Trinity Laban Conservatorie of Music and Dance in London, a CMA (Certified Movement Analysis) from Laban Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in NYC, a BFA in dance and theater from New York University and a certificate from the Dance Education Laboratory at the 92nd Street Y.

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Tammy Hensrud

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Tara Hooker

Tara is the youngest child in an intimate Irish-American family wonderfully full of musicians. She began playing the harp at a very early age. Now she is giving harp lessons both privately and for the Rockland Conservatory of Music. Her students and their teacher have won honors and awards both at home and abroad. She also performs professionally at private events and other venues, including Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria and Plaza hotels.

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Susanne Kernan

Susanne Kernan is a Rockland grassroots activist and volunteer Climate Reality Leader trained by former US Vice President Al Gore and The Climate Reality Project in 2020. She is a founding member of Rockland Citizens Action Network, and a long-time member of the Rockland Water Coalition. As one of over 20,000 trained Climate Reality Leaders from over 150 countries, Susanne has a deep understanding of the science of climate change, the impacts of the climate crisis, and possible solutions to the crisis that each of us can take individually at home and collectively in our community. Susanne guest taught about…

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