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ACLD Board of Trustees

Joseph Ortego, Esq. is the President of the Board of Trustees. Previously he served as the 1st Vice President for six years and has devoted nearly 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 1st Vice President and served as the 2nd Vice President of the Board of Trustees for six years prior.  He has nearly 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 Trustees 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 and is one of the newest members to join the Board of Trustees.  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 Trustees 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.

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 Trustees, Megan served as a member of the Joint Conference Committee. Megan served as the Chair of the Development Committee, is currently a member of the Trustee and Leadership Committee and is the Chair of the Youth Services 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 Trustees 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.

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.

Donald Mitzner has served on ACLD’s Board of Trustees for almost 40 years and has served as both the 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 recently retired from his position as the President of CBS Cable.

Caryn Pincus  joined the Board of Trustees in 2016. Caryn is the CEO and owner of Pincus Law Group, PLLC in Uniondale, a full-service law firm focusing on representing corporate clients in real estate closings, commercial litigation, foreclosures and related practice areas, and has served on the ACLD Quality of Services Committee. Caryn has a sister with a developmental disability and believes in the mission of ACLD.

Doris Shaw has served on the Board of Trustees for 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 Trustees for 28 years. She served as The President from 1991 through 1997. She currently serves on the ACLD Trustee and Leadership Development Committee and the ACLD Human Resources Committee. Ellen Spiegel 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. Ellen has a son who resides in an ACLD community residence.

Jeff Taylor has served on the Board of Trustees 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.

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.

David B. Lever 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.

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