Mr. Alan D. Pole retired in September 2008 as the BOCES District
Superintendent for the Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego BOCES after 18 years in this role. Prior to this Mr. Pole spent 16 years at the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES in several key positions, including Personnel Director, Assistant Superintendent, and Deputy Superintendent. In his
role as BOCES District Superintendent, Alan conducted numerous superintendent searches for local component districts
in his supervisory district. He also has been involved in several school district reorganization
studies in and outside his BOCES. He has been an adjunct professor at SUNY Cortland, Syracuse
University, and Ohio State. Among his many awards, Alan has received the William Deming Leadership
Award from the Rural Schools Program at Cornell University and the Amy Bull Crist Leadership Development
Award given by the New York State Association for Women in Administration. Mr. Pole joined
Castallo & Silky LLC as an associate in fall 2008.
Dr. Suzanne Gilmour is currently the Director of the
Educational Leadership Program at Le Moyne College (Syracuse, N.Y.). Dr. Gilmour
has been a teacher, principal and central office administrator in the public schools for twenty-five
years. She is a consultant on such issues as collaborative leadership, leadership
development-especially women in leadership, district project facilitation, and mentoring and support
for administrative placement. She offers suggestions for successful leadership
in her book Suceeding as a Female Superintendent: How to Get There and Stay There. Dr. Gilmour
stepped down from her long tenure as the Executive Director of the New York State Association for
Women in Administration (NYSAWA).
Ms. Deborah (Deb) Ayers retired in October 2017 from the position of Assistant Superintendent for
Administration for the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES in Syracuse after nearly forty (40) years in public education.
Prior to the seventeen (17) years in her position at OCM BOCES, Ms. Ayers served as the Business Administrator in Tully
CSD for nine (9) years and the Business Manager in DeRuyter CSD for seven (7) years after beginning her career as a teacher
at DeRuyter CSD. She has served in a variety of leadership positions at the state and local levels of the
New York State Association of School Business Officials. Additionally, Ms. Ayers has been an adjunct professor
in the educational leadership program at SUNY Cortland, teaching courses in Public School Finance, School Business Management,
and Capital Project Administration. Over the course of her 33 years as a school business official, she
has had extensive experience with business operations, transportation, facilities, school food service, and capital projects.
Dr. James (Jim) M.
Merrins has more than 40 years experience in school administration, including 16 years as a Superintendent of Schools in Fredonia (12 years) and Honeoye (4 years),
New York. For fourteen years (1995 to 2008)
Dr. Merrins worked for BOCESs in New York as Executive Program Administrator of the state-wide Superintendent
Development Program, leading a team of 30 faculty in the training and placing of more than more
than 130 school administrators in superintendency. While at BOCES he developed several
programs, workshops and conference for the training of Superintendents of Schools, school business
leaders, and school district auditors. Dr. Merrins is NYS
certified as a Superintendent of Schools and School Business Administrator. Dr. Merrins taught school finance and school law as an adjunct at SUNY colleges
(Fredonia, Brockport, Oswego) for several years. His resource rich website is www.SuperintendentOfSchools.com.
Dr. Jim Merrins is currently the Executive Program Administrator of the Educational Leadership Institute (ELI), hosted by the New York State Association for Women in Administration
(NYSAWA), and Executive Director of the New York State School District Internal Auditing Alliance
(SDIAA). Dr. Merrins currently administers
numerous statewide programs, workshops, and webinars for superintendents, school administrators, and school
business officials including Readiness for the Superintendency in New York State, Applying for
the Superintendency in New York State, Transition to Superintendency Program, Fiscal Navigation
for Superintendents, The School District Negotiator, Claims Auditor Training, Claims Auditor Conferences,
Introduction to Extraclassroom Activity Funds, Advanced Issues for Student Extraclassroom Activity
Funds, and Audit Committee Training.
Dr. Merrins is the owner of Educational Support Services
providing independent, confidential counseling to superintendents and school administrators, educational
consulting and training to school districts, and fiscal evaluation and advisory services to school
districts across New York State.
Dr. Jessica Cohen retired in July 2012 from the position of District Superintendent
of the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES in Syracuse after having served in that role for more than
nine years. During her tenure as District Superintendent, she assisted boards of education with
22 searches for superintendents. She has also served as the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional
Services for the Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego BOCES in Norwich for eleven years and the Coordinator
of Effective Schools planning at OCM BOCES. She began her career in education as a school psychologist
in the Auburn City School District, was an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech University, and
served as a private consultant in educational change. In 2013 she served on the Governor’s Commission on Educational
Reform, has served on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Central Library, and served
as the statewide chair of the District Superintendents. Among her awards are the Amy Bull Crist Leadership
Development Award given by the New York State Association for Women in Administration, the New York
State Council of School Superintendents Appreciation Award, and the MACNY/Partners for Education
and Business Education Leader of the Year (2012).
Dr. Glenn Wachter
retired in June 2015 as an Associate Professor of Educational Administration at SUNY Oswego.
During his tenure at SUNY, he also was the director of the NYS Superintendent Development Program.
Prior to this Dr. Wachter served as Superintendent of the West Irondequoit CSD for seven years,
retiring from the superintendency in 2003. During his leadership career, he has held positions as an Assistant Superintendent
of Instruction, an Assistant Superintendent, a principal, assistant principal and teacher. He has worked
as a consultant to numerous school district across New York State focusing on curriculum, instruction,
and organizational program design. He has most recently consulted for NASSP, helping conduct an organizational
management study and subsequently leading nationwide National Honor Society focus groups on behalf of
Dr. Christopher Brown is currently the superintendent
of schools for the West Genesee Central School District. He is in his eighth year at this large suburban school and spent the previous seven years at rural Hammondsport
Central School District. During his tenure, both districts were named Federal Blue
Ribbon Schools of Excellence. More recently, his current district’s high school was named a New
York State Reward School. In conjunction with his city school, private school, and
alternative education experiences, he has worked to help ALL students find success for over twenty
Dr. Brown loves to teach and work
with people. His areas of expertise are in overall school leadership, Board and superintendent
relations, supervision, curriculum, program development, finance, facilities, and management services.
He has taught all of these topics for ten years at SUNY Oswego, SUNY Brockport, Le Moyne College,
and Syracuse University. He also enjoys being a doctoral mentor for St. John Fisher.
He is frequently called upon to mentor new superintendents
and offer workshops, classes, and trainings in 21st century leadership and effectively using
social media. He was one of the first in his current district to achieve a doctoral
degree online and uses that experience to teach custom online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses in a
way that keeps all participants engaged, connected, and learning.
Of the many awards he has been given, his most prized is an Honorary Lifetime Membership from the New York State
Parent Teacher Association. It was given to him by members of the very first Special
Education Parent Teacher Student Association which he helped stakeholders to organize in 2013.
A Patterson retired in July 2016 from the position of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction,
and Assessment in the Liverpool Central School District. In that position for 11 years, she led the
administrative team and staff to meet the challenges of changing demographics, increasing expectations
for academic achievement and standards for learning, teachers, and leaders. As a member of the district’s
Network Team, she provided professional development to all staff. Prior to that, she was a Supervisor
of Special Education for Oswego County BOCES, leading and creating programming for students in multiple
Dr. Patterson is currently (since 2009) an Associate Adjunct Professor at Le Moyne
College in Syracuse, NY in the Graduate Education and Educational Leadership Programs. In a joint venture
with Le Moyne, Liverpool and OCM BOCES, she served as a professor in the CNY Leadership Development
Program, developing courses and designing innovative instruction, including blended courses. Supervising
Administrative Interns provides her the opportunity to share expertise and perspectives on leadership,
as well as mentor the Interns. Dr. Patterson also taught CAS courses at SUNY Oswego in the Educational
Administration Department, and provides workshops to graduating administration candidates on resume writing/branding
and interviewing skills. As a graduate of the Inquiry Program at Teachers College, Columbia University,
she earned her doctorate conducting research on family school involvement, a particular area of expertise,
in addition to co-teaching, addressing poverty issues in the school, and working with ENL families.
As a long-time member of the Government Relations Committee for SAANYS (School
Administrators Association of NYS), she has lobbied extensively for educational initiatives and budget issues, conducted professional
development, and collaborated on white papers about high school reform and RtI (response to intervention). In spring 2016,
she was honored to present on the topic of RtI to the NYS Board of Regents after working with a NYSED committee on AIS. SAANYS
also awarded her the National Distinguished Elementary Principal award in 2001 — a prized award for her work creating
an improved achievement, student and family focused school.
her 37-year career as a special education teacher and administrator, elementary principal, secondary principal, and district
office administrator, Dr. Patterson has guided and mentored students and staff to identify their goals and skills, and progress
to a successful future. She frequently receives requests to provide training and guidance on leadership, supervision and evaluation,
grant writing, family school involvement, and mentorship.