Touch of Red Benefit

SEF honors community champions

The Somers Education Foundation annual benefit dinner honors those in the community who have an impact on children while raising money for the school district.

This year’s event is themed “A Touch of Red” and is from 7-10 p.m. Friday, June 7, at the Anglebrook Golf Club.

At the event, Anna Maggio, director of special services in the Somers Central School District, County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz and Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, founder of Latino U College Access, will be inducted into the hall of fame.

For more information, visit sefny.org/red.
Here are this year’s honorees:

Shirley Acevedo Buontempo

Shirley Acevedo Buontempo is a nonprofit and marketing professional with over 30 years of experience. As founder and chief executive officer of Latino U College Access she has built a successful organization that helps Hispanic youth in Westchester County fulfill their academic and life potential.

Born in Puerto Rico, Shirley is a bilingual, Latina professional who was first in her family to go to college. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a masters in public administration non-profit management, both from Pace University. Shirley’s began her career in Hispanic marketing and advertising. She has worked for the national advertising and brand marketing firms of Grey Advertising, Saatchi, Procter & Gamble and CPC International. Through her work in brand and account management, Shirley has developed strong skills in gic planning, business management and marketing.

Shirley’s nonprofit experience began 15 years ago working at local nonprofit organizations Neighbors Link and The Community Center of Northern Westchester. Finding her passion in nonprofit work and committed to furthering her career, she completed her graduate degree in public administration and non-profit management in 2011. She has also obtained certification from the Harvard University Kennedy School Executive Leadership program and the Center for Creative Leadership.

Shirley founded Latino U College Access in 2012 after being inspired by families in the communities she served and the challenges they faced achieving their dreams of higher education. In seven years, Latino U College Access has grown from a pilot program in one high school with only two Scholars, to a recognized leader in Latino student college access and success. Her vision has expanded the organization’s services to reach over 4,500 parents and students and they have helped 140 Scholars successfully enroll in college. Latino U College Access has received recognition from the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, College Board and the pace University VVilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Shirley lives in Somers with her two daughters, Cassandra and Alexa, and her husband of 32 years, Anthony

Mike Kaplowitz

Westchester County Legislator Michael B. Kaplowitz, a Democrat, has represented the 4th District (Yorktown, New Castle and Somers) since 1998.

Kaplowitz previously served as vice chairman of the Board and on January 6, 2014, Michael WIS elected as chairman Of the board. Mike was unanimously elected as chairman Of the board again for the 2016-2017 legislative term.

His education and expertise as an attorney and certified finxncial planner led to his appointment as chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee in 2003. During the 2002 budget discussions, Kaplowitz found a way to cut over $50 million in the proposed budget; in 2005, as Budget Chair, he was able to deliver a 0 percent tax levy increase and for the 2011 Budget, Mike x.vas able to lead the Legislature in a 2 percent tax decrease.

Michael played a critical role in the passage Of the historic, bipartisan 2013 budget. “Throughout his career in public service, Kaplowitz has earned a reputation as a legislator who works diligently to foster an atmosphere of collegiality with all of his colleagues.

Kaplowitz is a budget expert, fiscal conservative and small business owner. He has also identified numerous cost—saving measures. For example, Mike actively supported and helped fund Westchester’s Care Coordination Program, which combines and coordinates certain services and programs between the County’s Department of Social Services and Department
of Community Mental Health. In fact, Westchester’s Care Coordination program has been selected as a national, innovative healthcare program by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.This award was based on the program’s novel approach by the county and documented success in improving the quality of life for individuals with mental illness,
While simultaneously reducing costs.

Kaplowitz, a long-time environmentalist and immediate past chair Of the Westchester County Legislature’s Environment and Energy Committee, has helped preserve over 11,000 acres of open space in Westchester. He is the co-author of the Smoke-Free Workplace Act and co-chaired the Legislature’s Healthy Air Task Force, which resulted in the county’s purchase Of hybrid vehicles and ultra low sulfur fuel for county buses. Mike is committed to continuing his efforts on all conservation issues.

Mike is an aggressive supporter of tax fairness and has fought for and won relief for thousands of Northern Westchester homeowners who wcrc paying sewer taxes despite up to Sewers. He has led the legislative effort to keep the Sewage fairness issue on the front burner for years, and has kept alive the long battle on behalf Of Yeshiva, Riverwoods and
Random Farms horræowners in New Castle. Ibis victory will stop the current flow of partiallytreated sewage from entering drinking water.

Mike Kaplowitz has a long history Of involvement in a wide variety of community and Civic Organizations, including the Volunteer Center, the March of Dimes Walk America, the American Red Cross and the Partnership Fund for Aging Services.

Kaplowitz earned his B.A. in history from the University of Pennsylvania and his J, D. from the Boston University School of Law Mike and his wife Jayne live in Somers and have two adult daughters.

Annamarie “Anna” Maggio

Annamarie “Anna” Maggio has been the director of special services for the Somers School District for the past eight years. Since joining the Somers Schools community in 2005, Anna has been the assistant director of special services before becoming the Director Of Curriculum and instruction on the Secondary in 2008. During her time at SCSD, she has been a for all Students’ Success both typical and those who learn differently. She has been leading the L.I.F.E. initiative alongside her administrative colleagues and is recognized for her compasion and commitment to the whole child as she rallies for student independence and achivement.

Her full-time teaching career began in the Croton—Harmon School District where she supported students in various special education programs on the continuum for ten years before becoming the assistant cipal at Croton-Harmon School. at CHSD she was a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools and helped lead the Way for districts to provide all students with varied opportunities to showease the breadth and depth of their learning. In both her horne community of Mt, Kisco (where she resided for many years recent to Somers) and her past affiliation with the Croton—Harmon School District, Anna has been actively involved in rhe local parent cxnters, PT,’VSElUAs, Autism Speaks as well as the Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

Anna earned a masters in education K-6, special education K-12, and reading through Long Island University. She received her certification as a school administrator’s through the Future Schools’ Administrator’s Academy and Teachers’ College Columbia Univrrsity. Thinking ahead toward retirement, Anna plans to spend quality time with her husband John, her daughters Jennifer(husbund Rob) and Jaclyn (husband John) and her four handSome grandsons, Matthew, 5, Nicholas, 4, Tommy, 3, and Luca, 2. She is anxiously awaiting for fifth grandchild this August.