The Great Schools For All (GS4A) leadership group is an amalgam of city and suburban residents with diverse professional and experiential backgrounds seeking to build a coalition around socio-economic integration of schools in the greater Rochester, N.Y., area. GS4A is both “grassroots and grasstops;” individual volunteers and institutional representatives – parents, grandparents, business people, clergy, educators, researchers, journalists, lawyers, students, tutors, and community activists all dedicated to reversing the failure of high poverty schools through a variety of voluntary integration strategies. Members of the leadership group are not representatives of elected officials, school board members or administrators, school district employees, or advocates for a specific solution.

Meet our team:

GS4A Convener

Donald Pryor

Don works as part-time Principal/Director of Human Services Research at the Center for Governmental Research (CGR), a non-profit research and policy consultant. He has authored numerous reports and blogs on education and the relationship of urban education to segregation and poverty, was one of the organizers of GS4A, and has served for many years on a variety of not-for-profit boards and community organizations.

GS4A Strategy Team

Tom Gillett

Tom is recently retired as Regional Staff Director for the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). He taught English in the Rochester City School District from 1969 until 2002. Two of his sons are teachers in area schools–one at East High and the other in Fairport; his daughter is in the University of Rochester teacher preparation program.

Mark Hare

Former reporter, editor ,and columnist in Rochester at City Newspaper, the Times-Union, and the Democrat and Chronicle from 1978 to 2012, Mark now does freelance writing, volunteers for Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach Center, and is starting a writing service for hospice patients who would like help writing a letter or life story for friends and family.

Dorthea King-Simpson

Dorthea is the owner of DEKS Consulting, and a NYS Pyramid Model Master Trainer.  She has worked in the Human Services field serving school-aged children for over 25 years.  She has consulted for the City of Rochester’s Early Learning Council’s 3 to 3 Initiative, National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment Council for NYS, and Baden Street’s School-Aged and Summer Experience Program.  Dorthea attended magnet schools in the Utica City School District.  Her vested interest in GS4A stems from congruencies in her childhood education, and GS4A’s fundamental commitment to educational equity for socioeconomically diverse students.

Deb McCoy

As the Assistant Vice President for Education at The Strong Museum of Play, Debbie oversees The Strong’s Woodbury School, school programs, and professional development programs. She has been a teacher and administrator for more than 35 years and is passionate about promoting innovative and equitable practices for all children.

Clay Osborne

Clay currently is an Executive Coach and Consultant in Organizational Effectiveness. He also teaches Human Capital management in the St. John Fisher doctoral program in Executive Leadership. Prior to starting his consultancy he served as the Vice President of Human Resources for Bausch & Lomb. Previous to that he was the Deputy County Executive for Operations for Monroe County.

Don Pryor (see Convener bio above)

Karen Pryor

Karen is a retired financial aid and higher education administrator, her last position having been Medical Center Director of Government Relations at the University of Rochester. She has served on a variety of community boards over the years and is currently very active in the work of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley.

Rick Worner

 Rick spent 15 years as a public school history teacher in Cleveland and in Greece, New York, 20 years as a middle- and high-school counselor in Greece, and one year directing an alternative school in Rush. He and his wife have mentored and maintained relationships with African American boys and their families, providing a window on the struggles caused by poverty and lack of opportunity in Rochester. “GS4A aligns closely with my personal beliefs.”

Conley Zomermaand

Conley is a Presbyterian pastor who specializes in serving churches in interim positions while those churches seek permanent pastoral leadership. In this capacity, he is currently serving as Interim Pastor and Head of Staff at Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester. He is passionate about social justice, and his interests are consistent with those of GS4A and Third’s history of leadership in public education support and reform.

Ad Hoc Advisors

  • Marilyn DeLucia
  • Diane Larter
  • Larry Marx
  • Gladys Pedraza-Burgos
  • Jenn Poggi
  • Jeff Sciortino
  • Lynette Sparks
  • Jim Tiefenthal
  • John Wilkinson

Other Previous Members of Strategy Team/Steering Committee

  • Mark Foerster
  • Patricia Jackson
  • Ahlia Kitwana
  • Cornelia Labrum
  • Elizabeth Laidlaw
  • Jeffrey Linn
  • John Thomas

Travelers to Raleigh

  • Michael Ford
  • Mark Hare
  • Diane Larter
  • Corni Labrum
  • Beth Laidlaw
  • Larry Marx
  • Clay Osborne
  • Dorelis Osborne
  • Don Pryor
  • Lynette Sparks
  • John Thomas

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