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Board of Directors

Emily McCarter – President

Emily McCarter (she/her/hers) is a Spanish teacher in Geneva, New York, and holds two professional NYS certifications in Spanish and School District Leadership. She received her B.A. in Spanish and Political Psychology from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and her M.S. in Educational Leadership from the University of Rochester, Warner School of Education..

McCarter is a proud unionist, active in her local teachers’ union; she is committed to representing and protecting the interests and rights of fellow educators. McCarter is also passionate about the topic of school-based bullying, legislation, and interventions. She is particularly interested in interventions and supports to ameliorate bullying based on gender, sexual orientation, race, and disability.

Carol A. Griffith – Vice President

Carol Griffith, MSW is graduate of the University Of Buffalo School Of Social Work and undergraduate of the State University of New York at Empire State College. Carol has been a government employee for 39 years and currently serves as Patient Advocate at the VA Western New York Healthcare System.

Carol is a founding member of the Friends Buffalo/Niagara Chapter. Carol was a hospital advocate for 2 years with Crisis Services of Buffalo. Carol has been active for over 15 years with the American Association of University Women Buffalo Branch participating in the International Women’s Day Events, Sister to Sister, Tech Savvy and Annual Book Sale Fundraiser. Carol is a member of the National Women’s History Project advisory board. Carol has been an active participant with the American Cancer Society Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk for many years forming teams.

Carol has volunteered for many years for the Buffalo Decorator’s Show House fundraiser. Carol has participated in the Women’s History Events, Pay Equity Events and Domestic Violence Bike Ride for the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women. Carol was a volunteer for the Dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D .C. Carol is a recipient of the Federal Woman’s Program Award, the John C. Foley Award for Collateral Duty Assignment, a YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award, and recently recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs for serving as Federal Women’s Program Manager for 17 years.

Christine Dorward – Treasurer

Christine Dorward, CPA (she/her/hers) is a Senior Data Analyst for the Rochester Institute of Technology. She received her B.S. in Accounting from Nazareth College in 2015 and her M.S. in Business Analytics from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2021.

She is actively motivated by social issues such as gender inequality, refugee resettlement and racial injustice. She aligns herself with organizations and programs that reflect her current values in these areas.

Sara Varhus – Secretary

Sara Varhus is Vice President for Academic Affairs at Nazareth College. She has served as President of the Oswego County Humane Society and as a member of the Board of the Girl Scout Council of Central New York. She is currently President of the Board of the Friends of the Women’s Right National Park and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Discovery Charter School.

She has served as Acting Director of the Women’s Studies program at SUNY at Oswego. She has also participated in the American Council on Education National Identification Program for the Advancement of Women in Higher Education, a professional develop program, and in 2001 she was a participant in the HERS Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration.

Dr. Betty Bayer

Betty M. Bayer is a Professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She earned the BA, MA, and PhD degrees at Carleton University. She teaches courses on peace, ecofeminism and the body politic. Bayer received the Colleges’ prestigious Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 2004 and the Community Service Award in 2009. She served as Director (2002 – 2009) of The Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men at Hobart and William Smith. She is widely published, including most recently, in the journal “Women¹s Studies Quarterly,” ³Enchantment in an Age of Occupy” and two essays, to appear in a SAGE international critical psychology project, “Spirituality” and “Feminism”; currently she is preparing a book “Revelation or Revolution?” on the history of the book “When Prophecy Fails” and its theory of cognitive dissonance, including their wider resonances with the history of spirituality, religion, psychology and science.

Bayer has also authored guest op-ed pieces in the Finger Lakes Times on the women’s and feminist movement. She has also given dozens of conference papers and talks nationally and internationally, including most recently “Things that Channel: Subject Lessons from Religion, Spirituality and Psychology.”

Marilyn TedeschiBoard Member Emeritus

Marilyn Tedeschi is an urban educator, youth advocate, business entrepreneur and social activist whose interests lie in economic development of the working poor and the communities in which they live.

She is a member of several not-for-profit boards whose missions are dedicated to youth, self-development and educational advocacy for women and girls. She is a cofounder of the Community Microenterprise Center, a not for profit small business incubator and Progressive Neighborhood Federal Credit Union which serves the needs of Rochester’s lowest income families.

She has been an equal rights advocate for women and girls, developing history and programs to make a difference in their lives. Marilyn is currently the president of the Greater Rochester Area Branch of the American Association of University Women and vice president of the Women’s Institute for Leadership and Learning in Seneca Falls, NY. She has been a student of Conscious Evolution for the past 20 years and is a member of a forward moving organizations called Evolutionary Women.

Thalia Cruz

Shanelle France

Thalia Cruz is a Substitute Teacher in the Geneva City School District and is currently applying for admission into a Childhood and Special Education Master’s Degree Program. She received her B.A. in Business Management with High Honors from Clark Atlanta University and her A.S. in Business Administration from Monroe Community College. She holds the title for America’s Beauty Pageants Miss. Teen Orlando 2011. She was also a state finalist for National American Miss Teen New York two years in a row and holds various awards including the Teen Division Academic Achievement Winner 2013. She enjoys volunteering at Food Banks, The Salvation Army, and under-resourced schools in her free time. 

Cruz is committed to giving back to her home community and helping kids realize their greatest potential. She is passionate about creating an atmosphere in schools and in the community where kids feel they have educators and role models who can relate to their life experiences and who reflect the culture and diversity of the greater community. As an Afro-Latina, who attended a Historically Black University, she found it impactful to see role models and leaders of color who looked like her and with whom she related. She feels this is important in order for students to absorb more of what’s being taught and, even further, to be empowered, inspired, and encouraged in pursuing future goals. Cruz intends to use her life experiences, her acquired teaching and social emotional skills, and her passion in order to propel the future generation of pioneers forward.

Shanelle France (she/her/hers) is a Special Education teacher currently living in Boulder, Colorado. She returned to Geneva after graduating from William Smith college in 2011, where she studied Africans Studies, Education and Women Studies and taught at Geneva Middle School for two years before moving to Colorado in July 2021.

In the interim of graduating from William Smith College, Shanelle lived in Lesotho as a Peace Corps Volunteer and then lived in Washington, D.C. where she received her Masters in Education for Secondary Special Education and Transition Services from The George Washington University. After graduating, France stayed in D.C. as a teacher and Assistant Principal at a Public Charter School in Southeast D.C. until moving back to Geneva, NY in July of 2019.

Shanelle is grateful for the opportunity to remain connected and involved although she lives across the country.

Elinor Haddad

Elinor Haddad (she/her/hers) is the Operations Manager of HEAL Trafficking, a nonprofit dedicated to leading innovative health solutions to eradicate human trafficking in communities worldwide. Prior to joining HEAL, Elinor served as Interim Membership and Marketing Manager for the San Francisco Bay Area-based organization, Alliance for Girls, and as Development Assistant to the national board of Women & Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE). An experienced strategic planner, manager, and recruiter, Elinor is passionate about empowering nonprofit organizations to consistently strive for better results and think creatively about how to achieve their goals.

Elinor earned her bachelor’s degree in Law, History, and Culture from the University of Southern California in 2016. She currently lives in Pasadena, CA, with her husband and their dog.

Mitchel Leet

Mitchel Leet, BA (he/him/his) is a proud champion for people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ), both personally and professionally. With his degree in Art & Design from Keuka College, he has always taken a nontraditional path in his work that has brought him to Portrait Innovations in Albuquerque, the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls and back home to the Finger Lakes. He currently serves as LGBTQ Program Coordinator with Family Counseling Service of the Finger Lakes, Inc., where he provides peer support, cultural competency training, advocacy services, and educational programming, including FLX Pride, which reached 23,000 people virtually in 2021. He has a lifelong love of history, especially that of groups in America who lead the fight for equal rights; he continues with this work today.

Dr. Jessica MacNamara

Jessica MacNamara is an assistant professor at Keuka College. She is a qualitative sociologist with broad teaching and research interests in gender and transgender studies, family, and body and embodiment. Her current work examines transgender people’s accounts of their relationships with their families with a focus on how families impact medical decision-making and how appearance and embodiment impact acceptance.