Russell Sage College Cabinet

person smiling at camera wearing a suit and tie.

Dr. Matthew Shaftel


Matthew Shaftel was named the 11th president of Russell Sage College and began his presidency on July 1, 2024.

Before coming to Russell Sage, Shaftel served for seven years as dean and full professor in Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts. He has served as a higher education leader for nearly two decades, also as an associate vice president at Florida State University and dean and executive of the Princeton campus at Rider University.

Shaftel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Master of Philosophy in Music Theory, and Ph.D. in Music Theory from Yale University.

person standing outside smiling at the camera with their hand leaning on a stair rail.

Dr. Theresa Hand, OTD


Theresa Hand, OTD was appointed provost at Russell Sage College in 2019. She was most recently interim provost, associate provost and dean of Sage’s School of Health Sciences. A faculty member since 1993, she has served as chair and program director of the Occupational Therapy program and held leadership roles in health-care organizations. Hand holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire, a master’s degree from Russell Sage College and a doctorate from Creighton University.

Kate Adams

Kate Adams

Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Kate Adams was named vice president, Institutional Advancement, at Russell Sage College in 2018. She was previously associate vice president of institutional advancement for six years and also held leadership roles at The Nature Conservancy and Emma Willard School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence University.

Rick Barthelmas

Rick Barthelmas

Vice President for Finance and Treasurer

Rick Barthelmas joined Sage in 2017, after 23 years with the State University of New York and Empire State College. Rick began his career at the SUNY system office, serving as an accountant, financial analyst and assistant director of business affairs. He then moved to the multi-location Empire State College, where he was associate vice president for administration. Barthelmas holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and has been a CPA since 1994.

Trish Cellemme

Trish Cellemme

Vice President for Student Life

Trish Cellemme became vice president for student life at Russell Sage College in 2005. She has also served as dean of students, associate dean of students and director of student services and residence life since joining Sage in 1997 as associate director of residence life on the Albany campus. Cellemme is the college’s chief student conduct officer. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Russell Sage College and her master’s degree in Education from the College of St. Rose. She is a member of NAPA, the leading association for the student affairs profession, and the New American Colleges and Universities Board of Directors.

Katie Cooney Lesko

Katie Cooney Lesko

Vice President for Enrollment Management

Katie Cooney Lesko joined Russell Sage in September 2023. Prior to her arrival at Sage, she served as the lead enrollment officer at Maria College, where she grew new enrollment by 35% in one year – resulting in the largest class at the college since 2015. Previous appointments also include assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions at The College of Saint Rose from 2015 to 2021 and senior associate director of undergraduate admissions at Siena College, where she began her career as an admissions counselor in 1999. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Siena College and is currently completing her master’s degree in higher education and leadership at the University at Albany.

Laura D’Agostino

Chief of Staff & Executive Assistant to the President

Laura D’Agostino was named chief of staff and executive assistant to the president in 2023. She previously served as director of human resources, following roles as executive assistant to the provost and executive administrative assistant to the President. She joined Sage in 2004 as assistant director of conferences and events. D’Agostino holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Jennifer Gish sitting on a picnic table in greenspace.

Jennifer Gish

Vice President for Marketing and Communications

Jennifer Gish joined Russell Sage in March 2023 after previously serving at The College of Saint Rose, where she led the marketing and communications team in producing work that was consistently recognized by the international Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Capital Region MARCOM Awards. Prior to her work in higher education, she was a journalist for nearly two decades, serving as a reporter, columnist, and editor. She holds bachelor’s degrees in both journalism and women’s studies from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from West Virginia University.

Geoffrey Miller

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Geoffrey Miller (he/him) is an award winning professional currently serving as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. As a higher education professional who believes in the power of economic mobility through professional and educational development, Geoff is passionate about creating opportunities for others through developing and implementing strategies and tactics with outcomes that lead to accessible and equitable opportunities for all students. Prior to Russell Sage College, Geoff worked for the Albany Symphony and Hudson Valley Community College Foundation in leadership fundraising roles. By connecting partners with crucial programs, Geoff has enjoyed a career committed to improving the quality of life for citizens in the Capital Region. Geoff is also an active volunteer. He has held several leadership roles to support the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce’s Tech Valley Young Professional Network, and volunteers for the Capital Region Sponsor-a-Scholar and Albany Symphony. Geoff earned his bachelor’s degree in piano performance at SUNY at Fredonia and master’s in Higher Education Administration and Leadership at the College of Saint Rose. He is currently working towards his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Russell Sage College.