Board of Trustees

Alexis Kashar, President Alexis is civil rights and special education attorney. She is a graduate of the University of Texas Law School. Alexis joined the Board of Trustees in 2008 and is currently the President of the Board. She is also the chair of the Civil Rights committee for the National Association for the Deaf. She is also active in her community in various civic and education organizations. Alexis lives in Scarsdale with her husband and their 3 children.

Jody C. BenardVice President – Jody graduated from the University of Rochester in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts in History.  She received her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University National Law Center in 1986 and is admitted to practice in both federal and state courts in New York and New Jersey.  Jody has handled a multitude of matters in both New York and New Jersey including general liability, products liability, Dram Shop, premises liability, construction defect, Labor Law, elevator maintenance, automobile liability, trucking and transportation liability and insurance coverage from inception through trial. She currently is an Associate at Murphy Higgins & Schiavetta.

Dixie DeLuca, Vice PresidentDixie joined Fanwood’s Board of Trustees in 1997 after a 22-year career in the corporate insurance brokerage industry where she most recently led Aon’s global network. although she is very involved in event planning, current she is focusing her time and energy on raising her family, philanthropic work, and volunteer activities. Dixie lives in New York City with her husband, David, and sons Peter (9) and William (8) and dog Teddy.

Arnold L. Mintz, Co-Treasurer – Retired as President and Chief Operating Officer and Board Member of Asset Alliance and subsidiaries and has held senior management positions in operations, administration, marketing and sales. Mr. Mintz is also Global Head of the Company’s investment placement business Hedge Harbor Inc. He serves on the Board of Directors of Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation. Arnold joined NYSD’s Board of Trustees in 2003.

Steve Pennacchio, Co-Treasurer – Steve is an attorney and CPA currently working in industry with responsibility for Executive Compensation and Benefits for a large multi-national company. Steve joined the Board in 1998.

Stephen F. (Steve) Weiner, Secretary – Steve is the former Provost at Gallaudet University and became a Trustee in 2008. Steve is deaf and the son of deaf parents and attended Fanwood from 1964 to 1968. Besides being in higher education for most of his professional career, Dr. Weiner has been involved in the deaf and disability rights movement since the 1970s, promoting equal access for everyone. Steve and his wife, Dr. Tammy Weiner, a professor of Psychology, have two grown children who have flown the coop. They live in the “one traffic light,” town of Davidsonville, Maryland. Although Steve has lived in different parts of the country, Brooklyn will always be his home.

Linda Bove is a professional actor/ASL consultant for Theatre/TV/films and certified deaf interpreter. A founding member of the Deaf West Theatre, she lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, Ed Waterstreet, Artistic Director of DWT. She has been an active board member since 1991.

Dr. Noel Cohen grew up and went to school in Brooklyn. He graduated from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands with his MD. He did his residency and became the Chair of NYU School of Medicine. He became a trustee in 2010.

Tom L. Humphries, Ph.D is an American academic, author, and lecturer on Deaf culture and communication. Humphries is a Professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Humphries earned his Ph.D. in Cross Cultural Communication and Language Learning at Union Graduate School in 1977. Humphries is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the San Diego branch of the University of California. In addition to teaching at UCSD, he has been developing an experimental curriculum for teaching deaf children by applying bilingual teaching practices.

Humphries’ published writings encompass 43 works in 78 publications in 7 languages and 5,474 library holdings. His works are created with his wife and co-author, Carol Padden.

Senator Suzi Oppenheimer has earned a reputation in the Legislature as an energetic and vocal advocate for education, environmental protection, child care, health care, fiscal reform and the arts. She served in the New York State Senate from 1985 to 2013, and continues to be an advocate for deaf children, by serving as a Trustee at New York School for the Deaf.

Clifford R. Rowley graduated from Fanwood in 1960, was a research chemist until he retired in 2001 after 35 years with a chemical manufacturer in NJ. In 1991, he became the first Deaf alumnus to serve as a Trustee. After his retirement, he moved to Tucson, Arizona with his lovely wife Nancy, a former teacher at Fanwood. They have two children and three grandchildren.

Sherri Turpin, a technology veteran, Turpin brings her leadership background and over 25+ years of experience in the telecommunications industry, specializing in Business Strategy & Development, Sales, Marketing, Operations and Customer Experience. Most recently, Turpin served as Channel Chief for EarthLink. Other former positions include Executive in Residence for Kinderhook Industries and for over a decade with XO Communications in varying management roles. Turpin has been awarded various honors for her leadership and innovation.

Eric Wagner is a financial advisor at UBS Financial Services Inc. He became a trustee in 2008 and is currently a member of the Executive Committee. He is a graduate of Penn State University and Brooklyn Law School. Eric lives in Westchester with his wife, Kari and his daughters Lily and Charlotte.

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