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OUR TEAM

CAROLE 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 40 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!

MARCY GEISSER-WOLF

Assistant Director

Marcy has over thirty 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 20 years.

JOSEPH 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 over 40 years.

LINDA ANDREWS

Assistant Director

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

Assistant Director

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

Assistant Director

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

Director of Administration

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

Operations Director

SAMANTHA CROCIATASamantha 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

Family Liaison

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

Head Counselor

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

Julie Abrams

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.

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