Faculty Profiles

Camp Directors

Carole1359CAROLE BERMAN
Executive Director and Founder

Director and Founder of the Gifted and Talented Development Center. Carole has been actively involved in Gifted Education for over 35 years, having served as a teacher of the gifted and talented students in the High and Wide and BOCES programs. She was a reading teacher in Yonkers for 23 years. She serves as President of the Gifted and Talented Foundation, Board member of New York State Camp Directors Association and member of the American Camping Association. In tribute to Carole and in recognition of thirty years of Challenge Camp she was the 2010 honoree at the annual dinner of NYSCDA. Every summer she has 4 grandchildren travel from London and New York City to attend camp!

Marcy1346MARCY GEISSER-WOLF
Assistant Director

Marcy has over twenty five years of administrative experience in academic camps. She has tremendous expertise in staff training and management and coordinates the Counselor in Training program. Marcy’s has been a part of Challenge Camp for over 15 years.

joe_tnJOSEPH FIELDS
Afternoon Director

Joseph is a full time professional magician performing over five hundred shows a year in the Tri-State area. He is an instructor in ten school districts in Westchester, teaching the art of magic. Joe has been associated with Challenge Camp for 35 years.

Faculty

LINDA ANDREWS

Linda has owned Dance Connection in New Rochelle for 18 years. She is a dancer, painter and mixed media artist. She has most recently exhibited and had artwork published in Somerset Studio Magazine.

HUDSON APOTHEKER

Hudson is an Arts Integration teacher in Baltimore. He has been teaching and coaching children for several years in subjects ranging from all sciences and fine arts to wilderness survival and soccer. When he isn’t in the classroom, he is probably at the gym or cooking.

GEOFFREY BYRNE

Geoffrey is a connoisseur of technology. Being the last of his friends to own a PC at age 16, his keen interest and natural leadership skills turned into a thriving business. Geoffrey has found that without proper communication technology can be scary for the non-techie. He feels that proper instruction is missing in today’s support sector. It is for this reason that teaching has become a way of life for him no matter what age or skills level, in or out of Challenge Camp! Geoffrey is owner at technology consulting firm G&J Tech Solutions.

SARA CHARLES

Sara has been a Social Studies teacher for the past fourteen years in the Rye City School district. At Rye, she teaches art history, world history, and civics. She is a BA graduate of the University of Michigan, a Fulbright Scholar, and has a Masters in Education from Teachers College-Columbia University. She is also a Girl Scouts co-leader for her daughter’s Daisy troop and an avid singer, gardener, and animal lover.

SAMANTHA CROCIATA

Samantha teaches Pre-K in Peekskill, and is the lead teacher of our Discover, Imagine, and Create program. Samantha received her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Iona College as well as a Master’s of Science in Literacy and Special Education from SUNY New Paltz. Much like the mission at Challenge Camp Samantha is able to make project based learning fun and prepare the children for what they will be expected to achieve as they enter kindergarten.

MICHAEL DONOVAN

Michael has been teaching at Challenge Camp since 2002. He is a 5th grade math teacher with a degree from the University of Albany and a masters degree from Saint Rose college. Michael is also an accomplished piano player and performs live music locally.

TONY ELY

Tony teaches at the Center for Career Services in Valhalla and is an adjunct in Media Production at Manhattanville College. He is an independent producer currently producing a short film about the Alliance Francaise of Greenwich and doing a short spot for its film festival in April as well as several projects in development for other nonprofits.

Emily currently teaches 4th grade in the Peekskill City School District. She received her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Masters degree in Literacy and Special Education from SUNY New Paltz. She teaches the LEGO WeDo program over several grades and loves incorporating STEAM activities into her classroom.

JOHN FITZSIMMONS

John is a former police investigator with 20 years experience. He has been teaching elementary and middle school for over ten years. He enjoys incorporating all aspects STEM education in his two LEGO workshops.

ARMELLE GLOAGUEN

Armelle is an award winning artist and educator, an experienced teacher and an accomplished singer-songwriter. She provides educational multicultural musical shows and workshops at schools, libraries and private events. She has worked with international children for over twenty years and has recorded three albums of children’s music in several languages.

BRENDA GUY

Brenda is a registered nurse employed with the New Rochelle School District. She has twenty years of nursing experience at the Sound Shore Medical Center.

ALYSHA HORSTMAN

Alysha is a high school visual arts teacher in the Hastings-on-Hudson School District. Over the past twelve years she has taught a variety of classes from the foundation levels of Studio and Media Arts to advanced electives like Digital Media, Illustration, Ceramics, Creative Construction and more. She received both her BFA in Illustration and her MAT from Rhode Island School or Design. In addition to teaching, she is the owner and artist for a custom pet portrait business, Paws in Paint. Alysha is also the Director of Art and Education and digital artist for her husband’s software Company, AlgoCrunch, Inc. When not in the classroom, or studio Alysha is enjoying time with her kids, and pets. She is also an avid Ballroom and Latin dancer.

GEN KATANO

Gen is our Challenge Ninja! He approaches all people with curiosity, respect and a spirit of fun. He offers a holistic approach to strength training, conditioning and nutrition science to his campers and personal training clients.

BONNIE LEE

Bonnie has had the pleasure of working with Chef Dan Barber (Blue Hill, Blue Hill Stone Barns) and Chef Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern, Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art) and studying under Jacques Pepin and Jacques Torres at the French Culinary Institute. She loves to cook & learn, continuing to take classes at the Institute for Culinary Education and whole heartedly believes that people from different cultures and backgrounds will come together through the sharing of food.

ANNE PASQUALE

Anne, an actress and playwright, is a member of The Actors Studio. She trained at L.A.M.D.A. and the New York School for the Arts and has been creating and performing with children for over fifteen years. She is a proud recipient of the Broadway World RI best Actress and Playwright award for 2013. She most recently premiered her solo work 2B OR Not 2, an upside down inside look at Children’s Theatre at the Midtown International Theatre Festival.

MICHAEL LEON

Michael is an Emmy-Award winning Television Director. He has 15 years experience in photography, videography and directing live television. After a long day at work he enjoys the outdoors, hiking and landscape photography. He has a passion for learning new technology and passing it on to others.

ANNE O’CONNOR

Anne has a Master’s Degree in graphic design and has been teaching art/design and animation classes in Westchester schools for several years. She also enjoys having adventures with her three sons and you might spot her out running on local roads and trails while she trains for the 2019 NYC Marathon.

KENYA PATERRA

Kenya received a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Universidad Católica Santo Domingo in her home country, the Dominican Republic. There she worked as a journalist for almost five years reporting for different media outlets before moving to the USA in 2004. She earned a Master Degree in Art of Teaching from Manhattanville College. When not in the classroom, she is spending time with her family, playing tennis or traveling.

ALLAN PEARLMAN

Allan has been teaching science for more than 40 years and still enjoys the challenge of imparting knowledge into inquisitive minds. His real joy is teaching all types of science to young students at Challenge Camp.

ANGELA PUIA

Angela holds a Master Degree in Biology/Biochemistry from the University Of Bucharest, and has many years of experience working as a science researcher, technical trainer, teacher and tutor. She loves children and enjoys sparking their curiosity and interest in science and the nature of their environment. She believes in a holistic education that encourages the development of natural abilities and passions of each child.

TONY REID

Tony is a United States Army Sergeant with over 500 hours in Flight Experience. He is an certified Drone Instructor who teaches students the anatomy of a drone including components, building techniques, proper safety requirements and how to fly a drone. He is extremely excited to share his drone expertise and flying talents with our campers!

SABRA RIVEL

Sabra is a mom to three amazing teens. She has over 20 years of teaching experience and currently teaches 2nd grade at the Mamaroneck Avenue School. She loves to run, travel and cook!

MICHAEL SALEM

Michael Salem is an international celebrity choreographer teaching and touring for the last ten years throughout the USA. He has also recently worked in Asia, UAE, Spain, Canada, Italy, The Middle East and more with artists such as Swizz Beatz, Justin Bieber and Pitbull. He is the CEO/Creative Director of Infinite Motion Studios, creator or Hip-Fit and Moga and was named Westchester’s Best Choreographer ages 3-Adult.

ANA SAURA

Ana has a BFA degree in advertising and Commercial art from Pels School of Art/Cooper Union, as well as a teaching degree from Liceo Moderno San Carlos University, Guatemala. After a successful career in advertising/graphic design, Ana founded Children’s Creative Corner in Larchmont. She has developed and taught art programs for children at her art center and various elementary schools throughout Westchester.

MERI SIRKIN

Meri juggles many parts of her life as a full-time school nurse at Schechter Westchester, mother of three adult children, wife and mom of a Goldendoodle puppy, Bo. Meri is an adjunct professor teaching nursing students at the College of New Rochelle and at Westchester Community College. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Thomas Jefferson University and a Master’s of Science Degree from Rutgers University. Meri has a specialty in working with adolescents and their families in psychiatric and mental health nursing and holds an American Nurses Credential as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. She loves the outdoors, walking her dog, hiking, gardening, doing tai chi and qi gong, kayaking, and traveling.

JAMES STANLEY

Jim is a Graphic Designer and 3D design generalist for over 25 years, living in Croton on Hudson, NY. He is the owner of Python Design, LLC, a graphic design company specializing in architectural visualizations, as well as creating prototypes and unique promotional items for business. He enjoys working on 3D printing projects with his son Adam, who recently entered Middle School, and daughter, Isabel, who is entering her senior year in High School

LIZ STEGER-HARTZMAN

Based in New York, Liz has been shooting professionally for over 20 years. She built her career on food photography and still life by photographing many of New York’s finest eating establishments and chefs, including JeanGeorge, The Brasserie and the restaurants at the Waldorf-Astoria. Larry King, Marc Anthony and the Duke of Edinburgh have also posed for Liz’s lens. Liz’s mouth watering books, Serendipity Parties, Serendipity Sundaes and Sweet serendipity: Delicious Desserts and Devish Dish (Rizzoli) have been featured on Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The New York Daily News, The Today Show and Fox & Friends. Her other published books are American Sideshow: An Encyclopedia of History’s Most Wondrous and Curiously Strange Performers and Found on eBay: 101 Genuinely Bizarre Items From the World’s Online Yard Sale (Universe,) both written by her husband, Marc. Liz also served as the photo editor and photographer for the popular guide book, Avante Guide New York (Empire Press.)

YING SU

Ying is the owner/instructor at The Fashion Arts Studio of Westchester. She has also been a professor of fashion design at Parsons School of Design, where she graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design, and at The Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.). After working in the industry as a designer for over 20 years, she obtained a M.A. in Education and started teaching fashion design for children. Ying Su lives in Larchmont, loves teaching kids, loves to sew and illustrate.

REGINA TALBOT

Regina holds a Master Degree in Music Education and has taught music for many years in public and international schools. She currently teaches vocal music in the New Rochelle School District and is a recent Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award recipient.

DAN TEPPER

Dan has been a math teacher for over twenty years. He enjoys exploring and utilizing new technologies inside and outside the classroom. He has a degree in Mathematics Education from Columbia Teacher’s College and a degree in Computer Science from Pace University. When he is not teaching or being a father to his two children, he enjoys hiking, biking and playing tennis.

ADAM THEISSEN

Adam is a multifaceted teacher in Yonkers Middle/High School teaching all sciences including Regents Physics, International Baccalaureate Physics and Lego Mindstorms Robotics. He established and coaches the school’s first Robotics team traveling to St. Louis with his students for a national competition. Adam is also the High School’s head football coach combining his passion for teaching and athletics.

ANATOLY TONKONOGY

Born and raised in Kiev, Anatoly has been living in the US for over 3 years and is a Senior Master in Chess. He has taught chess to children and young adults for over 30 years and and has coached many champions.

JIM WEINGAST

A Graduate of George Washington University, Jim has over 30 years of study and performance on guitar, bass, percussion and drums. He has recorded, performed and toured with various inie and major label acts including Dude of Life (lyricist for Phish) and The Great Red Shark. He owns and operates a professional recording studio where he has acted as ehgineer and producer on numerous CD projects. Jim is a successful music instructor, Director of a rock and roll camp and founding member of www.rockmitzvah.com.

LIDA Y. ZIMMERMAN

Lida was born in Shanghai and has lived in America for many years. She is a graduate of the University of China where she studied painting. She has been a student of the most famous artists in China. As an art teacher in Shanghai, she taught watercolor, pencil drawing, as well as the ancient art of “paper cutting”. She has written books on “How to Paint” and contributed to art textbooks for the elementary and middle school in Shanghai. Lida teaches art in New York. She has exhibited her artwork in Westchester.