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Monticello Central School District announces 2016 Hall of Distinction Inductees

Ceremony honoring inductees to take place on Nov. 4

Sept. 20, 2016

The Monticello Central School District is proud to announce the 2016 inductees to the Hall of Distinction. Five outstanding individuals will be honored at a special ceremony in the Arnold Packer Hughs Auditorium in Monticello High School on Friday, Nov. 4 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:55 p.m.

The Monticello Central School District 2016 Hall of Distinction Inductees are:

Ira Cohen (Alumnus, Class of 1962)

From a dozen years with the Sullivan County Attorney’s Office to his long time legal representation to his role as County Treasurer, Ira Cohen was undoubtedly a familiar face to thousands of Monticello locals.

Ira Cohen, who passed away in Oct. 2014, graduated Monticello High School in 1962. He later attended the University of Buffalo where he received his bachelor’s degree in political science. In 1969, he completed his Juris Doctor from Albany Law School.
Cohen was best known for receiving statewide recognition for his work as Sullivan County Treasurer - a position he held since 2005 - including at least one Treasurer of the Year award. He increased the county’s bond rating and also negotiated multi-million dollar deals with the countless American Indian nations that once sought to open casinos in Sullivan.

Ira excelled academically during his time at Monticello Central School District. While attending high school, he was a member of the debate club, baseball and basketball teams. As a public servant, he was often called upon for advice and guidance. He was also a member of the New York State and Sullivan County Bar Associations; the New York State County Attorney’s Society; and the County Treasurers and Finance Officers Association.

Dr. Jonathan Garlick (Alumnus, Class of 1970)

Jonathan Garlick is Professor at Tufts University Schools of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Engineering and Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. As a clinician and translational research scientist, he has pioneered the use of stem cells for tissue engineering to develop new treatments for oral health, cancer and complications from diabetes. He has established Tufts University's Center for Integrated Tissue Engineering to accelerate the discovery and clinical application of new drugs.

As a science and biomedical educator, Professor Garlick teaches his students to explore the personal and societal impacts of science as a bridge towards moral responsibility and social action. At Tisch College, he leads a national science education initiative in Civic Science to inform public learning about science to foster active citizenship.

Professor Garlick received his D.D.S. and Ph.D. from Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine and his Oral Pathology training from Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Professor Garlick has been a Talloires Scholar in Residence and was awarded Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and the President and Chancellor’s Award, the State University of New York’s highest teaching honor.

Constance Keller (Alumna, Class of 1963)

After retiring as a teacher at George L. Cooke Elementary School in 2002, Constance (Connie) Keller, became an integral part of establishing the Literacy Volunteers of Sullivan County and served as the organization’s executive director for over 20 years.

The Literacy Volunteers of Sullivan County is a non-profit organization that provides a variety of free services to help people achieve personal goals through literacy. Ms. Keller founded the organization in 1994 to combat the area’s growing problem of illiteracy. The organization has since then grown immensely and now offers dozens of tutors, programs and resources to help the area’s youth and adults become well-versed readers.

Ms. Keller believes that illiteracy is crippling but that when people learn to read, their lives improve immensely. A tireless advocate for promoting literacy throughout the community, her work has the potential to impact generations of families in Sullivan County.

In 2015, Ms. Keller was presented with the Sullivan County School Boards Association’s (SCSBA) Outstanding Friend to Education Award in honor of her impact on the education of children in Sullivan County.

Dr. Robert J. Kaiser (Teacher, Principal, Superintendent, 1950-1988)

Excluding his time as a student, Dr. Robert J. Kaiser served the Monticello Central School District for a total of 38 years. He began his career in the district as a math teacher and later fulfilled the roles of assistant principal, summer school principal and superintendent before retiring in 1988.

He graduated from SUNY Albany and later received his doctorate from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University. As an advocate for extra-curricular activities, Dr. Kaiser and his wife frequented school events and functions, becoming instantly recognizable as the face of the Monticello Central School District for many Monticello residents.

In 2000, the Monticello Central School District Board of Education unanimously voted to name its new middle school after Dr. Kaiser – a decision that was celebrated by the entire community. Additionally, the Kaiser Debate Tournament was also named in his honor.

Peter Tufano (Alumnus, Class of 1975)

Peter Tufano is Dean and Professor of Finance at Saïd Business School and is a Professorial Fellow at Balliol College, University of Oxford. He is a prolific scholar – a course developer, seasoned academic leader, social entrepreneur, and an advisor to business and government leaders. At Oxford, he championed the concept of “a business school embedded within the University.”

 In 2000, he founded, and now chairs, a non-profit called the Doorways to Dreams Fund. This organization works with partners to help low income households successfully manage their financial needs. Peter’s research on consumer finance, and the work of Doorways to Dreams Fund, contributed to the passage of the American Savings Promotion Act in December 2014, which removed federal barriers to sale of prize linked savings products in the US.

Prior to joining Oxford, Mr. Tufano was a faculty member at the Harvard Business School for 22 years. During this time, he assumed a number of leadership roles, serving as department chair, course head, and Senior Associate Dean. He oversaw the school’s tenure and promotion processes, its campus planning, and advised the University on financial and real estate matters. He was also the founding co-chair of the Harvard Innovation Lab, a cross-university initiative to foster entrepreneurship. Peter earned his AB in economics (summa cum laude), MBA (with high distinction) and Ph.D in Business Economics at Harvard University.

The Hall of Distinction was established in 2012 by the Monticello Board of Education to honor highly successful graduates, former students and former employees who have achieved distinction, outstanding accomplishment, or have made a significant contribution within their school, family, career, community and/or personal lives. Inductees are selected by a committee consisting of community stakeholders, Board of Education members, faculty and alumni. The Hall of Distinction is located in the lobby of the Arnold Packer Hughs Auditorium in Monticello High School. Application forms for the 2017 Hall of Distinction will be available in early 2017.

The induction ceremony will take place Friday, Nov. 4 in the Hughs Auditorium. There will also be an open community reception following the ceremony from 7-9 p.m. at Mr. Willy’s (3695 Route 42 South, Monticello.)