OPWDD Staff Development, HCBS and Compliance Coordinator, HKSB
Jennifer Bassolino has over 25 years of experience working with people who have developmental disabilities. Ms. Bassalino has been employed with Helen Keller Services for the Blind for 19 of those years and is responsible for maintaining all Medicaid and OPWDD compliance.
In her current role, she ensures compliance, quality improvement and staff training for programs including Day Habilitation, Residential Habilitation, Community Habilitation, Supported Employment and Medicaid Service Coordination. Ms. Bassalino has held positions in each of the programs for which she currently provides compliance standards. She has held a certification through OPWDD as a Medicaid service coordinator since 2003 and continues to provide Medicaid coordination services and supervision for the agency and its department. In addition ,Ms. Bassalino also provides services and supervision as needed for the OPWDD Supportive Employment Department.
Before beginning her career at HKSB, she attended Niagara University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in social work.
Joseph F. Bruno
President and Chief Executive Officer, HKS
Joseph Bruno had been an active member of the board of trustees at Helen Keller Services (HKS) for more than 16 years before becoming the organization’s president and chief executive officer on January 29, 2016. He brings to his role decades of proven excellence and global recognition in the spheres of law, public service and emergency management, including more than 40 years of service under five New York City mayors: John Lindsay, Abe Beame, Ed Koch, Mike Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio.
Mr. Bruno's public service career has been marked by significant achievement from his beginning days as a parole officer for the State of New York to his most recent tenure as commissioner of New York City’s Office of Emergency Management. Joining the NYC Law Department in 1971, he rose to manage three major divisions within that department.
In 1983, Mr. Bruno became the city's first deputy fire commissioner. Three years later, he was selected by Mayor Ed Koch to head the Parking Violations Bureau (PVB), which at that time, was riddled with scandal. Under his leadership, the PVB was restored to respectability and was able to continue its work within the NYC government.
In 1987, after successfully completing his PVB tour of duty, Mr. Bruno was appointed by Mayor Koch as fire commissioner of the City of New York - an historic NYC position.
In 1991 and 2001, he was elected to two separate 10-year terms as a judge of New York City’s Civil Court. In 2002, while "on the bench," he was elected to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
In 2004, less than three years after the 9/11 tragedy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked Mr. Bruno to join his administration and serve as commissioner of the newly chartered NYC Office of Emergency Management (NYCOEM).
Over the course of his 10 years at NYCOEM’s helm, Mr. Bruno proved instrumental in the development and leadership of the Office, shepherding its growth into the largest and most highly regarded municipal emergency management agency in the country ─ and perhaps the world.
Mr. Bruno's expertise in emergency management has garnered international attention. Under his leadership, NYCOEM hosted military and civilian leaders from Europe, Asia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Middle East, and became a global model for success in crisis management. In 2004, he rolled out the NYC Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS), which stands today as the system under which NYC manages all major emergencies.
He also has worked in the private sector, most recently serving as vice president for emergency management and senior strategic advisor at RedLand Strategies.
Mr. Bruno has long history of lending his time and talents to nonprofit organizations. In addition to his work on behalf of HKS, he has served as a trustee of Brooklyn Maimonides Medical Center and continues in a senior leadership role with the Big City Emergency Managers (BCEM) ─ a not-for-profit group he organized that is made up of directors and commissioners of emergency management agencies from 15 major U.S. cities.
A lifelong New York City resident, Mr. Bruno holds a B.S. in economics from City College and a J.D. from St. John's University Law School.
Director of Day and Community Habilitation Services, HKSB
Kimberly Clark is the director of day and community habilitation services for Helen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB). In this role, Ms. Clark oversees the provision of services through the Day Habilitation Program located in Hempstead, and all community habilitation and respite opportunities operated under the auspices of the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).
Prior to joining the team at HKSB, she served as the director of quality assurance for the Children’s Residential Treatment Center at SCO Family Services and as both the director of quality assurance – quality improvement services and the corporate compliance officer at the Center for Developmental Disabilities.
Ms. Clark graduated from Long Island University with a B.S. in public administration, finance and accounting. Throughout her career, she has served as a member of local and statewide committees focused on the improvement of programs for the developmentally disabled, housing opportunities, government policy and analysis, and work force development. Currently she is a member of the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies’ statewide Workforce Development Committee and the Long Island Informed Consent Committee. She has been actively involved with the Long Island Regional Center for Workforce Transformation – Direct Support Professional Credentialing pilot program for the Long Island Region. Through her participation in this program, Kimberly has worked in partnership with a select group of professionals from other organizations and has served as a mentor to direct support staff working toward fulfilling the educational and demonstration of competency requirements of The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals. This program, which was established to enhance the status of direct support professionals and promote the development of a highly competent human services workforce on a national level, enables direct support staff to apply for--and meet--established credentialing standards. Upon completion of these requirements, two HKSB staffers will be among the first 12 direct support professionals on Long Island to have achieved credentialed status.
Director of Rehabilitation, Nassau County, HKSB
For more than 40 years, Bill Dale has been a dedicated staff member of Helen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB). Mr. Dale’s background in the psychology of health and rehabilitation dynamics informs his daily work at HKSB.
His responsibilities include overseeing the organization’s Low Vision Eye Service program, which helps individuals in Brooklyn, Hempstead, Sands Point/Port Washington and Ronkonkoma, New York, to maximize residual vision. Mr. Dale manages staff, maintains quality control and, most importantly, handles patient follow-up. He also supervises HKSB’s Adaptive Technology Program, which trains clients to make better use of technology in educational and workplace settings by taking advantage of adaptations designed for people with vision loss.
In addition to his work at HKSB, Mr. Dale has published numerous articles in The Journal of Vision Impairment including, “Brain Pathology and Blindness” (1978), “Traumatic Blindness” (1980) and “Client Cooperation with Rehabilitation” (1985).
Mr. Dale holds an M.A. in psychology from The New School for Social Research and a B.A. in psychology from Pace University. He is also an active member of the American Psychological Association.
Marc Feldman, CPA
Chief Financial Officer, HKS
A financial executive with over 30 years of experience, Marc Feldman oversees the financial and accounting functions for Helen Keller Services.
Prior to joining HKSB, Mr. Feldman was the chief financial officer (CFO) at The Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation (DKM), a privately held multi-industry, multi-national corporation. At DKM, he directed all external relationships related to corporate finance, tax, real estate, insurance, audit/financial reporting, cash management, pension, environmental and IT. In addition to his responsibilities as CFO, Mr. Feldman managed invested assets as treasurer of The Dyson Foundation.
He also served as chief financial officer at Biopharmaceutics, Inc., and as assistant vice president of Finance at Del Laboratories. Mr. Feldman began his career as a supervising audit senior at Ernst & Young.
He holds an M.B.A. in finance (Dean’s List) from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business and a B.B.A. with distinction from the University of Michigan. Mr. Feldman is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Lorraine M. Locurto
Executive Director, Helen Keller Services for the Blind
Lorraine LoCurto has helped further the mission of Helen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB) for over 30 years. She is responsible for all programs serving the blind at all HKSB locations.
Before becoming executive director, Ms. LoCurto was responsible for all rehabilitation and social services in Nassau County, including the day habilitation and residential habilitation programs. She also had served as director of day habilitation services and psychometrist. In these roles, Ms. LoCurto was responsible for day-to-day operations and psychological evaluations for the blind and visually impaired. She began her career as the school psychologist intern for the Copiague Public Schools on Long Island.
Ms. LoCurto earned an M.A. in clinical psychology and a B.A. in psychology from St. John’s University, where she is also a doctoral candidate in the field of child psychology. Ms. LoCurto has permanent New York State Certification as a school psychologist.
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, Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths 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; 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.
Supervising Manager, Wantagh Residential Facility, HKSB
As supervising manager for Helen Keller Services’ Wantagh Residential Facility, Ayana McQueen has served the developmentally disabled population and their families for over 15 years.
Ms. McQueen is responsible for the 24-hour operation of the facility, which includes and is not limited to providing safe and appropriate community integration, habilitation, financial assistance and dietary services for each individual at the residence. She also oversees staff and conducts hands-on training on a weekly basis.
Prior to joining HKSB, Ms. McQueen served as assistant manager of the Epilepsy Foundation’s East Meadow house. In that role, she was responsible for providing 24-hour clinical care to people with severe epileptic conditions as well as profound disabilities. Ms. McQueen also was instrumental in the utilization of Vegas nerve stimulation earlier in her career. She also was a social work supervisor at the Beach Terrace Care Center in Long Beach (New York).
Ms. McQueen earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Rust College, a historically black college in Holly Springs, Mississippi. At that time, she became a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., which is an action-oriented, community-conscious organization.
Associate Executive Director, HKSB
Elizabeth (Liz) Meade began her career at HKSB in 1995 as a supported employment training specialist, developing clients’ pre-employment skills and providing career counseling and job placement services. In 2007 Ms. Meade was promoted to coordinator of pre-employment services, overseeing the provision of services for both youth in transition and adults who require evaluation and/or other training prior to being referred for competitive employment. She was instrumental in the development of a 12-session training program to improve clients’ soft skills (i.e., communication, decision making, personal management, etc.). She then became the director of rehabilitation and placement services for Helen Keller Services for the Blind. In this role, Ms. Meade oversees all vision rehabilitation, adaptive living, pre-vocational, placement and summer camp programs and instructors.
Ms. Meade graduated from Iona College with a B.A. in psychology and an M.B.A. in organizational behavior, and she has a certification in advanced interpretation of the Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation System (CVES) from McCarron-Dial Systems. Ms. Meade is a member of the Nassau Placement Network and was elected to their executive board in 2004.
Assistant Director of Facilities, HKS
Gary Messina is the assistant director of facilities 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.
Manager, Quality Assurance and Staff Training, HKSB
As the manager of quality assurance and staff training for Helen Keller Services for the Blind’s OPWDD programs, Michael Pisano is responsible for training and quality assurance activities of all staff employed in our OPWDD-regulated programs, including day habilitation, residential services, Medicaid service coordination, community habilitation, supported employment and respite services.
Mr. Pisano came to HKSB from SCO Family of Services, where he served as the assistant director of agency-wide quality assurance. Prior to this, he served as the director of quality assurance and staff training for OPWDD Services (also at SCO). Throughout his career, Michael has been an active member of various committees relating to quality assurance at both the local and state levels. Currently he is a member of the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies’ statewide education and training committee.
Michael is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
Director of Communications and Events, HKS
Deborah Rodriguez brings over 35 years of public relations, marketing, corporate communications and development experience to Helen Keller Services, including work in agency, corporate and nonprofit settings. Over the past 18 years, Ms. Rodriguez has added various aspects of information technology to her resume, including work on websites (internal and external) and blogs, and overseeing corporate IT systems (hardware and software). Through her initiatives as director of communications and events, she raises visibility (and brand awareness) for the organization and develops, cultivates and sustains relationships with supporters through strategies that greatly enhance and expand fundraising efforts, including all aspects of development (foundations and corporate relations), government relations and special events. Ms. Rodriguez also develops and manages marketing campaigns agency wide.
Prior to joining HKS, she was the director of communications for Common Ground Community and director of marketing and public relations for Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City (NHS of NYC). Rodriguez raised visibility and unified the image of both organizations, developing aggressive marketing campaigns and placing dozens of articles per year, including major pieces in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Fast Company and NY1 News. She began her nonprofit experience with the launch of a Spanish public television station devoted to education (including creating, executing and producing on-air promotions and all marketing materials). Her agency and corporate experience includes creating and executing program promotions (network, cable and overseas) for Westinghouse Broadcasting and working on public relations campaigns for such clients as The Netherlands Industrial Commission, MasterCard, United Media Enterprises, The United States Football League (USFL), Cotton Incorporated and Kelly Services.
Educated at New York University, Ms. Rodriguez earned a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in political science and media studies from Hunter College and certification in television production from The Center for Media Arts. She is a longtime member of the Public Relations Society of America, ISES (International Society for Event Specialists), Women in Communications and the Association for Fundraising Professionals, and is a former associate broker (residential real estate). Ms. Rodriguez received a Customer Service Award and the 2005 Volunteer of the Year Award from NHS of NYC. She also received the Paul F. Zucker Award, Grand Prize Winner, for outstanding public relations program (Ruder Finn & Rotman, United Media Enterprises-Client). Ms. Rodriguez is a board member of the Staten Island Inter-Agency Council and co-chair of the Ambassador Committee for the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and volunteers her time on the events committee with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Principal, Children’s Learning Center, HKSB
Garth White has more than 19 years of experience in educational leadership positions, directing general and special education programs for nonprofit organizations and the New York City Department of Education.
Prior to joining the team at Helen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB), he served as principal at the Mill Basin & Nazareth Early Childhood Center, director of child care services at the Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service and director of children’s services/school principal at Lighthouse International.
In addition, he brings classroom experience to his role at HKSB. An adjunct college professor, he also spent eight years teaching in early childhood, elementary and junior high school settings.
Mr. White earned an M.S. in special education and an advanced certificate in educational administration and supervision from Hunter College and a B.F.A. in graphic communications from Pratt Institute of Design. He holds New York State certifications in school administration and supervision (SAS), school business administration (SBA), school district administration (SDA) and special education/fine arts, and New York City licenses for principal/assistant principal – elementary and teacher/supervisor – special education/art.
Director of Government Relations, HKSB
Geralyn Zuzze is the director of government relations at Helen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB). In this role, Ms. Zuzze manages government functions, including responding to government funding opportunities, developing responses to RFPs and managing the subsequent contract development/contract management process. She also coordinates legislative outreach and is liaison to government officials, arranging legislator site visits at HKSB offices and HKSB visits to legislators' offices. Additionally, Ms. Zuzze coordinates Helen Keller Services’ out-of-state charitable registration process and works closely with senior management on special projects and compliance matters.
Ms. Zuzze has 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining HKSB’s Development Department in 2007, Ms. Zuzze spent nine years in the HKSB Braille Library, in both director and assistant director roles. Previously she held positions at the American Cancer Society and at the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York (CIDNY), where she conducted outreach around health care to people with physical and sensory disabilities.
Ms. Zuzze holds an M.P.H. in urban public health from Hunter College and an M.A. in health advocacy from Sarah Lawrence College. Her B.A. degree in psychology was obtained from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Ms. Zuzze has been hard of hearing for most of her adult life and has a sibling with developmental disabilities, both of which informed her development as a strong advocate for the needs and rights of all people across the disabilities spectrum.