Outstanding People

image004Nicholas A. Villani, President and CEO has worked in the field of vocational training and employment for people with special needs since 1982. He has administered programs, written grants, designed programs and was influential in much of the progress in the field of supported employment and transition for individuals with disabilities.  As a presenter, he has trained hundreds of professionals in the field of vocational services across the United States.  Mr. Villani was the administrator and oversaw the operations of services in the field of transition, vocational rehabilitation and day programs for major not-for-profit agencies on Long Island.  Nick has been a leader in the field serving on the associations for the employment of individuals with special needs and has worked for not-for-profit and for-profit organizations performing transition services since 1990. He has been an Adjunct Professor at Dowling College since 1997 teaching masters level “Transition Services for Students in Special Education” for Dowling graduate students becoming special education teachers.

While in the not-for-profit sector, he developed some of the earliest programs for individuals with autism in employment that included one of the first service models sponsored by ACCES/VR (then VESID) for adults with high functioning autism. While working with students and adults with high functioning autism, he realized that many had struggled in their college experience. To address that need, Nick developed the first in the nation College Support Program for Students with Asperger’s Syndrome at Dowling College.

Nicholas and CEO have received several awards from varying organizations since its inception. He was featured on National Public Radio’s “Sound Medicine” regarding his work with individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome and employment.  CEO received the “Best Practices in Transition” from the New York State Rehabilitation Association, for its work in collaboration with the Amityville School District.  The Western Suffolk Guidance Counselors Association awarded Amityville and CEO its best practices award for the development of the Amityville School/Business Partnership. Amityville provided Nicholas Villani the SCOPE Award for Community Leader for his work in that district.  This spring, Nicholas wrote an article for the “Autism Spectrum News” regarding the issues facing individuals with disabilities in the workforce.

In 2005, Nicholas founded Career and Employment Options, Inc. as a means to address the ongoing issues of transition and employment needs for individuals in special education.  Since that time, we have expanded our services to include adults who require assistance in career planning as well as securing and maintaining employment.

Lori Rosado-Mayer, Director of Program Services, has been employed with CEO since the company was founded in 2005. She oversees all services with our districts and supervises consultants in their work within districts. Ms. Rosado-Mayer eimage015nsures that CEO provides quality transition services to the districts throughout Long Island and in our ACCES/VR (VESID) services. She oversees and is responsible for the implementation of the curriculum, experiences and activities the students are actively engaged in throughout the school year. In addition to her work ensuring quality services and implementation, she also leads the CEO team when assisting a district in the oversight of IEP and Indicator 13 issues as well as developing Student Exit Summaries.  Lori also oversees and assists in much of the job development for CEO and has relationships with major corporations on Long Island. 

Lori has a Master’s Degree in Special Education and certified K-12.  Lori is also a Certified Benefits Planner through Cornell University and can provide entitlement support to students and their families.  She also provides training to districts and their families regarding Social Security Administration issues.  In addition she is a Certified Work Based Learning Coordinator assisting districts in our CDOS programs for students.

image010Brian Levine, Administrator of Vocational and Evaluation Services.  Brian oversees operations regarding job development and vocational assessments in school districts and ACCES/VR.  Brian will oversee all ACCES/VR services and will ensure that quality employment options are being provided for all individuals receiving services.  Brian will coordinate all job development activities across ACCES/VR, Transition Services and other programs for CEO.  In his multiple roles, Brian will provide vocational assessments, career development training, resume and portfolio, interview training and other skills related to student and consumer’s career skills and outcomes.

While working with a wide range of diversified populations, Brian has garnered the ability to work well in implementing vocational plans for each individual to succeed in reaching their vocational goals.  In his experiences in the field of vocational rehabilitation he has gained the trust of the families and the individuals he has worked with, assisting them in the vocational rehabilitation process and getting started in their careers.  He has worked for various not-for profit organizations in several capacities, such as Vocational Evaluator, Manager of Employment Services and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Brian earned his Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling from Hofstra University.


gucciardo-kimberlyKim Gucciardo is the Administrator for Transition Services at CEO, serving school districts and staff across Long Island.  She has a M.S.Ed  in School Counseling from Hofstra University and is a credentialed Family Development Specialist.

For three years, Kim was the Program Director for Suffolk County Probation’s Partners Against Crime Team, where she supervised case management staff and mentoring relationships between volunteers in the community and youth on probation.  She has spent nine years working with students on probation, many of whom were disengaged from their communities, and were consequently at risk of dropping out of High School or being placed in group homes; the majority of these students were in Special Education programs.  Kim served as a liaison between school districts and families, representing students at CSE meetings and advocating for a collaborative approach towards student success.  While working with multiple not-for-profit organizations, she facilitated a number of psycho-educational groups on a variety of topics influencing adolescent development, including an adult program that aims to rehabilitate first time criminal offenders in an effort to diminish recidivism.

In her previous role as a High School Ambassador for an education consulting firm, Kim delivered over 600 classroom presentations to thousands of students in districts across Long Island.  These workshops help students in both general and special education explore their post high school pathway options.  Kim has a passion for education and empowering others to reach their full potential.  She brings her professionalism, wide array of experience and positive energy to the CEO Team.

Joelle Kronberg is the Marketing and Partnership Coordinator for CEO.  She coordinates and develops the organizations that participate in CEO’s Business Advisory Council (BAC) as well as working with districts in our School Business Partnership Program.

She is a licensed School Counselor with Life Coach training. As a Career Consultant with Career & Employment Options, Joelle will provide career development and training to students in school districts and ACCESS/VR services.

Joelle earned a Masters in Counselor Education from CUNY at Queens College and a Bachelors in Psychology at SUNY Albany and has experience in a wide array of industries. She worked as a Marketing Assistant for Conde Nast and was promoted to Promotions Associate for GLAMOUR Magazine. Following publishing, Joelle joined a start-up software company as their Marketing Manager. She also taught 7th grade, is trained as a Life Coach and conducted job applicant interviews for a company called TALENT+. Joelle has 3 years school counseling experience specializing in at-risk students.

Joelle has a passion for helping people find and realize their life and career goals. It is this passion as well as experience from varied careers that she is the liaison between businesses, districts and CEO.

Dr. Heather C. Robertson  Heather joined CEO in July of 2018 as the Leadership and Training Coordinator.  In this role, Heather focuses on curriculum design, staff training and development, and staff support. As a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Heather also provides vocational counseling, career development services, vocational evaluations, and job placement services. Heather is dedicated to helping students and consumers achieve their career and vocational goals.

Heather has worked as a career counselor and employment specialist in nonprofit, for profit, and college settings, as well as, a high school special education teacher. She has previously served as a corporate trainer for organizations such as Bank of America and Capital One, and has developed curricula for school-to-work transition programs, as well as graduate counseling programs. Heather has Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Virginia Tech and a Master’s degree in Counseling & Guidance from Texas A & M University in Corpus Christi. She has published her career development research in national, peer-reviewed journals, and has been invited to present her expertise in career development and career transition at state, national, and international forums.

ShymanDr. Eric Shyman has joined Career and Employment Options Inc. as an educational consultant.  Eric’s role is to visit classrooms, worksites, community access sites where CEO provides services and provide feedback to the development of more effective instruction as well as staff training in pedagogical techniques.

Eric Shyman, Ed.D. received his doctorate degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2009. He worked as a classroom special education teacher for 10 years in both public and non-public schools, and has also served as a staff trainer, seminar leader, and consultant for schools and school districts. His main areas of consultation involve educational strategies for children with disabilities (with a special expertise in Autism Spectrum Disorder), inclusive education strategies, data collection and analysis, and curricular and instructional modification and adaptation. In 2014, he was chosen to receive the Teachers College, Columbia University Early Career Award. He is the author of multiple peer-reviewed articles appearing in state, national, and international journals, as well as two books: Beyond Equality in the American Classroom: The Case for Inclusive Education and Besieged by Behavior Analysis for Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Treatise for Comprehensive Educational Approaches. His third book, which will explore the history and potential future of wide-scale educational reform in the United States, is forthcoming.

katharine-rehn-2Katharine Rehn, Co- Administrator of Transition Services. Katharine has worked closely with CEO for over 12 years mostly as the Vocational/Transition Coordinator from the Smithtown School District.  She is working at CEO as the Co-Administrator for Transition Services with Caterina Cain.  Katharine retired as the Vocational/Transition Coordinator for the Smithtown School district and was responsible for the transition supports for the students in that district.  She has an excellent and thoughtful perspective of worksite management and goals. 

Katharine began her teaching career as a secondary Social Studies teacher and later became a vocational teacher at Western Suffolk BOCES Wilson Tech. She concluded her career as the Vocational/ Transition Coordinator for the Smithtown School District after 15 years in that role. She is also a Certified Work Based Coordinator and assists CEO in our CDOS students.  Katharine has also taught as an adjunct at Suffolk Community College and Dowling College.