BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Tapestry Charter School is governed by a Board of Trustees, with oversight from the New York State Education Department and the State University of New York.

To contact the entire TCS Board of Trustees, feel free to email them at: board@tapestryschool.org.  To view Tapestry’s formal Complaint & Inquiry Process, click here.

Meeting Schedule > 

8:15 am on Fridays on the dates listed below in the LS Library located at 111 Great Arrow Avenue.

Please note the meeting on January 15th will be held on a Wednesday night at 6:15 pm in the LS Library.

  • Sept 20, 2019
  • Oct 18, 2019
  • Dec 13, 2019
  • Jan 15, 2020*
  • Mar 13, 2020
  • Apr 24, 2020
  • May 15, 2020
  • Jun 19, 2020

Alfred J. Wright

Chair

Alfred (A.J.) Wright joined the Board in July 2017. Mr. Wright is the government affairs manager at BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, where he manages the health plan’s government affairs program, including advising senior leadership on legislation, policy and political action and educating government officials on the value the health plan provides its members, employers and the communities it serves.  Prior to joining BlueCross BlueShield in 2014, Wright was at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, as Senior Director, Government Relations. Additionally, Wright has served as director of district operations for NYS Assembly member Jack Quinn III, and as field representative for Congressman Jack Quinn, Jr.

Mr. Wright received a bachelor’s degree in government from St. Lawrence University and attended the American University Washington Semester. Wright serves on the Bishop Timon/St. Jude High School Franciscan Mentors committee and has been a team captain for Ride for Roswell. He resides in University Park in the City of Buffalo with his wife, Lindsay, and their not quite school-aged sons, Ben and Edison.

Luanne Firestone

Vice-Chair 

Luanne Firestone has served on the Board since the Spring of 2017. Mrs. Firestone is the Executive Director of Family Promise of Western New York, an agency serving homeless families in this community. Mrs. Firestone holds a Masters of Arts in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA and a Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University.

Joshua Feinstein

Secretary

Joshua Feinstein serves as the Secretary of the Board and has served on the Board since 2013. Mr. Feinstein is a partner at the law firm of Hodgson Russ LLP where he represents businesses and public entities in a range of commercial, employment, and health-care regulatory matters. Before turning to the law, Mr. Feinstein received a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University. Mr. Feinstein held teaching positions at both Stanford University and Emory University and published a book on post-WWII Germany.

Originally from New York City, Mr. Feinstein has lived in Buffalo for over twenty years. Mr. Feinstein received a B.A., high honors from Swarthmore College, a Ph.D. from Stanford University and a J.D, cum laude, from the New York University School of Law.

Dr. James Cercone

Trustee

Dr. James Cercone has served on the Board since 2017.  Dr. Cercone is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of English Education at Buffalo State College. Dr. Cercone teaches graduate and undergraduate secondary English teacher preparation courses. He is the faculty advisor for the English Education Student Association (EESA), and is the Director of the Western New York Network of Teachers (WNYNET).  Dr. Cercone’s research interests include, communities of practice in teacher education, inquiry-based models of English language arts instruction, impacts of neo-liberal education reform on teachers and students and New Literacies Studies. He holds a PhD in English Education from the University at Buffalo.

Caroline Taggart

Trustee

Caroline Taggart has served on the Board since 2017.  Ms. Taggart enjoys helping organizations achieve their goals through planning and evaluation. Caroline previously spent several years teaching middle school, followed by three years directing a federally-funded longitudinal research project. Currently, she works at Via Evaluation and evaluates several projects including School Climate Transformation Grants, 21st Century Learning Centers, Department of Defense Education Activity, and Elementary and Secondary Counseling. In addition, Caroline has worked on special projects such as Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey analysis and reporting, school attendance analyses, Community Needs Assessments, and Logic Modeling. Caroline holds a BA in English from Barnard College and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned the Robert E. Bryan Fellowship for Community Service research and a Foreign Language Area Studies Scholarship.

In addition to membership with the American Evaluation Association, Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, and the American Public Health Association, Caroline serves on the After-School Network of Western New York Steering Committee.

C. Teo Balbach

Treasurer

Mr. C. Teo Balbach serves as the Treasurer of the Board and has served on the Board since 2007. Mr. C. Teo Balbach is a CEO of CoachMePlus, a provider of athlete performance software systems. Prior to CoachMePlus, Teo was a Principal at Mercury Capital Partners for 12 years. Prior software engagements include Microsoft, Kenan Systems, and Reciprocal.

After college, Mr. Balbach worked as a research associate in the Harvard Economic Department for Professor Dale Jorgenson. Mr. Balbach also serves as a Director at The Buffalo State College Foundation, Inc. Mr. Balbach received an M.B.A. from the Tuck School at Dartmouth in 1997 and a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University (Magna Cum Laude) in 1991.

Betsy Behrend

Trustee

Betsy Behrend has served on the Board since 2017.  Ms. Behrend is Senior Director for Operations and Communications at Say Yes Buffalo. She has more than 20 years of experience directing national and regional programs for nonprofits, corporations, foundations and government agencies in cities around the United States that focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, education, healthcare, and social services.

Prior to Say Yes Betsy held leadership positions at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and at a national public relations firm in Washington, DC. Betsy has volunteered her time toward the advancement of several Western New York nonprofit organizations including Saint Mary’s School for the Deaf, the American Red Cross Greater Buffalo Chapter, the Family Justice Center and the P2 Collaborative. Betsy is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She and her family live in North Buffalo.

Joyelle Hackett

Trustee

Joyelle Hackett joined the Board in June 2019 and currently chairs the Equity committee. Joyelle serves as the Equal Employment Opportunity Manager for the VA Hospital of WNY. Joyelle brings to the board a wealth of experience in the management of Alternative Dispute Resolution, employment rights/laws, and Human resources. She also possesses expertise in, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).

Joyelle is a trained Leadership Coach and is certified to teach several leadership courses to include Crucial Conversations, 7 Habits of a Highly Effective People, Emotional Intelligence for Leaders, as well as many others.

Joyelle is a trained advocate of the Volunteer Advocacy training Program from Vanderbilt University which focused on the areas of advocacy of special needs children within the school system supporting families as well as school personnel with the development and updating of IEP’s as well as 504 plans.

Ms. Hackett develops, manages and supports initiatives, strategic plans and innovation for a variety of programs, providing expert advice to all levels of staff and leadership.

Joyelle is the Wife to Earle, and mother of Corey, Tori and Earle-Wesley future Tapestry Charter School Alum.

Patrick Lewis

Trustee

Patrick Lewis has served on the Board since 2015. Mr. Lewis is an advertising professional at Mower, specializing in paid media and marketing strategy. Prior to Mower, Patrick lived in New York, working in advertising sales and marketing for Animal Planet and The Travel Channel. He currently resides in the Allentown neighborhood of Buffalo with his wife, Ashley, and their two children, Henry and Sally. Mr. Lewis received a B.A. from Gettysburg College.

Lindsey E. Dotson, CFRE

Trustee

Lindsey E. Dotson joined the Board in June 2019. Lindsey has grown fundraising programs and managed large-scale events and operations in the non-profit sector for more than 13 years. She currently serves as the Assistant Development Director at BestSelf Behavioral Health.

A member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals since 2013, she is Treasurer for the WNY Chapter and has served on myriad committees. She also volunteers her time for Hospice Buffalo and for the Higher Education Administration Department at SUNY Buffalo State.

Dotson holds a B.A. in communication studies from Canisius College, an M.S. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from SUNY Buffalo State, and has received her Certified Fund Raising Executive certificate.

 

Collin Gehl

Trustee

Collin Gehl  joined the Board in June 2019. Mr. Gehl has been with Child & Family Services since 2016. He is currently the Talent Acquisition and Development Manager. In that role, Collin recruits new staff, conducts orientations, and other staff development related training in the agency. In addition, he provides onsite HR support for Say Yes Buffalo. He also serves as a Supervisor of the Agency Fellowship program and sits on the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Collin has a background in non-profit, being a part of the original staff of the King Center Charter School, but also holding positions at the Buffalo History Museum, the Buffalo Museum of Science and Housing Opportunities Made Equal. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University at Buffalo and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Medaille College. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Buffalo Niagara Human Resources Association, is a member of the Emerging Philanthropists of Color (under the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo) and is an alumnus of Leadership Buffalo (RL ’04).