Outstanding People

image004Nicholas A. Villani, President and CEO has worked in the field of vocational training and employment for people with special needs since 1982. He has administered programs, written grants, designed programs and was influential in much of the progress in the field of supported employment and transition for individuals with disabilities.  As a presenter, he has trained hundreds of professionals in the field of vocational services across the United States.  Mr. Villani was the administrator and oversaw the operations of services in the field of transition, vocational rehabilitation and day programs for major not-for-profit agencies on Long Island.  Nick has been a leader in the field serving on the associations for the employment of individuals with special needs and has worked for not-for-profit and for-profit organizations performing transition services since 1990. He has been an Adjunct Professor at Dowling College since 1997 teaching masters level “Transition Services for Students in Special Education” for Dowling graduate students becoming special education teachers.

While in the not-for-profit sector, he developed some of the earliest programs for individuals with autism in employment that included one of the first service models sponsored by ACCES/VR (then VESID) for adults with high functioning autism. While working with students and adults with high functioning autism, he realized that many had struggled in their college experience. To address that need, Nick developed the first in the nation College Support Program for Students with Asperger’s Syndrome at Dowling College.

Nicholas and CEO have received several awards from varying organizations since its inception. He was featured on National Public Radio’s “Sound Medicine” regarding his work with individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome and employment.  CEO received the “Best Practices in Transition” from the New York State Rehabilitation Association, for its work in collaboration with the Amityville School District.  The Western Suffolk Guidance Counselors Association awarded Amityville and CEO its best practices award for the development of the Amityville School/Business Partnership. Amityville provided Nicholas Villani the SCOPE Award for Community Leader for his work in that district.  This spring, Nicholas wrote an article for the “Autism Spectrum News” regarding the issues facing individuals with disabilities in the workforce.  In his continuing efforts to serve his community, in 2012 he was named the President of the Board of Trustees for the Long Island Science Center in Riverhead NY.

In 2005, Nicholas founded Career and Employment Options, Inc. as a means to address the ongoing issues of transition and employment needs for individuals in special education.  Since that time, we have expanded our services to include adults who require assistance in career planning as well as securing and maintaining employment.

Lori Rosado-Mayer, Director of Program Services, has been employed with CEO since the company was founded in 2005. She oversees all services with our districts and supervises consultants in their work within districts. Ms. Rosado-Mayer eimage015nsures that CEO provides quality transition services to the districts throughout Long Island and in our ACCES/VR (VESID) services. She oversees and is responsible for the implementation of the curriculum, experiences and activities the students are actively engaged in throughout the school year. In addition to her work ensuring quality services and implementation, she also leads the CEO team when assisting a district in the oversight of IEP and Indicator 13 issues as well as developing Student Exit Summaries.  Lori also oversees and assists in much of the job development for CEO and has relationships with major corporations on Long Island. 

Lori has a Master’s Degree in Special Education and certified K-12.  Lori is also a Certified Benefits Planner through Cornell University and can provide entitlement support to students and their families.  She also provides training to districts and their families regarding Social Security Administration issues.  In addition she is a Certified Work Based Learning Coordinator assisting districts in our CDOS programs for students.

image010Brian Levine, Administrator of Vocational and Evaluation Services.  Brian oversees operations regarding job development and vocational assessments in school districts and ACCES/VR.  Brian will oversee all ACCES/VR services and will ensure that quality employment options are being provided for all individuals receiving services.  Brian will coordinate all job development activities across ACCES/VR, Transition Services and other programs for CEO.  In his multiple roles, Brian will provide vocational assessments, career development training, resume and portfolio, interview training and other skills related to student and consumer’s career skills and outcomes.

While working with a wide range of diversified populations, Brian has garnered the ability to work well in implementing vocational plans for each individual to succeed in reaching their vocational goals.  In his experiences in the field of vocational rehabilitation he has gained the trust of the families and the individuals he has worked with, assisting them in the vocational rehabilitation process and getting started in their careers.  He has worked for various not-for profit organizations in several capacities, such as Vocational Evaluator, Manager of Employment Services and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Brian earned his Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling from Hofstra University.

lisa-close-upLisa M Strahs-Lorenc, B.S. MP.S.  CEO is proud to announce that Lisa M. Strhs-Lorenc has joined CEO as Director of CEO Works our School Business Partnership Program.  CEO Works is a service we are providing to school districts to assist them in the development of school-business partnerships.  These partnerships are designed to offer students in general and special education the opportunity to be better linked to the local business community.  CEO Works will facilitate internships, mentoring programs, job shadow days as well as involvement of the local business in the guidance of students in their community regarding careers.

Lisa is dedicated to youth, employment and the relationship between education and the world of work. Lisa has almost 30 years of professional experience, skills and qualifications working in the Long Island community, in the fields of public and higher education, career counseling, resume and interviewing strategies, recruitment, software development, and the non-profit industry.

Known as the “Road Warrior,” Lisa M. Strahs-Lorenc was the major voice for the Long Island Works Coalition also known as LI Works. She worked for the organization from August 1999, (a not-for-profit, community service organization) until it closed its doors in 2011.  AS Director of Community Relations at LI Works, Lisa helped grow the organization from fledgling organization to the pre-eminent school to career resource on Long Island.  She developed, trained and supported as many as 80 school-business partnerships, and implemented career/job related events.  She capitalized on her degree in Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Professional Studies with a specialization in Career Counseling to reach out to the following target audiences:  business representatives, students, parents and educators.  Following LI Works, Lisa worked for a career school and a non-profit student exchange organization.  Utilizing her training and employment background, she offered workshops, seminars and online motivational presentations.  Successful employment placement and recruitment were required objectives.

Lisa’s strength in marketing, community and public relations skills are an asset in strategically positioning a company and focusing on its unique brand.  Because of her own volunteer work with the Comsewogue (Port Jefferson Station) Education – Business Partnership, she was awarded the honor of being named “Businesswoman of the Year” by the Port Times Record newspaper in 2002.  Lisa is excited to bring her leadership and relationship building expertise to CEO and its CEO Works School Business Partnership Program.

gucciardo-kimberly Kim Gucciardo is the Administrator for Transition Services at CEO, serving school districts and staff across Long Island.  She has a M.S.Ed  in School Counseling from Hofstra University and is a credentialed Family Development Specialist.

For three years, Kim was the Program Director for Suffolk County Probation’s Partners Against Crime Team, where she supervised case management staff and mentoring relationships between volunteers in the community and youth on probation.  She has spent nine years working with students on probation, many of whom were disengaged from their communities, and were consequently at risk of dropping out of High School or being placed in group homes; the majority of these students were in Special Education programs.  Kim served as a liaison between school districts and families, representing students at CSE meetings and advocating for a collaborative approach towards student success.  While working with multiple not-for-profit organizations, she facilitated a number of psycho-educational groups on a variety of topics influencing adolescent development, including an adult program that aims to rehabilitate first time criminal offenders in an effort to diminish recidivism.

In her previous role as a High School Ambassador for an education consulting firm, Kim delivered over 600 classroom presentations to thousands of students in districts across Long Island.  These workshops help students in both general and special education explore their post high school pathway options.  Kim has a passion for education and empowering others to reach their full potential.  She brings her professionalism, wide array of experience and positive energy to the CEO Team.

image014Dr. Thomas Rosati has been an educator for 33 years, working as a speech teacher, special educator, and school administrator.  He is nationally recognized through RESNA as an Assistive Technology provider. As a graduate professor at St. John’s University, he has taught and trained students in the fundamentals of instruction and assessment.  Thom provides insight and specifics in the best practices when working with special needs students. His work is featured in Geffner and Swain’s book Auditory Processing Disorders: Assessment, Management and Treatment.

He has made presentations throughout the state on Education Technology Integration, and was a long time presenter on a range of topics for teacher centers in the region.  He works with Stony Brook University’s engineering department facilitating bio-mechanical engineering projects, and is a national assessor for programs and competitions for RESNA and for the JETS engineering competition.

His doctoral work was done in collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Hughes on using district data for comparing and evaluating school districts. While he was a student, he was a graduate assistant to Dr. Hughes and is working with him on producing the next edition of Data Points.

Independent Assistive Technology, educational technology integration and workplace accommodations are areas where Dr. Rosati is available for evaluation, consultation and training for staff, students, and clients.   District environmental assessments and data analysis are additional services that can be arranged. A list of previous workshops is available, and specific workshops can be created to meet a district or agency need.

ShymanDr. Eric Shyman has joined Career and Employment Options Inc. as an educational consultant.  Eric’s role is to visit classrooms, worksites, community access sites where CEO provides services and provide feedback to the development of more effective instruction as well as staff training in pedagogical techniques.

Eric Shyman, Ed.D. received his doctorate degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2009. He worked as a classroom special education teacher for 10 years in both public and non-public schools, and has also served as a staff trainer, seminar leader, and consultant for schools and school districts. His main areas of consultation involve educational strategies for children with disabilities (with a special expertise in Autism Spectrum Disorder), inclusive education strategies, data collection and analysis, and curricular and instructional modification and adaptation. In 2014, he was chosen to receive the Teachers College, Columbia University Early Career Award. He is the author of multiple peer-reviewed articles appearing in state, national, and international journals, as well as two books: Beyond Equality in the American Classroom: The Case for Inclusive Education and Besieged by Behavior Analysis for Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Treatise for Comprehensive Educational Approaches. His third book, which will explore the history and potential future of wide-scale educational reform in the United States, is forthcoming.

katharine-rehn-2Katharine Rehn, Co- Administrator of Transition Services. Katharine has worked closely with CEO for over 12 years mostly as the Vocational/Transition Coordinator from the Smithtown School District.  She is working at CEO as the Co-Administrator for Transition Services with Caterina Cain.  Katharine retired as the Vocational/Transition Coordinator for the Smithtown School district and was responsible for the transition supports for the students in that district.  She has an excellent and thoughtful perspective of worksite management and goals. 

Katharine began her teaching career as a secondary Social Studies teacher and later became a vocational teacher at Western Suffolk BOCES Wilson Tech. She concluded her career as the Vocational/ Transition Coordinator for the Smithtown School District after 15 years in that role. She is also a Certified Work Based Coordinator and assists CEO in our CDOS students.  Katharine has also taught as an adjunct at Suffolk Community College and Dowling College.

Todd Suprina conducts assistive communication technology evaluations for CEO.  Todd provides consultation, evaluation, and training in all areas of educational and vocational technologies.  Todd helps students of all ages discover the benefits, and effectiveness, of specific technologies in facilitating all aspects of learning and communication. 

Todd has been in education and rehabilitation for 31 years.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Communication and Engineering, a Master’s degree of science in speech and hearing impairment, and post graduate certifications in Assistive Technology and Educational Administration.  Todd has taught numerous classes on communication theory, augmentative communication design and implementation, as well as assistive technology design and implementation.  He has also designed and prototyped many communication and educational technology systems.

francesca-work-1501Francesca Bordei has worked in an administrative capacity for major corporations in a variety of industries for over twenty years. These include The LeFrak Organization, Ernst & Young, National Westminster Bank, and Foote Cone & Belding.  Most recently she has been employed at the United Breast Cancer Foundation as the Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the Executive Director.  In this position she managed a diverse range of duties including, management of staff, human resources, recruiting, office management, state registrations, fundraising and administration.  Francesca hopes to bring a fresh voice and her strong work ethic to CEO.

Experience, Education and Ongoing Training

CEO staff have over 25 YEARS experience in developing employment and college support for students and adults with special needs. We do this with qualified staff, innovative approaches to ensure compliance, and linking community businesses to students with special needs. CEO’s goal is to enable districts to provide seamless transition services to their students and families. Career and Employment Options Inc. staff are:

  1. Certified Special Education Teachers
  2. Experienced Job Coaches
  3. Experienced Professionals for Assessments and Evaluations
  4. Vocational and Special Education Administrators

Working at CEO requires skillful and energetic people. They must have special education experience, vocational experience and willingness to solve problems through personal effort. This is the crucial piece of working in the community. Problem solving efforts and abilities, solution development and an overall excitement toward the development and delivery of services for students with special needs is the key for outstanding staff. We encourage this through careful selection, training and internal consultation and resolutions through team building processes.