Dr. Ruzenski has served as the Helen Keller Services Chief Executive Officer since February 2021. Prior to this, she was the Executive Director at Helen Keller National Center from October 2014 – 2020. In addition, Dr. Ruzenski worked as the Director of Direct Services for 22 years. During her 40-plus-year tenure at HKNC, she has led and worked with teams across the organization to implement innovative services and meet the identified priorities of the community.
As CEO, Dr. Ruzenski leads the HKS executive team, setting organizational goals and priorities, implementing strategic initiatives and supporting development activities. She also serves as the liaison with the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Ruzenski has high enthusiasm for collaboration among New York state and national partners, leadership development and mentoring, adult learning strategies and organizational change.
She received her B.A. degree (1980) from Dowling College in Special Education, M.A. degree from New York University (1985) in Deaf Education and her doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University (2019) in Adult Learning and Leadership.
Ms. Coccarelli brings a wealth of experience as Chief Marketing Officer. She has over 20 years of experience in tradition, digital, subscription and mobile marketing where she has held senior growth roles. She earned her B.S. degree at St John’s University.
In her current role with Helen Keller Services, Ms. Coccarelli currently oversees all the marking efforts for HKNC and HKSB. She creates marketing strategies that encompass multiple channels, increasing philanthropic revenues to advance the organization’s mission and create brand awareness. She remains committed to creating an inclusive, accessible world for all and is passionate about continuing the growth and momentum of the HKS.
Ms. Harlin was named Executive Director of the Helen Keller National Center in May 2021. She was previously the Director of Information, Research and Professional Development, where among other responsibilities, she supported the development of Helen Keller National Center’s variety of online courses and facilitated the HKNC DeafBlind National Community of Practice. Ms. Harlin has held several different positions at HKNC over a total of 29 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Colgate University and a master’s degree from Long Island University/CW Post. She holds New York State teaching certifications as a teacher of the blind and low vision and as a special education teacher. She has also worked as an itinerant TVI on Long Island and as a preschool program supervisor for United Cerebral Palsy Association.
Ms. Hebroni was appointed Helen Keller Services Chief Financial Officer in July 2020. She joined Helen Keller Services in June 2010 as the Director of Accounting for the Helen Keller National Center. In this role, she was responsible for all financial operations of HKNC, including accounting processes, compliance, financial reporting, budgeting, and oversight of all federal and state grants and contracts.
Ms. Hebroni comes to this 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. She has a 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. Ms. Hebroni is responsible for the overall direction, coordination and operation of the Accounting department of HKS as Chief Financial Officer.
Ms. Hebroni graduated from Queens College City University of New York with a B.A. in Accounting and Economics.
Ms. LoCurto has helped further the mission of Helen Keller Services for the Blind for over 40 years. She is responsible for programs serving individuals who are blind or have vision loss at all Helen Keller Services for the Blind locations.
Before becoming executive director, Ms. LoCurto was responsible for all rehabilitation and social services on Long Island, including the day habilitation and residential habilitation programs. She also served as Director of Day Habilitation Services and the Agency psychometrist. In these roles, Ms. LoCurto was responsible for day-to-day operations and psychological evaluations for individuals with vision loss. She began her career as the school psychologist for the Copiague Public Schools on Long Island.
Ms. LoCurto earned a B.A. in Psychology from St. John’s University and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology and a Professional Diploma in School Psychology. Ms. LoCurto has permanent New York State Certification as a school psychologist.
Ms. Meade began her career at Helen Keller Services for the Blind in 1995 as a Supported Employment Training Specialist. She has spent the last 25 years working in a variety of positions with both youth and adults to increase their independence and opportunities for employment. In her current role, Ms. Meade oversees the Children’s Learning Center, all vocational rehabilitation and adaptive living programs and Camp Helen Keller.
Ms. Meade graduated from Iona College with a B.A. in Psychology and an M.B.A. in Organizational Behavior.
Mr. 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 DeafBlind Youths and Adults (HKNC) division and the Helen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB) division. Mr. Messina works closely with the director of facilities and superintendents 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.
Ms. Murro is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Helen Keller Services. Ms. Murro is an executive team leader with over 20 years’ progressive experience working across all areas of Human Resources. Prior to being appointed to the Chief Human Resources Officer position, she held the position of Director of Human Resources at the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths and Adults (HKNC). Ms. Murro currently oversees all aspects of Human Resources management for the organization including recruitment, organizational development, benefits and compensation, training and employee development, safety and labor relations.
Before joining HKNC, Ms. Murro was the Human Resources Manager at Bertelsmann Direct North America, the largest direct-to-consumer distributor of media products in the United States. She was responsible for HR services to over 1,000 employees and held several Human Resources roles of increasing responsibility including staffing, employee relations and employee engagement.
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.
In his role as director of facilities for Helen Keller Services (HKS), Mr. Mastrangelo manages the operation and maintenance of the physical plants of the agency’s two divisions, the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind 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.
Mr. Odland is the assistant director of field services at Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths and Adults. Mr. Odland provides guidance and support to field services across the United States in developing and managing in-state employment-related and rehabilitation services. As a senior leadership team member, Mr. Odland participates in the organization’s strategic initiatives advancing employment opportunities and inclusive living. Based in St. Paul, Mr. Odland holds a B.S. degree in psychology from Rochester Institute of Technology, an M.A. degree in special education from Gallaudet University, and completed studies in the M.S. program in Rehabilitation Counseling program at the University of Wisconsin – Stout. Mr. Odland is a Certified Rehabilitation Leader (CRL), obtained from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Prior to the appointment, Mr. Odland held various positions at HKNC as a project coordinator of the New York State iCanConnect program and a regional representative for the Mid-Atlantic, North Central, and Rocky Mountain regions. He also held other positions as an outreach consultant at the Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind and a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the State Services for the Blind of Minnesota.
Ms. Rocchio joined the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths and Adults (HKNC) in 1984, serving in a variety of capacities with a real penchant for supporting consumers with DeafBlindness 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 DeafBlindness 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 DeafBlind.
Megan A. Conway, PhD, is the Director of Information, Research and Professional Development (IRPD) at the Helen Keller National Center. She joined HKNC in 2019 as a Research and Accessibility Specialist after 18 years as a faculty member at the University of Hawaii. Dr. Conway holds a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of California, Berkeley. Her experiences as a DeafBlind person have motivated her to focus her career on access to education, the workplace and community life for DeafBlind people and other people with disabilities. In her current role at HKNC, Dr. Conway is responsible for overseeing a robust research and professional development program to ensure that rehabilitation practices are informed by the latest research and shared with professionals and the community for the benefit of DeafBlind people. Dr. Conway also oversees the Older Adult program.
Ms. Thomas is the director of field services for the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind 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 DeafBlind, 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.
Mr. Woodfill was appointed associate executive director at the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind 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, DeafBlind 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 DeafBlind.
Karen Barrett is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with twenty plus years of case management experience. For the past 4 years she has been supervising the Placement team. Ms. Barrett performs Diagnostic Vocational Evaluations (DVEs), is an Employment Empowerment (Soft Skills) Group co-facilitator, and provides individual vocational counseling, job development and job placement services. Ms. Barrett has a MS degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is certified on the McCarron-Dial Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation System (CVES).
Gus Chalkias is the Program Director of Assistive Technology Services at HKSB. An assistive Technology Specialist with over twenty years of experience in the field, Mr. Chalkias is a graduate of Hunter College, earning Master’s degrees in both Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling.
Mr. Chalkias began his work in assistive technology at the Computer Center for Visually Impaired People at Baruch college in 2001 and ran the Demo Center project there from its inception in 2009.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Chalkias has developed a number of training programs for both pre-vocational students as well as vocationally oriented clients. These programs include working with both Windows and Mac operating systems as well as for many mobile platforms, using various types of assistive technology. He teaches the Looking Forward course on blindness related assistive technology at New York University through the Ability Project, which he created and developed.
Starting summer 2019, Mr. Chalkias teaches the assistive technology course for the TVI (Teacher of the Visually Impaired) and VRT (Vision Rehabilitation Therapy) programs at Hunter College. He currently sits on the advisory board of the Hunter College Rehabilitation Counseling Program, and recently gave the Key Note at the 2019 Annual NYS AER conference in Syracuse, NY.
Ms. Fodera began her career at Helen Keller Services for the Blind in 1995 as a Social Worker. She has spent the last 25 years working in a variety of positions. Ms. Fodera is currently the Director of Low Vision, Assistive Technology and Placement Services. Ms. Fodera has furthered the mission of Helen Keller Services for the Blind to enable individuals, who are blind, DeafBlind or have low vision to live, work and thrive in the communities of their choice.
Ms. Fodera earned an B.A. in Social Work and Human Services from St. John’s University.
Caity Graham is the Supervisor of the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)/Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Department at HKSB. Before becoming certified through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) in both VRT and O&M, she earned her Master’s degree in VRT and O&M from Hunter College. She is currently working on her Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. Caity has guest lectured extensively at New York University and Hunter College and is an active member of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI).
Ms. Henry serves as the Principal of the Children Learning Center. She has over 17 years of experience in the field of education. Over the past 17 years, Ms. Henry had been an assistant teacher/paraprofessional, assistant teacher, unit coordinator, assistant principal, and principal. She has worked in public schools, private schools, and as an early intervention provider. In addition, Ms. Henry serves as an adjunct professor helping educational professionals specialize in working with students with autism and training pre-service special education teachers.
Ms. Henry holds degrees in childhood education, psychology, early childhood/special education, behavior analysis, and school administration. She is currently a doctoral candidate majoring in organizational leadership with an emphasis in special education. In addition, she is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst and is licensed in New York State as a school building leader, school district leader, general education teacher birth-6th grade, and special education teacher birth-6th grade.
Ms. McVetty began her career at Helen Keller Services for the Blind in 1990. During her 15 years, she started as an instructor, became a mobility instructor and ended as a Program Supervisor. She returned in 2019 as a Director of Day Habilitation. Ms. McVetty is compassionate about furthering the mission of Helen Keller Services for the Blind to enable individuals with Developmental Disabilities, who are blind, DeafBlind or have low vision, to be an integral member of the community as well as develop further their Life Skills.
Ms. McVetty earned an B.A. in Human Relations with a minor in Special Education from St. Joseph’s College.
Liz Sergi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-R). She obtained her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Adelphi University. Liz joined Helen Keller Services for the Blind in 2015 after working as a psychiatric social worker on the children’s unit of a private hospital.
Since joining HKSB, Ms. Sergi has worked diligently in creating programing for all ages that promotes emotional support and socialization within the visually impaired community. Ms. Sergi also has extensive experience working in a private practice as a psychotherapist.