Child Day Care Centers Suffolk County New York

Administrative Staff

Alternatives For Children

Dr. Matthew A. Krivoshey, PsyD
Executive Director

Matthew Krivoshey completed his undergraduate degree at SUNY Buffalo. Upon completion of this coursework, he earned both a Master’s in Education and a Master’s in School Psychology at CUNY Queens College. He then began his career as a school psychologist with the New York City Department of Education. While working as a school psychologist, he pursued and earned a Doctorate of Psychology degree with a School and Child Clinical Psychology specialization from Yeshiva University. At this time, he began working for the Bayport-Blue Point UFSD as a school psychologist in their high school.  He also opened his private practice as a psychologist, focusing on the mental health of children. While working in these roles, he also earned a Master’s Degree in School District Administration from Dowling College.

Dr. Krivoshey was promoted to Director of Special Education in July of 2000. In this role, he was able to use his expertise in child development and education to create programs and opportunities for disabled children in a more global manner. He continued in this role for another seven years until accepting a new position as Director of Special Education at the South Huntington Union Free School District. The new role, in a much larger public school district, allowed Dr. Krivoshey the ability to oversee the special education programs for over 1200 students. He held this position for the next sixteen years until retiring from public education, after 30 years of service, in 2023.

Dr. Krivoshey has always considered himself an advocate for children with disabilities. This commitment to children led him to become involved in the Long Island Association of Special Education Administrators (LIASEA), an organization committed to supporting students with disabilities on Long Island. He has held every position on this organization’s executive board including two years as president.   

In his new role as Executive Director, Dr. Krivoshey seeks to continue his extensive record of supporting students with special needs. As an educator and psychologist, he has long understood the importance of early intervention in improving outcomes for children. In continuing this work with Alternatives he hopes to build upon the legacy created by its first director, Dr. Marie Ficano: Providing help and support to all children during the early stages of development when it is needed most.

Dr. Marie E. Ficano
Former Executive Director

Marie Ficano completed both undergraduate and Masters programs at City College, majoring in Special Education. Upon completion of this coursework she taught in special education classrooms in the New York City public school system and a private school in Brooklyn for children with autism, before moving to Long Island where she was a special educator in the Half Hollow Hills School District. Knowing in her heart that her goal was to make a far reaching impact in the lives of as many children with special needs as possible, rather than one class at a time, Marie Ficano decided to pursue a Masters of Education in School Administration, as well as a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Beginning her administrative career as the Director of Special Education at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, she once again found that the number of children requiring services was greater than the limited number of children who could be served within the confines of a hospital setting. Returning to her far reaching goal, Dr. Ficano began to prepare a plan for the expansion of the services and education available to children with disabilities and special needs. Within a few short years, she along with the Board of Trustees of the Hospital in 1988 founded the St. Charles Education and Therapeutic Center in Port Jefferson. The St. Charles Education and Therapeutic Center quickly became a leader in Suffolk and Nassau counties in the delivery of Early Intervention services, Preschool Special Education programs, and in the offerings of related therapeutic services. Very soon the Center’s facility in Port Jefferson was not sufficient enough to serve the growing population of children being served from a large geographic area, and so the Center was expanded to locations in Aquebogue, Southampton, and Melville.

In 2003, the St. Charles Education and Therapeutic Center, without ever deviating from its mission was renamed and established as Alternatives For Children, a not-for-profit private school with the mission of providing the highest quality special and regular education programs and services to children with disabilities and their typically developing peers. Under the leadership of Dr. Ficano, $8.6 million in financing was secured, a site was selected, construction commenced, and in just sixteen short months a beautiful new 36,000 square foot facility situated on 4.6 acres of property in East Setauket was erected as the new home for Alternatives For Children.

Dr. Ficano has always been an active advocate and visionary voice ensuring the rights of children with special needs. At the federal level, Dr. Ficano served in various capacities, including Board President for the National Association of Private Education Centers for ten years, where she was also named Executive of the Year, and Commissioner of the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services. At the State and County level Dr. Ficano has served as a member of the New York State Governor’s Preschool Advisory Committee, President of the Long Island Coalition for Children with Special Needs, and Board Member of the Early Intervention Coordinating Council. In 2008, Dr. Ficano was recognized by the New York State Senate as a “Woman of Distinction.”

Having provided educational and therapeutic services for thousands of children from throughout Suffolk and Nassau counties, both typically developing children and those with special needs and their families, Dr. Ficano, along with the Board of Trustees and the administration and staff of Alternatives For Children, have consistently provided a dynamic early childhood environment in which children are encouraged to be creative, explore and experiment in order to meet or exceed the criteria established for their age. Historically it has been shown that children who graduate from Alternatives For Children have been given the tools they need to be ready to learn and be successful as they transition to the kindergarten environment. Through Dr. Ficano’s dedication and single-minded determination Alternatives For Children has become a leader in providing quality care to all children, but especially to those who need it most, at the most critical time in their development.

June 2023

SInce its beginning in 1988 I have had the wonderful privilege of leading this amazing organization. Our mission has allowed our organization to withstand the test of time through the prosperous years and well as those few more difficult years. Our program has grown to be highly reputed with State and local agencies, school districts and families across Long Island. Together we have remained steadfast to our mission of helping each child reach his or her potential. A strong unparalleled foundation has been built and I have every confidence that it can be built upon and strengthened. As I loot towards the future, I plan to work diligently ensuring everything our organization needs to remain strong and poised for the future is in place. Our strategic plan will be our guide and it will continued to be carefully executed.

However, bittersweet, I know I will be leaving an organization that is operationally sound, financially strong and most importantly aligned clearly to its mission.

Each of you have been valuable members of this organization enabling us to be who we are. For that I am sincerely appreciative and am very proud of what all of you do every day and I thank you.

Patricia Coderre
Chief Financial Officer

Patricia, a Certified Public Accountant, joined Alternatives For Children in 2007 as Financial Controller, after having served for nine years in the same position at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Prior to making the change to the not-for-profit world, Patricia was a Supervisory Senior Accountant at Arthur Andersen, LLP in New York City, working in the Audit Division.

Patricia graduated Magna Cum Laude from the State University of New York at Albany with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She has been registered and licensed in New York State as a Certified Public Accountant since 1996.

Patricia brings to Alternatives For Children a wealth of experience spanning both the public and private sectors. Through sound financial analysis and solid accounting practices, in four short years she has been able to improve the overall financial performance of Alternatives For Children. Having implemented many strict budgetary guidelines and cost containment controls, in 2010 the final payment was made to purchase the land on which Alternatives For Children East Setauket is located. By 2013, Alternatives For Children through its Capital Campaign, looks to raise funds for a special redemption of up to a $1 million reducing our principal debt on the IDA Bond for the construction of the East Setauket facility. Under Patricia’s guidance, and together with the Board of Trustees, Alternatives For Children has been able to set a firm financial course for the future.

Jocelyn Cabello

Jocelyn, a Certified Public Accountant, has joined Alternatives For Children as Controller. She was formerly Controller at RJM Acquisitions, LLC of Syosset.

Grace Mary Altkin
Director of Operations and Compliance

Grace Mary came to Alternatives For Children in 2009, after a long career of progressive claims management with Vytra Health Plans in Melville. Grace Mary is an experienced health care leader with an established track record in operations efficiency and cost containment. She is extremely proficient in driving performance improvements throughout operations to maximize efficiency, improve turnaround time, reduce errors and contain costs within regulatory and contractual guidelines.

Grace Mary is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, has a BS in Business Administration from St. Joseph’s College, and an MBA in Banking and Finance from Dowling College.

Under Grace Mary’s guidance, Alternatives For Children has adopted a new compliance plan that ensures that the highest standards are met in all programs and services. By instituting accountability procedures, introducing new systems and measures to improve and monitor the key aspects of service delivery, Alternatives For Children is well positioned to continue in its delivery of superior quality programs to the children we serve.

In December of 2022 Grace Mary was named DIrector of Operations and Compliance. Grace will continue to be responsible for the daily operation of the compliance plan, including the development and maintenance of written policies and procedures that govern the internal audit/corporate compliance function. She will review program requirements to assure they comply with federal, state and local regulations and contractual agreements as well as assure all associated required filings are submitted in a timely fashion. Grace will work on organizational wide activities, project development and management.

Stephen Dreyer
Security/Safety and Facilities Supervisor

Mr. Stephen Dreyer comes to us with over 25 years of progressive experience from the NYC Police Department. He has held positions including but not limited to: Commanding Officer of Investigations and Integrity Control, Operations Coordinator, Project Manager, Emergency Management, Platoon Commander, as well as many more roles. He holds a Master's in Public Administration.

Mr. Dreyer will work with local law enforcement and other agencies at each of our sites and refine our existing protocols regarding security. He will have the overarching authority over our Safety and Security Committees at each of our locations ensuring the safety of our children and staff.

Donald Denninger
Human Resources

Donald joined Alternatives For Children in March of 2022 after over 15 years as Chief of Administration and Human Resources at the Police Athletic League of NYC. Donald has a number of years in both the profit and non-profit arenas in Human Resources Management. While at PAL he had oversight over Human Resources, Payroll, Facilities and the IT Departments. He is thrilled to be at AFC and to continue to work in an organization that serves children.