2014 Champions of Character Banquet

banquet 2014

Champions of Character Banquet Committee

Dr. John Walko, Academy Director; Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, Honorary Chair;  James McGlynn, Vice-President of Pioneer Bank and Banquet Chair; BOCES Superintendent Dr. Charles Dedrick, Honorary Chair.

On Wednesday, April 9, 2014 The Academy for Character Education at The Sage Colleges held its 11th "Champions of Character" event at the Franklin Plaza Ballroom, 4th & Grand Streets in Troy, NY. Reception hour was from 5:30-6:30 pm and the awards ceremony began at 6:30 pm. Assemblymember John McDonald III and Capital Region BOCES Superintendent Dr. Charles Dedrick graciously agreed and were the Honorary Chairs of this event. This was a wonderful event celebrating outstanding members of our community.

Click here to see the 2014 "Champions of Character" Banquet Invitation and information form!

2014 Honorary Committee Members:

Dr. Ellen Adams, The Sage Colleges      

Michael J. Castellana, President, SEFCU

Randolph J. Collins, CSArchitecture

Fredrick Erlich, CEO of Living Resources

George Goodwin, Chair of The Academy Advisory Board

Randy Hall, Commissioner of Social Services, Rensselaer County

Honorable Kathleen Jimino, Rensselaer County Executive

E. Stewart Jones Jr., Attorney

Dr. Lynn Macan, Superintendent, Cobleskill-Richmondville CSD

Honorable Paula Mahan, Supervisor, Town of Colonie 

Marra's Pharmacy, Cohoes, NY

Honorable John T. McDonald III, Assemblymember, 108th District

James G. McGlynn, Vice President, Pioneer Bank

Dr. Hanns Meissner, CEO, The ARC of Rensselaer County

Dr. and Mrs. Robert Monk

John F. Murray, President, Chair, & CEO, Rose & Kiernan Insurance

Katherine Pelham, KPelham Associates 

Honorable George E. Primeau, Sr., Mayor of Cohoes, NY

Dr. Lori V. Quigley, Dean of The Esteves School of Education at The Sage Colleges

Dr. John Wands Sacca, The Esteves School of Education at The Sage Colleges

Ralph Singh, Chair of Wisdom Thinkers Network

Dorothy Stevens

Keith Stewart, State Farm Insurance

Honorable Paul Tonko, Congressman

Honorable George E. Primeau, Mayor of Cohoes

Dr. John D. Walko, Director of The Academy for Character Education

Dr. Marie Wiles, Superintendent of Guilderland CSD

Click here to join the Honorary Committee or to make a contribution

                   THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:

Esteves School of Education, Dr. Lori V. Quigley, Dean

Educational Vistas, Inc., Scott Crowder, CEO

Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Center; For the Promotion of Mental Health and School Safety

Stewart's Shops

University at Albany

State Farm Insurance, Keith Stewart and Peter J. Sleasman, Agents

CSArch; Architecture, Engineering, Construction Management


Living Resources, Fred Erlich, CEO

Josef Markowski

Patricia A. Fahy, Assemblymember

Capital District YMCA

Skidmore College

Hudson Shores Rotary Club


Roscoe Teachers' Association

Lifetime Benefactor, Mary Karpiak Foster '42

                         ANNOUNCING THE 2014


The 2014 Educator and Civic Award Honorees are:


Lifetime Achievement: Mel Horowitz, Catskill CSD (retired), Academy for Character Education volunteer

Volunteer of the Year: Maureen Flanigan, Averill Park CSD

Teacher Leaders:

Dianne Mosher – Berlin High School, Berlin CSD

Dr. Britton Schnurr – School Psychologist, Guilderland CSD

Janice Toomajian – Tamarac Elementary Librarian, Brittonkill CSD

Kelly Bullis – Band Teacher, Drama Director, SCAT-PAC Advisor, Roscoe CSD

Sarah Lovell – Hoosic Valley Elementary School, Hoosic Valley CSD

Athletic & Civic: Bob Ford, University at Albany Football Coach (retired)

School Administrator: Ken Facin – Superintendent, Hoosick Falls CSD

University Leader: Dr. Katharine Briar Lawson, Dean, School of Social Welfare, University at Albany

Educational Advocates:

Jesse A. Saperstein, author, motivational speaker, Anti-Bullying and autism advocate

Josephine Bila, beta thalassemia major advocate and FDA expert patient consultant

Character Education Literature: Michael Buchanan & Diane Lang, authors of The Fat Boy Chronicles

Student Organization: FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America),    Karen Thomas, NYS Coordinator

Community Volunteer: Richard Muggeo, Catskill CSD (Retired)

Parent Leader: Thearse McCalmon, Schenectady City SD

Student Leaders:

Sabrina Cravin – Carroll Hill Elementary School, Troy CSD

Mikayla Kipp – Roscoe CSD

Sarah Cheney – Shaker HS, North Colonie CSD

Community Leadership in Education: Emma Willard School, A 200 Year Legacy of Educational Leadership


Civic Organization: Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, Mark Quandt, Executive Director

Civic Leader: William Corbett, President of Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar Inc.

Business Organization: Stewart's Shops, Gary Dake, President 

Business Leader: Victory Lynn Riedy, Ed.M, entrepreneur, Founder, Victory Child Care Inc.

The 2014 NYSSOC honorees are:


West Sand Lake Elementary, Averill Park CSD                      

Harrison Avenue School, South Glens Falls CSD

Canandaigua Middle School, Canandaigua CSD                         

Central Square School District                                                

Smith Street School, Uniondale UFSD                                      

Grand Avenue School, Uniondale UFSD


Lawrence Middle School, Lawrence UFSD                               

Number 4 School, Lawrence UFSD                                         

Mildred E. Strang Middle School, Yorktown Heights CSD       

Lawrence Road Middle School, Uniondale UFSD  

Byron-Bergen School District                                                     


Valley Stream J.H.S., Valley Stream CHSD                               

Jonas E. Salk Middle School, Levittown CSD                   

Voorheesville Elementary School, Voorheesville CSD

The 2014 Sage Colleges Champions of Character are:

Administration: Jill Grebert, Director of Recreation & Fitness, Coordinator of Allies Program 

Faculty: Dr. Laurae (Herbi) Coburn, Professor of Professional School Counseling Masters Degree Program     

Staff: Joanne (Jody) Diedrich, Coordinator of Conferences & Events                                                                                                                      

Students: Russell Sage College  - Grace Koehler                          

               Sage College of Albany - Megan Lugo

Award-winning WGNA DJ and Bullying Prevention advocate, Richie Phillps was the media emcee at the 2014 Banquet.  Also known as "Rhymin' Richie", he has been at WGNA for 21 years. He also frequently visits schools and inspires our youth.  Some of his Bullying Prevention accomplishments are found on the "Stand Up For Character-Down to Bullying" page of this website.  He was honored with a "Friend of The Academy Award at the 2013 Champions of Character Banquet.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Coming in from out of town and need hotel accommodations? The Academy has arranged a special $107 nightly rate at Best Western Plus Franklin Square Inn (directly across the street from the Franklin Plaza). This rate includes parking, a full hot breakfast and is also honored two days before and after this event. Reservations may be made by calling 1-866-708-2233. Be sure to mention that you want the "Sage Colleges Character Education" rate.

In April, 2013 this event honored Capital Region and Northeastern United States leadership and dedication to the vision and mission of fostering positive character development in our schools and communities.  Over 200 individuals from students, to educators, community leaders and schools of character who are dedicated to character education attended the event and over 35 attendees received awards and were honored as Champions of Character.