ACLD Board of Directors

ACLD For an Enviable Life

ACLD Board of Directors

Joseph Ortego, Esq. is the Chair of the Board of Directors. Previously he served as the 1st Vice President for six years and has devoted more than 15 years of service to the Board. While Vice President, he was Chair of the Trustee and Leadership Development Committee of the Board and was integral in the formalization of guidelines for Board participation and evaluation. Joe is currently a Partner at Nixon Peabody, LLP.

Richard Breuninger is the Vice Chair and served as the 2nd Vice President of the Board of Directors for six years prior.  He has more than 20 years of service on the Board. He is Chair of the Family Association Council, represents the Board on the Agency-wide Incident Review Committee and participates on both the Joint Conference Committee and Chairs the Trustee and Leadership Development Committee. Rich has been responsible for the strength and vibrancy of the Family Association and is ACLD’s families’ connection to the Board of Trustees. A retired NYFD Chief Dispatcher, Rich currently works for National Response Corporation.

Edward Murphy was appointed Treasurer  in 2017. He joined the Board of Directors in March of 2015 and has served on the ACLD Development Committee since 2013. He was a member of the ACLD Community Trust Committee from 2013-2017. Edward is a Senior Financial Advisor with Wells Fargo. 

Rebecca Kooper was appointed Secretary in 2017.  Rebecca has been an ACLD Community Trust Trustee since 2012.  She is an educational audiologist who has worked with a wide range of institutions including Mercy College, The Center for Hearing and Communication and the Lexington School for the Deaf. She is certified by American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and previously served as Coordinator for Audiological Services for Nassu BOCES.

Ellen Alexander has served on the Board of Directors of ACLD since 1973. She is currently the Chair of the Quality Services Committee. During her time with ACLD, Ellen has been an advocate for people with autism and the type of programs required to adequately serve this population. As a result of Ellen’s devotion to the development of employment options and supports for the people we support, ACLD is a well known example for other organizations. Ellen, a retired special education teacher and college instructor, remains active and informed about developments in the fields of adult and children services, autism and related matters.

Keith F. Brady, CRPS®, a financial advisor with Farmingville-based Mutual, Inc., has more than 30 years of accounting and financial planning experience, specializing in helping individuals at every stage of life plan and invest for their future. Mr. Brady earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and MBA in Finance from the School of Professional Accountancy at LIU Post in Greenvale, NY. He joined the Board in 2021 after serving on the Investment Committee for many years.

Sharon Cimino was elected to the Board in December 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television and has worked for American Movie Classics and the WE Network for the past 14 years. She and her husband Lawrence have two children, Lindsey and Emily, one of whom utilizes ACLD services. Impressed with their services, Sharon wanted to be part of the solution for parents who experienced similar hurdles while looking for the appropriate place for their child.

Anne Emmerson, Ed.D. serves as Chairperson of the Charles Evans Center (CEC) and is an ex officio member of the Finance, Human Resources, and Quality Assurance committees. Anne represents CEC on the Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities, Inc. (ACLD) Incident Review Committee. She is currently a member of the ACLD Quality Services Committee. Anne is retired from her position as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Nassau Community College.

Megan Gardner was elected to the Board in December 2009 and served two terms as Secretary. As a mother and advocate of children with special needs, she is a driving force in her community for support of ACLD’s services, especially the Kramer Learning Center & the Alan and Ellen Spiegel Children’s Center. Prior to her nomination to the Board of Directors, Megan served as a member of the Joint Conference Committee. Megan served as the Chair of the Development Committee, the Youth Services Committee, and is currently a member of the Trustee and Leadership Committee, as well as a member of the Guardianship Committee. Megan is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Signature Premier Properties, the Long Island Associate for Nye & Company Auction House which provide appraisals and auctions for Fine and Decorative Arts, and a Recruiter for Up Wee Grow, an Early Intervention agency that provides evaluations and services to children with special needs. Megan is also the founder of MMG Special Needs Consulting.

Ernest Gonzalez has served on the Board of Directors for 20 years. His connections to the business community have helped ACLD secure honorees for our important fundraising events. Ernie is on the Board of The Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where he served as President and is currently on the Board at Southside Hospital. He is the CEO of Captree PureTech Solutions.

Gail Hamlin is a long-time member of the ACLD family, along with her parents Roy and Patricia, and is the sister of an ACLD house resident. As a member of ACLD’s Siblings Group and a member of the ACLD Quality Services Committee, Hamlin has grown her involvement in the agency over the years and is currently the Chair of the Family Association Council.  Hamlin holds a BA in Communications from the University of Scranton and is an advertising sales professional, media planner, yoga studio manager and instructor. She has held roles at CBS Cable, Black Entertainment Television (BET), TLC, Animal Planet and other networks over her career. Hamlin is now a full-time yoga instructor with over a decade of experience at ten different studios.

Meryl Jackelow was elected to the Board in December 2009. Prior to her joining the Board, she served on the Admissions and Discharge Committee. Meryl’s participation in our Board is groundbreaking. She is the first person who receives services from ACLD to be elected to the Board of Trustees. Meryl is a Teacher Assistant at UCP.

Emily Krebs began working at ACLD as a clerk for the Administrative Offices on the Bethpage campus in March 2019 after she found and applied for the job listing on Indeed. Emily earned her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Nassau Community College in 2022. Before joining the ACLD Family, Emily worked at Babies R Us, the Massapequa Hospital for Animals and an animal shelter. As a huge lover of animals, she has volunteered time with animal rescuing and supports the ASPCA. Outside of work, she enjoys seeing her friends and family, playing with her two cats and staying physically active, especially outdoors.

David B. Lever, Esq. joined the board in 2020. Lever is Senior Partner at Lever & Ecker, PLLC, a litigation firm based in White Plains, New York. Lever, whose brother Jeffrey lives in an ACLD group residence, focuses on advocating for the legal rights of accident victims seriously injured through no fault of their own, and views his increasing involvement in ACLD as a way of honoring his family’s legacy of supporting an organization which has helped his brother and many others to thrive and live a life filled with meaning and dignity. In addition to his private practice, Lever serves on the Executive Board of the Justice Brandeis Law Society for the 9th Judicial District.

Donald Mitzner has served on ACLD’s Board of Directors for 40 years and has served as both President and the Vice President. Don has been involved in the significant growth of ACLD, as well as ACLD’s introduction to Quality Management. Don’s background includes engineering and he was a technical participant in the design of the Grumman lunar lander. He was a pioneer in the early development of cable-based telecommunications. Don retired from his position as the President of CBS Cable.

Doris Shaw has served on the Board of Directors for more than 12 years. Her fundraising efforts have significantly enhanced the success of our endeavors. Doris is a true ambassador for ACLD and spreads the word about our mission to friends and the community. Doris also served on the Board of New Horizons Resources in Poughkeepsie, where she served as President.

Ellen Spiegel has served on the Board of Directors for 28 years. She served as President from 1991 through 1997. She currently serves on the ACLD Corporate Compliance Committee, the Guardian Committee, and the Nominating Committee and previously served on the Trustee and Leadership, Development Committee and the Human Resources Committee. Ellen also serves as Chairperson of the Charles Evans Center (CEC) Quality Assurance Committee. Ellen is retired from her position as a Math Teacher in the Wantagh School District and a retired Adjunct Mathematics Professor at Suffolk Community College, Brentwood Campus. Ellen has a son who resides in an ACLD community residence.

Hon. Norm St. George joined the board in 2019. St. George is currently a Supreme Court Justice for the 10th Judicial Department. Prior to that he served as the Supervising Judge of the Nassau County District Court. St. George has also served as an Assistant District Attorney for Nassau County, a Nassau County District Court Judge and Acting Supreme Court Justice-County Court Judge of Nassau County. He also held partner positions at Jackson, Brown, Powell & St. George, LLP. and St. George & Associates. St. George was born in Bronx, New York and studied at Adelphi University School of Business and Hofstra University School of Law.

Jeff Taylor has served on the Board of Directors Workforce Development Committee since 1998. Jeff also has experience as a Board Member at The Gem Consortium, Long Island Industry Liaison Group and National Association of Minority Program Administrators. Throughout his career, Jeff has worked at various companies such as Symbol Technologies, Inc., Addecco North America and Candidates on Demand Group and has held a diverse range of positions handling diversity initiatives, equal employment opportunity, affirmative action programs, employment mediation, associate training programs and recruitment.

To contact a Board Member, please call Board Liaison, Terri Strull at (516) 822-0028 Ext. 229 or at