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DDI had a special guest on Wednesday, February 7th! Chris Suriano, New York State Assistant Commissioner of Special Education, came to visit the Early Childhood Program and Children’s Day Program at the Huntington Campus.


Mr. Suriano, accompanied by Peter Pierri, former Executive Director of the Interagency Council (IAC), and Chris Treiber, Associate Director for Children’s Services at IAC, was able to witness day-to-day experiences with the students we serve.  Mr. Suriano met with employee focus groups to hear first-hand about the challenges we face with staff vacancies and retention.


Mr. Suriano, Peter Pierri, and Chris Treiber were extremely impressed with everyone who represented the programs during the focus groups and tours. Throughout the classroom visits, the Assistant Commissioner noted that classrooms were well organized and structured and that every employee was very engaged with the students. Additionally, he commented on the dedication and passion of the staff he witnessed during the tour and in conversations with them.  


Mr. Suriano is bringing what was said by staff with such clarity, focus, and passion back to the New York State Education Department to help them understand that changes are necessary. He, along with Peter Pierri and Chris Trieber, will use the insight gained from this visit as they continue to advocate for special education services in New York.