Tara Kaczorowski joined the Education Department at Daemen College in Summer 2021. She graduated from University at Buffalo with her Ph.D. in special education and a concentration in instructional technology. Her K-12 teaching experience was as a special education teacher (grades 1-4) in both integrated co-teaching and self-contained settings. Tara teaches college courses related to instructional methods in STEM fields, special education inclusion and collaboration, and graduate research methods. Her primary research areas are in teacher/faculty preparation, instructional technology, video-enhanced reflection, and math/STEM instruction for students with high-incidence disabilities. For the 2021 calendar year, she also serves as the President of the Innovations in Special Education Technology (ISET) division of Council for Exceptional Children.
Amherst Full-Time Faculty
Office: Duns Scotus 144
Dr. Mark Steven Brown is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education. He holds a Master’s degree in special education from Buffalo State College and a Ph.D., in Special Education from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Brown has been at Daemen College since 2005 where he has taught both undergraduate courses in early childhood special education as well as graduate courses in special education research, diagnostic reading strategies, teaching students on the autism spectrum and curriculum modifications (i.e., grades 1-6).
Dr. Brown’s research interest is evaluating “best teaching practices” that promotes the inclusion of young children with disabilities in the general education classes. He has also researched how preservice teachers can effectively incorporate multicultural activities into their lessons for students with special needs (i.e., preschool to the high school level).
He is a current member of CEC, The Council for Exceptional Children and ACEI, Association for Childhood Education International. He enjoys teaching the undergraduate and graduate students in the Education Department at Daemen College. He also considers himself to be a “lifelong” learner. He continues to expand his knowledge in the field of early childhood education and special education so he can offer a good classroom learning experience for his students.
Office: Duns Scotus 144
Helen McCabe joined Daemen College as an associate professor of education in 2020. In this role, she focuses on special education and early childhood special education. She is passionate about teacher education for students interested in special education at any level, and her primary teaching experience has involved working with students with disabilities up to age 6. Her research focuses on education and support for children with autism and their families both in the U.S. and China. She has conducted research and training for parents and teachers in China for many years, both in person and, more recently, through online platforms. Professor McCabe earned a Ph.D. in special education and international education policy studies at Indiana University, a master’s degree in East Asian studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies from Middlebury College. She also completed graduate work in Applied Behavior Analysis at Arizona State University and is a BCBA.
Dr. Colleen A. Wilkinson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education. She holds a BSED and MSED in Special Education from Buffalo State College and a PhD in Special Education from the University at Buffalo. She also holds a NYS School Building Administration Certificate. Before coming to Higher Education, Dr. Wilkinson worked as a Special Education Teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools for 11 years, teaching grades Kindergarten through 12th. Her research area of interest is Teacher Preparation Practices, specifically co-teaching/collaboration efforts for children with special needs. Dr. Wilkinson is on the executive board for the NYS Chapter of Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and is an active member of the Teacher Education Division (TED) of CEC.
Amherst Adjunct Faculty
Kelly Castle is an Instructional Designer who serves as a course developer for our campus and serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Education Department.
My primary role at Daemen is as the Director of Instructional Design. I hold a BA in Business & Marketing Education, and an MEd in Instructional Design & Technology. I am currently enrolled at the University of Miami working on my EdD in Applied Learning Sciences. I have over 12 years in education and learning including teaching at the secondary level, advising online undergraduates, and as an instructional designer in both the corporate environment and in higher ed. I have a strong passion for learning, particularly in non-traditional and innovative learning environments.
Outside of the classroom, I am a proud father of 2, a homeowner, and an avid sports fan. Work, kids, school work, and the house keep me very busy, but in my limited free time, I enjoy bowling, playing cards, and video games. As both a teacher and a dad, I like to think that I have the market cornered on hilariously bad "dad jokes"
Angela Stockman is an Instructional Designer who serves as the Quality Matters Peer Review Chair for our campus. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the departments of Education and English as well as within the TTI/Study Abroad program.
Dr. Avtzon, Associate Chair of the Brooklyn Branch Campus programs in Special Education and Lakewood extension site, joined Daemen College, in September 2003 as a full-time faculty member. Prior to her appointment at Daemen College, Sarah held a variety of Educational Director positions in large Headstart, UPK and preschool inclusion programs and was a Curriculum Specialist in elementary schools serving students with specific learning disabilities. The focus of her work included curriculum design, staff development for best practices in inclusive settings and quality assurance for intervention implementation. Sarah also conducts extensive research on the implication of neuroscience approaches in the classroom and presented her research at the U.S. Congress in 2012, and at numerous other national and international conferences. As part of her attention to global perspectives and culturally responsive education, Dr. Avtzon secured multiple UPK grants for a variety of preschools and elementary schools in NYC, as well as USAID grants for educational NGOs in Ukraine and Morocco. Sarah holds a BA in Psychology and Early Childhood Education, a Masters in Elementary Education and Supervision, a Masters and Ed.S in Instructional technology and a Ph.D in Special Education with training certificates in neuropsychology.
Phyllis Shroot began her role as Coordinator of the Brooklyn Branch Campus Special Education Masters Program in 2003 when Daemen University first partnered with TTI to create an off campus graduate program. Prior to joining Daemen University, Phyllis worked for the New York City Department of Education for 32 years, first as a teacher of special education, then as a Supervisor of Special Education, and ultimately as a District Administrator of Special Education. Phyllis received her BA from Yeshiva University - Stern College, her MS degree in Special Education from Hunter College and her Advanced Certificate in Administration and Supervision from Brooklyn College. Throughout her career, Phyllis has received much recognition for her commitment to excellence in the field of special education including Supervisor of the Year Award, New York City Department of Education, Districts 13 and 20, Humanitarian of the Year Award, Association of Orthodox Jewish Teachers, Community Service Award, Knights of Columbus, Award for Exemplary Service, Association of District Administrators, New York City Department of Education, and most recently, Administrator of the Year Award, Daemen University.
Brooklyn Full-Time Faculty
Dr. Shoshana Ehrenpreis joined the Education Department at the Branch Campus of Daemen University in 2014, where she teaches courses related to reading instruction and student teaching. Prior to joining the faculty at Daemen University, Shoshana was an assistant director of a citywide private special education program in NYC. She designed the curriculum and supervised teachers while facilitating their use of skills, strategies, and techniques to meet the needs of their students. She received her Ph.D. in Education, with a specialization in curriculum and instruction from Capella University, following her Master of Science in Special Education from Adelphi University. Previously, Shoshana was an adjunct professor at the College of New Rochelle and Daemen College.
Sara Chaya Farbstein joined the Education Department at Daemen University in 2007. She graduated from Capella University her Ph.D. in Professional Studies in Education and a concentration in literacy instruction. She has extensive training in Orton-Gillingham methodology and remedial reading programs and is currently completing her certification as a CALT (Certified Academic Language Therapist). Her K-12 teaching experience was as a teacher (grades 4-8), resource room coordinator, and administrator. Sara teaches college courses related to instructional methods in reading and student teaching. Her primary research areas are in literacy instruction for students with language based learning disabilities and teacher/faculty preparation.
Rochel Lazewnik, Ph.D., joined the Education Department at Daemen University in 2014. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with her Ph.D. in speech-language pathology and a specialization in literacy and leadership. She conducts clinical research and presents at national, state, and local conferences. She also mentors speech-language pathologists and coaches early childhood educators. She is passionate about scaffolding children’s development using evidence-based and developmentally appropriate practices, empowering families to support their children’s growth, and capitalizing on the power of inclusion.
Cheryl Miodownik joined the Education Department at Daemen College Brooklyn Campus in Spring 2009. After obtaining a Masters in Special Education from Adelphi University, she continued her studies at Yeshiva University-Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology where she obtained her Psy.D. in School/Child/Clinical Psychology. Additionally, she has a Masters degree in supervision and administration .Dr. Miodownik has taught special education at the elementary school level and served as a SETSS teacher and small special education classroom teacher for children of varying disabilities. She has also worked as a school psychologist for the NYC school system for over three decades. Cheryl teaches graduate school courses related to exceptionalities in special education, instructional methods in learning disabilities and action research. In addition to these courses, Cheryl is a certified New York State DASA trainer and provides training for the students on a regular basis.
Evelyn Seeve has been a faculty member at Daemen's Education Department since 2007. She holds an Ed.D. from Rutgers University in mathematics education and a Master's degree in special education from Daemen University. As assistant professor, her courses focus on instructional methods for special education, curriculum adaptations for mathematics instruction, and educational research methods. Her scholarship interests include interplays of teacher interventions and affect in students' mathematics learning, elementary mathematics teacher preparation, and mathematics instruction for students with disabilities. She has close to two decades of experience working as a mathematics educator, consultant, and teacher educator in both general and special education k-12 schools.
Pessy J. Sloan joined the Daemen University Education Department faculty in 2008. She currently serves as an Associate Professor in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education. Dr. Sloan earned her Ph.D. in Clinical and School Psychology from Hofstra University in 2000. She teaches graduate courses in both early childhood and childhood special education at the Brooklyn Branch Campus, including the graduate Special Education Action Research Seminar. Dr. Sloan also serves as the Director of the Writing Seminar Program. Prior to joining Daemen Dr. Sloan held various teaching positions in the undergraduate and graduate education field. She has many years of experience as a clinician, school psychologist, and researcher. Her primary research areas are gifted students and STEM education (with particular focus on women in STEM fields). Dr. Sloan published a number of articles and presented her research at international, national and local conferences.
Brooklyn Adjunct Faculty
Courtney Bitting joined the Education Department at Daemen College in Fall 2020. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with her Masters in Special Education with an ASD specialization. Courtney earned board certification in Behavior Analysis (BCBA) in 2010 and is also a Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) in New York State. Although she has worked in home support and center based settings, the majority of her experience has been consulting with teachers in public schools and in working directly in specialized school programs to assist others in behavior plan implementation, goal development, developmental and social/emotional programming, training, and outreach. Courtney currently teaches a course to introduce educators to behavior analysis concepts and how to integrate them into both general education and specialized settings.
Jodi Brenner joined the Education Department at Daemen College in Fall of 2015. She graduated from Brooklyn College with he MS in special education and a concentration Early Childhood. Her Pre K-12 teaching experience was as a special education Itinerant teacher and Early Interventionist for both integrated co-teaching and self-contained settings as well as working with the NYS Early Intervention Program. Jodi teaches college graduate courses related to instructional methods in early childhood fields, special education inclusion and collaboration. Her primary research areas are in teacher/faculty preparation, instructional methods, and professional development for ICT classrooms and instruction for students with high-incidence disabilities.
Frank Engelberg joined the Education Department at Daemen College in Spring 2011 and has been Coordinator for the Brooklyn men’s program since 2016. He graduated from Yeshiva University in New York City with Ed.D. in Educational Supervision. He earned his undergraduate degree from Hofstra University in Psychology and his Master’s in Education from Yeshiva University. He is a founding principal of two private high schools, one in Riverdale, New York and the other in Brooklyn, New York. He held the position of Principal for over 35 years that included pre-school through grade 12 and has been an Adjunct Professor in Touro University since 2004. He has given workshops to principals and teachers at various conferences on the topics of motivating students to succeed, behavior management, differentiated instruction, and early childhood/childhood safety and abuse prevention.
Penina Harris joined the Education Department of Daemen College as an Adjunct Professor in 2017. Penina is a Daemen alumnus, graduating with a Masters of Science in Special Education in 2007. She also completed graduate work in Applied Behavior Analysis at Florida Institute of Technology and is a BCBA. Penina teaches college courses in Instructional Methods and Strategies for Effective Classroom Management of Learners with Special Needs, Concepts and Principles in Behavior Analysis , and Practicum. Previously, Penina worked as a Special Education Teacher in the New York City Public Schools for 5 years, teaching grades Kindergarten through 2nd as well and as a Special Instructor for Early Intervention.
Esther Malky Ilowitz, administrative assistant for the Branch Campus, joined the TTI/Daemen Education Department in 2016. She always had an interest in working with children, particularly children with special needs. She began teaching in a preschool classroom in 2008. In her current role, Esther Malky enjoys assisting current students, as well as graduates, in obtaining State certification and having a positive college experience.
Feiga Mandel joined the Education Department at Daemen College in Fall 2003. She graduated from the College of Staten Island with an MA in Special Education followed by her School Building Leader Certificate. Her teaching experience included both Pre-K and Grade 1 as a special education teacher in an integrated co-teaching setting. She served as a Literacy Coach, Assistant Principal and is currently the Principal in a NYC Public School. Feiga teaches college courses related to instructional methods, phonics and literacy. Additionally, she serves as a mentor for students in both the practicum and student teaching courses.
Dr. Marlene Morris has been an instructor at the education department of Daemen University for the last 14 years. She teaches courses in Assessment and Intervention Strategies for Young Children with Special Needs. Prior to joining the faculty at Daemen, Dr. Morris was an adjunct professor at Medgar Evers College, where she taught courses on Special Education, Developmental Disability, and Behavior Modification. She received an undergraduate degree in Special Education from St. Francis College, followed by a graduate degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Columbia University. Dr. Morris completed her PhD studies at Andrews University. Her research was in the field of the integration of Special Education services in private schools. Her work experience includes working as a developmental specialist in ICU and PICU in two major hospitals in New York, teaching and working as an assistant principal and principal in an early childhood program. Dr. Morris works as a CPSE (Committee on Preschool Special Education) Chairperson in NYC Department of Education.
Sara Rothstein is a reading and language specialist who has worked with children in school settings and in private practice, and consults with schools, mentoring teachers and remedial tutors. In addition to her Masters in Science degree in Students with Disabilities, Sara has trained extensively in several reading and language programs. Sara has been an adjunct professor at Daemen college, specializing in literacy, and has been a writing instructor as well. Sara is a mamber of the school management team at Diverse Learners Initiative, an educational outreach project that offers learning intervention to Jewish day schools and is a literacy coach for professional development for Catapult. In those capacities, Sara has set up programs for elementary schoool age children with a wide range of disabilities, including children who have difficulties with executive function and behavior.
Devon Ruggiero joined the Education Department at Daemen College in the Fall of 2014. She graduated from Adelphi University with her Master’s of Science in Speech Language Pathology and from Brooklyn College with a Master’s of Science in Special Education. She has many years of experience as a Special Education Teacher and Evaluator for Early Intervention and the Committee of Preschool Education and K-12 in both home care and elementary school settings. As a Speech Language Pathologist, Devon has extensive experience administering quality intervention services within all parameters of language from ages 4 months old to the geriatric population. She was the Clinical Supervisor and Assistant Director of a prominent home-care health care agency servicing EI, CPSE, and CSE services throughout Long Island and the five boroughs of New York CIty. Devon teaches college courses related to Special Education, Diagnostic Assessment, Speech and Language Development, Transdisciplinary Approach to educational and related service delivery within the schools, and Infant/Toddler development. Her primary areas of expertise include utilizing various methodologies including Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC), Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), and Treatment and Education of Autstic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH). She has been trained in and utilizes the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Prompts for Restructuring Oral Motor Phonetic Targets (PROMPT), and Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach for Feeding. Currently, Devon is servicing elementary school aged students within the NYC Department of Education diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, Congenital Syndromes, Multiple-Handicapping Conditions, and various sensory impairments. Devon is an active member of the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), is current with mandatory legislation and ethical guidelines, and frequentially mentors student teachers completing their Graduate degrees in Speech Language Pathology.
Dr. Malka Ungar is an educational coach with extensive experience in team building, organizational transition and transformation. She has developed curriculum and trained teachers in Torah Academy for Girls Junior High School, as well in her current role as Director of Education at Torah Day School of Phoenix. Dr. Ungar is training the next generation of educators in her work as an adjunct professor at the Masters level program at TTI-Daemen College. She received her BS in General and Special Education at Touro College and earned an MS in Teaching Literacy Birth through Grade 12 from Touro Graduate School of Education. She then earned her PhD. in Literacy Leadership at St. John’s Graduate School of Education. Dr. Ungar has attended multiple trainings at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and has a Certificate in School Management and Leadership from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
Zahava Wiener joined the Education Department at Daemen College in 2017. She graduated from Fordham University with a Ph.D. in School Psychology with a specialization in Preschool Psychology. She has worked as a school psychologist as well as an Associate Director of special education. Zahava teaches graduate courses related to instructional methods, learning disabilities, and assessment. Her primary research area is the impact of disabilities on families.
Judi Braun joined the staff at TTI/Daemen University in June 2021 as an administrative assistant. Judi attended Brooklyn College and majored in Accounting.
Judi has many years of customer service experience. As the director of customer relations at a prominent Amazon company, Judi has dealt with thousands of clients to help resolve any issues. Judi is known for her penchant to go above and beyond when assisting a customer. She has garnered countless testimonials for her dedication and tireless efforts to enhance the customer experience.
At Daemen/TTI, Judi is responsible for assisting students on how to navigate the college system. Judi’s goal is to ensure that every Daemen/TTI student has an enjoyable and successful college experience.
Leah Schapiro graduated from Daemen College with her Masters in Special Education. Following graduation, Leah worked as a SEIT (Special Education Itinerant Teacher) for several years, and worked individually with children in their homes or their respective schools. In 2015, Leah joined as an Administrative Assistant for the Brooklyn Campus division of Daemen University and enjoys assisting future special educators attain their degrees, coordinating with students on individualized plans of studies, and student advisement in obtaining state certification.
Rivka Stein joined the Education Department at Daemen College in Summer 2008. She graduated from Adelphi University with her Masters in special education. Her K-12 teaching experience was as a special education teacher (grades 1-8) in both integrated pull-out and self-contained settings. Rivka has taught college courses related to instructional methods as well as student teaching. She has served as a mentor and practicum supervisor. Currently she teaches analytical writing on the graduate level, in addition to her role as a fieldwork coordinator.
Devorah Tessler has been working as an administrative assistant for the Brooklyn Branch Campus Masters Program in Special Education at Daemen University since 2003 when Daemen University and TTI began their partnership. Her various responsibilities include student advisement, recruitment, course registration, and handbook preparation, just to name a few. In addition, her familiarity with New York State’s certification regulations, as well as her expertise in financial aid opportunities for students, have made her a valuable member of the Daemen University/TTI Branch Campus team.
Naomi Zupnik graduated from Adelphi University with her Masters in Special Education in January 2003. Following graduation, Naomi worked in a Junior High self-contained class for 5 years, and then began working as a full time Reading Specialist, teaching both Hebrew and English reading skills to students in Kindergarten - Third grade, a position she proudly still holds 15 years later. In 2013, Naomi became an Administrative Assistant for the Brooklyn Campus division of Daemen University and highly enjoys assisting future special educators attain their educational pursuits.