Literacy Suffolk staff and board
Susan Shiloni is a native New Yorker, born and raised in New York City. She joined Literacy Suffolk in 2008 as an assessment director. The position evolved to program services director until 2018, when she was appointed executive director.
Susan received her bachelor’s degree in French and Secondary Education from Queens College of the City University of New York. Susan taught English as a foreign language in Israel for five years. Upon her return to Long Island, she became an adult literacy educator, teaching both English language learners and basic literacy learners and has taught in several Long Island adult education programs. She is also a certified New York State adult assessment trainer.
Susan and her husband, Natan, have lived in Medford for 23 years. They have three adult children and three granddaughters. Susan loves to read, travel, and dabble in photography.
Christine Moriarty graduated from Briarcliff College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting. She joined the staff of Literacy Suffolk in 2004, starting as the database manager before being promoted to finance director in 2007.
In her spare time, she volunteers with other nonprofit organizations, builds websites, goes to fun art classes with her friends, and travels the country with her family.
She enjoys life in Holtsville with her husband, Michael, son Mikey Jr., daughter Victoria, and Boston Terrier, Gizmo.
Program Services Coordinator
Kathy Corazza, who has a master’s degree in teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), joined Literacy Suffolk in 2012 as a volunteer tutor. Since 2014 she has been the East End coordinator, tutor trainer, and tester for Literacy Suffolk.
Helping people improve their English literacy skills has been the focus of her career since 1995. Working with volunteer tutors has been the best part of Literacy Suffolk, and she continues to be inspired by their dedication.
Program Services Coordinator
Brieanne Ost-Krasnicki received her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies/psychology from the University of Connecticut and her master’s degree in education from Long Island University/C.W. Post. Brieanne taught second grade for 12 years at a yeshiva in New York City. She also taught mathematics to seventh and eighth graders. In the evenings, she works for Eastern Suffolk BOCES as an adult educator for ESL/GED students.
Brieanne joined Literacy Suffolk in August 2021 as a regional coordinator. In her spare time, she loves traveling with her husband and their English Bulldog Ghost. They enjoy spending time at their summer home in the Catskills. Brieanne also likes to spend her time as a coupon extremist, looking for deals around every corner.
Program Services Coordinator
It was Tracy Speelman’s love of reading that led her into the literacy field in 2006. She began as an basic literacy tutor, helping adult learners develop and improve basic reading and writing skills, and began her position with Literacy Suffolk in 2008 as a coordinator, tutor trainer, and tester.
Tracy is passionate about literacy and enjoys working with tutors and students to help improve literacy skills in the community.
Tracy lives in East Patchogue, where she loves to relax and listen to every audiobook ever published!
Board of Directors
Loretta Piscatella is a native Long Islander, retired from Middle Country Public Library as an adult services librarian, and has been a part of Literacy Suffolk for over 20 years. She started as a literacy tutor, then became a regional coordinator during a close partnership between the library and Literacy Suffolk. Loretta joined the Board of Directors in 2016, and became president in 2021.
Loretta received her bachelor’s degree in English from Skidmore College, teaching certification from Hofstra University, and a master’s of library science degree from Long Island University/C.W. Post.
She and her husband, Mike Bailis, live in Oakdale but love to travel just about everywhere and anywhere! They have six children, four granddaughters (plus two pending!), one grandson, three cats, and one very energetic dog. Loretta also volunteers as a “Master Weeder” at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Oakdale.
Karen Olsen-Helmold grew up and still resides in Bethpage. She retired from teaching high school and middle school mathematics in the Island Trees School District. Karen received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Delaware, a master’s degree in business administration from Adelphi university, and a law degree from Touro Law School where she was editor in chief of the Moot Court Board.
Karen and her husband, Steve, are active members of Sons of Norway, a Norwegian fraternal organization where they celebrate their heritage.
Although Karen is relatively new to Literacy Suffolk, joining in November 2020 as treasurer of the Board of Directors, she has embraced the cause and is dedicated to the mission of eliminating adult illiteracy in Suffolk County.
Jane Ostendorff is a New Yorker, born and raised. She recently retired from Suffolk County Government, where she started in the Law Department. She then transferred to Francis S. Gabreski Airport, where she was an administrator for 19 years. Prior to working for Suffolk County, she worked for a national environmental testing laboratory that turned methane gas into energy.
Jane lives in Ridge with her husband, Gene. They have three children and four grandchildren, in addition to a new puppy and a flock of chickens! Spending time with family and friends is her favorite pastime.
Jane joined the Literacy Suffolk Board in September 2021, wanting to do something meaningful in her retirement while learning to enjoy the adventures of this next chapter in her life.
Don Chiappetta has served as a Literacy Suffolk board member for over 25 years, after coming to the organization as a Basic Literacy Learner.
As a representative for adult literacy, Don has been fortunate to meet with President George W. Bush, First Lady Barbara Bush, and Oprah Winfrey. He has also appeared in a public service ad with Danny Glover.
He spent 24 years of his business career as a franchisor for Convenient Food Mart, running seven stores in the New York metropolitan area. Don spent the next 23 years owning and running a business, Top to Bottom Chimney Cleaners, with his son. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Better Business Bureau, and is the head manager of Babylon’s Cedar Beach Marina.
Don and his wife, Carolyn, are happily celebrating their 56th wedding anniversary in 2022, with their three children, their spouses, and seven grandchildren.
Doris Colson and her husband, Jamal, live in Holbrook and have four (now adult) children. Having devoted most of her adult years to raising those children, Doris is now slowly developing her own career track. Between the years of child rearing, part-time jobs, completing a bachelor’s degree in public administration, and community service, her accomplishments are always progressing. She is continually developing and always learning.
Doris also possesses an associate’s degree in accounting, is working on a graduate program at Empire State College, is a bookkeeper for her local congregation, and recently started a small tutoring business.
Doris is an English language instructor for several Long Island libraries, as well as a tutor with Literacy Suffolk. She loves tutoring and teaching adults who desire to learn English. Doris also teaches classes online twice a week with The Literacy Council of Sarasota in Florida. In April 2022, Doris joined the Literacy Suffolk Board of Directors. Doris has certainly found her passion!
Virginia Cravotta was a pioneer in the field of long-term care. In 1976, she launched Geriatric Planning, Inc., the nation’s first company to help families deal with long-term care needs. Ginny and her professional health care team enabled families to communicate more effectively, acknowledge the functional needs of their frail loved ones, and make informed decisions and choices about their care. By collaborating with elder law attorneys and financial planners, the company added additional services and became Senior Care Solutions of New York, the first “one-stop shopping” for seniors and their families.
Ginny has been a speaker for the National Council on the Aging, Hofstra University, and county and state offices of the aging. She was also the senior affairs correspondent for News 12 Long Island. She joined the Board of Directors of Literacy Suffolk in 1994!
Ginny grew up in Bethpage and still lives there. She is so committed to helping others that she took on a daily task from a client who passed away years ago–feeding a feral cat colony on the grounds of Pilgrim State Hospital.
Ana Maria Figueroa was born and raised in Puerto Rico and immigrated to the United States where she has resided since. Ana is a mother of three adult children two of whom are serving in the armed forces.
She began her journey with Long Island Head Start in 2006, and since then has held many positions within the agency. Ana found her true passion when she was afforded the position of Family Advocate in 2007. This position has allowed Ana to provide support and guidance to the Head Start families in the community, following the mission statement of the agency and the Head Start philosophy. Ana works closely with parents at different levels of commitment and does not see this as her job but as her calling and believes that lending a hand and encouraging parents she meets can make a difference. In 2016, Ana became a Facilitator for the Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors National Parent Curriculum.
Ana’s commitment to providing a strong and steady foundation for the children, families, and communities continues and looks forward to making a difference in the families she meets along the way. This is the reason that she agreed to join the Literacy Suffolk Board of Directors.
Amber Gagliardi has been an Adult Reference Librarian at the Middle Country Public Library (MCPL) since 2011 specializing in literacy services and programming. She became a Literary Suffolk board member in March 2019 after working closely with Literacy Suffolk recruiting students and supporting tutors at the library.
Amber received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology and political science from SUNY Plattsburgh and master’s of library science degree from Queen’s College. She has a passion for learning about other cultures, increasing access to services for library patrons, and creating meaningful programs that have a lasting impact. Amber is also chair of Suffolk County Library Association’s Multicultural and Outreach Services Committee (MOSAIC).
She lives with her husband, Brian Gagliardi, and two children, Kyle and Lily, in Center Moriches where she has a huge garden and craft room. She has used her knowledge as a lifelong gardener to establish a seed library at MCPL, co-founded the Long Island Seed Libraries Roundtable, and has presented and coordinated unique eco-friendly gardening programs. You can usually find Amber doing some sort of craft or planning a party or event.