Board of Directors
Board Chairperson: MaryAnn Sciacca
MaryAnn Sciacca was employed with the Suffolk County Department of Public Works from 1973 to 2008. She was responsible for managing the day to day operations of the building division. Since 2012, Ms. Sciacca has been the Board President of Suffolk Independent Living Organization and has played a significant role in the functions of the organization. MaryAnn was the President of the Association for Better Conditions for the Disabled. In addition to being a Chairman for: Architectural Barriers Committee of Suffolk County, Suffolk County Handicap Advisory Board, Committee to Reach all Suffolk Handicapped (CRASH), and the Babylon Town Advisory Committee for the Disabled. Ms. Sciacca plays a vital role in the community as she places the importance on accessibility and access for people with disabilities.
Board Vice Chairperson: Roderick Smith
Roderick Smith, a retired Police Detective and First Responder to both World Trade Center events. He retired from The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department after 31 years of service with several Awards for Bravery. Upon retirement in 2003, he decided to pursued his passion which lead to a second career in Real Estate and Real Estate Investing, he is currently a Commercial Realtor with Century 21 Princeton Properties of Holbrook. In 2011 Roderick, became a Faculty Staff Member at SUNY – Stony Brook, School of Professional Development, in The Social and Behavioral Sciences Department. In 2013 he decided to leave SUNY – Stony Brook to become a Certified Prime for Life Instructor with The Stony Brook Drinking Driver Program and remained there until 2018. Roderick for the last 40 years has been very involved in the Special Needs Community. In the past he’s been a Certified Special Olympics Softball Coach. Although Roderick still pursues his passion in Real Estate, his greatest joy these days, is being a SILO Board Member and from what he’s been able to accomplish with the support of his own Board in being able to develop Suffolk County’s only stand-alone Little League Sanctioned Challenger Softball Program for individuals with physical or developmental disabilities. This highly respected program serves approximately 100 people and offers Little and Senior League divisions for boys and girls starting from age 4 and men and women well into their 50’s.
Secretary: Geraldine DePersio
Geraldine DePersio was a Para-Educator through Eastern Suffolk BOCES since 1989. Through her employment, she received several awards for commitment and dedication. She received the following awards: Advisor of the year for Skills USA- she represented Long Island at the State Conference. Para Educator of the year for Eastern Suffolk BOCES- only three are chosen each year. Lighthouse Award as the first Para Educator to be recognized from Eastern Suffolk BOCES, and the Renaissance Leader for Long Island - awarded at Disney World, Orlando. Since joining the SILO board and taking on the role of Secretary, she has provided much insight on how the organization is run. She is actively involved in the direction of SILO and the decisions that are made. Through Geraldine’s leadership, background, and collaborative abilities she has impacted SILO in a tremendous way.
Treasurer: Robert DePersio Sr.
Robert DePersio was employed as a Paraprofessional for Eastern Suffolk BOCES from 2006-2015. Prior to that, Mr. DePersio was employed with JPMorgan Chase Bank for 33 years as a Branch Manager. Mr. DePersio received many awards throughout his career: Diversity Award Winner as Dual Branch Manager at the Brentwood Branch Offices. He officiated at many Community Events including Students for a Better Community on the ice at Nassau Coliseum during an Islanders game and School Presentations about Banking. Currently Mr. DePersio is actively involved in many community organizations and groups with people with disabilities, youth, sport teams, theatre, and the Sachem School district. President/Executive Director of various Sports Organizations over the years – 68th Pct. Pal, Sachem Youth Organization, Ronkonkoma Little League, Good Shepherd Youth Softball. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Long Island Baseball League. Stage Manager and various Theater Groups throughout Long Island. Since joining the SILO board, Mr. DePersio has been an active member in the organization – present at all SILO functions and events in support of the organization’s advocacy efforts.
Board Member: Sophia Ardi
Since 2018, when joining the SILO board of Directors, Sophia Ardi has contributed to the development and implementation of content for articles throughout the organization. Sophia is actively present in several organizations: Able News, Town of Brookhaven Disability Task Force, Long Island ADAPT, and CDPAANY’s. Ms. Ardi is an advocate who is dedicated to empowering people with and without disabilities to working together to promote positive change. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Arts Government & Politics from St. John’s University. In 2013, Sophia Ardi was injured a car accident that left her as a paraplegic. Prior to this, Sophia holds over 20 years in the advertising and marketing space.
Board Member: Lori Connelly
Lori had a career for 20 years as a Sr. Office Assistant at Eastern Suffolk BOCES. For most of her career, she was secretary to the Principal and Assistant Principal of a Special Education High School. She excelled as a member of a large faculty providing guidance and support to an office staff and the faculty for the school. She is proficient in computers, Word, Excel, and office equipment.
Lori graduated with a Regents Diploma from Syosset High School. She proudly served as President, Vice-President for the PTA at Connetquot’s School District, and was chairperson and Hospitality Coordinator from 1987-2000.
Lori was caregiver for her disabled husband who suffered from Parkinson’s. In his memory, Lori is dedicating herself to public service while enjoying her retirement from Eastern Suffolk BOCES. She is looking forward to being a Board member and contributing to SILO’s mission.
Board Member: Dawn Cookler
In 2013, Dawn Cookler joined the SILO Board. Ms. Cookler worked in the field of Market Research for 27 years, as well as working with the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Suffolk from 1988-2000 as a Tele-Touch Business Manager and Community Resource Specialist. Dawn received a Bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University in Theatre 1987 and a Master’s in Health Administration in 1990. Dawn is involved in many groups and programs across Long Island to assist the community. She also places high priority on the accessibility issues in the community as she is a member of Barrier Busters of SILO that works to ensure businesses, complexes, restaurants are accessible for everyone. Dawn is an athlete and currently competes in the sport of powerlifting.
Board Member: Krista Giannak
As an experienced reporter and accomplished writer, Krista Giannak uncovers untold mission moments that share the true impact of a company or an organization on real people. Her press releases and PR pitches have resulted in television, radio, and print media coverage for her clients. From blogs to bios, ebooks to e-courses, feature articles and more, Krista shares her clients’ knowledge and stories with purpose. Additionally, Krista runs professional workshops and inspires audiences as she speaks about becoming a business owner and skier, who happens to be blind. As a current board member and former employee of SILO, she has served as an advocate for accessibility, conducted media outreach, and written copy for the organization. Krista received her B.A. in Communication Arts and Psychology from Dowling College and is the recipient of several awards, including a Dante Foundation scholarship, the Moxxie Mentoring Foundation Purple Pump Award, and the Melville Chamber of Commerce Young Professional of the Year.
Board Member: Barry Rosenthal
Barry is a Culinary Arts teacher who worked with Special needs high school students for 29 years. His mission was to inspire students to exceed expectations of themselves. He taught adult education and was department chair for 15 years. He holds a Master’s degree in reading and special education.
He has been married for 38+ years and has 2 dogs, 1 cat and approximately 30 squirrels that reside in the backyard.
By joining the board, he hopes to become an asset to the organization.
Board Clerk: Laurie Delgado
Laurie started her "third career," as she calls it, as a volunteer at SILO. Her first career entailed raising her son, Bill. She was a class mother during his years in elementary school, a baseball coach during his little league years and a driver during his high school years. Driving him to all those games, sporting events and teenage social functions. Her second career as an educator, entailed working as school secretary, para educator and teacher. She left education to join her husband, Joe, at SILO. Laurie's volunteer work prepared her to work as an Outreach Specialist for the newly formed NY Connects program at SILO. She then became a Coordinator of Special Projects, a Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships, and now holds the title of Chief Community Engagement Officer. Laurie is responsible for the organizing, planning and implementation of all aspects of SILO events, such as the ADA celebration, SILO conferences and any workshops made available to the public. She is charged with connecting SILO with government offices and community leaders. She is also responsible for any other initiative that involves developing partnerships with businesses, community agencies, houses of faith and professional organizations.