Suzanne Baumgarten joined the NYSAIS team as their Chief Financial Officer in 2018. Prior to NYSAIS, Suzanne served independent schools for 18 years as the Director of Finance and Operations at Miss Hall’s School in Pittsfield, MA and as the Business Manager at Brown School in Schenectady, NY. She has been a member of the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) and served for 6 years as an officer of the Business Association of Housatonic Schools (BAHS). Suzanne earned her BBA in accounting from Siena College. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her five children, home renovation, and is currently working toward becoming a 46’er.
Andrew S. Cooke is the Associate Director for Technology and Innovative Strategies for the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), having originally joined in 2012 as the association's first Technology Coordinator. In charge of all aspects of technology, Andrew has collaborated on creating the NYSAIS-Now platform, an internal association database, member engagement platforms, and the What's Happening @ NYSAIS newsletter, while also advising and advocating for technology education and independent schools.
Prior to NYSAIS, Andrew spent three years as a technology specialist in a public school district, followed by two years as the technology director and systems administrator for a municipal police department. A graduate of Binghamton University, he has been published in two educational journals on innovation in teaching and recently contributed to a university-level history textbook. Andrew has spent many years as a coach, small business owner, and board member, including a term as the fundraising chair for a non-profit in upstate NY dedicated to raising scholarship money for local students. A big sports fan, avid gardener, and accomplished floral designer, Andrew spends his free time with his wife and their three children enjoying the outdoors of the Hudson Valley.
Worokya Duncan, EdD is a professional educator with 23 years of classroom experience, a Doctoral-level education, a great deal of energy, and a commitment to students. Over the course of her career, she has taught both elementary and middle school students in a variety of subjects, including United States History, Literacy, and Science. Her primary foci are Teacher training and development, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Belonging. All people should feel respected and know that they are valued!
Maria Flores Seibert has been the Administrative Coordinator for Communications and Operations for the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) since 2011. Prior to her work with NYSAIS, she was a teacher of English as a Second Language and English to Speakers of Other Languages. Maria earned her B.A. in English at SUNY Plattsburgh, and her M.S. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at SUNY Albany.
Shannon joined the NYSAIS team as the Associate Director for Evaluation and Accreditation in July 2020. Prior to NYSAIS, she was the Manager of School Accreditation with the American Montessori Society. An educator with a passion for literacy, Shannon has served school communities in New York, Chicago, and her hometown of Albuquerque. She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico in 2009 and is currently pursuing her MFA in Writing For Young People at Antioch University.
Matt Suzuki is an Associate Director of Professional Learning and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives. His work with independent schools extends over 30 years, most recently as Director of Admissions at Rye Country Day School. A history teacher by training, Matt holds a B.S.Ed. in History and Secondary School Education from Northwestern University, a Master of Education in Educational Administration from the University of Hawai’i, a Master of Arts in Private School Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, certificates from the University of California at Los Angeles (College Counseling), Harvard University (Administrative Fellows Program), Cornell University (Diversity and Inclusion), and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a regular presenter at NAIS’s People of Color Conference, served on the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Advisory Committee Task Force, NAIS Call to Action (think-tank), member of the Fairchester Admissions Directors and Faculty of Color Committees, and past member of the NYSAIS Think Tank, Diversity, Admissions, and Professional Learning and Collaboration Committees.
George T. Swain has been with NYSAIS since 2013. Before joining the NYSAIS staff, George served as Head of Middle School at both Poughkeepsie Day School and Brooklyn Friends School. He holds a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Earlham College and master's degrees in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and in History from Binghamton University. He has received both the Klingenstein and NAIS/EE Ford Fellowships, is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), and currently serves on the board of the Empire State Society of Association Executives.
In addition to his work with schools, George enjoys endurance cycling and traveling the world with his wife and two children. He also blogs and writes a regular column for a national endurance cycling journal.
Vince Watchorn is the Executive Director of the New York State Association of Independent Schools. He has been in independent schools his entire life and has worked directly with boards of trustees for 30 years. He is a national leader in head of school talent development, a former head of school, and editor of the NAIS Head Search Handbook. His entrepreneurial spirit has helped launch the Head of School Database (HSDB), revitalize the NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads, and forge innovative educational partnerships. In his community service, he aims to leverage his privilege to advocate for social justice and inclusive historical narrative.