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.
8:15 am on Fridays on the dates listed below in the LS Library located at 111 Great Arrow Avenue.
- Sept 21, 2018
- Oct 26, 2018
- Dec 14, 2018
- Jan 18, 2019
- Feb 15, 2019
- Mar 15, 2019
- Apr 12, 2019
- May 17, 2019
- Jun 14, 2019
Gregg Gallson has served on the Board since 2015. Mr. Gallson is a senior consultant at Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner LLP, a locally-owned and operated full-service accounting firm providing businesses and individuals assurance, accounting, tax, and business consulting services. Mr. Gallson is a certified valuation analyst and focuses on business valuation, litigation support, M&A advisory and transaction services. Born and raised in the Buffalo area, Mr. Gallson is a graduate of Canisius College.
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 wide range of commercial disputes and employment related 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 fifteen 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 has served on the Board since 2017. Dr. Cercone is an assistant professor of English at Buffalo State College, who teaches courses in Methods of Teaching Language and Literature, Young Adult Literature, Ethnic American Literature, and also supervises student teachers. He is the coordinator for the English education program, the faculty advisor for the English Education Student Association, 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. Before joining SUNY Buffalo State, Dr. Cercone was a clinical instructor of English Education and coordinator the Education minor at the University at Buffalo.
Dr. Cercone also worked for 10 years as an English teacher, English department chair and co-coordinator of the Diversity program at Cheektowaga Central High School. He holds a PhD in English Education from the University at Buffalo.
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.
Bonnie Nelson has served on the Board since 2016. Mrs. Nelson has extensive experience working across the landscape of educational programming in the Buffalo Public Schools for over 30 years. Mrs. Nelson was most recently the Supervisor of Title I School-wide Programs and Accountability, a past Parent Involvement Program Coordinator, a Teacher and a Community Education Leader. Mrs. Nelson is currently retired.
Mrs. Nelson received a BS in Business Management from Canisius College, a Masters in Distributive and Elementary Education from SUNY College at Buffalo, and a School Administration and Supervision- SAS Certification from Canisius College.
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
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 has served on the Board since 2017. Ms. Behrend is Senior Director for Operations and Communications at Say Yes Buffalo. She has more than 15 years of marketing communications experience directing national and regional programs for nonprofits, corporations, foundations and government agencies in cities around the United States. Prior to officially joining the Say Yes Buffalo team Betsy played a key role in the launch of the initiative in 2011, in her previous capacity as communications director for the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.
At the Community Foundation, Betsy directed all communications and marketing efforts and focused on connecting philanthropically minded individuals and families with programs to improve lives in Western New York. Additionally she provided strategic oversight for public education and awareness initiatives led by the Foundation including its Wipe Out Lead campaign, Cultures of Giving Legacy Initiative, GrowWNY.org.
Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Betsy worked for marketing communications firms in Washington, DC and Buffalo, NY providing high-level strategy, media relations, public education and social communications support to large private foundations, federal government agencies and national nonprofit organizations primarily in the health and education sectors. Highlights include a key role in creating and implementing Cover the Uninsured Week for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, developing the UB Believers alumni advocacy group for the University at Buffalo and directing a campaign to promote the adoption of children from foster care for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Her work has been recognized by the Public Relations Society of America, Association for Women in Communications, and the International Association of Business Communicators.
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 husband Scott live in North Buffalo.
Heather A. Cruz
Heather Cruz has served on the Board since 2015. Ms. Cruz serves as the Dean of Students for the South Campus of Erie Community College in Orchard Park, New York. Ms. Cruz received a B.A. from the State University College at Buffalo and a Masters in Education from Canisius College.
Patrick Lewis has served on the Board since 2015. Mr. Lewis is an advertising professional with Eric Mower + Associates, specializing in media planning/buying, content creation, and marketing strategy. Prior to his time at EMA, Patrick lived in New York, working in advertising sales and marketing for Animal Planet and The Travel Channel. He also spent time at MEC Global as a national television buyer for AT&T and Campbell’s Soup. In addition to his career at EMA and board responsibilities with Tapestry, Patrick is a volunteer youth coach for the Delaware Soccer Club. Mr. Lewis received a B.A. from Gettysburg College.
Timothy Sanders has served on the Board since 2013. Before entering into commercial construction, Timothy Sanders ran his family’s real estate business and now serves as the CEO of Sanders Construction Inc. His firm has performed on many notable projects throughout New York State and New Jersey. Mr. Sanders earned a BA in Communications from Canisius College.
Alfred J. Wright
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 son, Ben.