Expanding AbilitiesOne Person at a Time


The Board of Directors for the Columbia County chapter of the The Arc New York is representative of the community at large.  It consists of the following persons:

Denise Barry, Ed.D.

Denise Barry, Ed.D., resides in East Chatham.  Dr. Barry retired as of June, 2011, after forty years of teaching Special Education in the Hudson City School District.  She had a separate “summer career”, having spent thirty years as a teacher and/or administrator in local correctional facilities.  Active in the community, she was a Jefferson Award Medalist for volunteerism in the Capital District in 2010.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities for Columbia/Greene Counties and Outreach Coordinator at St. James Church in Chatham.  Most recently she was elected to a three-year term on the Chatham Central School District’s Board of Education in May 2015.  Dr. Barry is the longest, continuously serving, member of Coarc's Board of Directors, having joined the Board in 1972.

Mary Blass

Mary Blass resides in East Chatham. In 1966, Ms. Blass, along with her husband, became a New York State Certified Family Care Provider and provided residential services to developmentally disabled individuals ranging from adolescents to geriatrics until her retirement in 2005. She is past President, Vice President, and Secretary of the Coarc Board. Ms. Blass joined the Coarc Board in June of 1996.

John W. Craft

John W. Craft resides in Ghent with his two children, Audrey and Steven.  Steven is Autistic (Asperger’s).  Mr. Craft has over thirty-five years of manufacturing experience, including Plant and Supply Chain Management.  He currently is the Director of Global Supply Chain for Power and Composite Technologies in Amsterdam, New York, overseeing operations in Hungary, China, and the United States.  His other interests and affiliations include Director and Assistant Fair Manager of the Columbia County Agricultural Society, Past-President of New York Agricultural Fair Managers Association, member of American Production and Inventory Control Society, and member of Lean Manufacturing Users Network. He has previously served as the Race Secretary of the New York State County Fair Harness Horse Racing, Board member of the Work Force Investment Board of Columbia and Greene Counties, Chairperson of Continuous/Quality Improvement Committee of the Workforce Investment Board, President of the Board of Directors of Cornell Cooperative Extension, member of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, founding Board member and Treasurer of Capital Region CSR Association, and basketball coach for Taconic Hills Youth Program.  Mr. Craft joined the Coarc Board in June of 2013.

Mary Anne VanDenburgh

Mary Anne VanDenburgh resides in Stockport with her husband, Paul. She is a current member of the The Arc New York, Board of Governors. Ms. VanDenburgh retired from Taconic DDSO in 2010. From 1974 to 2010, Ms. VanDenburgh worked out of the Valatie office in Columbia County for CDDSO and then Taconic DDSO. She worked with adult day program, as a case manager, case management supervisor, Family Care Coordinator, Family Care Home Liaison, and trainer. Part of her duties included membership on Coarc’s Residential Screening Committee. She was employed by Coarc briefly from December 1978 to April 1979 at the Germantown residence as a houseparent with her husband. She was a den leader in Cub Scouts for both of her sons. Ms. VanDenburgh joined the Coarc Board in July of 2010 and is currently serving as President.

Annette (Mickey) Dennis

Annette (Mickey) Dennis resides in Spencertown with her husband and daughter, who is developmentally, and speech delayed.  Mrs. Dennis is employed at the Chatham pediatric office of Dr. Lawrence Greitzer as a registered nurse.  She is the Director of Religious Education (pre-K through 6th grade) at St James Church, Chatham.  Ms. Dennis joined the Coarc Board in June of 1989 and has served previously as the Board President.

Mary Ann Harris

Mary Ann Harris resides in Ghent with her husband, David. She is the parent of a son, who has Down syndrome. He lives in Chatham with his wife in a COARC supportive apartment. Ms. Harris retired from the medical field as Kaiser’s Office Manager/Administrator. She currently works in the offices of Ghent Wood Products and Meltz Lumber Co. She has been active with the Challenger baseball league. She has served as President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary of the Coarc Board of Directors. Ms. Harris joined the Coarc Board in June of 1999.

Donna Knight

Donna Knight lives in Canaan with her husband Jeff and three children, one of whom has Cerebral Palsy and developmental delays. She is a graduate of Springfield College and for eleven years was the IS Manager for Country Curtains. For the past ten years, she has been a parent advocate for the Committee on Special Education for the Chatham Central School District. She served on the Canaan Planning Board from 1996-2008. Ms. Knight currently volunteers for the Adams Point Beach Association and the Ghent Playhouse. She is a parishioner of St. James Church in Chatham. Ms. Knight joined the Coarc Board in June of 2009 and is currently serving as Vice President.

Dorothy (Dodie) Wheeler

Dorothy (Dodie) Wheeler resides in Ghent. She has two sons, one of whom is developmentally disabled. She is employed by NYS OTDA as the Director of the Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance. She is a current member of the The Arc New York, Board of Governors. Ms. Wheeler has been active in youth sports in the Chatham area for many years. Ms. Wheeler joined the Coarc Board in June of 2008. She has served as President and is currently serving as Treasurer.

Tracy Cantele

Tracy Cantele resides in Ghent. She has a nephew that has autism. She is employed by Ginsberg’s Foods as the Marketing Manager. She was co-owner of the local UPS Store. She is a current member of the Workforce Development Board of Columbia & Greene Counties. She is a member of the leadership team for the Columbia County Relay For Life. Ms. Cantele joined the Coarc Board in February of 2017 and is currently serving as Secretary.

Doris Meier

Doris Meier resides in East Chatham with her husband Alan. She has three sons, all of whom reside in Columbia County. She has over 25 years of experience in health care currently employed at Berkshire Health Systems as the Information Technology Director of Physician Practices. She is CPHIMS certified and served for two years on the HIMSS Ambulatory and Patient Engagement Committees. Ms. Meier joined the Coarc Board in March of 2017.

Karen Blass

Karen Blass has resided in Old Chatham for thirty-three years. She and her husband, Kenneth, have a daughter, Victoria, who attends graduate school at SUNY Albany. Ms. Blass is currently the Director of Business Development at Blass Communications LLC.  She currently serves as the Treasurer of the advisory board of the Hudson Salvation Army and on the Membership and Golf Committees of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Blass has served as the Treasurer of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Executive Board, as a board member of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce for six years, as a board member of the March of Dimes, as a board member and director of the Columbia/Greene walk site for ten years and as a board member of the American Heart Association.  She was a Philmont and Hudson Rotarian for ten years.  Ms. Blass joined the Coarc Board in February of 2009, took a leave of absence and has rejoined in August 2018.

Karen Engel

Karen Engel and her husband, Steve, live in Chatham with their son and daughter. She is a Special Education Teacher for the Hudson City School District. They are Founding Board Members for Hands and Voices of NY, an organization that serves families of children with hearing loss. She is Vice President for Zonta of Upper Hudson Valley, founding Advisor of Hudson High School's Gay Straight Alliance, member of Ladies Auxiliary to the Chatham Fire Department, parent member of the Gettysburg College Family Weekend Advisory Council, Chair for Jaime's Run For People with Special Needs and Member of Sean's Run Planning Board. She joined the COARC Board in 2017.