Niagara County Community College Board of Trustees Bios

James Ward, SecretaryJames Ward, Chairperson
Appointed 2012 / Current term expires 2019

James Ward is currently the Executive Advisor to New York State Senator Robert G. Ortt, a position he has held since 1998.

Ward's prior work experience includes owning a packaging design business, serving as Town Justice in the Town of Newfane, 8 years in the Niagara County Legislature, and a 3 year appointment (2004-2007) as the United States Commissioner to the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.

Ward plays an active role in the community serving as a Director on a number of non-profit boards including: Eastern Niagara Hospitals, the Health Association of Niagara County, the Niagara County Action Program, the Niagara County Historical Society, the Town of Newfane Tourism Board, the Newfane Lions Club, the Krull-Olcott Development Committee, the Olcott Beach Community Association and the Olcott Beach Carousel Association.

Ward holds a degree from Bowling Green University in Ohio.

Henry F Wojtaszek, Vice ChairpersonHenry F. Wojtaszek, Vice Chairperson
Appointed 2011 / Current term expires 2017

Henry F. Wojtaszek is General Counsel for the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation. Wojtaszek is responsible for formulating the corporations operating plan, rules, regulations, by-laws and prepare and negotiate contracts for services. Also among his duties, Henry Wojtaszek provides advice and guidance to the President and Chief Executive Officer and Officers of the corporation.

Prior to joining the Off-Track Betting Corporation Wojtaszek was a partner with Harris Beach PLLC from 2005 to 2010 and served on the Public Finance Group and Governmental and Quasi-Governmental Agencies Industry Team. Wojtaszek also served as City Attorney for North Tonawanda from 1998 to 2004 and maintained a general practice as an attorney from 1991 to 2004.

Wojtaszek has also worked as an attorney for the United States Navy in the Judge Advocate General Program from 1987 to 1991, working as trial counsel and defense counsel in court-martials. It was during this time that Henry F. Wojtaszek was awarded the Navy Commendation and Navy Achievement Medal.

Wojtaszek graduated from the University of Dayton School of Law with a Juris Doctor in May of 1987 and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the State University of New York College of Buffalo in May of 1984.

Gina I. Virtuoso, Financial SecretaryGina I. Virtuoso, Financial Secretary
Appointed 2009 / Current term expires 2016

Gina I. Virtuoso was appointed by Gov. David A. Paterson to a seven-year term on the board. Virtuoso is retired from Occidental Chemical Corporation, where she worked for 20 years, holding the position of senior corporate accountant, as well as other accounting positions.

Virtuoso is a member of the Professional Accountants and Biltmore Who’s Who, a three-year member of the St. Francis Guild board of directors, a four-year chairperson of the Festival of Sweets, a United Way volunteer, a volunteer for then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, co-chairperson for the Niagara Catholic Auction and a member of Niagara Catholic Parent Association. She is also a member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.

She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration, majoring in accounting, from Niagara University.

Virtuoso and her spouse Dennis reside in Niagara Falls and have one son Dennis Guy (DJ), two stepchildren, Gina and Vinnie and three grandchildren, Nicholas, Josh, and Mason.

Bradley W. RowlesBradley W. Rowles, Secretary
Appointed 2015 / Current term expires 2021

Bradley W. Rowles of Sanborn, is the dean of students at Hutchinson-Central Technical High School in Buffalo. As the dean of students his primary focus is with student discipline and parental engagement for the 1,100 students and their families. He has held this position since November 2013.

Prior to working at Hutch Tech High School, Brad was Assistant Principal and a Special Education Teacher at Gateway-Longview School, a private institution providing special education services to local children and young adults. From 2000 to 2008, Brad was an Assistant Operator at the Town of Tonawanda Waste Water Division.

Brad has a M.S. in Students with Disabilities from Canisius College and a B.S degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from Buffalo State College and an Advanced Certification in School Building Leader from Canisius College.

Vincent R. GinestreVincent R. Ginestre
Appointed 2011 / Current term expires 2018

Vincent Ginestre is an Attorney in private practice concentrating in the areas of Surrogate’s Court, Family Law, Real Estate, Civil Litigation and Criminal Law. He has been in private practice since 1974, while simultaneously holding positions as a prosecutor in the City of North Tonawanda (1974-1977) and in different areas of specialty as an Assistant Niagara County Attorney (1977-1990, 1994-1997, and 2000-2001). He is affiliated with the Erie and Niagara County Bar Associations, as well as the Bar Association of the Tonawandas.

Ginestre is a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo with a B.A. in History and the University of Notre Dame with a J.D. in Law. He was admitted to the bar in 1972.

William L. RossWilliam L. Ross
Appointed 2012 / Current term expires 2019

Eleven-time Niagara County Legislature Chairman, William Ross, was appointed to the Board of Trustees by the County in 2005. The retired teacher and long-time athletic administrator and coach spent 47 years working in the Niagara Wheatfield School District.

Ross has served as an elected government official for 29 years with terms as a councilman for the Towns of Niagara and Wheatfield and as a county legislator. He served in the U.S. Army (Active and Reserve) and retired with the rank of Lt. Col. in 1983 with 28 years of service.

Ross is a member and past president of the Town of Niagara and Town of Wheatfield Lions Club, past president of Leadership Niagara, past president of the St. Mary's Board of Associates, member and past president of the New York State Athletic Administration Association and member of the Board of Directors of Horizon Services. He is also a member of the Niagara County Community College Foundation, Inc. Ross is currently a member of the Board of Directors for "NIMAC" as well as serving on the Board of Directors for the Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame.

Ross earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a master's degree from Buffalo State College. He and his spouse Linda are proud parents of five grown children and nine grandchildren.

Kevin C. SchulerKevin C. Schuler
Appointed 2006 / Current term expires

A 19-year public affairs veteran, Mr. Schuler is responsible for LPCiminelli's external and internal communications, overseeing all aspects of the company's marketing, government affairs, community relations, media relations and corporate messaging. He ensures that the in-house marketing department fully integrates the strategic initiatives set forth by the executive team.

Mr. Schuler originally joined LPCiminelli as Senior Director of Public Affairs to resolve several sensitive issues and draw on his expertise to advocate on behalf of development and construction projects. He continues to be intimately involved in how public sector decisions and perceptions impact LPCiminelli and its clients.

Prior to joining LPCiminelli, Mr. Schuler served as Vice President for Government Affairs for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, one of the largest business advocacy groups in Upstate New York. Mr. Schuler is also a former staff member in the New York State Legislature, having worked in Albany for both the State Assembly and State Senate.

Mr. Schuler is active in civic affairs, serving as past-Chairman of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce, a Governor-appointed trustee of Niagara County Community College and a board member of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. In 2011, he was asked by the Niagara County Legislature to serve as Chairman of the county's Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission.

Mr. Schuler is also past chair of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency where his leadership helped put the agency back on solid financial footing. He has previously served on the boards of Leadership Niagara (who honored him as Alumni of the Year in 2002), the Niagara County Charter Commission, the Niagara County Workforce Investment Board, and the advisory panel for USA Niagara Development Corporation. In 2009, he was honored by Business First of Buffalo as one of the region's "40 Under 40" leaders.

Mr. Schuler holds a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a concentration in political science.

Bonnie R. GiffordBonnie R. Sloma
Appointed 2008 / Current term expires 2015

Bonnie R. Sloma, a 30-year veteran of the health care industry, is a senior vice president at People Inc. in charge of business development and quality standards. She was formerly the Vice President of ambulatory and diagnostic services at Erie County Medical Center.

From 2004 to June, 2012, Sloma held the position of Vice President of Heritage Health Care Group, LLC and Administrative Consultant & Vice President of Clinical Services for Apollo LTC, LLC. From 1999 to 2004, she was Assistant Administrator of Clinical Services/Director of Nursing at Our Lady of Peace Nursing Care Residence.

Sloma also worked at Lockport Memorial Hospital as Director of Nursing, Medical, Surgical and Critical Care. At Beechwood Residence and Nursing Home she was the Assistant Director of Nursing/JCAHO and at United Church Colony Home, she was the Nursing Supervisor/Director of Nursing. From 1988 to 1993, Sloma worked at NCCC as a nursing instructor. She began her career at Children's Hospital of Buffalo as a staff nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Sloma earned her bachelor's degree from Niagara University in 1984. She has attended Niagara University for her MBA.

Sheila SmithSheila Smith
Appointed 2009 / Current term expires 2016

Sheila Smith is the Principal at Hyde Park Elementary School in Niagara Falls and has held that position since June of 2010.

As Principal of Hyde Park Elementary School, Sheila is responsible for the management and implementation of district and state policies, regulations, and procedures. At the building-level, she oversees scheduling, curriculum & professional development, personnel management, emergency and facility operations.  In addition, she is responsible for evaluations and oversees all school-wide instructional, data, financial, and student services and systems.  Sheila also serves as district-wide administrator for district's English & language arts curriculum committee.

From 1995 to 2000 Sheila was Director of the Niagara Regional School-to-Work Consortium which was housed here at NCCC. Sheila has a M.S. in Educational Administration and Elementary Education from Niagara University and a B.S degree in Industrial Labor Relations from Cornell University.

Olivia SpitzerOlivia Spitzer, Student Trustee
Appointed 2014 / Current term expires 2015

Olivia Spitzer is currently serving as Student Trustee. Olivia is a graduate from Royalton-Hartland high school and was awarded the NCCC Distinguished Student Scholarship. Majoring in Human Services, Olivia has achieved academic success during her time here at NCCC with a 3.5 GPA and participates in the Honors program. On top of excelling in the classroom, Olivia is also a demonstrated student leader on campus. She is the current President of the Student Programming Board, Student Trustee for the Student Senate, Student Ambassador, and an Orientation Leader. Olivia plans to continue her studies when she leaves NCCC by pursuing Psychology and hopes to get her Doctorate one day.