Manhattanville College Ed.D. Fall 2018 Newsletter Third Edition
Ed.D. Fall 2018 Newsletter
May 2018 Grads
Letitia Payne, Ed.D. '18

Commencement 2018
The School of Education awarded twelve doctorates in Educational Leadership in May 2018. Two students received awards for their exceptional research. Letitia Payne (Ed.D. '18) was the recipient of the Doctoral Outstanding Academic Achievement Award and Drew Patrick (Ed.D. '18) was the recipient of the Doctoral Outstanding Leadership Award. 
Drew Patrick, Ed.D. '18

New Doctoral Cohorts

We welcome Signature Cohort 10, Executive Ed.D. 2018, and Higher Education Cohort 3, and celebrate the accomplishments of all the Manhattanville College Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership cohorts.

Signature, Cohort 10
Susan Iverson and Renée Gargano
signature cohort 10
Higher Ed, Cohort 3
A unique aspect of Manhattanville College’s Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership emerged at the annual Welcome Reception for new students at Reid Castle on October 2. Not its rigorous academics, nor its fast-paced growth, but the network of faculty and colleagues which supports students' success. The twenty-five new doctoral students were far outnumbered at the event by the alumni and those currently enrolled in the doctoral program—attesting to the camaraderie of Manhattanville’s vast Ed.D. community.
Assistant Director of the Doctoral Program, Renée Gargano warmly welcomed the new cohorts of practitioner-scholars. Manhattanville Provost, Dr. Louise Feroe, offered encouragement in her opening remarks, followed by Dr. Shelley Wepner, Dean of Manhattanville's School of Education, who highlighted the faculty's belief in the students' abilities.

In closing remarks, Dr. Susan Iverson, Director of the Doctoral Program, reminded students to "Turn to your resources, as they are plentiful, " adding that "family and friends, colleagues, cohort peers, Ed.D. alumni, and committed faculty are there for you!”

“This program has exposed me to some of the kindest, smartest women I’ve ever known. It’s shown me that emotion is not the enemy of intellect and that compassion and strength aren’t mutually exclusive. They all work together synergistically to foster inspirational leadership.”

Shannon O'Grady (Signature Cohort 8)
Alumnus Dr. Drew Patrick is a Valiant Student Spotlight Recipient
Drew Patrick graduated in May 2018 with a doctorate in Educational Leadership. Currently, he serves as Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Leadership Development in the Scarsdale Public Schools and an adjunct instructor for Bank Street College of Education's Future School Leadership Academy, a partnership program with Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES. Dr. Patrick hopes to continue to influence education policy decisions at the local and state levels through teaching, leading, and future scholarship. He states, "Manhattanville's Doctoral Program equipped me with the knowledge and skills to engage in authentic research aimed at influencing the policy context for public education.” 

Dr. Patrick believes that “it is the collective responsibility of teachers and leaders to get their voices heard and promote policies that meet the needs of their students and communities.” The advice he has for those who are pursuing the same career: “Educational leadership is dynamic, fulfilling, and challenging. There is something amazing about working with and around young people.”

Scholarly Success Stories

  • On July 17, current Manhattanville doctoral student, Joi Sampson (Higher Ed Cohort 1), took to Capitol Hill for the inaugural NASPA Student Affairs Day of Action.  Sampson met with members of Congress to discuss issues such as Higher Education Reauthorization, Title IX, and Sexual Assault on campuses.  Attending the Day of Action on Capitol Hill gave Joi valuable insight into how to advocate for her students.

  • As Coordinator of the Guidance & Child Study Center at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES, Andrew Ecker’s (Ed.D. '16) biggest responsibility is to ensure the pathways to success for every student through professional development on culturally responsive, evidence-based, and implementable social-emotional learning practices and systems.  Dr. Ecker utilizes the skills he learned throughout his doctoral studies to critically research areas of evidence-based practices in order to provide high quality professional development.

  • The Peekskill NAACP Freedom Fund Gala and Awards Ceremony 2018 highlighted and honored Dr. Mary Foster (Ed.D. '17). Dr. Foster is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education in the Peekskill School District. She received the Peekskill Education Legacy Award as a result of her work and dedication supporting the ideals and mission of the NAACP.

  • Ronald Hattar (Ed.D. '13), Superintendent of the Yorktown School District, has been making news recently regarding his district-wide “ESTEAM” curriculum, where the “E” stands for empathy. Dr. Hattar and his curriculum were recently featured in a USA Today Network story highlighting the idea that empathy is a key component of creation and innovation within learning. “We want our students to be the problem solvers of the world," he says. "I don’t think you can do that without first being an empathetic person.” 
  • Current doctoral student, Ryan Fisk (Signature Cohort 7) was the recipient of the 2018 Friends of Education Award presented by Phi Delta Kappa International at Stony Brook University.  According to Renee Gargano, Assistant Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, Ryan “exemplifies the attributes of leadership, service and research in his daily professional life.”

  • Sau-fong Au (Higher Ed Cohort 2) has been selected as the representative for the National Women Studies Association (NWSA) to serve on the Board of Directors for the Council for the Advancement of Standards for Higher Education (CAS). The Board will be responsible for reviewing and revising standards for 40 student services and co-curricular areas within higher education.

Joi Sampson, Higher Ed. Cohort 1
Andrew Ecker, Ed.D. '16
Mary Foster, Ed.D. '17
Ronald Hattar, Ed.D. '13
Ryan Fisk, Signature Cohort 7
Sau-fong Au, Higher Ed Cohort 2
Alumni and Student Accomplishments
Alumni News
  • Gail Duffy (Ed.D. '18) was named Assistant Superintendent for the Tarrytown School District
  • Andrew Ecker (Ed.D. '16) was named Coordinator of the Guidance and Child Study Center at Putnam|Northern Westchester BOCES
  • Letitia Payne (Ed.D. '18) began working as the Supervisor of Secondary Special Education in the Rye City School District.
  • Greg Brown (Ed.D. '16) presented at Tech Expo where he shared his expertise in teaching online courses during a session called "Taking Blended Learning to the Next Level."
  • Lisamarie Spindler (Ed.D. '17) was appointed Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the Newburgh School District

 S tudent News
  • Derek Schuelein (Signature Cohort 7) was promoted to Principal of Blind Brook High School
  • Patrick Sullivan (Signature Cohort 6) was named Assistant Principal at Liberty Middle School
  • Alex Levine (Signature Cohort 4) was named K-8 Principal at the Garrison School District and was honored for his leadership in facilitating the Regional AP Forum at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES Center for Educational Leadership
  • Kennybel Pena (Executive Cohort 4) was accepted to the 2018 NASPA Escaleras Leadership Institute for Latinx/a/o student affairs professionals
  • Jamaal Bowman (Signature Cohort 8) authored an opinion piece featured in the Daily News titled "Justice for Junior starts with being blunt: Ignore the so-called leaders and follow the on-the-ground heroes who fight violence"
  • Sau-fong Au (Higher Ed Cohort 2) and Shana Eutsay (Higher Ed Cohort 2) presented at NASPA2, a regional conference in NYC for student affairs administrators
Faculty and Staff News
Effective July 1, 2018, newly appointed Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, Dr. Susan Iverson, took over the reins from former Director, Dr. Robert Monson. While leading Manhattanville College's first doctoral program, Dr. Iverson continues her commitment to research and learning that fosters student success. Her impact on the Manhattanville community and higher education is evident through her research, scholarship and teaching surrounding the topics of equity and diversity in higher education, women in higher education, feminist pedagogy, and the impact of sexual violence on college campuses. She states, “As Ed.D. program director, my work is guided by the same philosophy as my teaching.  I hope to facilitate and cultivate environments in which students can be successful.  As a program administrator, I extend this belief to my colleagues, and I will strive to be an advocate and conduit for others’ ideas and efforts.” Dr. Iverson’s philosophy is internalized by her students. One student commented, “Dr. Iverson has the ability to challenge your thinking in a non-threatening way that opens your eyes and mind to the experiences and perspectives of those around you.  As a result, you leave her class learning more about what it takes to ensure student success for ALL students.”

The doctoral program’s three pathways will undoubtedly benefit from Dr. Iverson’s experiences and dedication to student success in the field of Educational Leadership.
Dr. Kenneth Mitchell, Associate Professor in Manhattanville’s Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, wrote an editorial for the AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice on the Congressional Ban on Gun Violence Research.  Dr. Mitchell’s editorial speaks about the need for the Dickey Amendment to be repealed in order for in-depth research on gun violence in schools to take place. He states, “It is our ethical responsibility as superintendents and scholar-practitioners to advocate . . . to maximize school safety.”
Lynda Hanley has been a cornerstone of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership since its inception. Lynda was recently interviewed on National Librarian Day, where she gave us insight into her role as a librarian. Hanley states, “Working with students is like going on a treasure hunt. Finding the pot of gold at the end of the quest is very satisfying.” Her hope for her doctoral students is that they become frequent users of the resources, services, and space of the Library as they progress through their doctoral journey. Lynda is a beloved member of the doctoral program staff who plays an integral role in student success.
Support the Doctoral Program: Love Behind Leadership
The Love Behind Leadership fund, formed in 2015, supports our special events and recognition of graduates at the annual graduation reception. This fund is also used to provide thoughtful gifts to those within the doctoral program, acknowledging and celebrating achievements, and helping to comfort those in times of grief. Every donation to the Love Behind Leadership fund is greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged with a written letter of thanks that may also be used for tax reporting purposes. Donors will be recognized in our event programs, and if a donation is made in honor/memory of someone, the honoree will also be remembered in the event program. Your generous donation to this fund is powerful evidence of your 'love behind leadership'; it is a valuable way to give back to the program and celebrate the success of our students. To donate visit  Love Behind Leadership

"Over the past few years, I have donated to Love Behind Leadership to help support colleagues pursuing a doctoral degree in Education Leadership. My contributions come from a special banking account I started in January 2013, the purpose of which was to save $26 a paycheck to 'pay it forward'in memory of those individuals who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Not only did this tragedy remind me of just how precious life is, it reminded me that any one of my colleagues, myself included, would have run towards the sound of gunfire that day. I believe school leaders are often unsung heroes. They are advocates for our children, and they give so much of themselves to their school communities. Donating to Love Behind Leadership is just one way that I can use these funds to honor the memory of the 26 individuals lost on December 12, 2012, knowing it will help more of the unsung heroes we value to pursue leadership." - Dr. Jennifer Harriton-Wilson (Ed.D. '17)
Upcoming Events at Manhattanville

  • On October 23, Dr. Susan Iverson will facilitate a panel, including Daphne Galkin (EdD, '15) and Sharlise Smith-Rodriguez (Higher Ed Cohort 1), reflecting on decisions to pursue the doctoral degree. Immediately following the panel will be an informational session for the Higher Ed pathway to the EdD. For more information, visit!event/2018/10/23/coffee-conversation-quot-pursue-the-doc-or-not-that-is-the-question-quot
  • The School of Education Fall Open House will be held on Thursday, November 8 from 6:30 pm - 8:30pm.  Come and learn more about the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and its three pathways to the Ed.D.  For more information or to RSVP, visit Fall Open House
  • The Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership will be hosting an information session on Thursday, November 15 from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm at Putnam|Northern Westchester BOCES.  To register please visit Information Session
  • NASPA2 "After Hours" Networking Event on Thursday, November 29 at 5:30 pm. Drs. Susan Iverson and Cindy Porter will facilitate a roundtable discussion with mid-level managers with the aim of creating a supportive learning community of colleagues from different institutions in our region. Before and after the roundtable, an informational session will be held for the Higher Ed pathway to the Ed.D. For more information, contact
  • The Manhattanville School of Education in partnership with Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES, will offer a Leadership Symposium on "How the Media Works to Make the Media Work for You" featuring media expert, Mary Civiello, on November 30, 2018 from 9:30 am - 12:00 pm in Reid Castle.  To register, click here.
  • The Fourth Annual Edcamp will take place on Saturday, December 1, 2018 from 8:30 am - 1:00pm.  For more information and free registration please visit:
  • The annual Doctoral Retreat will take place on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 in Reid Castle.
Personalizing Professional Development, The “Edcamp” Way

By Ryan Fisk, Manhattanville College (Signature Cohort 7)

If you’ve ever sat through a Superintendent’s conference day or received in-district professional development and thought to yourself, “this doesn’t apply to me or my content area,” you may want to consider attending an Edcamp and perhaps bringing this format back to your district.

Edcamps follow an “un-conference” model and provides organic, participant-driven development free from a “one size fits all” keynote speaker or one-way lecturing.  With a session schedule built by the attendees on the morning of the Edcamp itself, you’re guaranteed to share sessions with like-minded educators and leave with tangible takeaways to bring back to your classroom, school, or district.  Watch this one-minute video for a quick Edcamp primer: (

Along with fellow Cohort VII classmate Adam Schoenbart and other educators on our planning team, we had the chance to organize an Edcamp hosted at Manhattanville College, the first of its kind in Westchester County.  Held on August 29, 2015, our first Edcamp drew almost 100 registered attendees comprised of aspiring and practicing teachers and leaders in our nearby schools.  Every year since, we have grown in size, and we are excited to be putting together our fourth annual Edcamp on December 1, 2018, which we hope to be our biggest and best yet. 

Since 2010, there have been over 1,000 Edcamp-style conferences in 26 countries, and school districts are starting to take note too.  On Long Island, Oceanside, Syosset, Jericho, East Meadow, and other school districts have restructured those “mandatory” Superintendent’s conference days to offer “Edcamp-style” learning throughout the day, blending in-district and department-related updates with an engaging selection of participant-led sessions tailored to the interests of the attendees.

If you have yet to see an Edcamp first-hand, we hope you can join us on December 1 at Manhattanville College or seek out one of the hundreds of other Edcamps in your area and around the country by visiting or .