Our Staff

Beczak staff members are trained educators with specialized degrees in fields such as psycho-biology, chemistry, and biology. They create and provide interdisciplinary programs, which are designed to make learning fun and meet the New York State Department of Education Learning Standards.

Clifford Schneider
Executive Director

Clifford is originally from a small farming community in eastern Washington State and came to New York City to attend graduate school at NYU. His first experiences with “environmental” issues centered on the family farm as well as agriculture conservation districts. He developed those skills further when he participated in the high school Future Farmers of America. He received his undergraduate degree in Speech Communication from Pacific Lutheran University and his Masters degree in Educational Administration from NYU School of Education. He completed all of his course work for a PhD in Media Ecology; School of Education Communication Department but never completed his dissertation.

Clifford and his wife Phyllis moved from NYU in the Village to Yonkers in 1983 and he is proud to call this area his home. Over the years of his professional career he has served as the Assistant Director of the Sharing Community, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Education in Rockland, and the Lower Hudson Valley Division Director for Volunteers of America-Greater New York. Most recently Cliff was working in Paterson, New Jersey as the Executive Director of a local faith based Community Development Corporation. As a senior administrator in higher education he managed social service and human services programs. He dealt with issues relating to those at risk of HIV/AIDS, the homeless, hungry, and adult literacy. The last few years, Cliff was involved in the development of brownfields, abandoned and polluted properties, and assisted in the conversion of the “Great Falls” in Paterson New Jersey into a National Park.

Clifford joined Beczak Environmental Education Center in early March 2008 and believes it to be one of the most exciting places he has worked for and sees the unlimited potential for growth in the community. Clifford’s goal is to continue to expand programs and services to make Beczak become one of the leading environmental education centers in the area. Clifford is eager to give something back to his home community and Westchester County. In the past, Cliff has crossed the Hudson as a commuter and is now motivated daily by its beauty to raise public awareness for your river.

Sandra DeSando
Business and Grants Manager

Sandra DeSando develops and maintains Beczak’s records for all grant contract reporting. In the past she served as general manager of Ringside, Inc, an arts center (Streb Action Invention Lab) and non-profit dance company that performs the work of MacArthur award winning choreographer Elizabeth Streb. She was one of the co-founders and manager of the Artists Community Federal Credit Union, NYC. She is a consultant to several small arts organizations including Victory Hall- Public Art that engages corporations and developers in Jersey City to exhibit and use the talents of local artists. As a visual artist herself, she has received two Pollock-Krasner grants, a Vogelstein grant and a Flintridge Fellowship award for her environmental based paintings.