Where to Find Us

7 Elk Street, Third Floor
T: 518.449.1063
F: 518.426.2229 

About This Section

Learn about our core values, mission, vision and the people that lead this 501(c)6 association.

Contact Our Staff

Our staff prides itself on our excellent customer service to our members. Our knowledgeable team is here to serve you and answer your questions. Contact information can be found for each staff member below. Click on the arrow next to the person's name to find how to connect with them. 

Where to Find Us

7 Elk Street, Third Floor
Albany, NY 12207

T:  518.449.1063
F:  518.426.2229  

Council Staff

Vreneli G. Banks, Associate Director / Director of LEAF, Inc.

E: vren@nyscoss.org

T:  518.694.4875

Twitter:  @VreneliBanks
#NYSupts4Diversity  -  #NYSCOSSCabinet  -  #NYSCOSSNewSupts  -  #NYSCOSSAspiringSupts  -  #NYSCOSSFSA
As the Director of The Council's Foundation - LEAF, Inc., Vren works closely with LEAF's Board of Directors to provide professional development to school leaders and district leadership teams with programs such as the Aspiring Superintendents Workshops and Future Superintendents Academy, New Superintendents Institute, Early Career Superintendents Institute, The Summer Institute at Harvard, Diversity and Inclusivity programs, and the annual Cabinet Leadership Summit, to name a few. She oversees the Superintendents and Cabinet Level Resource Banks, manages the LEAF, Inc. website, and provides editorial support and articles for the Councilgram. Contact Vren with your professional development questions.

Gregory S. Berck, Esq., Assistant. Director for Governmental Relations / Assistant Counsel

E:  greg@nyscoss.org

T:  518.694.4874

Twitter: @Greg_Berck

Greg devotes his efforts to the The Council's lobbying and advocacy agenda. He also assists in negotiating superintendent's employment contracts and providing legal advice to members. He works with the executive and legislative branches of state and federal government, a variety of state agencies and is well respected within the halls of the Capitol  from his tenure as education counsel for the Assembly majority. Contact Greg regarding legislative and regulatory concerns.

Jacinda Conboy, Esq., General Counsel

E:  jacinda@nyscoss.org

T: 518.449.1063

Twitter: @JazzConboy 
#WomenEdLeaders  -  #EmpowerUp

Jacinda (a/k/a “Jazz”) is primarily responsible for negotiating superintendent’s employment contracts and providing legal advice and assistance to our members. In addition, Jazz regularly designs legal seminars and provides presentations on legal educational issues to members. She also established and leads The Council's Women's Initiative. Contact Jazz if you have contract questions, are interested in Enhanced Level II Benefits, need retirement services, or have a presentation for a Women's Initiative event.

Charles S. Dedrick, Ed.D., Executive Director

E: charles@nyscoss.org

T: 518.449.1063

Twitter: @csdedrick
#LeadershipMatters  -  #NewYorkProud
Contact Chuck regarding the overall operation of The Council, governance structure and policy questions. Chuck is also available for professional advice and counsel, regional presentations, visits to BOCES regions and opportunities for involvement with The Council.

Dena A. Gauthier, Senior Graphic Designer 

T:  518.694.4886

Dena plays a vital role interpreting and managing our brand identity throughout all Council and LEAF, Inc. printed and online communication materials.

She designs and manages the production of all publications, provides design support for The Council and LEAF, Inc. website, and manages printing and design consultants. Contact Dena with questions regarding the production of our communication materials including our Councilgram and Snapshot of the Superintendency publications. 

Deidre G. Hungerford, Associate Director for Business Development

E:  deidre@nyscoss.org

T:  (518) 694-4885

Twitter: @deehungerford28

Deidre manages our Strategic Partnership Program and provides opportunities for companies, associations, organizations and foundations to connect with educational leaders. She designs and manages exhibit halls at the Fall Leadership Summit and Winter Institute and manages our Thought Leadership Summits. She also coordinates award and scholarship programs and our annual fall golf tournament. Contact Deidre if you are interested in becoming a strategic partner.

Robert N. Lowry, Jr., Deputy Director for Advocacy, Research & Communications

E:  boblowry@nyscoss.org

T:  518.694.4879

Twitter: @robertnlowry
#LeadershipMatters  -  #NewYorkProud
Bob directs The Council’s advocacy activities and serves as our principal contact with the news media. Working with Council leaders, he advocates for superintendent concerns with the Governor’s Office, State Legislature, Board of Regents, and the State Education Department and other state agencies. He is the principal author of many Council policy reports and is recognized as one of the state’s leading experts in school finance. Contact Bob regarding policy decisions, school finance, and general media inquiries.

Theresa Wutzer Moore, CMP, Associate Director / Director of Marketing & Communications

E:  theresa@nyscoss.org

T:  (518) 694-4884

Twitter:  @NYSchoolSupts
#NYSuptsFall  -  #NYSuptsWI
Theresa plans and implements our annual Fall Leadership Summit and Winter Institute. She investigates new technologies, advances our social media presence, and manages our website. She also serves as the editor of our Councilgram newsletter. Each year she manages the New York State Superintendent of the Year award process with AASA. Contact Theresa If you want to participate in our annual events or have a question about the NYS Superintendent of the Year recognition.

Deborah N. Orsini, Associate Director for Finance and Human Resources

E:  deborah@nyscoss.org

T:  518.694.4882

Contact Deb with questions regarding budget development, financial forecasting, human resources, building management and general Council operations.

Kelley A. Pratt, Program Associate / Legal Support

E: kpratt@nyscoss.org

T: 518.694.4878

Twitter:  @KELLEYP48

Kelley manages our career center, processes database updates, answers and direct calls, and provides support for the General Counsel and legal team. Kelley also assists all staff members with a variety of administrative projects, but primarily supports the membership department on a day-to-day basis while  planning programs through The Women's Initiative and NYSAWA. Contact Kelley if you have a general question, need to request a meeting/call with Jacinda Conboy, Esq., General Counsel, or have a question related to job postings. 

Heather L. Rapp, Administrative Assistant

E: heather@nyscoss.org

T: 518.694.4872

Heather provides direct assistance to members by serving as the primary contact for general inquiries and database updates; answering and directing calls. She purchases supplies and works as our vendor liaison for all office equipment. Heather also supports annual conferences by providing housing assistance, organizing transportation services, and communicating presentation details. She assists all staff members with a variety of administrative projects including mail house coordination and resource bank maintenance, but primarily supports the membership department. Contact Heather if you have a question related to membership, resource banks or Fall and Winter annual events.

Melanie M. Seiden, Associate Director for Membership  

E: melanie@nyscoss.org

T:  518.694.4877

Melanie provides direct support to our members by answering membership questions including member online access; assisting with membership purchases, transfers and renewals. Also contact Melanie with registration questions for Council and LEAF, Inc. programs including conference registration. She is also available to answer questions or concerns regarding invoices for membership and event registration.


"A viable system of growth adapts to the ever present forces of change."

— Marth Group, Vernon-Verona-Sherril CSD and 2021-2022 President-Elect
Contact Our Staff

Council Committees

Committees are an important part of the work of The Council. Each committee is led by a chairperson who is appointed by the President with recommendations by the Executive Director.

Membership on committees varies depending on the by-laws. Members are welcome to join the committees (s)he is most interested in. Committee selection is done in conjunction with membership and only active members of The Council may join committees. Join a committee and:

  • Share your expertise in areas of Curriculum and Instruction.
  • Select the next scholarship winner.
  • Educate your fellow colleagues on wellness.
  • Advocate in Washington, D.C. for New York school districts.

Join a Committee

Join one or more of these Council Committees when submitting your membership for the year and be more involved in helping students, school district communities and your colleagues. Assist The Council with important tasks that help this organization work for, with, and by our members.


Liaison to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association; provides input to legislative committees and SED on issues related to athletics.
Chair: Angelina Maloney, Superintendent, Brunswick CSD


Helps explore and develop professional development programs and services tailored to the needs of The Council's Cabinet members.
Chair: Lynn Allen, Assistant Superintendent, Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES

Commission on Diversity & Inclusivity

Focuses on helping ensure gender, racial and economic equality among those serving as a superintendent.
Chairs: Luvelle Brown, Superintendent, Ithaca & L. Oliver Robinson, Superintendent, Shenendehowa

Conference Committee

Guides the design of the Fall Leadership Summit and the Winter Institute to create a seamless experience including improving educational formats, identifying leading meeting ideas, and creating content strands and vettting presentation proposals.
Chairs: Martha Group, Vernon-Verona-Sherril CSD &  Phyllis Harrington, Superintendent, Oceanside UFSD

Curriculum & Instruction

Helps to formulate Council positions on curriculum, assessment and instructional issues. Primarily responsible for advising The Council on most issues addressed by the Board of Regents and disseminates information to the membership pertaining to curricular concerns.
Chairs:  Lorna Lewis, Superintendent, Malverne UFSD & Maria Suttmeier, Superintendent, Hudson CSD

Assessment Sub-Committee

Serves as a liaison between the Curriculum and Instruction Committee and the NYSED Office for Standards, Assessments, and Reporting. Solicits input and feedback regarding issues, questions, concerns, and recommendations pertaining to assessment.
Chair: David Hurst, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Programs, Bethlehem CSD

Special Ed Sub-Committee

This sub-committee of the Curriculum & Instruction Committee helps to formulate Council positions on Special Education and serves as an advisory subcommittee to the Curriculum and Instruction Committee on matters related to serving students with disabilities in New York State.
Chair: Maureen Donahue, Superintendent, Southwestern

Dr. Mary Barter Scholarship

Explores and recommends strategies for recruitment of outstanding candidates, especially minorities women, into the educational profession and the superintendency.
Chair: Gladys Cruz, District Superintendent, Questar III BOCES

Federal Legislative

An advocacy committee which serves to monitor federal legislation and to provide input on key issues affecting New York State schools to members of U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Education. The committee also coordinates efforts with the sub-committee of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA)/Federal Relations Committee. Membership on this committee includes New York's AASA Executive Committee and Governing Board members.
Chair: Cosimo Tangorra, Superintendent, Niskayuna 

Member Service Sub-Committee

A sub-committee of the Snapshot of the Superintendency Committee, which primarily is responsible for reviewing current member benefits and determining what/if any additional services may be beneficial to the membership.
Chair: TBD


Promotes the well-being of superintendents through informational programs and activities.
Chair: Bo Lawrence Wright, Superintendent, Rush-Henrietta

The following committees are by appointment only.

APPR Task Force

Aids in formulating Council positions on teacher and principal evaluation issues and in identifying information and training needs of members about the evaluation system.
Chair:  Kimberly Moritz, Superintendent, Springville-Griffith Institute


Prepares budget for submission to House of Delegates. The House of Delegates at the Winter Institute meeting elects three Budget Committee members.
Chair: Roberto Padilla, Superintendent, Newburgh City SD

Constitution, By-Laws and Resolutions

Reviews proposed amendments and resolutions to The Council’s Constitution and drafts amendments for consideration by active members. Constitution limits membership to seven members.
Chair: Kevin McGowan, Superintendent, Brighton

Distinguished Service

Selects recipients of The Council’s Awards including the Raymond R. Delaney Memorial Scholarship and Distinguished Service Award, both of which are given at the Fall Leadership Summit. "Friend of The Council" and Appreciation Awards are presented at the Winter Institute. The committee also selects New York State's candidate for AASA "Superintendent of the Year" award and is composed of past presidents of The Council.
Chair: Hank Grishman, Superintendent, Jericho


Promotes high standards of ethics among school administrators; assists members in dealing with ethical issues; investigates allegations of improper practices; recommends financial assistance for initial legal consultation. The Council’s president appoints committee members. Chair: TBD

Finance and Investment

Responsibilities shall be to advise The Council on investments, recommend an investment strategy, ensure the preparation of an annual audit and tax forms, and review audited financial statements.
Chair: Charles Dedrick, Executive Director

State Legislative

The mission of the legislative committee is to advocate for the support of public education with elected officials, state and local agencies, the media, and local communities. They stress the importance of public education as an investment in the country’s future through regular communication with policy makers and help shape education policy through position papers, letters to the editor, and timely articles. The also prepare a legislative agenda.
Chairs: Joseph Famularo, Superintendent, Bellmore UFSD & Michael Cornell, Superintendent, Hamburg CSD


Places names of active members in nomination for Council offices and communicates with the membership relate to the process. The committee, consisting of seven members, is appointed at the Winter Institute.
Chair: Angelina Maloney, Superintendent, Brunswick

Snapshot of the Superintendency

Primarily responsible for the design, development, and writing of the Snapshot of the Superintendency. Committee members possess expertise in research design and methodology as well as professional writing for publication.  Members of the committee must attend meetings and contribute to the design, development, and writing of the document.
Chair: TBD
Council Committees

Council Leadership

New:  2021-2022 NYSCOSS Leadership Meeting Schedule     [updated 6/23/21]

Executive Committee

The Council's Executive Committee consists of a 15-member board of active superintendents of school districts, which includes five officers, six elected members and four diversity and under-represented presidential appointments. The Executive Committee, along with the Executive Director, are the administrative body of The Council. They recommend policy to the House of Delegates and Commissioner's Advisory Council. They also conduct business between meetings of the House of Delegates and Commissioner's Advisory Council. This leadership group meets five to six times a year, starting with the Summer Leadership meetings and ending with the Spring Leadership meetings. 

This year's meeting dates are: Summer Retreat: June 29, 2021 at 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. / Fall Summit: September 26, 2021 at 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. / November EC/CAC Mtgs: November 18, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. / Winter EC/CAC Mtgs: January 20, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. / Winter Institute: March 6, 2022 at 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. (tentative) / Spring Leadership: May 5, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Next year's meeting dates are: Summer Retreat: June/July 2022 (TBD). Note: Check this page periodically as dates and times are subject to change.

House of Delegates

The House of Delegates (HOD) is the policy-making body of The Council and consists of approximately 80 active superintendents of school districts. Membership of the House of Delegates consists of the elected officers of The Council, Council Past Presidents as ex-officio members, at least one delegate elected from each of the BOCES geographical units, plus one delegate from each of the big five cities.

The HOD meets several times per school year and holds its regular meetings starting at the Fall Leadership Summit, during the Winter Institute, and lastly at the Spring Leadership Event. Delegates are invited to attend the Summer Retreat held in the year they are serving. Delegates are also invited to participate in the Commissioner's Advisory Council meetings held during the Spring Leadership Event and the Summer Retreat.

This year's dates are: Fall Summit: September 26, 2021 at 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. / Winter Institute: March 6, 2022 at 11:00 - 12:30 p.m./ Spring Leadership: May 5, 2022 at 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. / Spring Leadership C.A.C. Meeting: May 6, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Note: Check this page periodically as dates and times are subject to change.

Advocating Beyond

Commissioner's Advisory Council

During the fall, members of the Commissioner’s Advisory Council (CAC) are selected. Membership on the CAC remains within the BOCES geographical regions. The BOCES are split into 12 regions throughout New York State, plus the Big 5 Schools. This council also includes the Executive Committee, the President of LEAF, Inc., and Council Past Presidents.

The CAC meets four times per year starting in November to meet with the Commissioner of Education and State Education Department (SED) leadership. Agendas are developed between the Executive Director of The Council and the Deputy Commissioner of Education and approved by the Commissioner. The Commissioner's Advisory Council members and the Commissioner and SED leadership meet to share ideas and discuss current education topics.

This year's meeting dates are: Fall CAC Mtg: November 19, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. / Winter Mtg: January 21, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. / Spring Leadership: May 6, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. / Summer Retreat: June/July 2022 (TBD). Note: Check this page periodically as dates and times are subject to change.

AASA Governing Board

The National affiliate of The Council, the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) provides additional leadership services to all school system leaders and offers resources for superintendents, cabinet members and central office. The Council encourages AASA membership and dues for both organizations may be paid through Council membership. 

Share Your Expertise

Join a committee: Committees are an important part of the work of The Council. Each committee is led by a chairperson who is appointed by the President with recommendations by the Executive Director. Serving as a committee chair is an important job with high expectations.

Membership on committees will vary depending on the by-laws. Members are welcome to join the committees (s)he is most interested in. Committee selection is done in conjunction with membership and only active members of The Council may join committees.

Learn About Committees



Heather Rapp
Administrative Assistant
E: heather@nyscoss.org
T: 518.694.4872


Nominate a Candidate

Nominate a candidate for these three awards by completing this Award Nomination Form or contact Deidre Hungerford, Associate Director for Business Development, at deidre@nyscoss.org or 518.694.4885 with questions.

Awards Recognizing Excellence

Distinguished Service Award

The Council recognizes a Retired Life Member who has shown exemplary commitment to public education after retiring as a superintendent. The Distinguished Service Award is The Council's highest honor and is presented annually at our Fall Leadership Summit. Selections are made by our Distinguished Service Committee composed of current Council officers (with the word president in their title) and past presidents who are still active. 

Friend of the Council

The Friend of The Council Award was created in 1996 and is presented at our Winter Institute & Lobby Day each year. Nominations are provided by members or Council staff and are due in January each year for inclusion in the selection process. The Distinguished Service Committee makes the final selection.

Appreciation Award

The Appreciation Award is given in recognition of an active members' efforts on behalf of The Council and its initiatives. Individuals are nominated by a colleague in the field of education, by an active member of The Council, or a Council staff member. Final selections are made by the Distinguished Service Committee and presented at our Winter Institute & Lobby Day each year. Final nominations are due in January.

2021-2022 NYS Superintendent of the Year

Dr. Donna J. DeSiato, Superintendent of Schools
East Syracuse Minoa Central School District

NYSCOSS will honor Dr. DeSiato at the 2022 Winter Institute in Albany, NY. 

"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible." 

Arthur C. Clarke


Supporting the development of educational leaders is important. We offer three different scholarships to support future leaders including:

You can learn more about each individual scholarship and how to apply by clicking on each link. You can also view past scholarship videos below. 
Ask an expert

How do I apply for a scholarship?

Ask Deidre Hungerford, Associate Director for Business Development, how to apply or learn more about submission deadlines. 

Past Award and Scholarship Videos

Awards & Scholarships

2021-2022 NYSCOSS President 

“Over the course of my superintendency, I have always found The Council to be a source of support, guidance and inspiration.” 

Dr. Harrington continued "The opportunities to engage in collaborative and collegial activities are endless. Mentors, coaches, confidantes, and friends are all to be gained. I am truly honored to be leading this outstanding organization alongside amazing Council staff who serve to be a constant source of assistance. Looking forward to a fabulous year!" 
—Phyllis S. Harrington, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Oceanside UFSD

Our Core Values

NYSCOSS, as the primary membership organization in New York State for superintendents:

  • believes in the power of public education to advance the ideals of a democratic society
    and ensure equal opportunity for all its citizens.
  • believes in the importance of developing and sustaining the educational leadership provided
    by each superintendent while simultaneously promoting the integrity of the office.
  • accepts responsibility to build and support effective communications and collegiality
    among its members.
  • is committed to helping ensure gender, racial and economic equity among those
    serving as superintendent.
  • promotes the importance and success of public education among policy makers
    at the local, state and federal levels.

Join The Council

Explore the benefits of membership by joining the New York State Council of School Superintendents.

Our Vision and Mission

We are the New York State Council of School Superintendents (The Council and NYSCOSS), a professional and advocacy organization with over a century of service to school superintendents, and more recently to assistant superintendents, in New York State. The Council provides its more than 875 members with numerous professional development opportunities, publications and personal services, while advocating for public education and the superintendency.


To be the premier educational organization in New York State influencing the development of policy and supporting the leadership of the superintendency.


The Council, as a professional organization of school superintendents, shall promote the education of all children of New York State by Leading, Educating, Advocating, and Developing capacity, of its members.

Where We Started

When was The Council first established?

NYSCOSS traces its history back more than 137 years to 1883, when a group of 17 NYS school superintendents met in Syracuse to form the first organization known as the New York State Council of School Superintendents. It formed in response to deep and far reaching changes in American life which marked the late nineteenth century. The modern period in The Council's history began in 1967 when, at their annual fall conference at Grosingers in the Catskills, the NYS Council of School Superintendents and NYS Association of School Administrators voted to merge to form the NYS Council of School District Administrators. In 1981, the organization changed its name back to the New York State Council of School Superintendents.

Who was the first executive director on staff?

  • Edward L. Osborne in1968 became the first Executive Secretary to lead the newly merged New York State Council of School Superintendents. He will be remembered for overcoming the rifts in the new organization and making the merger a true success. Here are the additional executive directors that followed Osborne's tenure: 
  • John Henry Bennett, Executive Director 1974
  • James O'Connell, Executive Director 1989
  • Robert Loretan, Executive Director 1996
  • Thomas L. Rogers, Executive Director 2003
  • Robert J. Reidy, Jr., Executive Director 2010
  • Charles S. Dedrick, Ed.D., Executive Director 2016

Who was the first female president of The Council? 

Dr. Mary Barter was an exceptional educational leader during a time when few women held the title of superintendent. In 1997, Dr. Barter was elected as the first female president of NYSCOSS and served her presidential year through June 1998. 

In 2012, The Pathways to Leadership scholarship was renamed as the Dr. Mary Barter Scholarship for Women and Minorities to honor the first female president of NYSCOSS. The scholarship was initiated to inspire and promote women and/or minorities interested in the field of educational leadership.


2020 Fall Leadership Summit  Presidential Remarks

October 5, 2020

2020-2021 Council President Robert R. Ike
Superintendent, Palmyra-Macedon