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Daily News

CHICOPEE — Elms College has named accomplished higher-education executive Antoinette Candia-Bailey the college’s first vice president of Student Affairs and chief Diversity officer. Reporting directly to the president, Candia-Bailey, who will join Elms College on April 1, will be responsible for the strategic oversight and management of the college’s Student Affairs and Diversity and Inclusion offices.

Candia-Bailey is joining Elms from the University of Wisconsin Madison (UWM), where she currently serves as senior project coordinator to the deputy vice chancellor for Diversity & Inclusion. Prior to that, she was associate dean of students and Student Life at UWM. 

Abiding by the college’s social-distancing policy during the COVID-19 pandemic, she will be working remotely at the start of her tenure.

“I am excited to welcome Dr. Candia-Bailey to Elms College,” said Elms College President Harry Dumay. “The fact that she is joining the college in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic highlights the strategic importance of this position to the college. She brings a wealth of experience in both student-affairs administration and diversity and inclusion, and has served in multiple roles within each discipline. I look forward to having her join my cabinet and collaborating with her on the strategic direction of the college.”

The position of vice president of Student Affairs and chief Diversity officer is a new one for the college. Candia-Bailey will be responsible for providing leadership, management, and supervision to the director of Diversity and Inclusion, the dean of students, the director of Campus Ministry, and the director of Athletics. She will advise the president and other members of the executive leadership team on all student-affairs and diversity matters.

Candia-Bailey has more than 20 years of progressive experience in student affairs and diversity and inclusion at higher-education institutions, including North Carolina State University, Towson University in Maryland, and North Carolina A&T State University. She holds a doctoral degree in leadership studies from North Carolina A&T State University, a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and disability studies from Michigan State University, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Lincoln University in Missouri.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to join the Elms College Cabinet, led by President Harry E. Dumay,” Candia-Bailey said. “I look forward to playing a role in promoting and advocating the success of all of our students. I am excited to contribute to the strategic goals, mission, and vision by being a student-centered advocate.”

COVID-19 Daily News

CHICOPEE — Elms College has rescheduled its third annual Executive Leadership Breakfast to Tuesday, Sept. 22 due to state-mandated caution regarding large crowds and coronavirus.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is still slated to be the keynote speaker for the event, which was originally scheduled for April 9. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, the college will announce more details as necessary.

This annual event features talks by the region’s leaders on topics of relevance that impact all sectors of business and the economy in Western Mass. Speakers at past events have included Dennis Duquette, head of Community Responsibility at MassMutual and president of the MassMutual Foundation, and Regina Noonan Hitchery, retired vice president of Human Resources at Alcoa.

Daily News

CHICOPEE — Elms College announced the appointment of three directors to its staff: Michael Crawford, director of Diversity and Inclusion; Andrea Holden, director of Alumni Relations; and Pablo Madera, director of Public Safety.

As director of Diversity and Inclusion, Crawford is committed to the holistic development of students within and beyond the classroom via empowerment, education, support, and advocacy. He has experience in diversity programming and academic support in higher education at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, the University of Connecticut, nonprofit organizations, and as an independent consultant. Most recently, he was a research associate in a culture and mental-health-disparities lab at the University of Connecticut. He also has extensive experience with various social-justice and college-preparation initiatives for vulnerable populations, first-generation and low-income students, and diverse populations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Haverford College and a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Connecticut. He also earned a certificate in college instruction and a master’s degree in adult learning from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut.

As director of Alumni Relations, Holden develops initiatives that increase alumni engagement and also advance the goals of the college. She has more than 20 years of experience in higher education, serving in a variety of roles within student affairs, including campus programs, campus-center management, new-student programs, leadership, and residential life. Most recently, she was a student-engagement specialist for the dean of students at the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick, R.I., and the director of Student Activities, Involvement and Leadership at Wheaton College in Norton. She holds a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Worcester State College and a master’s degree in marketing from Webster University.

As director of Public Safety, Madera manages the safety measures for the entire campus, as well as the administration of safety policies and protocols. He is a 37-year veteran of the Ludlow Police Department, where he progressed from patrolman to sergeant to lieutenant and, for the past seven years, served as the department’s chief of Police. He served as an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Western New England University (WNEU) for 23 years and also spent time consulting on multicultural-awareness issues and policing. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Westfield State University and his master’s degree in criminal justice administration from WNEU. In addition, he graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

Daily News HCN News & Notes

CHICOPEE — The School of Nursing at Elms College ranks in the top 10 of “Best Nursing Schools in Massachusetts,” according to a recent ranking by registerednursing.org.

“We are very pleased and gratified to be recognized by registerednursing.org as a top nursing program in the state,” said Kathleen Scoble, dean of the School of Nursing. “It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our nursing faculty and staff to provide a high-quality nursing curriculum for our students. As a result, Elms College nursing students have performed extraordinarily well on the NCLEX-RN [National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses] exam over the past three years, with an average pass rate of 98%.”

To determine this year’s rankings, registerednursing.org researched the 40 nursing programs across the state and analyzed their students’ performance on the NCLEX-RN exam over the past five years. In 2019, Elms College nurses achieved a 97% pass rate on the exam, while the national pass rate was 91%.

This is the third top-10 ranking for Elms College’s School of Nursing over the past year. It has been ranked in the top 10 of nursing schools in Massachusetts according to both nurse.org and  niche.com.

People on the Move

Jill Monson-Bishop

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently welcomed Jill Monson-Bishop into the role of Community Development manager. She comes to the ACS with expertise in networking, relationship building, marketing, project management, and more. Prior to joining the American Cancer Society, Monson-Bishop was one of the opening-day team members at MGM Springfield, with responsibilities including internal communications and employee events. She also owns Inspired Marketing, now a consultative marketing agency, but at one time a full-service marketing and event-planning company serving clients such as Smith & Wesson, Adam Quenneville Roofing, and Northwestern Mutual. Previously, she was a radio personality in Western Mass. on stations such as WMAS, Rock 102, WHYN, and more. Community engagement has always been a priority for Monson-Bishop, who, over the years, has been involved with organizations such the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, Square One, YWCA, the Springfield Regional Chamber, the Drama Studio, and more. She is a graduate of Bay Path University with a MBA in entrepreneurial thinking and innovative practices, and she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication and media studies at Westfield State University.


Jeffrey Neumann

Valley Solar, LLC announced the appointment of Jeffrey Neumann as lead master electrician. Neumann started with Valley Solar in April 2019 and will oversee all electrical operations. Prior to working at Valley Solar, Neumann was the electrical foreman at Hampshire College from 2010 to 2019. There, he supervised a crew of four journeyman electricians and oversaw all aspects of the the college’s Electrical Department, including supervision of crews, planning, budgeting, installations, and maintenance of campus electrical systems. He also oversaw several solar projects while at Hampshire and has performed solar installations involving single-phase residential wiring as well as more complex three-phase commercial projects.



Linda Morgan, an attorney with extensive experience in higher education, has been named vice president and general counsel at Springfield College, effective Aug. 26, President Mary-Beth Cooper announced. Morgan will provide legal counsel and guidance to the leadership of the college and will serve as secretary to its board of trustees. She will be a member of the president’s senior leadership team. Joining Springfield College with 13 years of service as a practicing attorney and more than six years in positions of senior-level organizational management and financial administration, Morgan is well-practiced in providing leadership to institutional compliance with laws and regulations pertinent to higher education, including the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Title IX, FERPA, HIPAA, and the Jeanne Clery Act. She provides experience in broad aspects of law and related matters, including contracts, agreements, litigation, legal investigations, dispute resolution, mediation, business formation, compliance, and management. She is admitted to the bars of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the State of New York, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Morgan most recently worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, providing expertise in areas of employment-law adjudication and related statutory interpretation. Her previous experience also includes service as associate dean for Gender Equity at Bard College, grant administrator within the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland, and an attorney in private practice. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland University College and a juris doctor from Western New England University School of Law. She has teaching experience as an adjunct professor at Holyoke Community College and Greenfield Community College.


Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP has been selected for membership in the Nautilus Group, a service of New York Life. The Nautilus Group is a planning resource comprised of financial professionals experienced in taxes, law, life insurance, accounting, and charitable giving. Deliso’s access to this exclusive resource enables her clients and their other financial advisors to benefit from the group’s collective experience and solutions as they apply to the protection, accumulation, and distribution of wealth to individuals, families, and business owners throughout the country. Deliso is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that position clients for a solid financial future. Her 30-year experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash management, risk management, investment, and retirement planning. She has developed an expertise in assisting business owners with protecting and securing their future. She is also fully committed to educating individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment. She has been a member of New York Life Chairman’s Council since 2012 and a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table since 1999. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso currently serves on and is past chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation and the Community Music School of Springfield. She has also served on the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.


Darcy Fortun

The Ad Club of Western Massachusetts recently recognized the Innovation Series with an award in the Video Series category. The Innovation Series is a documentary-style video series produced by Darcy Fortune, producer for Garvey Communication Associates Inc. (GCAi), for PeoplesBank. The series explored Valley Venture Mentors and some of its more unique entrepreneurial teams. The series was hosted by Matthew Bannister, first vice president of Marketing and Innovation for PeoplesBank. According to the bank’s website, the six-episode Innovation Series was designed and produced with the belief that PeoplesBank can not only be innovative, but help inspire innovation as well. The series garnered considerable media attention, with feature stories appearing in BusinessWest and several other area media outlets, as well as a sizable viewing audience. GCAi also distributed the Innovation Series through social-media channels, where it accumulated almost 400,000 total impressions, 100,000 engagement actions, and 90,000 video views at the time of the award. Fortune’s team included GCAi’s John Garvey as producer, Mary Shea as project manager, and James Garvey as digital dissemination manager. Matthew Derderian served as director of photography. Fortune is an experienced media professional and video producer, having served on assignment desks for both ABC and FOX News affiliates and developed videos and animations for GCAi clients including Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists, Cape Cod Cooperative Bank, MP CPAs, PeoplesBank, Peter Pan Bus Lines, and Winchester Savings Bank. She also just released two new pro bono videos for the Children’s Study Home and Wild Care of Cape Cod.


Yvonne De Faoite

Elms College announced it will host an Irish Fulbright language teaching assistant (FLTA) during the 2019-20 academic year. Yvonne De Faoite of Limerick, Ireland, will teach Irish (Gaelic) language and culture. The Irish FLTA position is co-sponsored by the Irish Cultural Center of Western Massachusetts. De Faoite earned her primary teaching degree from Froebel College of Education in 2008. In 2012, she spent a year in Australia, where she gained international teaching experience. She recently completed a master’s degree in Irish immersion education from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. Prior to that, she completed a diploma in educational leadership in University College Dublin. De Faoite’s educational interests include immersion and second-language acquisition. As a Fulbright Irish FLTA, she will teach the Irish language and culture to Elms College students and to community members through the Irish Cultural Center. She will also take classes at Elms.


Robert Burnell has been appointed executive chef of all dining venues at the Red Lion Inn. In his new role, Burnell oversees the day-to-day culinary operations of the main dining room, Widow Bingham’s Tavern, the Lion’s Den, and the seasonally open courtyard. In addition, Burnell will collaborate with Brian Alberg, vice president of Culinary Development, on all future food- and beverage-related development, including specialty menus for Red Lion guests and private parties. With nearly 20 years in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries, Burnell was previously executive chef at Gedney Farm in Marlborough. With a passion for clean cooking and eating, coupled with expertise in modern food trends, Burnell revamped menus to incorporate locally sourced items, along with gluten-free, vegetarian, and keto options for diners. He also strived to deliver exceptional client experiences for weddings, community events, and private dining. Additional hospitality experience includes five years as a property developer for Berkshire Hotels Group, during which he implemented construction projects for both hotels and restaurants.


Sean Sormanti

Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank, announced that Sean Sormanti has joined the bank as senior vice president – Human Resources. Most recently, Sormanti was director of Human Resources at Strategic Information Resources in Springfield. In his new role, he will be responsible for recruiting, planning, coordinating, and managing the activities of the bank’s Human Resources department. He will be based at 63 Federal St. in Greenfield. Sormanti has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine. He currently holds a professional in human resources certificate and is an active member of the Western Mass. chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.


Joseph Baker


Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) announced that Joseph Baker has joined its team as vice president of Finance and Administration. He will oversee finances, investments, human resources, and operations for the $152 million foundation. Baker previously served in leadership roles at other community foundations for 13 years, most recently as vice president of Finance and chief financial officer at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. Before that, he was director of Finance and Administration at the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain. He brings to BTCF a background in nonprofit finance and development, as the former head of a United Way and a nonprofit service organization. He also developed Danbury Children First, a parent-led community initiative. Baker earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in economics and Spanish from Colby College.


Bob Cummings has been re-elected to serve as president of the National Assoc. of Professional Benefits Administrators (NAPBA). A  NAPBA trustee since 2007, Cummings was first elected NAPBA president in 2015, and has been an instrumental force in the emergence of the consumer-directed healthcare industry over the past 20 years, orchestrating the growth of NAPBA as the primary compliance-standards and best-practice organization for third-party employee-benefits administrators serving the consumer-directed healthcare industry. As CEO and founder of American Benefits Group (ABG), a leading national employee-benefits administrator located in Northampton, Cummings has been a pioneer of the consumer-directed healthcare industry before the term even existed. ABG was one of the first administrators of flexible spending accounts (FSAs) in 1989 along with COBRA, billing-administration, and commuter-benefit accounts in the 1990s. When health savings accounts (HSA) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA) were enabled under the Internal Revenue Code in 2002, ABG was one of the early leaders in administering consumer-directed healthcare plan designs. As pre-tax, account-based plans became a linchpin of most employer benefit-plan designs along with high-deductible health plans, NAPBA was founded to promote compliance and best-practice standards in the administration of pre-tax, account-based plans. All NAPBA member organizations are third-party administrators focused on the administration and service of employer-sponsored plans for consumer-directed pre-tax accounts such as FSAs, HSAs, HRAs, and commuter benefits, as well as COBRA administration services. Collectively NAPBA member organizations provide services to more than 30 million employee healthcare consumers nationwide.


Richard Venne, president and CEO of Viability, announced longtime staffer Richard Horton’s promotion to vice president of Administration and Finance. Horton joined Community Enterprises, one of the nonprofits that merged to become Viability, in July 2008 as director of Community Staffing. Before joining Viability as a staff member, he had executed consulting work to revive and re-engineer the Community Staffing operations. Over the next decade, his role expanded, first becoming director of Financial Planning and then associate vice president of Administration and Finance. He is known throughout the organization for serving as project manager for the implementation of Viability’s electronic health record and outcomes-management system. Two years ago, during the merger of Community Enterprises and Human Resources Unlimited into Viability, he led the effort to bring the infrastructure of the organizations together, focusing on technology and facilities. Entering its third year as Viability, the agency’s focus is on the creation, integration, standardization, and improvement of systems and processes. In his new role, Horton will play a central role in helping achieve that goal.

Daily News

CHICOPEE — Two master’s students from Elms College contributed to the growing body of global research in autism-spectrum disorders by presenting posters at last month’s annual meeting for the Assoc. of Behavior Analysis International in San Diego.

Alyssa Clark and Miranda Fogg are in the master of science in applied behavior analysis program at Elms, and both have been working with children with autism on research projects with Laura Hanratty, director of applied behavior analysis and ASD graduate programs assistant professor.

The three collaborated on two posters to present at the conference. The first poster was titled “Evaluating Efficacy of Varied Reinforcers on Learning New Skills.” For this project, the students taught three children with autism 30 to 40 new academic skills, using different reward strategies.

“Using reinforcers is a hallmark in early intervention for autism, and the students were able to share how to make early intervention even more effective for kids who are struggling with academics,” Hanratty explained. “The children in this study were able to master many academic skills to help with communication.”

The second poster was titled “Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior Without Extinction.” In this project, the students worked with a young child with severe problem behavior, including aggression and destroying property.

“The research team completely decreased problem behavior, while teaching the young child communication skills and how to follow adult instruction,” Hanratty said. “By the time they were done, the child was completing up to 15 instructions with multiple steps and completing his academic skills.”

Earlier this year, Clark and Fogg presented the posters at the annual meeting of the Connecticut Assoc. for Behavior Analysis in Hartford.

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