Staff Directory


A. Dirk Hightower, Ph.D.
Executive Director

A school and community psychologist, A. Dirk Hightower has been Executive Director of Children’s Institute since 1991. He is also a Senior Research Associate at the University of Rochester, a position he has held for over 20 years. From 1982-1991, he was the Director of Primary Project at Children's Institute and the Director of Research at the Center for Community Study. He holds an MA in School Psychology and a Ph.D. in School and Community Psychology. In addition to serving on numerous local and state boards regarding children’s services, Dirk is a Past President of the New York Association of School Psychologists and a Past President and Trustee of the Rush-Henrietta Board of Education. He is also a co-founder and Co-CEO of COMET Informatics LLC. 

Elizabeth Devaney, MM
Director of SEL Center / Research Associate

As the Director of the Center for Social and Emotional Learning, Elizabeth brings expertise, experience, and passion for social and emotional development, quality improvement, out-of-school time and expanded learning programming, youth development, and community-wide systems-building initiatives. She has worked in both research and practice settings, most recently as a senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research. She has authored numerous articles, briefs, and toolkits, including "Sustainable Schoolwide Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): Implementation Guide and Toolkit." Elizabeth has worked at the Providence After School Alliance in Rhode Island as well as the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). She received a masters of management and social policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University.

Terry E. Hartmann, MBA, CMA
Director of Finance and Operations

Terry Hartmann is the Director of Finance & Operations for Children's Institute and an Adjunct Professor for St John Fisher College’s MBA program. Most recently, he worked for Ambrell in Scottsville, NY. He retired from Xerox Corporation after 37+ years in various financial roles, with his most-recent position being Director of Financial Services for the North American Finance group. Prior to that, Terry served as CFO, VP of Finance, Human Resources, and IT for Xerox International Partners in Palo Alto, California. He holds a BS degree in Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA in International Business from the University of Chicago. He is a Certified Management Accountant and Certified Financial Manager. In the past, Terry taught Management Accounting at SUNY Geneseo School of Business and delivered several webinars for Accenture Academy. Currently, he volunteers with the Rochester Chapter of Financial Executives International as a Director and past President, and with Geva Theatre as Treasurer of the Board of Trustees and Finance Committee Chair.


Bohdan S. Lotyczewski
Director of Research and Evaluation

As Director of Research and Evaluation, Stas oversees a team of project managers and information analysts. He has over 30 years’ experience in the development and implementation of program evaluations and research studies. He is a master of designing, conducting, and interpreting quantitative evaluations. He has extensive expertise in data set development, the use of existing data sets, assessment protocols, and conducting program evaluations successfully in varied community settings. His recent work includes the refinement of a parent instrument measuring children’s social-emotional status, a survey of youth and parent attitudes about after-school programs, and evaluations of 25 after school programs and an in-school literacy tutoring program. 

Guillermo Montes, Ph.D.
Director of Research and Evaluation

An economist, Guillermo is the Director of Research and Evaluation at Children’s Institute. He is also an Associate Professor at St. John Fisher College. He has authored numerous research papers, chapters, and a book. His primary interests include the use of large national datasets to measure social competence and other elements of emotional intelligence, particularly in at-risk subpopulations, such as children with autism spectrum disorders. 

Lauri Strano, MS
Director of Programs and Services

As the Director of Programs and Services, Lauri has managed large-scale community-wide collaborations and assessment systems serving young children and youth. Her experience includes working with providers, parents, and policymakers in the context of local, state, and federally funded grants and initiatives. She holds BS degrees from University of Rochester in Psychology and Political Science, and an MS in Elementary Education and NYS certification (N-6) with specialization in early childhood from Nazareth College. Lauri also has fifteen years of previous experience in large health system-affiliated early childhood development programs as an administrator, teacher, and caregiver.

Marjorie J. Allan, Senior Project Coordinator
Kim Avery, MS, Early Care and Education Specialist
Arlene Bobin, M.Ed., Senior Project Coordinator
Jason Brundage, Manager, Information Systems
Geralyn Cone, Senior Production Coordinator
Nancy E. Cook, Executive Assistant
Stephen Cook, MD, Medical Consultant
Kathleen M. Embt, Data Analyst & COMET Support
Teale Fox, MBA, COMET Product Manager
Jill S. Halterman, MD, MPH, Medical Director
Cindy Harper, MBA, Senior Development Manager
Charles J. Infurna, Ed.D., Research Associate
Jeff Kaczorowski, MD, Medical Consultant
Ellen Leopold, M.Ed., Social, Emotional and Behavioral Consultant
Mary Maiolo, Senior Graphics Coordinator
Yvonne Moss, Receptionist
Linda Murray, Project Coordinator
Mary Louise Musler, ECEQC Coordinator
Christine Ranalletta, Senior Accountant
Jonathan Richwalder, MBA, Systems Administrator
Shelley M. Sanyshyn, MS, Co-Director of Primary Project
Tracey Sheehan, Financial Analyst
Lynn Smith, LMSW, Co-Director of Primary Project
Genemarie Van Wagner, Senior Project Coordinator
Cyndie Walker, Data Clerk
Melissa Reynolds Weber, MS, Senior Information Analyst
Edy Zordan, MS, CAS, School Psychologist, BCBA




(585) 295-1000 (phone)
(585) 295-1090 (fax)
(877) 888-7647 (toll-free)


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Children's Institute equips and supports those who work with children to ensure the success of every child.
Children’s Institute is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

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