Makenna serves the council as their executive administrator. She earned a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from Hilbert College and a Masters’s degree from Canisius University in Higher Education and Student Affairs.
Makenna currently serves as the Associate Director for Success and Transitions at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. When not working Makenna enjoys volunteering and every summer is a part of leading a fundraising effort for Camp Good Days and Special Times at a local campground.
Makenna grew up in Pavilion, NY, obtained her education in Buffalo, NY, and currently resides in Rochester, NY.
Term Expires 2023
Spencer joined the Character Council of WNY Board of Directors in the summer of 2020. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Washington & Lee University, with minors in Education and Mass Communications. After graduation, he accepted a position in the M&T Bank Management Development Program, which brought him to Buffalo, New York.
Spencer is currently a Business Communications Specialist at M&T Bank, where he serves as Editor-In-Chief of the company’s employee newsletter and advises change management teams seeking to implement bank-wide enhancements. A devotion to character education has been a common thread in his personal and professional life. From volunteering with The First Tee of WNY, introducing junior golfers to the organization’s core values, to student-teaching in elementary schools in Virginia and New York State, Spencer is passionate about equipping the next generation to be the leaders of tomorrow. He’s excited to work with his CCWNY colleagues to make that vision a reality.
Spencer grew up in Davenport, Iowa, and currently resides in Buffalo, New York. The city has become home, and he looks forward to giving back to the WNY community that welcomed him just a short time ago.
Following my Mom’s example, I have always been an active volunteer. Having served in a variety of leadership roles with the Girl Scouts, as a PTA officer and event chair, I was introduced to the Character Council of Hamburg in 2007. During my tenure, the Council expanded to encompass all of WNY, launched several signature events and forged new community partnerships. I am proud to have worked alongside so many dedicated volunteers and see the impact CCWNY has had on the community. Currently my roles include Co-Secretary, chair of the ECHOES Mini-Grant Program and Co-Chair of the Scholarship Program.
A graduate of Villa Maria College, I earned my A.A.S. in Retail Management and Marketing. And returned as a non-traditional student to Empire State University to pursue my BS in Communications. For the past 20 years I have loved working at the Southtown Teacher’s Center, currently in the role of Office Administrator. I enjoy helping support educators, students and the community. In October 2022 I started a small business, Tempus Fugit Services, providing virtual administrative and design services. I have four incredible children, a precocious granddaughter and live in Blasdell, with my husband of more than 35 years and one very spoiled therapy dog.
I believe the power in a simple act of kindness is the fastest way to impact another person’s life for the better.
Term Expires: May 2024
Peter Simon serves as the Character Council’s Treasurer and Nominations Committee Chairperson. Peter is a retired teacher from the Lake Shore Central School District, where he taught for 33 years. During his time at Lake Shore, Peter coached JV baseball, served as a member of the Teacher’s Union negotiations team as well as on a variety of committees. Peter is a graduate of Buffalo State College, where he earned a BS and Masters of Education degrees. Peter was born in Minnesota and later moved to Buffalo, and currently resides in Hamburg with Paula, his wife of more than 40 years and they have three adult sons, Matthew, Joseph, and John.
Peter’s interest and concern for the development of good character began long before his actual involvement in the Character Council of WNY. During his many years as a sixth grade teacher, Peter always felt that the teaching and recognition of character virtues was just as important as the teaching of Math, Language Arts or Science, and was among the first educators in his district to integrate character education into his daily lessons. Shortly after retirement, Peter was offered the opportunity to join the board of the Character Council of Hamburg. He welcomed this offer as a natural extension of his concern for the development of good character, only now he would be able to share his passion with his community, helping and encouraging a wider range of the population to recognize and practice the various character virtues.
During his eighteen years on the board of the Character Council, Peter has been encouraged by the growth of the board, and the dedicated work of its members that has helped to increase the focus and awareness of the importance of developing a culture of character in the Western New York community. Peter believes…“It’s up to the people who really care about our country to take a more active role in helping to determine the culture in which our children grow up. With perseverance and cooperation this goal is achievable. TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT.”
Dina Ferraraccio is the Director of School Culture for the Kenmore Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District. Before serving in this role, she was the Assistant Principal at Kenmore West High School in the district. Dina holds a B.S. from the University of Rochester in Cell and Developmental Biology. She also holds a M.S in Science Education from the University of Rochester and a Master’s in Educational Administration from University at Buffalo. Currently, this is Dina’s 22nd year in the field of education. Before becoming an administrator, she taught Biology, Chemistry, and Forensics for 14 years. Dina’s work in education centers on building character in students. She believes that character development is crucial for students because it goes beyond academic achievements and contributes to their overall growth as individuals. Among many other things, character development increases social skills, ethical decision making, resilience, self-awareness, leadership skills, and creates lifelong learners prepared for the future. Dina is honored to be involved in an organization like the Character Council of Western New York that promotes the benefits of good character and facilitates the continual development of character excellence within the community. Dina looks forward to collaborating with fellow board members on many different projects in the future!