Vision

Our vision is to provide innovative activities and professional learning experiences that improve pedagogical practice, enhance engagement, and boost achievement for the whole learning community.

About

Teaching Things is committed to supporting educators through our unique blend of technology-focused professional development and adaptable project-based learning. Our offerings have evolved in response to the need for meaningful learning experiences that fused pedagogy with technology integration. Teaching Things now includes OTIS for Educators, our online learning platform; Onsite PD, our customizable professional learning experiences; and iBlocks, project-based learning for the 21st century classroom. Always at the forefront of the changing landscape of education, we go above and beyond to create and deliver content that inspires every corner of the educational environment.

Meet the Team

The Teaching Things team is comprised of state-certified teachers, all with years of classroom experience. Team members are SMART Certified Trainers, Google Certified Educators, and each have their own area of expertise including English, math, science, social studies, STEM, ENL, special education, computer science, and more.

Leadership

Dawn Castillo

Dawn Castillo

President

As president and co-owner of the company, Dawn has prepared for this role by being involved in each division of the company which has given her greater insight into the daily operations. Dawn is responsible for the day-to-day function and decision making.

Robert-Wayne Harris

Robert-Wayne Harris

Chief Learning Officer

Serving as the Vice President and Chief Learning Officer since 2014, Robert-Wayne works directly with school and district leaders on the latest innovations in technology education to bolster teacher pedagogy and ensure quality in not only technical implementation, but also in instructional execution.

For over 27 years, he has worked in almost every capacity in the field of education – from TA, to history teacher, to Superintendent of Schools. In all his roles, Robert-Wayne has worked relentlessly to increase the academic performance of teachers and students alike. Under his direct leadership as Superintendent of Schools, Roosevelt SD was the only district to be removed from state oversight after being declared a New York State Takeover District. Some of his previous roles have included: Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, School Improvement, Professional Development, and Planning for Freeport SD; Associate Director for the Long Island Regional School Support Center; and Educational Planning Administrator for Nassau BOCES. He holds 2 Master’s in Education and is currently working on his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. With his vast knowledge of professional development and his passion for educational technology, Robert-Wayne remains a positive force in the educational community.

Chrissy Rebert

Chrissy Rebert

VP of Global Instructional Solutions

As the VP of Global Instructional Solutions at Teaching Things, Chrissy is responsible for overall business development — identifying and effectively implementing solutions with a concentration on large districts and working at the state/government level to collaborate on educational initiatives.

With over 20 years of experience in education, Chrissy is an expert in building partnerships focused on achieving learning outcomes and has worked closely with the largest school districts in the nation. She began her career in the elementary classroom and received her Master’s in special education. After moving into training and professional development, she focused on technology integration, as well as curriculum development and grant writing. As a National Education Strategist, she has worked with districts across the US and Canada to support effective implementation of technology and crucial pedagogical shifts that help students, educators, and schools succeed.

Joseph Sanfilippo

Michelle Hollander

Director of Content and Curriculum

Michelle began at Teaching Things as a Curriculum Specialist in 2019. In her current role, she works closely with school administrators and the Teaching Things team to provide exceptional learning experiences to students and teachers alike. Prior to Teaching Things, Michelle was the STEM & Logistics Director at the WaterFront Center in Oyster Bay, NY. She has over a decade of experience in the educational workforce with a primary focus in middle school STEM. Michelle has both her B.S. and M.S. in Marine Science, and her research on an invasive species was published in Aquatic Botany. Researching and communicating science has kept Michelle ready to utilize new technologies and make information accessible to a variety of audiences.

Educators

Robert Abraham

Robert Abraham

PD Specialist/PD Account Manager

Certification Area: Elementary K-5
Specialty areas: elementary school, Hebrew schools, special needs schools

Robert is responsible for providing onsite pre-sales support to Account Executives for all professional development products and services. In addition, he prepares and delivers effective interactive workshops that reflect new and creative ideas relating to current issues and trends to provide stimulating ideas for teachers to take back to their classrooms. Robert is a licensed elementary school teacher with over 15 years of experience. His career began as a classroom teacher, he then became a Technology Specialist. Robert is passionate about education, especially in the special needs community.

Ben Cebulash

Ben Cebulash

PD Specialist

Certification Areas: Elementary Education; Teacher of English 6-12
Specialty areas: middle school/high school ELA

Ben Cebulash came to Teaching Things in 2011 after 10 years as a middle school teacher of English in New Jersey. As a Professional Development Specialist, Ben is responsible for the delivery of K-12 content, program implementation, and advanced professional development services. Ben provides professional development workshops, implementation trainings, as well as on-site coaching, mentoring, and demonstration lessons. He is also a certified Google Educator.

Cheryl Crawford

Cheryl Crawford

Curriculum Specialist

Certification areas: Elementary Education B-2; Childhood 1-6; Students with Disabilities B-2 and Childhood 1-6;
Specialty areas: elementary, special education, Wilson Reading

Cheryl taught elementary education for 10 years in various Long Island school districts. Cheryl graduated from Dowling College with a BS in Liberal Studies and an M.S. in Elementary Education. Cheryl has conducted professional development for teachers on how to implement Wilson Fundations in the classroom, as well as parent workshops. Designing curriculum that will engage, challenge, and develop student learning is a passion of Cheryl's. Her philosophy is that every child can learn with proper guidance, support, and innovation.

Greg DaSilva

Greg DaSilva

PD Specialist

Certification areas: TEFL Certification
Specialty areas: bilingual education, Spanish, ENL/EFL

Greg taught English as a Foreign Language at the University of La Frontera in Chile for five years. In this role, he was instrumental in implementing a technology-centric curriculum for teaching English. While living abroad, he also learned to speak Spanish fluently. As a Professional Development Specialist, he trains teachers on the best practices for utilizing cutting-edge educational technology in the classroom. Greg holds a B.A. in Economics and International Business from Gordon College.

Emma Foley

Emma Foley

Curriculum Specialist

Certification areas: Childhood Education 1-6, Special Education 1-6
Specialty areas: elementary education, special education, curriculum development and teacher mentoring

Emma has worked in the educational field for over 10 years, in both school districts on Long Island and in the NYCDOE. Emma discovered her interest in technology as she worked to provide equal learning opportunities for her students in the special education setting. Emma is passionate about creating professional development for fellow teachers working with students who may need accommodation, scaffolding and differentiation. She is also drawing on her classroom experience to write supplementary STEM curriculum across the grade bands. She holds a B.A. in Psychology/Special Education and an M.S.Ed. in School Building Leadership.

Adam Fragale

Adam Fragale

Curriculum Specialist

Certification areas: Adolescent Education 7-12
Specialty areas: middle school social studies and ELA, high school history

Prior to joining Teaching Things, Adam taught sixth grade social studies and ELA in Floral Park, New York. Adam has a Master's degree in Adolescent Education from LIU Post and a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from SUNY Cortland. During his time in the classroom Adam was part of the Literacy Committee, designing curriculum for K-8 classes and crafting professional development courses for teachers looking to incorporate the latest STEAM technology into their classrooms.

Diomedes Gonzalez

Diomedes Gonzalez

PD Specialist

Certification areas: Elementary Education
Specialty areas: bilingual education, Spanish, science

Before coming to Teaching Things, Diomedes spent 5 years teaching elementary science for grades K through 4 at a charter school in the Bronx and in Harlem. Diomedes earned his degree in Psychology and Education from St. Lawrence University and his Master’s in General and Special Education from Touro College.

Caylie Lehrer

Caylie Lehrer

Curriculum Specialist

Certification areas: Early Childhood Education B-2; Childhood Education 1-6; Special Education 1-6; Annotation in Severe and Multiple Disabilities
Specialty areas: elementary education/special education, dance/arts, ELA, STEAM

Caylie is a special education teacher and taught in the NYCDOE for 5 years. Caylie discovered her passion for technology by designing innovative and collaborative learning experiences for her students with multiple learning styles. As a member of the curriculum team, she creates and facilitates interactive professional development courses geared toward teachers from pre-K to 12. Caylie would describe herself as a lifelong learner and is excited to continue to learn about new technology initiatives and teach others through her passion for education.

Nicole Mathew

Nicole Mathew

Curriculum Specialist

Certification areas: 7-12 Biology
Specialty areas: environmental science, STEM/STEAM, secondary science

Nicole taught middle school science for four years in the NYCDOE, where she was also a Lead Teacher for NYC Urban Advantage's PD program. She got her start in education as an Environmental Educator in the non-profit setting. She has her B.A. in Environmental Studies and her M.S.Ed. in Adolescent Education. Through her classroom experience, Nicole developed a passion for using innovative technology in her classroom to support her student's STEM learning. Now, she creates and facilitates engaging professional development courses that help other teachers feel comfortable integrating ever changing technology into their classroom.

MatthewThaxter

Matthew Thaxter

PD Specialist/PD Account Manager

Permanent Certifications: Elementary N-6; Social Studies, Grades 7-12
Specialty Areas: social studies, STEM/STEAM

Matthew has over 20 years' experience in education and edtech. He has a B.A. in History and Education and an M.A. in Liberal Studies/Technology in the Humanities, as well as graduate credits in special education. For approximately 12 years, Matthew taught middle and high school social studies, elementary school, and special education. He has worked directly with school and district administrators, assisting with the identification of needs, curriculum development, and technology integration. He also serves as an education consultant/contributor for publications and contest administration for a multinational educational publication firm.

PatriciaUmhafer

Patricia Umhafer

PD Strategist

Certification areas: CDA Early Childhood Education
Specialty areas: early education admin, child development, early education curriculum development and teacher coaching, early education classroom design, performing arts

Tricia has over five years of teacher coaching and curriculum development experience, and 12 years of experience in the early education as both a teacher and administrator. She has her B.A. in Theatre Arts and her child development associate (CDA). As an educator, Tricia focuses on building the whole child, one who understands compassion and kindness and is academically proficient. Her areas of expertise include coaching teachers on best practices in enhancing the classroom experience, as well as e-learning and technology integration for young learners.

PatriciaUmhafer

Terry VanNoy

PD Specialist

Certification areas: Secondary Education 7-12 English and Math
Specialty areas: WA state certificate; eligible to teach all (K-12), computer science, STEM

Terry worked for many years as a middle school and high school math and English teacher. Always an early adopter of classroom technology, he learned to incorporate computer stations and student-owned laptops in his math classes, using integrated curriculum projects with a teaching team. In 2010 he developed a YouTube math videos channel (“Math Class with Terry V”) that he still uses and maintains today part time. After a year as a math content expert and consultant with Teaching Matters in NYC. He considers the work he does at Teq to be a bridge between technology training and instructional coaching.

Transforming teaching and learning through ingenious real-world experiences that prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world.