Chief Financial Officer
Sharona Hebroni has been appointed HKS Chief Financial Officer effective July 2020. Sharona joined Helen Keller Services in June 2010 as the Director of Accounting for the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC). In this role, Sharona was responsible for all financial operations of HKNC, including accounting processes, compliance, financial reporting, budgeting, and oversight of all Federal & state grants and contracts.
Sharona comes to this newly appointed role with over 20 years of experience in nonprofit accounting. Prior to joining Helen Keller Services, she worked as an auditor, specializing in the non-profit and healthcare sectors. Sharona has vast knowledge of all guidelines and regulations in both, state and federal regulatory compliance. She brings to HKS extensive knowledge of nonprofit accounting, with a focus on developing policies and procedures to improve internal controls, performance and productivity. Sharona will be responsible for the overall direction, coordination and operation of the Accounting department of HKS as Chief Financial Officer.
Sharona graduated from Queens College City University of New York with a BA in Accounting and Economics.
Chief of Staff, HKS
Ms. Fu joined HKS in January 2015 as part of the HKNC Helmsley Grant development effort and has continued in that position after grant support ended. Ms. Fu has over 20 years of experience in development and prior experience in the financial sector. She earned her Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree from Hofstra University and her Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree in Finance from LIU. Ms. Fu heads up the HKS Development Team and is responsible for all day-to-day development operations and will supervise and manage the entire development team.
Ms. Fu has responsibility for all HKS’ IT infrastructure, contracting, policy, logistics and change management and continue to act as liaison to LISS Consulting, our IT service firm. Also, she continues her role as liaison to the HKS Board of Trustees.
Director of Facilities, HKS
In his role as director of facilities for Helen Keller Services (HKS), Chris Mastrangelo manages the operation and maintenance of the physical plants of the agency’s two divisions, the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults (HKNC) and Helen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB). Mr. Mastrangelo, who has been with HKS for more than 25 years, oversees the work of outside contractors; manages his area's budget; and supervises employees in the maintenance, landscaping, housekeeping and dietary departments. He also handles union-related staff issues.
Mr. Mastrangelo’s previous experience includes the installation and servicing of fire and safety equipment as well as the wiring of electrical installations in industrial, commercial and residential settings. He completed coursework at the Nassau Technological Center and the Buildings Technical Training Center, and holds an Air Conditioning Contractors of America certificate in refrigerant transition and recovery.
Chief Facilities Officer, HKS
Gary Messina is the Chief Facilities Officer for Helen Keller Services (HKS), where he coordinates the operation and maintenance of the physical plants of both the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) division and the Helen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB) division. Mr. Messina works closely with the director of facilities to ensure optimal operation of HKS’ buildings and premises, and to maintain a safe and cost-effective environment for all who utilize the facilities and grounds.
Mr. Messina joined HKS in 2014, bringing with him a wealth of experience and knowledge in construction management, building materials, workmanship standards, municipal codes and safety regulations. He has managed projects ranging from new construction to restoring historic landmarks; has implemented cost controls to improve efficiency and productivity; and has conducted training programs to develop staff, facilitate efficiency and improve performance. Mr. Messina also owned and operated a private residential and commercial renovations business for nearly 20 years.
Chief Human Resources Officer, HKS
Effective January 2017, Mia Murro has been appointed the agency-wide position of HKS Chief Human Resources Officer and will oversee all human resources for Helen Keller Services. Prior to this appointment, she was the director of human resources at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC). Since 2007, she has been responsible for the management and direction of the human resources function, providing support to over 150 employees. Her duties include recruitment and selection, training and development, policy development and implementation, benefits administration, compensation and employee relations within a union environment.
Prior to joining HKNC, Ms. Murro was the HR manager at Bertelsmann Direct North America, the largest direct-to-consumer distributor of media products in the United States. Over nine years with Bertelsmann, she implemented many innovative and cost-savings procedures, which resulted in a number of successive promotions culminating in being appointed HR Manager.
Ms. Murro graduated from Hofstra University with a B.A. in psychology and business management. She also earned a certificate in human resources from LIU Post and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management.
Director of Direct Services, HKNC
Laura Rocchio joined the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) in 1984, serving in a variety of capacities witha real penchant for supporting consumers with deaf-blindness and intellectual disabilities. Ms. Rocchio currently serves as director of direct services. In this role, she provides oversight to Destiny Home, New York State’s first home for individuals with deaf-blindness and intellectual disabilities. She also supports students in HKNC’s training program, coordinating adult learning, peer learning and mentoring opportunities to help them lead their own lives. Ms. Rocchio is an advisor to the HKNC Town Hall Committee and a board member of the New York Parent Association for Deaf-Blind.
Executive Director, HKNC
Sue Ruzenski has dedicated her career to working with and advocating on behalf of the deaf-blind community.
Over the course of her 35-year tenure at HKNC, Ms. Ruzenski held positions of increasing responsibility, including director of direct services, before assuming her current role as executive director. She has led and worked with employees across the organization to implement innovative changes, especially in the area of vocational rehabilitation programs.
Ms. Ruzenski earned an B.A. in special education from Dowling College, an M.A. in deaf education from New York University and an Ed.D. from Columbia University.
Director of Field Services, HKNC
Laura J. Thomas is the director of field services for the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC). Based in E. Moline, Illinois, Ms. Thomas provides support, guidance and supervision to 12 regional representatives, covering ten regions throughout the United States. As a member of HKNC’s senior leadership team, she participates in the organization’s strategic renewal process.
Prior to assuming her current role in 2014, Ms. Thomas was HKNC’s Region 5 representative, covering six states – Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. In this capacity, she provided information, referral, assistance, linkages and consultation; conducted assessments; and collaborated with other entities. Previous HKNC positions include case manager, supervisor of case managers, direct services supervisor, and professional and consumer relations national representative.
Ms. Thomas has extensive experience working with individuals who are deaf-blind, state and national agencies/organizations, rehabilitation and academic programs, and consumer groups, including serving these constituencies as a workshop trainer and as a consultant.
Ms. Thomas earned a B.A. from Gallaudet University and an M.A. from New York University, and completed post-graduate coursework at San Diego State University and Northern Illinois University.
She holds professional-level certification with the American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA) and has taught ASL and deaf studies for the last 25 years in the New York City/Long Island area; Chicago, Illinois; and Moline, Illinois. During a 15-year period, Ms. Thomas held various board positions with ASLTA, and she is currently an evaluator on the National ASLTA Evaluation Team.
Associate Executive Director, HKNC
Chris Woodfill was appointed associate executive director at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) in 2014. In this position, Mr. Woodfill supervises 60 employees in five departments --vocational training, admissions, interpreting, residence life and the community service program-- and monitors the budgets of each department. He also facilitates HKNC’s Professional Learning and Leadership Institute, deaf-blind self-advocacy training, the Young Adult Summer Program, and cultural diversity and sensitivity training programs.
Prior to this appointment, Mr. Woodfill, who joined the organization in 2012, served as HKNC regional representative for the Mid-Atlantic Region, where he provided assessment, consultation, training and technical assistance, and information and referral. Before joining HKNC, he spent nearly 20 years as an educator, teaching such subjects as history, social sciences, Spanish and ESL.
Mr. Woodfill earned an M.S. in deaf education from McDaniel College, an M.A. in Latin-American studies from George Washington University and a B.A. in history and Spanish from Gallaudet University. He serves on the boards of the World Federation of the DeafBlind and of the American Association of the Deaf-Blind.