Central Administration Executive Team
The District Superintendent of Southern Westchester BOCES serves both the New York State Education Department and the public school districts within this supervisory district. The District Superintendent is also the local and regional representative of the Commissioner of Education for the implementation of education law, the Commissioner's regulations and the policies of the New York State Board of Regents. The District Superintendent and Chief Operating Officer are frequently asked to represent the State Education Department on special assignments.
The SWBOCES management team, which consists of the District Superintendent, Chief Operating Officer/Deputy District Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents, and the LHRIC Executive Director, provides leadership in the fulfillment of the SWBOCES Strategic Plan.
Harold A. Coles, Psy. D.
Harold A. Coles, Psy. D., was named District Superintendent in August 2013. He joined SWBOCES in the summer of 2011 as Assistant Superintendent for Regional Services in the fall of 2011.
Dr. Coles formerly served as Superintendent of Schools at the Greenburgh Abbott Union Free School District , a special act school district in Irvington, N.Y. He also served for five years as director of pupil personnel services at the Greenburgh Central 7 School District, and for five years as a school psychologist and coordinator at the Biondi Education Center adolescent day school at Leake and Watts Inc. in Yonkers. He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Lehman College.
As District Superintendent, Dr. Coles oversees the agency's work with component school districts, meets regularly with the region's superintendents, and serves as the New York State Education Commissioner's representative in the Southern Westchester region.
The district superintendent and chief operating officer at Southern Westchester BOCES head up an educational organization that employs roughly 1,000 teachers, administrators, and other professionals. SWBOCES provides more than 65 educational programs and services to students, teachers, administrators, and the general public in career and technical education, special education, adult education, and professional development for teachers.
It serves 32 component school districts in southern Westchester County and operates with a budget of $182 million.
Brendan Lyons, Ed.D
Brendan Lyons, Ed.D, was appointed Chief Operating Officer/Deputy District Superintendent in the summer of 2022. He is a veteran educator with deep roots in the Hudson Valley. He began his career teaching high school social studies in the Arlington Central School District in Dutchess County before moving on to positions there as high school assistant principal, middle school principal, and high school executive principal. After attaining his Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Seton Hall University, he was named Deputy Superintendent in Arlington and in 2013 became Superintendent of Schools, a role he held for seven years. Most recently he served as Superintendent in the Lakeland Central School District, a similarly large district bordering Westchester and Putnam counties.
It was his experience as a leader of complex educational organizations, combined with his passion for ensuring all students receive a well-rounded, engaging and equitable educational experience, that attracted him to Southern Westchester BOCES. Dr. Lyons brings an analytic approach to problem-solving and a demonstrated commitment to the success and well-being of students and staff. He believes in the importance of collaboration, teamwork and modeling effective practice, emphasizing professional learning as well as mentoring and coaching current and future education leaders. In addition to his doctoral degree, Dr. Lyons holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina and a master’s from SUNY New Paltz.
Stephen J. Tibbetts
Stephen J. Tibbetts has served as Assistant Superintendent for Business and Administrative Services since September 2009. In this capacity, Mr. Tibbetts develops policies and procedures to ensure that the financial resources of Southern Westchester BOCES are secured, accounted for and used consistent with applicable laws, regulations and policies. He also provides leadership and direction to the the SWBOCES Business Office and the Department of Transportation.
Mr. Tibbetts joined SWBOCES in 2002, serving as Assistant Business Manager and Treasurer for three years before being named Director of Business. Before joining BOCES, he worked as a senior analyst at Viacom, Inc., and as supervising senior accountant at KPMG LLP., in Stamford, Conn.
Mr. Tibbetts earned a BS in accounting from Providence College and an MS in Educational Administration from SUNY New Paltz.
James A. Gratto
James A. Gratto Jr. has served as the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services at Southern Westchester BOCES since July of 2016. In this role he works directly with the divisions encompassing student programs, which include Adult and Community Services, Career Services and Special Services.
He previously served as the Director of Human Resources. Prior to joining Southern Westchester BOCES, Mr. Gratto served as the Superintendent of Webutuck Central School District and also served as a long-time principal and teacher at Saranac Central School District.
Mr. Gratto earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from SUNY Plattsburgh, a Master of Science degree in Education from Nazareth College of Rochester and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from SUNY Plattsburgh.
Ellen J. McDonnell, Ed.D,
Ellen McDonnell, Ed.D, started her professional career over 25 years ago as a mathematics teacher at John Jay High School in Katonah, NY. Very early in her career, Ellen focused on the effective use of technology in the classroom, providing professional development to her colleagues after only a few years of teaching. After serving as an instructional leader, Assistant Principal, Middle School Principal, Executive Director of Technology, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, Pupil Personnel Services, and Technology in various school districts in the region, Ellen joined the LHRIC as the Executive Director in 2022.