Administration & Staff
Dr. Chris bleecker, principal
Dr. Bleecker believes the arts are a fundamental component to a human’s development and that Long Island needs a school like LIHSA. Dr. Bleecker who, having grown up in family of artists, has a deep-seated passion for the arts. Her mother is a classically trained pianist who graduated from Rossini De Paula, a conservatory in her native Argentina, her father has a passion for opera, her uncle was a painter and Professor of Art at McGill University in Canada, and her grandmother was a celebrated folk artist. This exposure has provided her with many creative outlets throughout her lifetime and has shown her that many artistic traditions are part of the cultural fabric of many different parts of the world.
Professionally, Dr. Bleecker has had a varied and successful career as an educational leader, which she began 22 years ago at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, New York. She soon set her sights on Manhattan, where she became Assistant Upper School Chairperson of the Steiner School. She then took the position of Assistant Principal of Hunter College High School, where she planned a number of alumni events, bringing in notable presenters like Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Broadway phenomenon Hamilton. From there, she moved to the Waldorf School on Long Island. In addition, Dr. Bleecker has been teaching in the Graduate Education program at Manhattan College for the past 12 years.
Dr. Bleecker earned her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a master’s degree from Long Island University, a bachelor’s degree from Queens College, and a professional diploma as a consultant teacher from Manhattan College. She also completed an artistic training at the Sophia Institute and social work coursework at Columbia University. Last year, she and a team of teachers from LIHSA completed a course at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, entitled Thinking and Learning in the Maker-Centered Classroom. She is currently enrolled in the Certificate in School Management and Leadership program at Harvard University.
In 2003, Dr. Rogutsky Bleecker was part of the team that spearheaded the Early College Initiative, a partnership between the City University of New York and the New York City Department of Education, funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through this initiative, she founded the College Academy of the Arts, a public high school for the arts offering NYC students “a vehicle for expression and a lens for understanding.” Over the past years, the academy has flourished and has been ranked as one of “The Best High Schools in the Nation” by U.S. News and World Report.
Erica giglio pac, program coordinator
Erica is thrilled to join the LIHSA team. Her arts background is in Musical Theatre Performance, holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the University at Buffalo. She has performed in musicals and plays throughout the region, in such places as Art Park, the Player’s Theatre, the Triad Theatre, John Engeman Theater, Westbury Music Fair, and at Citi Field where she has sung the national anthem at Mets games. Erica holds a Masters Degree in Educational Theatre from New York University, and has over a decade of experience in the classroom as a theatre educator in the New York City Department of Education, having built two musical theatre programs from the ground up at schools in Brooklyn and Queens. She has spent her summers as a drama instructor at various arts academies, including USDAN Summer Camp for the Arts, and now serves as the coordinator of LIHSA’s Summer Arts Academy. Erica has also coordinated and directed youth performances for Teens on Broadway at Circle in the Square Theatre, the MCC Youth Ensemble, and the Student Theatre Arts Festival at Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre. Within the NYCDOE, she served as a Facilitator of Arts Professional Development for arts teachers across the five boroughs, working in all aspects of the arts from content-specific courses to curriculum and instruction development. Through this fulfilling work, her passion for educational leadership developed. Erica holds a degree in Educational Leadership & Administration from the College of Saint Rose, along with her New York State School Building and District Leader Licenses. Erica looks forward to helping LIHSA continue to grow, by working to help the school become CTE (Career and Technical Education) state approved, opening up work-based learning (on and off site) opportunities for students, and supporting teachers in curriculum development aligned to both the NYS Arts Standards and NYS Career & Occupational Standards.
Barbara DelMonaco, secretary
Barbara has worked at LIHSA since 1994 where she started as a health aide in the Summer Arts Academy. She is the queen of multi-tasking and is always remembered for her positive attitude and willingness to help others.
deboRah holbrook, nurse
“Nurse Debbie” has been a member of the LIHSA family for almost 30 years. She came to LIHSA after years of experience in emergency nursing. Nurse Debbie looks forward to spending her days with the students at LIHSA, promoting health and wellness to all.
Jerry nobile, production coordinator
Mr. Nobile has performed at Good Day New York, Madison Square Garden, and in Atlantic City. He has been a member of NMEA (National Music Educators Association for over 20 years) and was offered the position of Drum Instructor in 1995. He wanted to teach High School students interested in pursuing a career path in music. Mr. Nobile is inspired by students that want to learn, working with such talented colleagues, and any good live music. If he could pass on any wisdom to our students it would be: Always be a professional, be responsible, on time, and prepared. Be kind and be a team player and not a diva. Set realistic goals and commit to making them happen. Don’t burn bridges, in the arts field, relationship building and networking is essential. Make sure you have and keep a good reputation.
melissA Lopez stencEl, guidance counselor
Ms. Stencel lives in St. James and has three sons. She graduated with a BA in Political Science and a MA in Foundations of Education and Policy Studies from Hofstra University. She also holds a Masters in School Counseling from Long Island University. She has been part of the LIHSA team for 6 year. She has over a decade of experience working with higher education in both admissions and the student activities offices. A fun fact about Ms. Stencel is that she competed within both the Miss America and Miss USA organizations. She is inspired by seeing people put in hard work and learning from others who are passionate about what they do.
Ronald Morris, Head Custodian
Ronald has been working at LIHSA for 15 years. He went to Hicksville High School and enjoys the outdoors, concerts, festivals, and craft fairs. One of his hidden talents is that he photographs birds, eagles, hawks and anything beautiful in nature. His advice to students is to treat others that way you would want to be treated and to have a love and respect for all nature and creatures.
Jennifer MILLMAN, Psy.D, School pSYchologist
Ms. Millman is a cognitive behavioral psychologist who graduated from Hofstra University. She has worked for BOCES for 16 years, in a variety of settings. Ms. Millman is so excited to work with such an eclectic group of gifted students. It inspires her when she see someone persevere and overcome difficulties on the path to success. Ms. Millman’s advice to her students is: if something is important enough for you to be successful at, put in the hard work- there are no short cuts!