The instructors complemented each other in style of teaching and personality. They worked collaboratively and were an example of "team teaching" at it's best."

Ruth Purdie-Dyer
WCAIS Magnet School, Danbury, CT

2018 Presenters

Confirmed Presenters (check back for updates)

Oren Pizmony-Levy

Oren Pizmony-Levy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology and the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Indiana University in 2013. Dr. Pizmony-Levy grew up in Eilat, Israel and received his BA (Political Science and Educational Policy and Organization) and MA degrees (Sociology of Education) from Tel-Aviv University. 

His research interests center on socio-political analysis of educational policy movements such as: accountability (i.e., international assessment of student achievement), environmental and sustainability education, and sexuality education. His work in environmental and sustainability education (ESE) focuses on the role of schools of education in the face of global environmental challenges. Dr. Pizmony-Levy co-founded the Environmental and Sustainability Working Group at Teachers College, which assists the Department of Education Office of Sustainability in ESE initiatives. In particular, he helped form the Zankel Fellowship for Teachers College graduate students to assist NYC sustainability coordinators with their school Green Teams. 

Aimee Arandia Østensen

Aimee is a Founding Teacher at the Hudson Lab School in New York and was formerly an integral part of CELF's Educator Team as well as the Farm/School Coordinator for Special Projects at the Manhattan Country School where she taught both elementary and middle grades. Aimee firmly believes that learning is a life-long process and that our experiences along the natural path of life can be our best teachers. Her own path to teaching is a spiral of explorations into art, nature, movement and community. Aimee’s early experiences in dance created a foundation in aesthetic and kinesthetic awareness, as well as an understanding of creative and collective processes.

Aimee earned a BS in Early Childhood and Elementary Education at New York University, and a master’s degree in Educating for Sustainability at Antioch University New England. Whether in the forest, the city, at the farm, or traveling in another country, she seeks out the connections and dynamics within and between things, and strives to embody Kirkegaard’s notion that we are not merely human beings, but “human becomings.”

CELF Facilitators:

Victoria Garufi 

As Director of Education, Vicky is responsible for guiding CELF's educator team in the planning and implementing all professional development programs. Prior to joining CELF, Vicky spent 12 years at the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB) in Yonkers. There she designed, implemented and oversaw all K-12 environmental education programs focused on the Hudson River. She provided outreach to connect school districts, community groups and Hudson River organizations to develop partnerships with CURB.

Vicky holds a BS in Psychobiology from Long Island University's Southampton College and currently completing her Master of Science in the Art of Teaching from Sarah Lawrence College (expected graduation spring 2018). She is the subject area representative for environmental science through the Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS) and serves on the advisory board for the Regional Environmental Educators Forum. She also enjoys being a mentor to graduate students in the field of science and education.

Lisa Mechaley

As a CELF educator, Lisa collaborates with other education staff on the design, implementation and delivery of professional development programs. Prior to joining CELF, Lisa spent more than fifteen years teaching middle school science, served as education director for the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, worked as a staff developer through Bank Street College, and developed and conducted environmental programs for Hudson Valley conservation and educational organizations.

Most recently, Lisa worked for the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, developing and presenting the River of Words program -- mixing poetry, art and watershed science -- in the region’s schools. Through personal experience, she has come to appreciate how creative writing and drawing have deepened her connection with the natural world.

Lisa holds a B.A. in Biology with an Environmental Specialization from Central Connecticut State University and an M.S. from Southern Connecticut State University in Elementary Science Education. She is on the education advisory board of Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary and a board member of the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society. 

Alan Cass

Alan has been on the Summer Institute faculty for five years. He is the former Director of Education for CELF, during which time he provided professional learning in EfS for K-12 teachers in public and private schools. During his classroom teaching career, Alan was both an elementary and middle school classroom teacher at several grade levels and in different subject areas as well an Assistant Principal. His belief in an interdisciplinary approach to learning is reflected throughout his work. While teaching middle school science and math, Alan spent two summers as a participant in NASA’s Educator in Space program where he created a Young Astronauts Program for grades 5-6. His work as a mathematics teacher led him to create several interdisciplinary programs such as Mall Math and the Math Chef, which he has presented at numerous National Council of Teaching Mathematics conferences.

Alan holds a BS degree in Elementary Education from Buffalo State College, an MS degree in Education from the State University at Buffalo, an MS in Educational Leadership from Pace University and he completed his Advanced Certificate in Education for Sustainability at Manhattanville College.

Sherie McClam

Dr. Sherie McClam is an Assistant Professor in Curriculum & Instruction at Manhattanville College’s School of Education where she is also the college's first Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). She holds a PhD in science education and social foundations from the University of Colorado-Boulder. 

At Manhattanville, she serves as Co-chair of the EFS Special Studies Group within the Association of American Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and as Chair of the Campus Sustainability Committee. She also serves on the K-12 & Teacher Education Sector Steering Committee for the United States Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and as a member of the newly formed Education for Sustainability and Clinical Teacher Preparation Working Group within the state of New York.

Previously, Dr. McClam was a member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne in Australia where she was able to blend her social justice scholarship in the underrepresentation in science of women and minorities with her passion for environmental justice. She served as a Deputy Director for the University of Melbourne’s Office for Environmental Programs (OEP) assisting the Director in the management and further development of their internationally recognized, multidisciplinary Graduate Environmental Program (GEP). 

Ann Hempelmann 

As the CELF California Program Manager and Educator, Ann works with teachers and administrators to incorporate sustainability principles into their schools’ curriculum and school cultures; provides professional development programs; and supports CELF’S expanding presence in California.

Before joining CELF, Ann worked with Western Washington University’s Facing the Future program as lead author of their sustainability text and activity guide series, Big World, Small Planet. The series provides high school students with a semester’s worth of sustainability principles, thinking strategies, real-world activities and nature connection reflections.

Ann has a Masters of Education in Educating for Sustainability from Antioch University, NewEngland and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Long Beach.

Katie Ginsberg

Katie Ginsberg, CELF Founder and Executive Director, oversees and manages organizational development and assures that program objectives are met. She established the CELF Summer Institute in 2005 and has continued to work with leading educators from across the world to bring the latest information to K-12 educators and organizations.

Katie has conducted and participated in a broad range of seminars, conferences and courses on sustainability and on re-orienting education through global and interdisciplinary education. She works with thought leaders in this emerging educational paradigm who are advising schools and educational systems worldwide.

Katie is a Founding Member of the Westchester Green Schools Coalition and serves on the Westchester County Climate Change Advisory Panel. She served as Chair of the County Executive’s Westchester Global Warming Task Force for the education sector, which developed a blueprint to integrate sustainability across the campuses, curriculum and communities of Westchester, NY schools.  Katie also serves on the Board of the Women's Climate Initiative and on the Advisory Board for Teatown Lake Reservation.

Complete List of 2017 Presenters