Lisa Kissinger


Lisa Kissinger is the Academic Administrator for Social Studies, Grades 6-12, for Shenendehowa Central School District.  A native New Yorker graduating from Binghamton Central High School, Lisa has worked in education in Maryland and New York.  Lisa earned a B.A. in Communication from the University of Michigan, and an M.A. in Instructional Systems Development and certification in secondary social studies from the University of Maryland Graduate School, Baltimore.  Lisa has done additional graduate coursework at Loyola College of Maryland, The College of St. Rose and the University of Albany.   Lisa currently leads a Social Studies department of 47 educators and has led curriculum and professional development for teachers at the building, district, regional and state level.    Lisa has served as the VP Member Outreach (2021-2022), 2022 NYSCSS Annual Convention Chair, Co-Chair of the NYSCSS Curriculum & Assessment committee (2016-2021), President of the New York State Social Studies Supervisory Association (2014-2019) and Program Co-Chair for numerous NYSCSS annual conventions since 2014.  Lisa is committed to civic education and is a member of the DemocracyReady NY Coalition and served on the NYSED Civic Readiness Task Force.  In 2018, Lisa coordinated and edited the New York League of Women Voters' project to publish lesson plans on state and local government.  Lisa resides in Albany, New York.

Janis Schachter

Vice President of Policy & Administration

 Janis Schachter has taught social studies for 29 years, in both private and public school, and in middle and high school. In 2020, Janis was the NYSCSS's distinguished educator.  She brought a news literacy program to Northport High School, and would especially like to use this position to help bring

our updated vision of critical thinking and civic awareness to the forefront of public awareness. For the last 29 years, the New York State Council for the Social Studies has enhanced her teaching career through excellent professional development and tireless advocacy for the profession and for the students of New York State – with a lot of morale-boosting and cheerleading mixed in. Janis is honored to serve both the Council and the teachers and students of the state as Vice President, Policy and Administration.

Allison Weller

Vice President of Member Outreach

Deeply passionate about the instruction of social studies in K-12 schools, Allison Weller has dedicated both her professional career and academic pursuits to furthering history education and promoting intercultural tolerance and understanding among both students and educators.  As a veteran teacher in the Copiague Public School District, Allison has taught all levels of the New York State social studies curriculum. Currently, Allison teaches the Advanced Placement U.S. History and Advanced Placement Psychology courses, and has recently created and implemented a Facing History and Ourselves course elective.  Outside of the classroom, Allison serves as her district’s New Teacher Mentor Coordinator and is an advisor to the National Honor Society and the Global Ambassadors Club. Over the course of her career, Allison has participated in many professional development programs and has been the recipient of numerous awards and travel grants including the Goethe Transatlantic Outreach Program Fellowship to Germany, a Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminars Abroad Fellowship to China, the Korea Society’s Fellowship for Educators, the Japan Society’s Educators Study Tour Fellowship, and an IREX Teachers For Global Classrooms Fellowship to Brazil.  Allison participated in the Srebrenica Summer Institute in Bosnia and in 2018 travelled to Auschwitz with a Holocaust survivor through the generous funding of the CANDLES Holocaust Museum Teacher Fellowship.  Allison received a Qatar Foundation Professional Development Grant to travel to Jordan in the Spring of 2019 and was selected to participate in the National World War II Museum’s Summer Institute for Teachers.  Allison was awarded a Ph.D. in Social Studies Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and serves as an Adjunct Instructor at both Teachers College and Hunter College in New York City where she instructs courses in Social Studies Education and Curriculum and Instruction.

Timothy Potts


Tim Potts graduated from the State University of New York at Cortland with a BA in Secondary Social Studies. He also holds an MS Degree in Social Studies from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Tim has also completed additional graduate work at Cornell University. For 34 years, Tim has taught middle and high school Social Studies within the Monticello Central School District serving in various leadership positions. Tim has been a member of the council for 30 years and is a Past President (2012-13), former Middle School and Curriculum & Assessment Chair & Co-Chair. In 2005, he was awarded the NYSCSS Middle School Teacher Award.  Tim is the founding President of the Sullivan County Council for Social Studies in the 1990s.  During Tim's NYSCSS Presidency, he co-developed the NYSCSS Task Force to address the implementation of NYSED's SS Framework with other SS leaders statewide. Since 2015, Tim has held the position of the Treasurer and has updated and introduced new fiduciary practices making the Council's finances significantly stronger. He also serves as the chair of the Sites Committee which serves to locate & develop convention & conference locations. During the 2018 Convention, Tim was honored with the NYSCSS Distinguished Service Award for his years of service to the profession & organization. Tim was a member of the New York State Education Department’s Content Advisory Panel for Social Studies since its inception in 2011 to 2018 chairing the Curriculum & Assessment portion of the panel. Rounding out his service to his profession, Tim is also active in the leadership of the National Council for the Social Studies serving a second three year term on the board of the National Social Studies Leaders Association as a teacher liaison.

           Erik Olander


Erik Olander is currently a Social Studies teacher at Niagara Falls High School in Niagara Falls, New York. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at Niagara University and a Master's Degree in Secondary Social Studies at Canisius College located in Buffalo, NY. Erik currently teaches Participation in Government, however throughout his 25 career has taught Global 9/10, Sociology, Psychology and AP Psychology. In addition to his teaching career, Erik previously served as the Secondary Vice President of the local teachers’ union, Niagara Falls Teachers #801 and was the chairperson of the Niagara Falls Political Action Committee. Through his union service, he also assisted on the Niagara Orleans Labor Council Political Action Committee and received the Union Champions at Work Award in 2019. Erik credits his wife, Julie and family for supporting him in all of his dedicated union and organizational service throughout his teaching career.

                    Kyle Dalton


Kyle Dalton is a Social Studies teacher at Lansingburgh High School in Troy New York. He currently teaches CHS Psychology, Sociology and Economics. He has previously taught Global II. Kyle earned his bachelor’s in History and Psychology at Troy University in Dothan, Alabama and a Master’s in Education from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. Outside of the classroom, Kyle serves on the Trauma Sensitive Schools (TSS) committee, Trauma Illness and Grief (TIG) committee and Board of Directors for the Capital District Council for Social Studies (CDCSS). 

Before settling in New York, Kyle served in the military and has lived in Arizona, Germany, Missouri, and Alabama. That experience opened his eyes to the lack of diversity he grew up in. In 2014, Kyle and his wife Ashley left the south in search of a more diverse part of the country to raise their children. They fell in love with the capital region of New York and believe this area will allow their children to be immersed in geographic, religious, cultural, political, and racial diversity. Albany is home now and he looks forward to contributing to and being a part of the high standards of education in New York State. 

Tom Michalek


Growing up in Western New York I was not what you considered a model student. By the time I reached high school I had attended two elementary schools, a junior high and then St. Francis High school in Athol Springs. I graduated with honors after having turned my life around, I credit this change to my teachers who modeled perseverance. My public and private experience would carry over professionally when I began my career as an elementary educator at St. James in Depew. Living in Albany since 1997 and teaching public education at Bethlehem, I now feel I have a unique perspective from both sides of the desk. Additionally, teaching in both Western New York and the Capital District has given me a different point of view in my professional experiences as well. Other qualifications worth noting include NYS certifications in Social Studies 7-12, English 7-12, Elementary Pre-K-12, Special Education, Superintendent Administration, and COMPTIA computer credentials in A+ and Network +. These credentials, as well as my 28 years experience in the classroom, continue to prepare me professionally to help guide successful students. Taking on leadership roles in the Boy Scouts, serving as a union building representative, and technology coach for Bethlehem CSD have reinforced my drive with helping others in my community.

Copyright New York State Council for the Social Studies

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software