Meet the Members!


Winter 2011 Course Offerings!

The Plainedge Teacher Center operates each year with a grant award from the NYS Education Department and is under the direction of Kerin Slattery.

The governing body of the Center is known as its Policy Board. This board consists of teachers, administrators, parents, and community members and is chaired by Jane Sindel.


Kerin Slattery - Director

I am Kerin Slattery and have been a teacher at Schwarting Elementary School for the past 14 years. I have worked as a 4th grade teacher, 5th grade teacher, kindergarten teacher, Safety Town teacher, and I am currently the Enrichment teacher. I have been a Policy Board member for the past 13 years. I became a member of the Policy Board to take an active role in the staff development opportunities that the Plainedge Teacher Center has to offer. I have recently been hired as the Center's Director, and I am truly passionate about bringing the highest quality of staff development to our educators, students, and parents within the Plainedge community.

Jane Sindel - Chairperson

My name is Jane Sindel. I teach first grade at JH West. I’ve been a Policy Board member for 20 years. It all began with a pat on the back and a veteran teacher saying… “Gee, you’d be great on the Board!” It has been a pleasure to be an active participant in creating professional development opportunities for the Plainedge community.

Deb Fallon - Technology

As the computer teacher in the elementary schools, I enjoy guiding teachers and students to use technology to enhance their teaching and learning.

I have been a Policy Board member for several years. I became a Policy Board member to have an active voice in planning meaningful, innovative, professional development that will encourage our staff to be lifelong learners who are constantly striving to enhance our craft.

Elizabeth Lewis - High School

My name is Liz Lewis. This is my fifth year teaching Special Education in Plainedge. The first two years, I worked at Schwarting Elementary and for the last three years I have been teaching at the High School. I teach everything from English, Business Math, Technology, and Wilson Reading. This is my second year as an active member of the Teacher Center Policy Board. Professional Development and improving student learning is our main goal of the Teacher Center. As a special ed. teacher the population always changes and the methods of teaching these students needs to be improved. I wanted to be a member of the TC because I will always be learning new strategies to use within the classroom.

Julie Koppas - Schwarting

My name is Julie Koppas and I am the School Library Media Specialist at Schwarting Elementary School. I am the "lucky librarian" because I have the opportunity to work with children and share my love of reading with them. I am also lucky to be working each day with such a knowledgeable and supportive staff, who share my beliefs and dedication to our students. This is my fourth year in Plainedge and I have been a member of the Teacher Center Policy Board for two of them. I joined because I wanted to be a part of a cooperative planning team. We worked together to plan and develop programs that meet the needs of our teachers, our community and the Plainedge School District.

Pat Marquart - Schwarting

I work at Schwarting Elementary School. I am a primary Reading Specialist who works with Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade. This is my first year as a Policy Board Member. I have taken many courses at the Teacher Center, and I thought that this would be an opportunity to give back and support the Plainedge Teacher Center.




Laura Pokorny - Middle School

This is my 23rd year teaching in the District. I’m currently teaching 6th grade science in the middle school. I serve on the Plainedge Teacher Center Policy Board in my capacity as the PFT President. I love serving on the policy board because it affords me the opportunity to help teachers develop themselves professionally, and in turn positively affect the children they teach.





Cheri Hauer - High School

Education: B.S. in Education from SUNY Oswego, and M.S. in Environmental Biology from Governors State University in Illinois.

Cheri helped to facilitate a community Astronomy program at the New York Hall of Science. She is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children, Secretary of the Plainedge Teacher Center Policy Board and has taught professional development courses about Inclusion Strategies. She continues to be a leader in her school by designing and offering new science electives. Cheri has found that hands-on lessons, demonstrations and manipulative factors can be used to relay scientific information in a fun and entertaining manner.

Emily O’ Brien - Eastplain Administrator

Greetings! My name is Emily O’Brien and I am the principal at Eastplain School. It has been my pleasure to serve on the Plainedge Teacher Center’s Policy Board for the past four years. Serving in this capacity allows me to ensure that we are doing the very best job in providing quality staff development to our staff and community.





Claire Mahoney - John H. West

Hello, my name is Claire Mahoney. I teach second grade at John H. West. This is my fourth year in the district. Having taught in other districts, I noticed immediately the accessibility Plainedge teachers have to quality professional development. It's unlike any other district I have seen. I am honored to do my part in continuing to bring the highest level of professional development to this school district as a member of the Teacher Center Policy Board.


Todd Winch - Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

My name is Todd Winch and I joined Plainedge in August of 2011. Prior to joinging Plainedge I was the Director of Pupil Services in the Levittown School District. I began my career in Levittown 16 years ago as a high school social studies teacher. During that time I was an active participant in multiple curriculum writing committees, was an advisor for student council & model congress clubs and organized field trips along the east coast and abroad. I later became the Chairperson of Social Studies for Wisdom Lane Middle School, and then in 2006 became the Assistant Director for Pupil Services. In 2009, I was appointed as Director of Pupil Services as well as one of the supervisors of Levittown’s Alternative High School. As Director, I assumed responsibility for the district’s AIS & ESL programs, universal pre-kindergarten program, guidance departments, Section 504, state testing and reporting, social workers, data warehousing, drug and alcohol programming, school safety planning (SAVE), student registration, and grants.

Dr. Edward A. Salina Jr. - Superintendent

I am Dr. Edward Salina and I was appointed Superintendent in July 2011. Prior to this role I was the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Administrative and Instructional technologies in the Roslyn School District. I began my career in the New York City public schools 17 years ago as a middle and high school math teacher. I have worked in the Shoreham-Wading River, Lindenhurst and Roslyn Public School Districts prior to joining the Plainedge community. I have successfully designed educational computer systems and networks in all of my previous school systems. I have also worked as an adjunct professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction for Touro College and L.I.U at C.W. Post, focusing my attention on the use of instructional technology in schools and programs that target the needs of special education students as well as gifted children.

Jamie Bogenshutz - Yes Community Counseling Center

Jamie is the Executive Director of the YES Community Counseling Center. YES, a community based, non profit organization, has been a partner with the Plainedge School District in serving the needs of children and families for over three decades. Ms Bogenshutz' involvement of the Teacher Center Policy Board exemplifies the agencies commitment to providing resources, critical support and information to all those who serve the members of our community.For more information regarding YES, go to

Donna Pessah - Parent Rep.

I have been a Plainedge employee for 12 years. I work as a Special Ed Teacher’s Aide. I have worked in grades 2 through 11 and have also worked in the Summer School Program. I am a Community Leader in the PTA, a member of the Wellness Committee, a member of the Scholarship Committee, and a new member this year to the Plainedge Teacher Center.

Ingrid Spatt - Molloy College

Over a thirty year career, Dr. Ingrid Spatt taught reading, music and students with special needs, as well as served as an Assistant Superintendent for nineteen of those years. She currently is an Assistant Professor of Education at Molloy College, in Rockville Centre, where she has been for four years. At Molloy she teaches Critical Issues in Education, and Methods for Teaching Reading in the Elementary Classroom. Dr. Spatt has served on the Policy Board of the Plainedge Teacher Center for two years and is extremely pleased to be able to represent a post-secondary educational perspective on a board she strongly feels is composed of dedicated professionals committed to promoting excellence in teaching.


Tara Walker - Parent Rep.

My name is Tara Walker and I am a Kindergarten teacher at Eastplain. I am also a parent in the Plainedge School District. I have one child at West and two children in the Middle School. I became a Policy Board member to be a voice for the parents of our school district.

Barbara Haase - Maria Regina

My name is Barbara Haase. I graduated from Molloy College in Rockville Centre, New York, with a degree In Elementary Education and hold Permanent NYS Certification. I have been a teacher for twenty-eight years. I taught for six years in Chatterton School in Merrick School District before I had my four children. Twenty-two years ago I joined the faculty at Maria Regina School in Seaford. I have taught in grades one through six and currently teach second grade. I have been the representative for Maria Regina School on the Policy Board and a member of the Plainedge Teacher Center for many years. Staff development through our Teacher Center is very important for teachers to remain current in teaching methods, ongoing research, and emerging trends.

Amy Marcano - Eastplain

My name is Amy Marcano and I am a 2nd grade teacher at Eastplain Elementary School. I have been a member of the Policy Board for the past 5 years. I became a member of the teacher center Policy Board because I wanted to become an integral part of the decision making process for professional development opportunities for the Plainedge School District.

Deana Simonetti - Middle School

I am the Library Media Specialist at Plainedge Middle School. I teach information literacy skills as well as collaborate with teachers on research projects. This is my 4th year at Plainedge and my 4th year in education! After 8 years working in magazine publishing this is a new career for me. I have been on the Teacher Center Policy Board since I started at Plainedge in 2005. I have taught several classes and hosted several book talks. Staff development through the Teacher Center is an important service that is provided to all teachers. It provides free or inexpensive classes for teachers and allows Plainedge to take advantage of the expertise of its very own teachers. It is important for teachers to continue to learn and stay on top of new ideas and strategies, regardless of how long he/she may have been teaching. Offering quality classes about a variety of topics should be the main goal of the Teacher Center. And finally, conferences play an additional and important part of professional development. This is how we continue to learn and become leaders in our particular field.

Brian Donohue - T.A. Rep.

Brian Donohue currently works as a teaching assistant at John H. West and at Plainedge High School. He works with first grade inclusion students as well as high school students in a self contained classroom. Brian received his B.S. in Childhood Education from C.W. Post and is currently working on his Masters Degree through Touro College. He also is a member of the Wellness Committee and runs an after-school Science Workshop for elementary students. As a first year member of the policy board, he feels the teacher center is an important aspect of the district that offers great opportunties for professional development to all staff.

Rachelle Schnall - Middle School
My name is Rachelle Schnall. I have been a special education teacher for four years. I worked as a teaching assistant and teacher for the CHAMPPS program at John H. West Elementary School. I amcurrently teaching the Life Skills class at the Middle School. This is my first years as a member of the Teacehr Center Policy Board. I wanted to be a Policy Board member so that I could expand relationships with my colleagues throughout the district. In addition, it is my hope that this opportunity will help ensure that professional development will be offered so that the integration of special education students with their typical peers is a positive and beneficial experience.

Eileen Shannon - Eastplain

My name is Eileen Shannon and I am currently the Enrichment teacher at Eastplain School. This is my fifth year in the district and I am very excited for my first year on the Policy Board. I feel that the Teacher Center allows for positive growth of teachers, students and members of the community. I am looking forward to working with the Teacher Center to bring many new and exciting professional development opportunities to the Plainedge School District.

Kathy DeSimone - Central Office

My name is Kathy DeSimone and I am currently working with the Teacher Center as the clerical support. This is my first year with the Teacher Center but I have been working in the district for over 20 years. I started as per diem and I am now working for the Assistant Superintendent which has been my full time job for the past 10 years. My children have also graduated from Plainedge many years ago and I am also a resident. I look forward to working with all those who are involved with the Teacher Center.

Jen Candela- High School This is my twelfth year teaching science, specifically Earth Science, Physics and Astronomy at the High School. This year is my first year teaching Earth Science in 8th grade. I am also a graduate of Plainedge High School. I am a new member of the Policy Board and I am very excioted to be able to learn about the new technology and new professional development opportunities and bring them back to my colleagues at both the Middle School and High School.

Jennie Higgins - John H. West

My name is Jennie Higgins and I am a 4th grade teacher at John H. West. This is my tenth year in Plainedge. I have been interested in joining the Teacher Center Policy Board for a while, and I was excited this year to have the opportunity to do so! I have taken many courses through the Teacher Center, and I found them to be some of the most meaningfukl professional development experiences I have had as an educator. I have always been impressed by the Center's commitment to providing Plainedge teachers with valuable opportunities to grow and develop, and I look forward to being a part of the Policy team.

Kat Shewan -High School After many years as a studio artist and technician at a ceramics art center, I decided to make teaching a full-time profession. I finished my MS Ed at Hofstra University. Working for Plainedge is my first public school teaching experience. This is my third year here. I teach drawing, ceramics, and studio at the High School and 7th grade art at the Middle School. Being a studio professional prepared me for the content I would need to convey to my students, but I really need the support of my colleagues to develop pedagogy suitable for the Middle and High School environment. The Teacher Center was invaluable to me as a new teacher. I am also looking forward to this resource for ongoing professional development. I joined the Board because I wanted to support this vital service for professional and residents of our school community.

Become a part of the Plainedge Teacher Center! Click here for an application!

The Plainedge Teacher Center program is established each year by the Policy Board. Our main
purpose is to offer and facilitate high-quality professional development for all staff members
that meets state requirements, while fulfilling the needs of the district and interests of all