Leadership Team


Bernadette Fitzgerald, Executive Director

Brooklyn North Field Support Center
Call Bernadette: (718) 935-3954
Email Bernadette: bfitzge2@schools.nyc.gov

Bernadette is the Executive Director of the BNFSC. In 2008, she was appointed Principal of 20K503.  As a Principal, she focused on instituting the Six Elements of the Framework for Great Schools, and will continue to focus on building capacity in Brooklyn North schools. During her tenure as Principal, she was nominated as a Cahn Fellow, selected as a Teachers College Reading & Writing Project principal mentor, chosen to be a mentor for the NYC Leadership Academy's Aspiring Principals/A.P and invited to participate in the Chancellor's Fellowship. Under her leadership, PS 503 served as a demonstration school for the Teachers College Inclusive Classrooms Project, was designated as a host school for the Learning Partners Program, and was visited by educators from around the world.  Bernadette has been a NYC educator for twenty-five years.  She began her career as a classroom teacher in District 15. 



Alison Sheehan, Senior Director & Director of Teaching & Learning
Brooklyn North Field Support Center
Call Alison: (718) 935-3707

Alison is Director of Teaching and Learning at the Borough Center.  Prior to this, she was the Network Leader for CFN 102/113 where she supported over 50 schools.   She began her career in 1990 as a teacher at PS 321K. Her extensive experience as an educator included positions as:  School Leader, Director of Professional Development (District 15) and Local Instructional Superintendent (Region 8).  In 2006, she took an 18 month hiatus from the DOE to join Dr. Jim Stigler, Professor of Psychology at UCLA, and director/co-author of the TIMMS video studies, to work at LessonLab Inc., a company whose mission was to study and improve classroom teaching. She returned to the DOE in 2008. 




Thalia Smith, 
Director of Human Resources & Finance
Brooklyn North Field Support Center
Call Thalia: (718) 935-3820

Thalia joined the NYC DOE in 1998 and has held many roles with the DOE.  These various responsibilites have provided her with an extensive knowledge of budget, human resources, procurement, payroll and other functional areas. She began as a Budget Analyst, then moved to Senior Budget Analyst and Assistant Director in central's budget office.  Thalia's desire to understand the impact that policies were having on schools led her to positions that directly supported schools.  She served as a Business Manager, Cluster Operations Officer, CFN Budget Director, CFN Deputy Network Leader and Manager of Budget Operations and Implementation in the Office of Field Services.  Thalia holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management & Finance and a Masters of Applied Science in Political Science: Urban Policy and Analysis. 
 



Steven Strull, 
Director of Student Services
Brooklyn North Field Support Center
Call Steven: (718) 935-3767

Steven is the Director of Student Services at the BNFSC.  He supervises content expert administrators and managers in Guidance, School Climate, Crisis/De-escalation, Attendance, and School Health.  Previously, Steven facilitated a pre-service Principal preparation experience called Leaders in Education Apprentice Program (LEAP) for the Office of Leadership.  Additionally, Steven served as a Local Instructional Superintendent in the Bronx and as a Leadership Coach with the New York City Leadership Academy.  Formerly, Steven directed the National School Reform Faculty, creators of the Critical Friends Group approach.  Steven has extensive experience in school reform, professional development, and central and field office supervision and leadership and has been involved with the small schools movement for over 20 years.



Mark Otto, 
Director of Special Education
Brooklyn North Field Support Center
Call Mark: (718) 935-4602
Email Mark: motto@schools.nyc.gov

Mark is Director of Special Education at the BNFSC. Most recently he was Co-Principal of The Facing History High School in Manhattan. There, he focused on improving the special education supports and instruction offered to students with a variety of learning needs.  He also developed supports and coaching for all teachers to ensure that all students were engaged in rigorous learning.  Mark was also the founding special education teacher at Facing History High School in 2005 where he implemented inclusive education for all students across the continuum. He has also worked in New Jersey and Los Angeles schools where he taught in both self-contained and ICT settings. 




Anthony Pizzillo, 
Director of English Language Learners
Brooklyn North Field Support Center
Call Anthony: (718) 935-4840
Email Anthony: apizzil@schools.nyc.gov

Anthony is the Director of the Division of English Language Learners, overseeing the management of professional learning opportunities and resources to advance the academic achievement of English language learners. Prior to becoming a Director at the BNFSC, Anthony was an Instructional Lead supporting schools with differentiating instruction for ELLs and students with disabilities at the secondary level. He also served as an ELL Instructional and Compliance Coach with Children First Network 102/113. During his first 13 years with the DOE, Anthony was an ENL teacher and coordinator in both middle and high schools. Anthony has an MA from New York University in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Foreign Language (Italian), and Advanced Certificate in Administration and Supervision from Hunter College of City University of New York.
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Eric Weinbaum, Director of Operations 

Brooklyn North Field Support Center
Call Eric: (718) 935-4567

Eric is currently Director of Operations of the BNFSC where he oversees the coordination of resources and management that impact schools, students, and families of Brooklyn North.  He works cross-functionally with the leadership of BNFSC, leadership from the Division of Operations, Office of Pupil Transportation, Division of Early Childhood Education Office of Legal Services and many other central offices. Eric began his career in 1987 as a carpenter for the Division of School Facilities. In 1994, he became area manager for the Administration for Division of School Facilities where he oversaw facilitator repairs and maintenance for Bronx and Manhattan schools.  In 2003, he took the Regional Facilities Planner position for Regional Operations Center 6.  In 2007, Eric accepted the role as Director of Facilities and Special Projects for the pilot program for Children First Network and later became Deputy Network Leader for CFN 106 and in 2012 for CFN 536. His responsibilities included supporting schools and Superintendents with Facilities, School Food, Transportation, Enrollment, PSAL, Youth Development, Attendance, Data/IT, Health and Family Engagement. 

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Jennifer Conway,
Support Service Liaison 

Brooklyn North Field Support Center
Call Jen: (718) 935-3730

Jen is currently the Support Service Liaison at the FSC, where she is responsible for working to develop and foster relationships with the district and high school superintendents and their teams.  Jen joins the FSC from the Office of Assessment where she was the Director of Special Projects.  Previously, Jen served for four years as the Chief of Staff at the cluster level, providing support to the Chief Executive Officer and 11 networks.  Jen began her career at the DOE in the Office of School Quality.  Prior to coming to the DOE, Jen spent many years in the field of non-profit higher education in Washington DC, including four year at the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training, which is a national agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education.  She holds a B.A. in History and a M.Ed. in Education Policy Studies both from the University of Virginia.