MARY ASTA

Executive Director

Mary has served on the board of the Gargiulo Education Center since 2017 and was named its Executive Director in January, 2018.  She has an extensive history in philanthropy.  As Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation at Rockefeller University in New York City, she developed the foundation’s structure from the ground up, raising millions of research dollars as well as pro bono media dollars.  She has sat on the board of and/or advised several foundations, including The Intrepid Museum, Fisher House Foundation, Michael Stern Parkinson’s Foundation, Fallen Heroes Funds, and Hanover Charities.  Mary currently serves on the board of the Montessori Academy of Naples.  As a successful entrepreneur, she owns a patent-holding company, Master Poe Innovations, and has an extensive history in the entertainment and fashion worlds.  In her spare time, she works with Alzheimer’s patients.


JACQUELINE COLANERI

Educational Director 

5th and 6th Grade Teacher

Jacqueline is a highly experienced math and reading specialist. She holds a Master’s degree in Education and a Curriculum and Supervisor certification from Seton Hall University, and is certified in Brain Based Learning. Ms. Colaneri has extensive experience as a classroom teacher, supervisor of curriculum and instruction, and is a national presenter. She was employed as a classroom teacher and curriculum supervisor in New Jersey schools for 34 years. For the last ten years Jacqueline has worked nationally as a consultant collaborating with district administrators and teachers to identify instructional needs, and to develop and deliver professional development to address areas of concern, including providing extensive classroom coaching. She assisted with the design, review, and delivery of workshops via train-the-trainer formats and district-level presentations in five states. As a Math and ELA content specialist, Ms. Colaneri has conducted professional development sessions to build administrator and teacher capacity in all areas of K-8 instruction and assessment. Her experience includes analysis of student data to assist in guiding classroom instruction, modeling lessons, facilitating curriculum writing committees, and supporting implementation of RTI. As a grades 5/6 teacher at Gargiulo Education Center, Jacqueline is devoted to addressing student needs, maximizing learning, and fostering a positive learning community.


DOUG KNITT

Program Director

Middle/High School Teacher

Doug was born in Cheektowaga, NY.  He has a bachelors degree in mathematics and secondary education from Buffalo State College and has been teaching math  and various other subjects since 1997.  He is certified in the state of Florida to teach Math, Earth Space Science and Engineering/Technology for grades 6 – 12.

Doug was married in 1984 and has 4 children and 1 grandchild.  He moved to Winter Haven, FL in 1984 and was working in the field of hotel accounting.  Moved back to Western New York in 1990 and pursued his education at Buffalo State and in 1997 moved back to Florida to start his teaching career.  He has been a resident of South West Florida since 2002.  His hobbies include beach walking, kayaking, Lego building and spending time with family.


SUSAN SHELLY

2nd and 3rd Grade Teacher

Susan came to GEC in 2014 after retirement from a teaching career of over forty years.  As a teacher of second and third graders at the Center she continues to delight in the challenge of each new afternoon with the students.  Seeing them grow and change from kindergarten through high school has been a fulfilling experience.  In her leisure time Mrs. Shelly enjoys walking, swimming, cooking, gardening, church activities, and time with her family.


SHELLEY KIRBY

3rd and 4th Grade Teacher

Shelley studied and received her Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from the University of Delaware. She pursued a Master’s in Cardiac Rehab at San Diego State University until relocation and starting a family cut her endeavors short. Shelley has three children Jordan, Caroline and Jack. She was very involved in their schools as a substitute teacher, room parent and parent reading programs. Shelley participated in years of Vacation Bible Study, Community Bible Study for Homeschool children, taught junior high youth and confirmation classes and attended a mission trip to Zambia for Family Legacy where she sponsors several children.  She volunteered every week for 5 years at Stonebridge Food Pantry in The Woodlands, TX.  The pantry, an outreach of Shelley’s church, served the underprivileged in the community by providing food, clothing, school supplies, and Christmas gifts. Shelley has a heart for kids and a passion and enthusiasm for making learning fun. She began at Gargiulo as a volunteer in April 2018.


WAYNE SHEPPARD

Kindergarten and 1st Grade Teacher

Wayne is a seasoned former high school art, photo and TV production teacher who has worked over the years with students K-12. In addition to working with students here at the Gargiulo Education Center, Wayne has written a novel, a short play, and a full-length screenplay. He loves working with the children and considers it a stimulating challenge and privilege.


JENINE BURKWIT

Music Teacher

Jennine Fuentes has been teaching music and performing throughout South Florida throughout the past 15 years. She earned her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Florida International University in 2007 and her Master’s Degree, shortly after, from the American College of Education. She taught in general music and has been the choral director in schools throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties ranging from pre-school to high school. While she has been a cantor at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church and Saint Agnes Catholic Church for the last 8 years, she now holds the position of Artistic Director at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Naples, FL. With Saint Johns, she has performed in Italy and Ireland. Jennine is thrilled to be teaching music once a week to the youth at the Gargiulo Education Center.


DONNA LOTHIAN

TEACHER


CAROL LUKEMAN

TEACHER


DION RAHILL

TEACHER


THERESA SOCOL

TEACHER