Chair of the Board
Dr. Fehmi Damkaci
Founder, Terra Science and Education
Dr. Damkaci is an experienced Professor with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. He is skilled in Grant Writing, STEM Retention programs, Program Development, Graduate Education Program Development and Management, Organic Chemistry, Research, Educational Leadership, and Teaching. He is a strong leadership professional with a Certificate focused in Higher Education/Higher Education Administration from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and a Certificate focused in Public Diplomacy, Leadership, and Management from Syracuse University School of Maxwell. Dr. Damkaci has received several awards such as the Gold Medal for Scholarly Activities and Research, the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship, and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service.
Dr. Donna J. DeSiato
Superintendent, East Syracuse Minoa Central School District
A respected leader in the field of public education, Dr. Donna DeSiato proudly serves as superintendent of the East Syracuse Minoa Central School District. Dr. DeSiato’s professional experiences include building, district, and state-level involvement in strategic planning, organizing and developing comprehensive programs, designing professional development and leading systemic reform. As the Superintendent of ESM since 2005, the District has realized significant gains in student achievement, a continual increase in the graduation rate and developed educational models with business partnerships. Dr. DeSiato serves on the University of the State of New York Technology Council and is a member of the New York State Council of School Superintendents Executive Committee. As a community and civic leader, Dr. DeSiato is a Trustee for Onondaga Community College, serves on the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority, Syracuse University Study Council (President), Crouse Hospital School of Nursing Advisory Board, Partners for Education & Business Advisory Board, LeMoyne College Education Advisory Board and is a proud graduate of Leadership Greater Syracuse, Class of 2005. Dr. DeSiato received an Associate of Arts degree from Onondaga Community College, a Bachelor’s of Education Degree from the University of Miami, a Master’s Degree from SUNY Cortland, a Certificate of Advanced Study from SUNY Oswego, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Syracuse University. She is highly regarded in education and in the business community for her leadership in innovative learning models and preparing graduates for our global society.
Dr. Lorrie Clemo
President and CEO of D’Youville College
In collaboration with the senior leadership, faculty, staff, and students, Dr. Clemo helps to advance D’Youville’s time tested mission of providing academic, social, spiritual, and professional development in programs that emphasize leadership and service. Prior to her current appointment, Dr. Clemo was Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs (2010-2016) at the State University of New York at Oswego. She set the bar for educational excellence through holistic student development programs and instructional quality, with continual assessment of new enrollment and program opportunities, increased faculty collaboration and contribution, and focus on high- need areas including international and adult students. Dr. Clemo had oversight of over 120 University Instructional Programs. Dr. Clemo generated a 120% rise in international student enrollments since 2010— reaching #8 ranking within the Institute of International Education ranking for Master’s level organizations in the U.S. (among the highest in SUNY system) in 2012 for study-abroad program volume. She also spearheaded a 5-year enrollment plan including new benchmarks, goals, scholarship opportunities, and international partnerships, with a renewed focus on strategic recruitment areas. Additionally, she facilitated designation as an International Destination Campus by the Institute of International Education. Dr. Clemo also created innovative STEM research abroad opportunities generating a 145% increase in student research awards from 2009-2015, she secured $540K corporate and extramural funding to support international student research. Established collaborative partnerships with institutions in Taiwan, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, Italy, Sweden, China, Turkey, and Costa Rica.
COO, SUNY ESF
Joanie Mahoney grew up in the Strathmore neighborhood in Syracuse, NY. She graduated from Corcoran High School, Syracuse University’s School of Management and S.U.’s College of Law where she received her Juris Doctor. After spending time in private practice, Joanie worked for five years as an Assistant District Attorney before being elected Councilor-at-Large in the City of Syracuse where she served a four-year term. In 2007 Joanie was elected Onondaga County’s first female County Executive where she served 11 years. Joanie was responsible for County Government operation, which served 460,000 residents of Central New York. She created and managed a billion-dollar budget with 3,500 employees in dozens of departments including Health, Children and Family Services, Procurement, Community Development, Finance, Law and Facilities Management. Joanie created an innovative development corporation to facilitate public/private partnerships, which was used to successfully finance construction projects for most of the colleges and hospitals in Syracuse including Saint Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, Upstate Medical Center and Crouse Hospital.
Joanie is currently working as Chief Operating Officer at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).
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