Our Staff

Robin Marks, Executive Director/CEO

Robin Marks, Executive Director/CEO

“ADRC is an ally, an advocate, a source of help and hope.  A future free from Alzheimer’s is the mission we are moving forward.”

Profile

Robin Marks has brought her innovative approach and wide-ranging expertise to Long Island’s Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center (ADRC).  She was appointed ADRC’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer in April 2019. 

Previously, Robin served as Long Island’s Regional Director for Amber Court Assisted Living in Westbury, New York.  There she established Amber Court as a major presence within Long Island’s healthcare community.  She advanced Amber Court’s admissions and managed its creative development and branding.  She also oversaw development of a new annex and built solid relationships with industry and government influencers.

Prior to joining Amber Court, Robin founded and led her own marketing and communications consultancy, “Well Said”, in Hicksville, New York.  In addition to developing marketing campaigns, she coached executives for public speaking engagements.

Robin earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Community and Human Services from SUNY Empire at Old Westbury, New York.  Her degree included a Concentration in Aging & Society and Multi-Cultural Gerontology. 

A life-long learner, Robin has pursued extensive studies in education and psychology.  She is an enthusiastic teacher and delivers Adult Education classes on areas of special interest to the Alzheimer’s community.  These include “Medicaid-Funded Assisted Living” and “The Ins and Outs of Memory Care.”

Robin is a valued volunteer with many organizations working to improve life for seniors on Long Island.  She has served as a member of the Executive Board of the Nassau County Department of Social Services Advisory Council.  The Nassau County Office of the Aging Advisory Council and Westbury Senior Center Executive Board also benefit from her contributions. 

Robin is Past President, Current Program Coordinator and Board Member of the Senior Umbrella Network of Nassau.  In addition, she volunteers time to The National Aging in Place Council, the Interagency Council on the Aging and the Gerontology Professionals of New York. 

Michele L. Payne, Director of Programs

Michele L. Payne, M.Ed., Director of Programs

“Being the primary caregiver for my mom, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, was life-altering and life-affirming.  ADRC was there for me.  It’s my goal to be there for others.”

Profile

Michele Payne joined the ADRC in November 2014 and is responsible for the Art, Music and Equine therapy programs for those with Alzheimer’s.  The programs are designed to encourage involvement and cognitive stimulation and are free of charge for Long Island families.

ADRC’s Education programming for caregivers also benefits from Michele’s direction.  These comprehensive courses deliver significant insight into the impacts Alzheimer’s creates.  They then offer practical tools and techniques to promote better caregiving relationships.

Michele has wide-ranging experience as a professional educator.  She taught elementary school in the Brentwood Union Free School District for close to a decade.  Working with students ranging from kindergarten level through grade four, Michele gained a finely tuned ability to assess comprehension levels, while promoting learning and engagement.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and her Master of Science in Elementary Education/Science Specialization from Dowling College, Oakdale, New York.

Prior to embarking on her teaching career, Michele worked as a Mortgage Underwriter with The Clayton Group of Shelton, Connecticut, New York.  Previously, she was Assistant Manager of the Residential Mortgage Department of Chemical Bank/Chase Manhattan Bank in Jericho and Forest Hills, New York.

Cassandra Tavella (1)

Cassandra Tavella, LMSW, Care Consultant and Community Outreach Coordinator

“ADRC gives me the honor of serving Long Island families who are living with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Profile

Cassandra Tavella is a fully licensed geriatric care social worker with specialization in neurodegenerative cognitive disorders.  Cassandra's passion for helping people with dementia was sparked by our very own Michele Payne who facilitated a training when Cassandra was learning how to be a certified caregiver for a homecare agency.  This motivated Cassandra to go back to school and she earned both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Social Work at Adelphi University.  Cassandra's experience ranges from running adult day programs, providing education and training programs, facilitating support groups, and counseling both caregivers and people living with dementia.

Maria Prendergast, Executive Assistant

Maria Prendergast, Executive Assistant

“It’s most fulfilling to be part of the ADRC team and provide essential services and support to Long Island’s Alzheimer’s community.”
Profile

Maria Prendergast joined the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center in 2016 as Executive Assistant.  Her exceptional organizational capabilities are applied throughout ADRC.  She provides executive support, and manages myriad administrative, event planning and donor relations responsibilities.

Prior to joining the ADRC, Maria gained extensive experience in the non-profit sector.  Most recently, she worked with a church within the Diocese of Rockville Centre, on Long Island.  Her role focused on stewardship and required consultation with pastoral management, staff, parishioners and volunteers.  She also oversaw the opening of a child day care center on the Church campus.  Welcoming new families to the program was a role she particularly enjoyed.  ADRC’s board, staff and the people we serve all benefit from her warm and welcoming approach.

A graduate of Molloy College, Maria earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management, with a Minor in Economics.  Earlier in her career, Maria worked as a staff accountant in the healthcare sector.

Maria and her husband have two daughters, and are life-long Long Islanders.

 

Tony Spataro, Financial Manager

Tony Spataro, Financial Manager

“It’s very rewarding to work at ADRC and to know we are making a real difference in the lives of Long Islanders who are confronting Alzheimer’s disease.”

Profile

Tony Spataro is a retired financial professional who joined ADRC in 2016.    He spent more than 25 years working as a Banking and Audit specialist with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., one of the world’s oldest, largest and best-known financial institutions.   Following his retirement, Tony began consulting and has provided his accounting acumen to a diverse group of firms.  They include Grant Thornton LLP, Sterling National Bank, The Nomura Trust and Banking Co., Ltd. of Japan and Fifth Third Bank of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tony is also well versed in financial management for non-profit organizations, having consulted for The North Shore Youth Council in Rocky Point, New York.  He earned his Associates degree in Accounting at Queensborough Community College in Bayside, Queens, New York.

An active volunteer, Tony has served as the President of the East Islip Chamber of Commerce.  He also participated on the Building Board of Directors for Bay Shore’s Knights of Columbus Council 564.  He presently co-chairs a Political Action Committee for the Blue Ridge condominiums where he resides, and is secretary for the Home Owners Association Board of Directors.