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Officers and Executive Board
President, Nicole Capsello
I began my journey in the SCSD as a building sub at Meachem Elementary, where I eventually was hired on as a permanent Special Education Teacher in a second grade inclusion room. I landed over at Salem Hyde about 7 years later continuing to co-teach in multiple grade levels. My involvement in the union began over at Meachem and continued when I moved into Salem Hyde. I served as their Chief Rep for 4 years. I have served on the Executive Board for the last 4 years as a Unit 1 Director and as the 3rd Vice President. Throughout those years I have participated in multiple committees including APPR, Safety Task Force, Coordinating Committee on Professional Development and been a part of our negotiations team. I had the opportunity to participate in the NYSUT Leadership Institute and become a proud graduate that program. I now have the honor of serving as your President.
1st Vice President, William Magnarelli
I have been a teacher in SCSD for 16 years, teaching Social Studies and the middle and high school levels and am currently teaching Adult Education. I am passionate about our union and look to make sure all of our members are represented fairly. I have been an STA Rep and Chief Rep at various buildings and am excited to meet the challenge of being your 1st VP.
2nd Vice President, Donald Little III
It has been my honor and joy to serve as STA’s Second Vice-President for a little more than eight years. I have been active in the STA since 2002. I have been engaged in school, district, and state level union leadership. I have been a member of the executive board for nine and a half years. I am most proud of getting the district to pass a sweatshop free resolution related to apparel purchases. I have been a strong advocate for members’ rights and have worked diligently to have their voices heard within Nottingham and across the district. My greatest area of focus and interest within our Association is retirement. I am also an adjunct professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at SUNY Oswego.
3rd Vice President Jennifer Horn
I teach first grade at Webster Elementary. I began teaching in 1996 before coming to SCSD in 2002. I worked as a Building Substitute at Ed Smith Elementary for three months before being hired into a probationary position at Webster Elementary. During my time at Webster, I have taught grades 1st-4th, with most of my experience in first grade. I was a Building Rep from 2010 to 2012 before being elected as Chief Rep in 2012, a position I have held since. I served on our most recent Unit 1 negotiations team. I believe in advocating for our students, being an agent for change in our schools and creating an atmosphere of collegial support. I want to empower our members to do to use their voice to do same.
STA 4th Vice President / Unit 7 President Bernard Washington
I have been employed by the SCSD for 39 years. I have been a cook for the past 35 years. Currently I am the 4th Vice President and Unit 7 President of Syracuse Teachers Association. I have served on the STA Executive Board since October 2005.
I have attended several state and national conferences during my tenure. Sharing the information from these conferences is rewarding and fulfilling. I have participated in NYSUT’s and AFT’s Health and Safety Train the Trainer program. I am trained to facilitate “Ergonomics for Food Service Workers”, “Indoor Air Quality” and “CPR AED Basic First Aid”. I was proud to be name STA’s SRP of the Year in 2004.
I have served STA members as follows:
Sta 4th Vice President 2019 to present
Sta Unit 7 President 2005- 2007 and 2010 to present
NYSUT Pac SRP at large 2016 to present
NYSUT Health and Safety Committee 2017 to present
NYSUT SRP Advisory Committee 2021
NYSUT/ AFT Delegate 1994 to present
NYSUT/ NEA State Delegate 2021
CBTU Trustee 2018 to present
CNY SRP Council 2018 to present
NYSUT Leadership Institute 2012-2013
SCSD District wide Health and Safety Committee 2018 to present
National Coalition Building Institute Trainer
Treasurer, Richard Rogers
Since beginning in the SCSD in 1997, I have learned many lessons, the most important lesson being that we need to listen to each other. I have been fortunate enough to have spent the past twenty years teaching at Edward Smith School where I took on many roles for both my students and colleagues. Listening to what they have to say, and taking action when the need arises, has led me to where I proudly and humbly am today.
I was introduced to union activism by the previous Chief Rep at Ed Smith where I later became the Chief Rep. This led to my further involvement in our union, becoming a Unit 1 Rep five years ago at the encouragement of many colleagues. In addition to being a member of the Executive Board, I am a member of the Finance Committee as well as the School Safety Task Force.
I look forward to serving you over the next three years in my new leadership role. The lessons I have learned in the past will be even more important as we need our union to continue to strengthen as we stand side by side fighting for the same cause, our children. I vow to listen to you and act when the need arises as I always have.
STA Recording Secretary James Smith
I graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in English and Textual Studies. Teaching English in the Syracuse City School District for seventeen years at T. Aaron Levy Middle School, Edward Smith K-8, and William Nottingham High School has been my passion, but I have been honored to experience many other roles in education. In the Syracuse City School District, I have tutored, taught and mentored students in grades seven through twelve. At the collegiate level, I have also served as an adjunct instructor in writing and public presentation courses at The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. I currently teach assessment and English education methods at Syracuse University as well.
I am proud to be a building representative at Nottingham just as I was proud to attend the NYSUT Leadership Institute several years ago. I am also thrilled to give back to my union by serving a role on the recent contract negotiations team, and also engaging with the Coordinating Committee for Professional Development. I have been a delegate for several years.
Unit 1 Director Juanita Dyer
I began teaching in the district in 1996, where I taught grades 2 – 5 at Bellevue. In 2005, I transferred to Clary, where I taught science, social studies, math, ELA, AVID and AIS. While at Clary, I became a Rep. When I transferred to Grant in 2017, I continued as a Rep. and currently I am teaching 6th grade Science. I am a Cohort 3 – Fuse Fellow. In 2021, I was nominated to the PSPB (Professional Standards & Practices Board for Teaching). I always advocate for what’s right and my colleagues can depend on me to provide a strong voice when necessary.
Unit 1 Director Kerry Read
I started my teaching career in Syracuse City Schools at Blodgett School when it became K-8 in 2004. I taught English as a Second Language there for 5 years, then at Delaware, Porter, and Seymour. I’ve been teaching English as a New Language at Franklin School since 2014. I was a member of the NYSUT ENL Subject Area Subcommittee. I’ve been a Chief Rep for 5 years and a Unit 1 Director for 3 years. I built a career being the voice for my students, as many of their parents can't yet. Now, I want to continue being the voice for others- this time teachers.
Unit 1 Director Megan Root
I am a Unit 1Director position on the STA Executive Board so that I can use my experiences as an educator and a union leader to support our members. During my 28 years with the district, I have been a building rep for Unit 8 and Unit 1, a Chief Rep at both Corcoran and Blodgett, the 1st Vice President, and the President of the STA. My knowledge of the workings of both STA and the SCSD help me to advocate for my building members and for all of us.
Patrick Stoner, Unit 1 Director
I, Patrick Stoner, began my teaching career in SCSD at Seymour Dual Language Academy in 2008 as a 2nd grade inclusion teacher. I taught at Seymour for 5 years as a 2nd grade and 1st grade teacher. As the school was transitioning to a Turnaround school I was selected to work at Dr. Weeks Elementary as a 1st grade teacher. I then experienced the Turnaround process at Dr. Weeks and reinterviewed for my position and was selected to continue to work at Dr. Weeks. After completing my 2nd year at Dr. Weeks I interviewed with the Pre-k program and was selected to become a Pre-K teacher at Dr. Weeks, which I have been doing for the last 3 years.
My involvement in the union began at Seymour Dual Language Academy when I saw the importance of what the Chief Rep was doing there. I began to sit with her to learn aspects of the Union and became a Building Rep. After she retired, I became the Chief Rep at Seymour. Once a Chief Rep, I learned of the Executive Board and submitted by application and resume in 2013 and since that time I was elected to serve on the Executive Board as a Unit 1 Director. Throughout my years on the Executive Board, I have participated in many Rallies, NYSUT conventions, and AFT conventions. In this process I have learned how unions continue to develop to be most effective in these changing and challenging times. It has been an Honor and continues to be an Honor to serve on the STA Executive Board as a Unit 1 Director.
Unit 7 Director Ali Knapp
Ali Knapp- I have been with SCSD for 20 yrs in food and nutrition dept. I'm currently the Unit 7 Delegate this was a first time for me and I really enjoyed being able to support and represent my fellow brothers and sister. I am also Unit 7's 1st Vice President, sit on our executive board, labor management team, 2 terms of contract negotiations.
Unit 8 President Tim Conkey
It’s my pleasure to represent Unit 8 members for the next 3 years. I have been an active member in our union since 2015 taking on different roles such as Chief Rep, Building Rep, Executive Board Member, and Unit 8 Vice President. I look forward to building the union with a combination of new members, mid-career members, and those nearing retirement and recent retirees. You have a voice and together our voice will make a difference. Thank you.
Unit 8 Director Virginline Woodall
For more than 35 years in the Syracuse City Schools I've held various positions; teacher, teaching assistant sub, and teaching assistant. I am known to be outspoken, dedicated and very passionate when it comes to my family, my coworkers and my union. I put forth the effort to stay involved and keep members informed.
Sta is a strong union, we work in unity and strength to help everybody and support our members 100%.
I enjoyed representing members in 11 job titles to bring their voice to the front that felt they were not represented. I'm a delegate to Nysut RA, Nysut Civil and Human Rights Committee, Nysut Women's Committee, SRP Advisory Committee, CNY SRP Advisory Council.
I'm committed to making a difference in the lives of our SRP's. I stand firm and fight for all Unit 8 members. We need to be seen, heard, and valued for our efforts.
Mark Warner, Unit 8 Director
Teaching Assistant Syracuse Latin
Chief Rep Syracuse Latin School
Unit 8 Director SyracuseTeacher Association
NYSUT SRP Advisory Committee
Regional Cordinator NYSUT Education and Learning Trust
Instructor Nysut Education and Learning Trust
Vice - President Syracuse Strong Football. NFA Semi -Pro Team
Owner – Photographer: Photography By Mark Warner
Unit 10 President / Unit 10 Director Jan Tousaw
I have been a nurse in the Syracuse City School District since 2008. I started out working at Corcoran High School and Fowler High School. I then moved to Delaware Elementary, where I was the nurse for 10 years. After I left Delaware, I was at Johnson Center for a short while, and then left to take the position at ITC, where I am currently working.
This is my first time seeking a more active role with STA, however I have always been very supportive of our union and what we stand for. I have worked closely with our current Unit 10 president, Judy Holmes, and have learned a lot from her regarding the inner workings of STA.
I would like to be more involved with our union because I want to continue the work that Judy has done for our nurses and health aides. We are a small part of the SCSD staff, but we still need to have our voices heard. Most importantly, I want to make sure that we have the staff and the resources to be able to provide the medical care our students need, so they can get the education they so richly deserve!!
Retiree Director, Areli Schermerhorn
Areli retired after 30 years of service to the Syracuse City School District community. She served as an English as a New Language teacher, a Peer Assistance and Review Consultant, an ENL Consultant Specialist, an Independent Evaluator for the English as a New Language (ENL) and Bilingual teachers in the district, a Chief Rep for the Professional Development Center, and a Unit 1 Director for the Syracuse Teachers Association. Ms. Schermerhorn is an American Federation of Teachers (AFT) National Trainer on English Learners, a New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) Instructor, and an adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Oswego. She has provided professional development in an array of settings including the district, state and national levels. She presented at TESOL International Conventions in Seattle, WA (2017), Chicago, IL (2018), Atlanta, GA (2019), Virtual Edition (2021) and Pittsburgh, PA (2022). Ms. Schermerhorn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from SUNY Geneseo, a Master of Science in Education from SUNY Cortland, and earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in Urban Teacher Leadership from LeMoyne College. Check out her interview on the evaluation process on the international bilingual website, Colorín Colorado:
Robert Merola, Labor Relations Specialist
Since 2007, I have been either studying or working in the field of Labor Relations. I spent two years at Onondaga Community College as a Labor Studies major, before transferring to Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 2009.
At Cornell, my coursework focused on collective bargaining and labor history. After graduating in 2011 I returned to Syracuse to pursue my interest in the labor movement, and worked as a paralegal at several labor and employment law firms for the following four years. In 2015, I enrolled at Cornell Law School, where my focus was on Labor Law and Public Interest Law. During that time, I interned as a summer law clerk at Blitman & King, one of the most prominent labor law firms in New York State.
I attended Webster Elementary School, Grant Middle School, and graduated from Westhill High School. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Spectemur Agendo Foundation, an educational non-profit organization based in Ithaca, NY, and my interests include local history and self-care.
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