Staff & Support Contact Information

Suzanne Baumgarten

Chief Financial Officer

Finances / Operations / HR

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

Associate Director for Technology and Innovative Strategies


"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark." ~ Michelangelo
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.

Liz J. Fernández, Ed.M.

Coordinator - Job Fair to Promote Diversity


Liz J.Fernández, Ed.M. is a bilingual and bicultural educator, trainer, and speaker. She has written curriculum and facilitated workshops throughout the Americas, Asia and South Africa focused on gender identity, cross cultural competency, conflict management, hiring, recruitment and retention practices, and curriculum development for grades pre-Kindergarten through higher education.

She has served as an administrator, teacher and facilitator in the independent school community including serving as the Director of Diversity at The Dalton School, Dean of the Class of 2013, MS Ethics Department Chair and member of the Board of Trustees at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School (ECFS).

Currently, she serves as the Assistant Head of School, Ethical Education & Social Impact at ECFS. From 2000 to 2011, she served on the faculty of the National Association of Independent Schools, Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) and for eight years was a co-chair. Since 2000, she has coordinated the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Job Fair to Promote Diversity designed to increase teachers and administrators of color within member schools. She began her career within the independent school community as a result of being a candidate at the very job fair she new coordinates. Her insight into hiring, recruitment, and retention has been invaluable to schools and candidates alike.

She is an alumna of and has proudly served on the Board of Directors of Bloomingdale Family Head Start Programs, Inc. a NYC pre-school program serving low-income families with comprehensive educational support services.

Ms. Fernández holds a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Hamilton College, an MA in Social Sciences with a concentration in Sociology and Education from Binghamton University, State University of New York and an Ed.M. from Columbia University, Teacher’s College, Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership where was an Altman Scholar.

Maria Flores Seibert

Administrative Coordinator for Communications and Operations

Exhibitor Showcases

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~ Mark Twain
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.

Mark W. Lauria, Ph.D.

Executive Director


"Leadership is creating the environment and setting the tone so that others can do their best work."
Dr. Mark W. Lauria has been the Executive Director for the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) since 2009. Prior to his work with NYSAIS, he served for 13 years as Head of School at a Southern California independent school. In addition to his work as a Head of School, he was the President of the Board of Trustees for the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). Before beginning his independent school service, Dr. Lauria worked in the Ontario-Montclair School District where he was an assistant superintendent, director of certificated personnel, principal, assistant principal, and teacher. He is actively involved on several non-profit boards currently serving as the Board Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Educational Records Bureau (ERB), the Treasurer of The Parents League of New York, the Treasurer of the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA), the Executive Committee of the Independent School Association Network (ISAnet), and a member of the Cloud Forest School Foundation (CFSF) in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Dr. Lauria earned his B.A. in literature and psychology from Claremont McKenna College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in educational administration from Claremont Graduate University. He and his wife enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and traveling. They completed the 500-mile journey on the Camino de Santiago in Spain during the summer of 2017.

Marcy Mann

Associate Director for Professional Learning

Professional Learning
Workshops / Institutes / Symposia

Marcy Mann serves as Associate Director for Professional Learning. Previously, she was Associate Head for Academic Affairs at Professional Children’s School, Assistant Head of School at The Collegiate School, and has been a division head in three NYSAIS schools: as Upper School Head at Nightingale-Bamford School and as Middle School Director at The Calhoun School and The Hackley School. Originally a Spanish teacher, Marcy holds a B.A. in Romance Languages and Literature from the University of Michigan and a Master's degree in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University. Her affiliation at NYSAIS includes co-leading the annual series of workshops for new division heads, "Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire", and as associate director of the Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI).

Born and raised in Buffalo, Marcy lives in NYC, and in her free time she attends theater and concerts, is an avid fiction reader, and enjoys traveling worldwide with her husband, who is a teacher at The Brearley School.

Shannon Rogers

Associate Director for Evaluation and Accreditation

Evaluation and Accreditation
Experienced Leaders Advising Schools (ELAS)

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.

George Swain, Ed.M., CAE

Director for Evaluation and Professional Learning

Evaluation and Accreditation
Professional Learning
Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI)

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." ~ T.S. Eliot
George Swain has been Director for Evaluation and Professional Learning 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.

Barbara B. Swanson

Associate Director for Residential Professional Learning

Professional Learning
Conferences / Workshops
Conference Planning Committees

Do your best with what you have, where you are.
Barbara B. Swanson became the first Associate Director for Professional Development at NYSAIS in 1983. Prior to joining NYSAIS she was a product tester and trainer for a small software distributor in New York City. After she received her BA in Art History and MA in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, she became the slide librarian for the Art History Department, and then a public librarian in Altadena California. Born and raised in Hawaii, she has also lived in Texas, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, California, Scotland, New York, and Tennessee. A passionate traveler, she currently lives in the Catskills where she enjoys the spectacular scenery, warm friendships and visits from her family.

© 2013 NYSAIS

site map   |   privacy policy
contact us
17 Elk Street (First Floor)
Albany, NY 12207
Tel: 518-694-5500
Fax: 518-694-5501

© 2013 New York State Association of Independent Schools

site map   |   privacy policy   |   contact us
17 Elk Street (First Floor)     Albany, NY 12207     Tel: 518-694-5500     Fax: 518-694-5501

powered by finalsite