Auburn Education Foundation supports educators with creative and innovative ideas for capturing students’ attention and igniting their imagination; values diversity; and celebrates the accomplishments of Auburn Enlarged City School District students and alumni.
Who We Are
Auburn Education Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. It was formed in 2003 when a diverse group of citizens came together to brainstorm ways to elevate the educational experiences of Auburn Enlarged City School District students by integrating new technologies, exploring creative new teaching methods, and supporting innovative curricular projects and programs that could not otherwise be supported by the school district’s budget.
Auburn Education Foundation believes that enrichment programs for all Auburn Enlarged City School District Students are critical to their intellectual development. Our partnership with the district will expand and fortify its strategic efforts.
The Auburn Education Foundation 15-member volunteer Board is comprised of community members and business leaders committed to educational excellence in the Auburn Enlarged City School District. Together, we build the Foundation’s presence and relevance as an educational leadership organization in our community.
Name: Janie Hutchinson, President
Occupation: Retired teacher (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Family: Married, two children, four grandchildren
Education: BA Early Secondary French SUNY Cortland, MS Elementary Education
Other Boards/Volunteer: I work with children through the Rescue Mission
Reason for joining AEF: As a retired educator, I recognize that all children deserve the best possible educational experiences. As a teacher of primary grades (1st, 2nd), I am passionate about literacy and the role it plays as the main building block in education. AEF supports the efforts of Auburn schools to provide innovative programs for all students and the organization was a means for me to continue to be involved in and supportive of public education.
Fun Fact/Hobby: My husband and I have totally renovated an old home in Auburn’s historic district. We have lived in the house, built in the 1860’s, for 38 years and the restoration and maintenance of the house continues to be my “hobby”. I also enjoy playing the piano.
Name: Denise Pellegrino, Vice-President
Occupation: Retired from Bank of America as Regional Operations Manager
Family: Married to Nino Pellegrino and Lives in Auburn with their son, Dominic
Education: Graduate of CCC, SUNY Oswego, received my MBA in Finance from St. John Fisher
Other Boards/Volunteer: Vice Chair of the Auburn Local Development Corporation
Reason for joining AEF: My son and I both benefited from a superior public education in the Auburn School system. AEF offers an opportunity to help teachers and students benefit from unique educational programs.
Fun Fact/Hobby: My son gave me a membership to Ancestry last year and since that time I have traced my family tree back to the 1700s in Ireland and France.
Name: Lisa Carr, Secretary
Occupation: Library Director, Seymour Library
Family: Married, 2 boys who have flown the coop
Education: B.S. Business, University of New Hampshire, MLS Simmons College
Other Boards/Volunteer: Auburn Downtown BID, ex-officio; Auburn Kiwanis; Auburn Rotary
Reason for joining AEF: Having two children go through the Auburn school system and working for an education organization, enhancing education opportunities for all our children is very important to me.
Fun Fact/Hobby: I love old houses, cooking, reading and great shoes although not necessarily in that order.
Name: Marianne O’Connor, Treasurer
Occupation: Retired Business Administrator (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Family: Married, 3 adult children, 2 grandchildren
Education: BA- University Notre Dame; MBA LeMoyne College
Other Boards/Volunteer: BA- University Notre Dame; MBA LeMoyne College
Reason for joining AEF: Instrumental in forming AEF while serving as school business administrator for the Auburn School District
Fun Fact/Hobby: Go north for the winter to partake in winter sports activities in the Adirondacks
Name: Tracy Bellerdine
Occupation: Architect for Smart Design Architecture
Reason for joining AEF:
Name: Bonny Blair
Occupation: Retired teacher (Southern Cayuga School District)
Family: Married 40+ years to Tom, and has a married daughter and two grandchildren living in Hawaii, as well as a son and his fiancée living in Manhattan.
Education: A retired educator of 35 years, Bonny holds a BS of Elementary Education and an MS of Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading from SUNY at Cortland.
Other Boards/Volunteer: Along with her work for the AEF, Bonny volunteers for the fundraising arm of The Champions for Life/Everest Park Foundation, the Katie M.Socci Memorial Foundation and is co-chair of the Scholarship committee for the Zonta Club of Auburn.
Reason for joining AEF: An educator at heart, Bonny is passionate about making a difference for children and our future in her work for the Auburn Education Foundation.
Fun Fact/Hobby: Don’t be surprised if you hear Bonny break into song, as she has long performed both voluntarily and professionally as a vocalist, and also plays five instruments!
Name: Kathie Collier
Occupation: Retired teacher (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Family: Married to Pat Collier for 40 years, three adult children and five grandchildren
Education: Nazareth College, post graduate work at SUNY Cortland and St. Rose
Other Boards/Volunteer: Served on Sacred Heart Parish Council, Eucharistic Minister/Lector regularly, volunteered as Director of Guidance at Tyburn Academy for 4 years, favorite volunteer work is in Kindergarten classroom where my daughter is the teacher
Reason for joining AEF: With 37+ years in education, I joined AEF with the intent of giving back to my community and making a difference in the experiences of our students. We are giving many educators opportunities to realize their creative and innovative creams for their students and the trickle- down effect is incredible. Who benefits? We all do.
Fun Fact/Hobby: Very busy gramma, affectionately called GAGA, wedding coordinator at Sacred Heart, have a chair cover business on the side —enjoy baking and crafts of just about every kind particularly papercrafting.
Name: Jennifer Forcey
Occupation: Substitute teacher (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Family: Married, 4 children
Education: Degrees in business management and accounting
Other Boards/Volunteer: Frequent volunteer at children’s school (Owasco) and at community events. Past board member of child Care solutions and Neighborhood House
Reason for joining AEF: As a child of an educator, academic and social involvement to my own children’s success is crucially important. I believe in Imagination learning, challenging environments, and lots of love help children evolve into breath-taking adults!
Fun Fact/Hobby: I love spending time with my husband and children and our lab, Daisy. Also, gardening, outdoor activities (hiking, camping, etc.) and cooking are a few of my greatest de-stressors!
Name: Marybeth Galka
Occupation: Retired teacher (Weedsport Central School)
Family: Married to Ed, Two grown sons, Tyler and Mike
Education: Graduate Auburn Schools, Cayuga Community College (Associates degree in liberal arts), SUNY Geneseo (Bachelors degree in elementary education), SUNY Oswego (Masters degree in reading)
Other Boards/Volunteer: Former board member of Matthew House and Finger Lakes Ski Club
Reason for joining AEF: As an educator, I witnessed the value of the organization. I saw how AEF directly benefits the faculty and the children in the Auburn schools today. I also appreciate that AEF recognizes alumni and all that they have accomplished with the education they received in the Auburn schools. I chose to get involved with AEF as a way to give back to the educational community in Auburn that benefitted both me and my family.
Fun Fact/Hobby: I taught school for 33 years (1 year in 6th grade and 32 years in 5th grade). I have been retired for 2 years from the Weedsport Central School District. My hobbies include traveling and baking for family and friends.
Name: Karen A. Macier
Occupation: Executive Director, United Way of Cayuga County
Education: Master’s in Labor & Public Policy
Other Boards/Volunteer: Cayuga Seneca Community Action Agency, Auburn Rotary, Zonta Club of Auburn, Cayuga County Health Network
Reason for joining AEF: I believe strongly in not only the value of education but in those experiences that add to the work being done in the classroom. I think that it’s important to give our educators and our students every advantage and one way to do this is through the efforts of AEF.
Fun Fact/Hobby: My family & friends will tell you that my hobby is volunteering, however, I’d tell you that it’s travel and meeting new people!
Name: J.D. Pabis
Occupation: Retired school administrator (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Family: Widower – 4 children
Education: BS, MS and doctoral studies
Other Boards/Volunteer: Hospital Board, Literacy Volunteers, Knights of Columbus, United Way (Foundation Board)
Reason for joining AEF: Give back to education and students
Fun Fact/Hobby: Have motorcycle license for over 50 years and am still an active rider (this year to Stanton, Va. and to Old Orchard Beach, Maine) –love sports cars, music and travel
Name: Ian Phillips
Occupation: Regional Political Director, NYSUT
Family: Married, Tracy Verrier; Roscoe, mutt
Education: BA Alfred University; Teaching Certificate University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Additional Coursework Trinity College, Dublin; Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, Boston
Reason for joining AEF: Auburn schools and the tremendous teachers I had changed my life in too many ways to count. We are lucky to have such dedicated professionals in our schools and anything I can do to help them so that they can help mold the next generation, count me in!
Fun Fact/Hobby: My wife and I started Heifer Hops, a small hopyard in Skaneateles in 2015, we do most of the work ourselves. We don’t have much time for other hobbies these days!
Name: Miguelina Cuevas-Post (Mickie)
Occupation: Retired administrator (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Family: Married to Kenneth Post; three daughters Tina, Anna, and Rachel; one son-in-law, Mark; and two grandsons, Arlo and Phineas
Education: BA and MA from New York University (NYU); CAS in Ed Adm. from SUNY Brockport
Other Boards/Volunteer: Have previously served on the board of directors of the following organizations: Leadership Cayuga, Family Planning, Cayuga Counseling services, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, United Way of Cayuga County, Tomatofest, among others
Reason for joining AEF: Very simply: I’m committed to the success of teaching and learning of our students, and believe that AEF is a strong advocate and supporter of the same. My philosophy, nd beliefs align with those of AEF. Furthermore, as a principal, I saw the benefit derived by teachers who were the beneficiaries of AEF grants. Scholarships given to students have a direct impact on the ability of our AHS students to pursue higher education. The members of the board are among the most committed individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
Fun Fact/Hobby: I am a strong believer in the three goals of Peace Corps. I met my husband while we both served with the US Peace Corps in Jamaica, nearly 41 years ago (celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on the island last December.) We also served 2 years as PCV in Belize. In addition, I am currently serving as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Belize, after serving for 9 months in the same capacity in Jamaica. Our oldest was born while we served in Jamaica the first time; our youngest served as a PC Response Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia.
Name: Andrew Tehan
Occupation: President, RG Wright Agency
Family: Married to Nancy (Flaherty) Tehan, 3 Adult children, George, John and Matthew
Education: BS Niagara University, 1986, Auburn High School
Reason for Joining AEF: Current Member of City of Auburn Planning Board, Past President Broad of Directors E. John Gavras Center, Past Board Member of Cayuga County Chapter of American Red Cross. Member of Knights of Columbus, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Highland Park Golf Club, Volunteer Auburn Varsity Lacrosse Program
Reason for joining AEF: To assist in the enrichment of the educational experience for students in the Auburn School District.
Fun Fact/Hobby: I once appeared on ABC World News Tonight while traveling through London while in College.
Name: William Tenity
Occupation: Retired teacher (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Education: Auburn Community College, AA Degree – BA in Secondary Education, Social Studies from SUNY Oneonta, graduate studies at SUNY Oswego
Other Boards/Volunteer: NY State Retired Teachers’ Association (Bylaws Chair – State Executive Board, Past President of Central Zone, President of Cayuga County Retired Teachers’ Association); Cayuga-Onondaga Retired NYSUT; Circus Model Builders – Lot 1 Manager (Northeast); Past member of Merry-G-Round Playhouse Board
Reason for joining AEF: I joined this organization because of my interest in and my desire to help the teachers of the Auburn district provide special activities and instruction that enhances the classroom experiences for their students. As a retired educator, who still has contact with our schools through substitute teaching, I have seen first- hand what the Foundation has provided in the past. I jumped at the chance to be a part of what th8s group is able to do for kids.
Fun Fact/Hobby: Hobby is building miniature circus displays and directing and producing the Auburn Junior High annual musical
Auburn Education Foundation committees undertake a variety of significant and strategic activities to further our mission. We develop and maintain fundraising plans that sustain the connection between resource development and the Foundation’s mission. Committee activities also focus on outlining operating, grants, and scholarship awards spending plans that align with current financial and administrative policies and procedures complying with all applicable laws. Additionally, committee members develop recruitment and retention plans that emphasize the importance of engagement and succession planning.
Alumni, community members, parents, and students are invited to join our committees. To learn more about the Auburn Education Foundation or to volunteer on a committee, please call (315) 255-8827 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.