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Board of Directors

Dr. Kathy Gill, CEO, Founder

Dr. Kathy Gill, President, a parent of a classified student who graduated from the Warwick Valley Central School District, founded PULSES in August 2008 to empower parents to become full participants in their children’s educational programs. 


Through her PULSES work, Kathy disseminates information related to local services, attends CSE meetings, develops workshops/training sessions on special education topics, and advocates for positive changes in the special education system in the Mid-Hudson Valley.  She also serves as Director of Family Services for VoicesUnited4Change, an Orange County organization with the purpose of ensuring that family and youth driven care and its values are part of the local mental health community and is a member of the Orange County Interagency Collaboration Team with the mission of promoting effective community services which support children and their families.  


 As Dr. Gill transitions from her “real job” as Professor and Chair in the Department of Kinesiology at William Paterson University in New Jersey into retirement, she will be stepping into a full-time position as CEO of PULSES to advance our advocacy work. A warm CONGRATULATIONS to Dr. Gill for a stellar career and best wishes in her retirement as she focuses her energies into advancing  efforts at expanding PULSES.  

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Sandra J. Oglesby, President

For over twenty years, Sandra assists families with challenging educational matters  within their District's Special Education Departments. She continues to advocate at CSE and 504 meetings, superintendent and manifestation hearings, and with other interventions for complex cases. Her reach has included a two state radius and within  six counties in New York and New Jersey where she and her family have dual residencies. While an Executive in the reinsurance field, she also focused her energies from 2010-2017, as the Executive Director of Empowering Ellenville working with the founder of the law firm Sussman and Watkins of Goshen, New York. 


Several years ago, the Oglesby family adopted twins and were tasked with learning the ropes of IDEA and the special education world.  Winning an Impartial Hearing and appeal Ms. Oglesby continued to enjoy greater success helping other children with their education challenges seeking Special Education District's remedies. Ms. Oglesby assists parents in negotiating with School Districts, empowering them in hearings, CSE meetings etc.


Professionally, she enjoys a thirty-year plus executive career on Wall Street, Princeton, NJ, and Greenwich, CT, in the field of insurance and reinsurance. Sandra serves(ed) on Board of Directors; Downey Side Adoption Center in Rockland County, BOD at Empowering Ellenville, and a selected Chair for the Criminal Justice and Legal Redress Committee of the NAACP Board, Ellenville Chapter. Presently, she is a legal reform champion for the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York(LRANY). 

Affiliations: Member of ALDONYS-2023-2024, LRANY, Albany, NY,  Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. [COPAA], the Mid-Hudson Claims Association-Nominated Officer, PLUS (Professional Liability Underwriting Society) member since 2011 and past Vice President of the National Association of Insurance Woman (NAIW), Manhattan Chapter, member of the National Association of Investigative Specialists, United States Association of Professional Investigators, NAACP member, Excess Surplus member from 2002, and a RAA member from 2002. May 2019-Marquis Who’s Who in Top Executives. Currently, my active caseloads preclude me from accepting new cases at this time.


Gina M. DeCrescenzo, Esq.

Gina M. DeCrescenzo is the founder of Gina DeCrescenzo, P.C. (“GDPC)”, an education law firm in White Plains. She built the firm on years of civil rights litigation experience and unparalleled passion for improving the lives of children. GDPC takes a no-nonsense approach to education cases. They aim to settle, but are prepared to litigate. Other attorneys turn to Gina specifically for her knowledge of and experience with special education law.

Gina serves of counsel to the Law Offices of H. Jeffrey Marcus, P.C., a Buffalo-based law firm, where she litigates the firm’s NYC cases. She is also a consultant for AIG’s Pro Bono Legal Program where she mentors in-home counsel regarding IDEA cases.


Gina received her Juris Doctor from Pace Law School and her Bachelors of Science from Fordham University. She is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, the State Court of New York, and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. She is a member of the Federal Bar Counsel, Disability Rights Association, American Bar Association’s Children’s Rights Litigation Committee, New York State Bar Association, Westchester Women’s Bar Association’s Education Law Committee, Hudson Union Society, Columbian Lawyers’ Association, and the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (“COPAA”) where she serves on their Publishing and Training Committees. Gina also serves on the Board of Directors of Family Focus Adoption Services. She lectures to parents, attorneys, and organizations throughout New York State on special education-related issues. Website Page: 

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Cindy Rivera-Ortiz

My name is Cindy Rivera-Ortiz, and as the parent of a child with special needs and a trained advocate, I have dedicated many years to helping support children in our home, community, and educational settings. Advocacy requires knowledge, dedication, perseverance, understanding, training, and competency.

I am a high school teacher in Orange County, certified educationally in five content areas including special education. I assist and advocate for my own students as well as my son. I recently began my advocacy with PULSES, and I love seeing the commitment, resources and skills PULSES delivers and implements to all families in need. Due to the complexity of my own son’s medical fragility, I continue to witness my own child’s struggles with obtaining appropriate services with PPS and the stressors of uncertainty at a CSE meeting awaiting positive outcomes. These outcomes should not stop anyone from continuing to advocate for their child. I am passionate and dedicated to my family, especially my youngest son with special needs and my students with special needs. I am a native Spanish speaker and I hold a Master of Science in secondary education for 23 years. I am thrilled with being appointed on the BODs, ready and willing to help and provide resources to parents/ guardians with children with disabilities so that they obtain an appropriate educational program. 

Carol Pede

I am a parent who decided to retire early once I found out that I gave birth to a one pound, 24-week
preemie baby. I was dedicated to ensuring all the necessary therapies in her early years and once in
school, I continued to identify her needs with my own intuition (and Google’s help). I did my due
diligence to document my daughter’s needs and to identify what I actually wanted when presenting to the IEP team. Unfortunately, I felt the need to move, because even though I got the “services” she needed that year, my intuition told me that I would be fighting every year. That equated to a waste of time, time my daughter did not have. After moving, I found myself in a district with money and “good” people and once I presented a reasonable case, I got what my daughter needed. In fact, the district paid for an out of district placement for three years in order to address her socialization needs. Much can be accomplished without having to hire expensive legal counsel if you are able to present reasonable goals. It helps to give the answers and spoon feed the case managers. Make the case manager’s job easy by outlining what is needed rather than just identifying the problem and asking the district to “fix” the problem. I discovered that I needed to FIND the answers and then ask the district to implement them in a timely fashion. I continue to give advice to other parents and tell them to use a common sense educated approach when advocating for their children.

Laura Stubecki

Laura has been practicing occupational therapy with the pediatric population since 1995.
Specializing in sensory integration, Laura has worked in schools, private clinics, and home care.
She is Sensory Integration and Praxis Testing (SIPT) certified and has training in Therapeutic
Listening, Handwriting without Tears, reflex integration, and The Alert Program. In 2010, Laura
opened a regular education preschool in which a teacher and occupational therapist collaborate
on education and strategies within the classroom and she is also the owner/director of Pediatric
OT Solutions and Preschool Solutions. See Website:

Michele Hirsch

Michele began her journey into advocacy when her daughter Lily was diagnosed with Autism in 2007 at the age of 2 ½ and was a participant in a federal class action lawsuit to help children diagnosed with Autism. Michele quickly began doing lay advocacy for other families and served on the NY State 1115 Waiver Panel. Michele and her family moved to Ulster County in 2012 where she re-launched the Kingston City School District Special Education Parent Group and served on the Taconic DDSO Autism Advisory Board. In 2014, Michele began working for Family of Woodstock, a leading human services agency in Ulster County and became credentialed as a Family Peer Advocate (FPA) by the NY State Office of Mental Health. In her role as a FPA, Michele works with families that are raising children experiencing social, emotional, developmental, and behavioral challenges. Michele brings her unique personal experience of parenting a child with special needs to each family that she works with. She is deeply committed to making sure that all children receive the appropriate school programs and placements that they are entitled to by law.

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Sharon Togman

Sharon  began her advocacy work when her children were in need of classification and an IEP. She immediately started learning how to be an Advocate for her children and other families as she attended many CSE meetings at her local district. Several years ago, Sharon volunteered at an Empowering Center in Ellenville and assisted in facilitating group interactions with local therapists, other rehab facilities, and assisted in helping run parent groups and counseling groups and running a warming center. Sharon is entrenched in her community and runs several lucrative fund raisers during the year with a local ladies fire auxiliary and other fund raisers. Sharon brings a wealth of understanding and empathy to parents and students in need of navigating the complex system of Special Education.  She remains immersed in helping students and their parents devoted to insuring that each person in need of classification receives a FAPE which the law provides for in the education system and a tailored IEP specifically designed for the student's individual needs. 

Christine M. Cesarz

Christine is the parent of a classified student in the Minisink Valley School District and is a member of the Orange County Medical Reserve Corps since its inception in 2005 in the role of Adult Nurse
Practitioner, as well as serving on the Advisory Board of the Corps. She serves as the parent member on the Minisink Valley CSD’s Committee on Preschool Special Education and Committee on Special Education, and on the Jewish Family Service of Orange County Parent Advisory Board and as the Health Director at their Kids Connect Camp for Special Needs Children. She also served as a 4-H Leader in Orange County for six years and as a Team Coordinator for Beautiful People’s baseball team (Adaptive Sports for Children with Disabilities) for three years. Christine is passionate about providing parents of children with disabilities with information and resources to assist them to participate fully in their children’s educational program.

Michael Gilberg, Esq.

Michael Gilberg is an attorney representing families in special education proceedings
across NY and CT. Michael brings his own life experience of growing up with undiagnosed
Asperger's Syndrome to his practice which is why he's passionate about helping children
with disabilities. A graduate of Pace University School of Law, Michael serves on the board
of Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) as well as a number of other
Autism, Disability, and Law organizations.

Reach me at 914 458 1849 and let's talk about your child's future.

See Website:

AnneMarie Barrett

AnneMarie is the mother of three children, including two with special needs, living in Orange County. Her educational advocacy began over four years ago when another parent suggested that she consult the PULSES website for information on local resources. This starting point made a huge difference in learning how to meet the diverse needs of her children. AnneMarie attends relevant workshops and presentations and also takes college courses related to special education issues. She was selected to participate in the New York State Partners in Policymaking Class of 2018. Her main areas of advocacy are inclusive education, transition planning, improving supports for parents, as well as increasing awareness and services for adults who are misdiagnosed or diagnosed in late adolescence or adulthood. AnneMarie is dedicated to educating parents on the importance of research and education law, understanding the IEP process, and sharing local resources for special needs children.

Deanna Vaughan

Being told that your daughter has a life threatening autoimmune disease brings unimaginable heartache and stress. When she was three years old, she was diagnosed as a Type I Insulin Dependent Diabetic. This disease requires 24 hour care and a lifetime of needle sticks every single day to survive. When she was first diagnosed, during our hospital stay, we learned everything we needed to know to start our new “normal” life. The doctors and nurses briefed us about all the medication, supplies, blood sugar monitoring, insulin doses, puberty and sicknesses, hypoglycemia and the life saving Glucagon shot, and carb counting. However, they left out one important piece of information; How to prepare for battle against our school district related to our daughter’s now needed 504 plan. When our children go to school, the teachers, nurses, aides, etc. are with our children five days a week, six hours a day. We expect the school personnel to act in the best interest of our children but sadly this does not always happen. No parent should ever be in fear of sending their child to school, however this is our reality, our nightmare. As a parent I will tell you this; let your voice be heard, for you are the voice of your child. Never back down for what you know is best for your child.

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Eric Mauceri

As an advocate for children's special education, and their rights to have access to their educations, I am passionate about this BOD's appointment with PULSES. I hope that my contribution will be to improve upon the organization's outreach and communications from marketing to fundraising as today, post-Covid-19, a non-for-profit 501 (3) C, organization must have a laser focus for tapping into vital resources. I am excited at all levels to give back to my community in the context of helping special education students in CSE meetings, informing parents and advocates on education laws and regulations and grant writing. I hope to be that person who projects feelings of gratitude and humility as I share my life experiences and my successes- because when one feels the need to give back to your community, people see you lighting up the world around you with hope. I believe that all special education students deserve an education placement tailored to their individual needs. My past work experience and my roles in civic leadership include formal education at the American University School of International Service, Master of Arts, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, the University of Dallas, BA with a concentration in Political Philosophy. I have over 20 years in Federal Service as an Analyst and Briefer for the Director of Defense Intelligence Agency and the former Director of the Central Intelligence (CIA), in addition to being an U. S. Naval Intelligence Officer and a de facto Chief of Staff in support of NATO Training Mission. Currently, I am an advisor for a firm in Westchester as their Chief Communication Officer contributing to homeland security, cyber, and other advanced investigative needs.

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