Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Work Group
Shino Tanikawa has been a public school advocate in New York City for over 20 years. She began her advocacy career at her older daughter’s public elementary school in Community School District 2 in Manhattan, where she served as PTA Co-President.
Aramina Vega Ferrer, Ph.D., is a long-time Bronx resident and former associate professor of Literacy and Multilingual Studies in the School of Education at Mercy College where she prepared teacher candidates for advanced certificates and the M.S. in Teaching Literacy. She views the teaching and learning of reading and writing as complex processes best examined through a sociolinguistic lens that takes into account the cultural and linguistic experiences of students and their families in the home.
Dr. Frances Wills served for six years as Superintendent of Schools in Putnam Valley, New York, after spending three years as a consultant and Coordinator of Professional Development for Pace University's School of Education. She retired in June 2010 as Superintendent of Schools in Briarcliff Manor, New York where she served for 16 years. The Briarcliff Manor community recognized her contributions by naming the auditorium in her honor.
Susan W. Mittler was born in New York City and is a first generation American. She attended grades K-12 public school in Queens, New York. Mrs. Mittler earned a BS degree from Cornell University (Human Development and Family Studies) and a Master’s Degree in elementary education from SUNY Cortland.
She has been an educator in New York State for over thirty -five years. For the first half of her career Mrs. Mittler taught children in the nursery – middle school classroom and elementary school students as part of a district-wide gifted and talented program.
Luis O. Reyes, Ph.D. was appointed as a Research Associate at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY, in 2010. He serves as Centro’s Director of Education. Dr. Reyes has served as assistant professor in various education departments, including Lehman, Hunter, Brooklyn and Baruch Colleges, CUNY, and at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. Dr. Reyes earned a B.A. in Spanish Literature from The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC (1967), an M.A. in Spanish Literature from Middlebury College in Vermont (1971), and a Ph.D.
Catherine Fisher Collins is a distinguished educator, author and member of the New York State Board of Regents. She has dedicated much of her personal and professional life to promoting the twin issues of good health and a sound education, with a special emphasis on the needs of underserved youth/women and individuals in western New York. She is a forceful and passionate advocate in promoting the success of all students in New York State.
Judith J. Chin was elected by joint session of the Legislature to the Board of Regents to a three-year term (March 10, 2015 - March 31, 2018) and re-elected (April 1, 2018 - March 31, 2023) as the Regent representing the borough of Queens, the 11th Judicial District.
Josephine Victoria Finn was first appointed to a 5-year term on the New York State Board of Regents effective April 1, 2014 and elected to a second 5-year term effective April 1, 2019. At the June 2021 Board of Regents meeting, she was unanimously elected by her peers to be Vice Chancellor effective June 8, 2021. Vice Chancellor Finn graduated from the State University of New York at Oneonta receiving a B.A. in Psychology and Black Studies and from the University of Buffalo Law School where she received a J.D.
Ruth B. Turner was appointed to the New York State Board of Regents for a one-year term (March 2, 2021 - March 31, 2022) and re-elected (April 1, 2022 - March 31, 2027) as the Regent representing the 7th Judicial District. Regent Turner graduated from Nazareth College of Rochester receiving a B.S. in Social Work and a MSW from University of Buffalo. She also holds a M.S. in Ed. from SUNY Brockport. She is a licensed Clinical Social Worker who has served the profession for over 24 years.
James E. Cottrell, M.D. was elected by a joint session of the Legislature to a three-year term as an At-Large Member of the New York State Board of Regents.