Our Directors:

The Niagara Falls Education Foundation is sad to announce the recent passing of one of our beloved Directors – Ron Shiesley.

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Ron was retired as a Niagara County Parks Commissioner and as Niagara Falls Parks & Public Works Director. Ron started his career in North Tonawanda as Niagara County Recreation Director. He was currently working as Owner’s Representative “Clerk of the Works” for Niagara Falls City School district for its Capital Project “Inventing Tomorrow.” Ron was Owners Rep. for NFCSD since 2000 during the construction of NFHS, Niagara Street School and the last three phases of capital projects.

Ron had the acute ability for recognizing “up & coming” athletes in the Niagara Falls school district and helped to get them the support they needed to further their careers in their sport. He had worked with such athletes as James Starks, Paul Harris, Robert Garrison, and Greg Gamble. Ron – You will be missed!

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Cynthia Bianco

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As Niagara Falls City School District Superintendent Cynthia has served the District as an English teacher, Library Media Specialist, Teacher on Special Assignment, Assistant to the Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, and Interim Superintendent before being appointed as Superintendent of Schools. She is very active in the community and serves on a number of Boards including Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and the Niagara Falls Housing Authority. In addition, Cynthia has received numerous awards for leadership, educational excellence, and community service.

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Jason Cafarella

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Jason has served his community since 2004 as a N.F. Firefighter, including Public Education Officer providing fire safety education to residents ranging from Pre-K children through Adults and Senior Citizens. From 2008-11 he served as a Niagara County Legislator for the third legislative district. While in the legislature, Jason worked with local block clubs and law enforcement agencies to co-sponsor the Niagara County Pedophile Free Child Safety Zone Act.

Jason also has a private law practice focusing on Corporate Law, Real Estate Law, & Family Law.

He also serves on the New York State Attorney for Children Panel that provides representation for children in Matrimonial, Custody and Neglect proceedings.

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Vincent James “Jim” Cancemi

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Mr. Cancemi is retired from the Niagara Falls City School District, having taught Special Education for 25 years. During his tenure, he was the Director of the Child Find Project. In addition, he continues to own and operate Cancemi Furniture, which he has done for 30 years. Mr. Cancemi is currently a member of the YMCA First Century Club; is a member of the Board of Directors, Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club Alumni; the Niagara County Community College Foundation. He belongs to many professional organizations and has been the recipient of numerous awards for community service.

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Stephanie Cowart

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Stephanie began her career in housing in 1983. Since that time she has served the Niagara Falls Housing Authority in a number of middle management and upper management positions, becoming Executive Director in 1996. She has been at the “cutting edge” of education and self-sufficiency efforts to build a stronger citizenship base among residents and the community-at-large. Stephanie has successful experience in public housing fiscal operations including budgets, payroll, procurement, insurance, computer operations and investments. She has advanced skills to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of public housing business and grant proposals, as well as marketing plans. She has extensive experience in creating new programs, policies and procedures that can be identified by a diverse population.

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Robert DiFrancesco

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Bob’s career took 44 years to complete: Thirty-four years with the Niagara Falls City School District (retiring in 2003 as Principal at Niagara Falls High School). His last ten years were served as principal of his Alma Mater, Niagara Catholic High School (Bishop Duffy High School in 1965). He has been blessed to have a great career being part of a local profession that helped to develop our greatest local resource–our children.

 

 Brittany DePietro

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Brittany was born and raised in Niagara Falls and is a Niagara Catholic graduate. She earned a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology, with a minor in Statistics at Niagara University, and then went on to complete a Master’s degree in School Counseling. During her time in the School Counseling program, Brittany worked as an intern for several schools, ending with a year-long internship at Harry F. Abate Elementary school. She still resides in Niagara Falls and is currently employed as the Institute Coordinator for the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque Institute for Civic Engagement at Niagara University.

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Kyle Heath

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Kyle is a graduate of Lewiston Porter High School, NCCC and Buffalo State College with an International Business Degree 2004. He has extensive sales experience, focusing in finance and retail banking. Currently employed with Key Bank as a Relationship Manager at Military Road office in Niagara Falls NY. Kyle enjoys time spent with family, outdoors fishing, hiking and just plain relaxing at his cottage.

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Barbara Iannarelli

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Barbara was born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York and graduated from Niagara Falls High School in 1965. She spent her career in education as a teacher, supervisor and principal in the Niagara Falls City School District. She currently is an assistant professor at Niagara University. She has received several awards and has served on many community boards.

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Arthur “Art” Jocoy Jr.

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Art is a husband, father of two and local businessman who got involved in the community at an early age and even more so in the past five years. Born and raised in Niagara Falls and graduate from LaSalle High School in 1986. He is a second generation business owner and a member of the Niagara Falls Board of Education since 2009. Art’s hobbies include boating, fishing, motorcycling, snowmobiling, auto racing and spending time with his children just “tinkering” around.

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Robert Kazeangin, Jr.

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Bob currently is employed as Circulation Division Manager for The Buffalo News. Born and raised in Niagara Falls. A former member and President of the Niagara Falls Board of Education. He currently sits on the Board of Directors United Way of Greater Niagara, Health Association of Niagara County, Niagara Falls Public Library, and Oakwood Cemetery . Bob also adds fiscal oversight as a member of the Audit Committee for the Niagara Falls City School District.

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Mark Laurrie

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Mr. Mark Laurrie has been an educator in the Niagara Falls City School District for the past 32 years. He has served in a variety of capacities during that time including In-School Suspension Room Monitor, Teacher of Grade 3, Teacher of Special Education, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal of two schools, Principal of two schools, Chief Educational Administrator of the 2,500 student Niagara Falls High School, and Deputy Superintendent.

Mr. Laurrie is currently the Superintendent of Schools of the Niagara Falls City School District.

Mr. Laurrie has received numerous awards and recognitions including Educator of the Year from the Niagara Area Chamber of Commerce, one of the Forty under Forty Rising Leaders in Western New York from the Business First publication, and a Spirit of Niagara Award from the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara, Inc., Kiwanis Leadership Award, Empower Person of the Year, Niagara University Educator of the Year, to name only a few.

He is a life-long resident of Niagara Falls where he resides with his wife Laura, and their three children.

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Joseph Ruffolo

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Mr. Ruffolo graduated from Niagara University in 1978 with a degree in business administration. He received a master’s in health administration from Trinity University and completed the executive education program at Harvard University.

Joseph A. Ruffolo’s first job in the healthcare industry was at Memorial, where as a teenager he was hired as a dishwasher. He worked as an accounting supervisor at Memorial from 1976-1979. Mr. Ruffolo spent the next 20 years of his careers with Buffalo hospitals, beginning with a four year stint as controller and assistant administrator for fiscal and general operations at Sheehan Memorial Hospital. Mr. Ruffolo serves on a variety of Boards and community organizations. Mr. Ruffolo resides in Lewiston with his wife Teresa. They have two children and one grandchild.

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Ezra P. Scott, Jr.

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Ezra P. Scott Jr. was born and raised in Niagara Falls, NY and graduated from Niagara Catholic High School. He has earned a B.A. in Sociology, and then went on to graduate from the WNY School of Real Estate. 2010-2012 Ezra worked as a youth division aide 3 at Finger Lakes Residential Center. In 2013 Ezra began working as a substitute teacher for the Niagara Falls Board of Education and also became a facilitator for the NFHA STYA (Successfully Transitioning Youth To Adolescence) Initiative. Ezra is a NYS 2013 NYS Golden Gloves boxing champion.

Owen Steed

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Owen is a single parent of one son. Owen works as a community liaison for the Niagara Falls Police Department. He is currently serving as Niagara County Legislator for the 4th District. Owen has received several awards for his community service.

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Jason Zona

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Jason is in his first term as Niagara County Legislator 5th District. He also serves as Captain for the Niagara Falls Fire Department with 10 yrs on the job. Jason has a BS Business Admin SUNY Buffalo St (2008), NYS Fire Instructor, & Past President IAEP Local 394. Jason has worked with Twin City Ambulance for 12 years as a NYS Paramedic. Jason also has NYS Fire Officer’s designation. A devoted family man and community leader, Jason has lived in Niagara Falls his entire life.

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Angelo Massaro

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Mr. Massaro is a local attorney practicing law in both public and private sectors. Mr. Massaro concentrates his practice primarily in representing the School District as well as in the areas of labor, construction, corporate and real estate law. He is a graduate of Conisius College and the State University of New York at Buffalo, Law School and practices under the name of Hovey & Massaro.

Mr. Massaro was instrumental in the formation of the Niagara Falls Education Foundation, Inc. and has since its inception served as its legal advisor.

 

 

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