Board Member Bios

2020 Board of Directors

Virginia Benedict

undefinedGinger lives in Greenville with her husband, Michael, and all of her children grew up there.Ginger herself grew up in Catskill and graduated from SUNY Geneseo and Albany Law School.She has been practicing law for over thirty years.Her law office is in Hudson giving her a great connection to both Greene County, where she makes her home, and Columbia County, where she has her business.

Ginger was a Kiskatom Hilltopper as a child and went on to lead her own girls in 4-H in Greenville in conjunction with Jeanne Bear.Her daughters and her son all participated for many years exhibiting at the Greene County Youth Fair.

Ginger has served on the Board since 2017.


Nicole Bliss

undefinedNicole Bliss has served on the Cornell Cooperative Extension Board for 5 years, the last 3 being on the Executive Committee. She works at National Bank of Coxsackie as a VP/Human Resources Officer and currently lives in Coxsackie, NY. Nicole received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT and her Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys hiking, relaxing with friends, and anything that will get her outside or on the river. Nicole also serves as Vice Chair for the Board of Directors of the Greene County Chamber of Commerce.


Marion Thein Coyne

undefinedMy name is Marion Thein Coyne and I am a lifelong resident of Greene County. I grew up in the village of Catskill and received my primary and secondary education at St. Patrick's School. I was also a School Board member at St Patrick's. I received a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Sociology at Mount Saint Mary College and was employed by Greene County as a child protective services supervisor. I returned to school to earn a degree at Columbia-Greene Community College and am currently employed at Columbia Memorial Hospital as a New York State Registered Nurse. My husband John and I have been blessed with two sons who are now successful independent adults. I have always maintained a primary interest in the land around me from a historical perspective and a tangible working perspective through my gardening and small farming as well as a small maple syrup production.It is my hope, as a board member, to continue the philosophy of the Extension by providing support to our community-based programs and be a receptacle of personal growth and learning.


Linda Fix

undefinedLinda is married to Bob with two sons Stephen and Bradley and family members of the Fix Bros Fruit Farm, located in Livingston, New York. Linda’s sons are two of the fifth generation. Linda has been engaged in the community for the past 40 years, with agriculture as a top priority being very active in Farm Bureau and Cornell Cooperative Extension. One of Linda’s proud accomplishments was starting the Backpack Program in 2010 for Columbia County Schools. This program feeds children on the weekends with shelf-stable food during the school year.




Bryan Frisbee

undefinedBryan is a lifelong resident of Greene County. He is a graduate of Coxsackie-Athens High School and LeMoyne College with a degree in Business Administration. For the last 16 years, Bryan has been working for Farm Family Insurance, specializing in agricultural insurance. He is also a board member for the Coxsackie-Athens Little League and the Greene County YMCA in addition to Cornell Cooperative Extension. Bryan is an active participant in local 4-H along with his two children.


Sandra Gardner

undefinedSandra Gardner and James Gardner live in Hillsdale, NY, and are proud parents of three sons. They recently welcomed a daughter-in-law into the immediate family, Dylan, Ben (Monika), and Hunter. All three boys started 4-H at the age of 5 as Cloverbuds. Sandra is a 4-H alumnus from Niagara County and began volunteering with 4-H as soon as she turned 21. She has been a volunteer ever since!

Professionally, Sandra is the Director of Instruction and Staff Development at Taconic Hills Central School District. She holds two Master’s degrees from Niagara University, School Administration, and Business Administration. Her undergraduate degree is from Cornell University- College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She is currently a doctorate candidate and studying online at Concordia University-Portland.

The Gardner family enjoys spending time together, and leisure activities include spending time with their Jersey cattle, floral arranging, hiking, and playing board games together.


Billy Greer

undefinedI have served on the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia & Greene Counties’ Board for 3 years, including two years as Treasurer and Chairman of the Finance and Human Resources Committee. I enjoy supervising the 4-H volunteers at the Columbia County Fair Milk Bar, since taking on that role in 2016. My wife Kira and I co-lead the Baker’s Dozen 4-H Club, which includes our 15-year-old triplets as members. I love carrying on the 4-H tradition with my family, as some of my favorite childhood memories are of my 15 years of 4-H experiences. I currently serve on the 4-H Program Advisory Committee. I am also an evaluator for Public Presentations and the Columbia County Fair. I work as a Regional Director of Operations for Five Guys Burgers and Fries, currently overseeing 150+ restaurants throughout the Northeast and Canada. In my downtime, my family and I enjoy working on our small farm and spending time together in the Adirondacks.


Roberta Keller

undefinedRoberta Keller is the daughter of Gale and Judy Bury. She grew up in Columbia County and graduated from Ichabod Crane. She was a member of the Blondies 4-H club for 10 years. She attended Plattsburgh State and graduated with a Bachelor's degree of science in chemistry. After graduation, Roberta helped her mom continue the club. She married Kent Keller in 1987 and they have four children. When their son Brett was old enough, Roberta started the Udderly Impossibles 4-H club and has continued the club. Roberta received her Master's degree from Sage Colleges and teaches math at Chatham Middle school. She is active in her church and teaches Sunday school. In her spare time, she enjoys sewing, quilting, and gardening.


Linda Levitt

undefinedLinda’s career started as an Insurance Broker specializing in the sale of employee benefits programs to large and small corporations.She very quickly began her own insurance agency and was the owner and President for 30 years.

Since that time, Linda has retired.She became a Master Gardener Volunteer in 2014 in Columbia and Greene Counties. In addition to her volunteering in NY, she sits on the Educational Committee and conducts tours at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, MA.

She currently resides in Copake with her husband, Bob and Wheaten terrier, Cassie.


Dr. Joshua Lipsman

undefinedDr. Joshua Lipsman has been on the Extension board for one year. He is a medical doctor, an attorney, and a public health professional. He currently works as a medical director for Humana. He is a former Westchester County health commissioner. His medical specialty is public health and general preventive medicine.

Josh has lived in Athens since 2007. He is a board trustee of the Village of Athens, and a member of the Athens Community Foundation advisory board and of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society board. He is an active CrossFitter and lives in Athens with his husband Jonathan Sorge.


Matt Luvera

undefinedMatthew Luvera is a fourth grade teacher at Catskill Elementary School and he is in his second term as a Greene County Legislator representing Catskill.He is a life-long Catskill resident, attended St. Patrick’s School and graduated from Catskill High School.After graduating from Columbia-Greene Community College, Matt attended SUNY New Paltz graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education.He received a Master’s Degree in Education from the College of St. Rose.Besides teaching, Matt serves on the School District Technology Committee, the extracurricular co-advisor to the Business Club and advisor to the Digital Media Club.Matt is a volunteer at the Matthew 25 Food Pantry in Catskill, a member of the Knights of Columbus, organist at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Cairo and St. Anthony’s Friary in Catskill.He is also a Trustee of the Greene County Historical Society.As a Legislator, Matt chairs the Government Operations Committee and serves on Health Services, County Resources, and County Services Committees.

Matt was appointed by the Greene County Legislature to serve on the Board of Directors of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia & Greene Counties.


Matt Maraglio

I began with the board one year ago and have enjoyed serving the community in this role. I have an educational background in forest and natural resource management, forest technology and land surveying and have enjoyed working in these fields for nearly 15 years in the public and private sector. I live in Cairo with my wife and two boys where we enjoy pursuing the outdoor activities that our area has to offer.


Alicia McCagg

undefinedMy name is Alicia McCagg and I am a lifelong resident of Columbia County. I have served as a board member at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties for the past 3 years. I grew up on a fruit farm in West Taghkanic where I have helped my family at their farm store, Taconic Orchards, over the years. I am a 1994 graduate of Cornell University and received my Master’s degree from Russell Sage College. For the past 23 years, I have been a special education teacher in the Hudson City School District where I have taught life skills to my students. I reside in Greenport with my husband, Michael, and our twins, Connor (Sage ‘22) and Kayleigh (UVM ‘21). In my spare time, I enjoy baking, canning, flower and vegetable gardening, and making wreaths.


Dan McManus

undefinedDan is the founder/owner of Common Hands Farm and resides with this family in Hudson. This is Dan’s second year on the CCE board.







Dr. Rebecca Pinder

undefinedRebecca Pinder grew up in rural upstate New York where she spent her time riding and showing horses with 4-H and exploring the local landscape. Her fascination with life along streams and lakes led her to pursue a degree in Biology from SUNY Cortland and later studied salamander biology at John Carroll University in Cleveland where she received her Master’s degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. After returning to New York, she attended the University at Albany and studied interactions between earthworms and stream-side salamanders. Earning her Doctoral degree, she looked to share her love of the natural world with others and became an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia-Greene Community College.She currently teaches anatomy and physiology courses as well as general ecology courses, including the River Ecology course held at the Hudson River Field Station. She currently spends her spare time running and hiking through the Catskill Mountains with her family.


Ryan Skoda

Ryan joins the board this year as the newly appointed representative of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors. Ryan resides in Craryville.


Virgilia Tegiacchi

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Virgilia Tegiacchi is a Tax Specialist at Farm Credit East, ACA where she specializes in tax preparation, planning, and accounting. Virgilia has been with Farm Credit for 20 years and plays a significant role in the Claverack office’s tax preparation team including preparation of complex tax returns and mentoring new staff members.

Virgilia holds a B.S. from Cornell University and has an Enrolled Agent designation with the IRS.

Virgilia has always been involved in agriculture. She grew up on a small farm in Schoharie, NY, where she currently runs a small haying operation. Virgilia resides in Athens, NY, with her fiancé Kenn.


Paula Van Meter

undefinedI have been a practicing attorney working in public service for more than 40 years.After graduating from Colby College in Maine, I joined the Peace Corps in Malawi, Africa and in 1973 earned a law degree from Syracuse University.I then worked in public and government offices in New York City (Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan and Brooklyn; Senior Counsel in the New York City Law Department), Maine (Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney), and upstate New York (Assistant Counsel to Governor Mario Cuomo, and attorney litigating Watershed land protection).

While working in Albany I bought a house in Columbia County where I found my true home. After retiring 10 years ago, I moved from Kinderhook Village to Stuyvesant to start a small farm. I now live happily with a few sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, dogs, and cats.

But, public service has been the defining element of my adult life and has always been my passion so I served for two years each on the Board of Trustees of the Kinderhook Memorial Library and the Stuyvesant Town Planning Board after which I was approached to fill an unexpected vacancy on the Stuyvesant Town Justice Court in December 2018.I have served as Town Justice for the last year and was elected in November to an additional four-year term on that court.I am honored to represent Columbia County on the Board of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties.

Last updated February 25, 2020