Dr. Gladys I. Cruz is the District Superintendent of Questar III BOCES. Over a 30-year span, Dr. Cruz has established a distinguished career as a teacher and education leader. Since joining Questar III in 1998, Cruz has served in a number of leadership positions including Chief Operating Officer / Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Director of School Improvement and BETAC Specialist. She began her career as a teacher in Puerto Rico and her education experience ranges from K-12 schools to universities in New York State and Puerto Rico. Cruz holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and a master’s degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from the State University of New York at Albany. In addition, she holds a master’s degree in Bilingual Education and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and English from La Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico.
Carmen Diaz is the Interim Director of the RBERN. She joined the team as a Resource Specialist in November 2018. She was an academic coach for 3 years in New York state. Prior to moving to New York, Carmen taught grades 1-4 for 9 years in Connecticut. She also taught ELLs at the elementary level as well as an adult education course for adults learning English. Carmen is a Google Certified Trainer and specializes in technology integration, especially in the elementary grades. She has presented on TESOL strategies for two consecutive years at the NYS TESOL annual conference and will also be presenting at the Applied Linguistics Winter Conference, Long Island ESOL, New York State Association of Bilingual Education and TESOL International. Carmen is also the VP of Advocacy for NYS TESOL and is actively involved with their partner organizations, such as NYSCEA, NYSABE, and TESOL International. She holds a master’s degree in Teaching from Sacred Heart University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCONN.
Jessa Waterhouse is a Resource Specialist who joined the RBERN staff in January 2015. She was a Spanish teacher for seven years in the Capital District and holds a professional certificate in Spanish 7-12 and ESOL. Jessa works extensively with district administrative teams on programmatic and regulatory considerations. She has presented on best practices for ELLs at the regional, national and international level for NYSEC, NCTE, NYSTESOL, NABE and TESOL International. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish from SUNY New Paltz, her master’s degree in Adolescent Education from the College of Saint Rose and her ESOL certification from Mercy College.
Sandy Strock joined the Capital District RBERN in July 2017 as a Resource Specialist. Previously, she served as an ELA Specialist for Questar III School Improvement, bringing over two decades of secondary and post-secondary experience in cross-content literacy and secondary English to her work with English Learners. In addition to her ongoing regional work, she has presented on English Learner strategies for multiple state and national conferences including NYSEC, NCTE, NYSTESOL, TESOL International, and NABE. She holds a master’s degree in English, a Bachelor of Arts in English Education, and an AGC in TESOL, all from the State University of New York at Albany.
Kristine Rodgers joined the team in August 2019. She was an ENL teacher in the Capital Region for seven years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Oneonta and her master’s degree in TESOL from SUNY New Paltz.
Marcia Soares is our newest RBERN resource specialist who joined us in January 2020. She has 18 years of teaching experience working with diverse populations. Prior to moving to New York, Marcia taught 5th grade for 3 years in New Jersey. She also taught grades 3 – 6 in the Albany Charter Schools for 13 years. For the past 5 years, she was an ENL Elementary teacher within the Saratoga School District. Her masters degree is in Elementary Education with a Bilingual extension from St. Rose College. She is also ENL certified. She is passionate about making educational opportunities accessible to everyone.
Stephanie Carbone joined the RBERN team in July 2019 as a Data Analyst. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Science Degree in Speech Language Pathology from the College of St. Rose. Stephanie previously worked for the Wynantskill Union Free School District as a Speech Pathologist for 20 years. She received her School Building Leader Certification, School District Leader Certification, and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Education from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
Yulissa Gomez joined the Capital District RBERN team as their new Program Support Specialist in July 2020. She attended SUNY Oneonta where she received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood/Childhood Education (Birth-6) with a concentration in Spanish. At this university, she joined three national honor societies: Chi Alpha Epsilon, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Sigma Iota. She also received awards from the State University of New York for E.O.P. academic excellence. She studied abroad in Cali, Colombia in 2017 and visited schools of different economy levels.