Peter Criswell (he/him)
Peter Criswell (he/him)
Peter Criswell is the Executive Director of the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College and a Master of Science degree in Business Leadership and Strategic Management from Manhattanville College.
Peter Criswell is the Executive Director of the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College and a Master of Science degree in Business Leadership and Strategic Management from Manhattanville College. His professional career has taken him from Seattle to Philly to New York City, and around the world. He’s focused on the nonprofit sector and has worked as Executive Director for five nonprofit groups: Hudson River Heritage, Historic Philadelphia Inc. & Betsy Ross House, the International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus & Youth Pride Chorus, and, most recently, the Dharmakaya Center for Wellbeing.
Peter is currently in his second term as an Ulster County Legislator representing District 7 – City of Kingston Wards 6, 7, and 8. He’s in his third term on the City of Kingston’s Arts Commission. He sits on the Bard College Alumni/ae Association Board of Governors and served as that body’s president for two years. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Key of Q, the Hudson Valley’s LGBTQ and Allied Acapella Singers.
A fun fact is that he portrays old Rip Van Winkle in the annual Sinterklass parade in Kingston. His ability to perform has aided in his ability to lead as he encourages his staff to have fun while getting the job done. Peter is looking forward to deepening his connection to the Hudson Valley’s LGBTQ+ community and working with the board, staff, and volunteers of the Center to best support the needs of the community.
Signy Furiya (she/her)
Director of Well-Being Institute
Signy Furiya, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), is the Director of the Center’s Well-Being Institute.
Julia Reischel (they/them)
Well Being Institute- Counseling Intern
Julia Reischel is working towards their Masters in Social Work at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, on track to graduate in 2023.
Amanda Norton (she/they)
Director of Programs and Services
Amanda Norton is the Director of Programs and Services at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center. She moved to the Hudson Valley from Long Island in 2011 after receiving a double degree in Childhood & Special Education from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.
Amanda Norton is the Director of Programs and Services at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center. She moved to the Hudson Valley from Long Island in 2011 after receiving a double degree in Childhood & Special Education from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. They later received their MPS in Humanistic & Multicultural Education from SUNY New Paltz. Amanda spent her first nine years in the Hudson Valley working within Student Affairs at The Culinary Institute of America and SUNY New Paltz. At both colleges she took an active role in organizing LGBTQ+ trainings, programming, and student support/crisis response.
Amanda regularly trained students and staff members on ByStander Intervention, Mediations, Title IX, addressing hate/bias incidents, and Conflict Resolution. Their work also involved mental health support, crisis response, alcohol/drug intervention and wellness programming. She served as a facilitator for New Paltz Allies, the school’s LGBTQ+ inclusivity training. Amanda was also a founding Steering Committee member and, later, Director of Rivera House (New Paltz’s LGBTQ+ living learning community), which provided housing, programming and support for students. After volunteering as a trained R.A.D. Systems of Self Defense instructor for six years, Amanda designed and implemented a queer-inclusive self-defense course, ‘Defense for All’. They also served on the LGBTQ+ Belongingness committee which planned and produced the college’s first ever Lavender Graduation Ceremony for LGBTQ+ identifying graduates. Amanda developed and organized the ‘Trans*Action’ conference for 3 consecutive years, providing day-long workshops to celebrate gender diversity, provide resources and support for trans+ identifying attendees, and educate allies on the evolving needs of the TGNC community and ways to provide inclusive environments for all to thrive.
Equity and inclusion has always been at the heart of Amanda’s work. Before coming to the center, Amanda served 2 terms as a presidential-appointed member of SUNY New Paltz’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, which steered programming and training on campus. This Council was also responsible for a 19 month process of conducting research and inclusive dialogue among students, faculty/staff, alumni, and local community members regarding the Hasbrouck Complex naming, which resulted in renaming six campus buildings which had been named after families of former slave-owners. Amanda also spent 6 years overseeing the Residence Life Cultural Advocate program; training and facilitating discussions surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism for paraprofessional staff and students. She also served on the Black Lives Matter at Schools Planning Committee before leaving to work at our center.
Outside of work, Amanda has been a part of End the New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN) in Poughkeepsie and is currently enrolled in the Ulster Leadership Development Institute. During ‘off time’ Amanda also enjoys traveling, hiking, exploring around the Hudson Valley, cookie decorating, baking, meditating, music festivals, and spending as much time as they can outdoors and with friends!
Renita Principe Garcia (she/her)
Renita has over 10 years experience in the field of accounting . . .
, certified as a Full Charge Bookkeeper. In her spare time she enjoys music and the outdoors. She’s a people person, and enjoys meeting others and sharing good times. She also volunteer in various organizations and her favorite writing is “The Invitation” by Oriah
“It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.”
James Baptiste (he/they)
Program Coordinator & Volunteer Liaison
James Baptiste moved to the Hudson Valley from Queens in 2015 ….
James Baptiste moved to the Hudson Valley from Queens in 2015 to attend school at SUNY New Paltz where he earned his degree in Sociology: Human Services with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies. While at SUNY New Paltz James held leadership roles as a Resident Assistant, Public Relations officer in Hall Government, Orientation Leader, and was a member of the Emerging Leaders Program as both a mentee and mentor. James has participated in internships with New Horizons, YouthBuild, Dutchess County Supervised Visitation Program, and the Thrive On! Network. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Social Justice Education at SUNY New Paltz.
His time in Hudson Valley has been great and memorable thus far. He looks forward to what is to come.
Beverly Yuen Thompson (she/her/hers)
Beverly Yuen Thompson (she/her/hers) is an academic whose research has focused on marginalized communities and subcultures. She has written on the topic of mixed race and bisexual identities, social movements, and women in the tattoo subculture.
Beverly Yuen Thompson (she/her/hers) is an academic whose research has focused on marginalized communities and subcultures. She has written on the topic of mixed race and bisexual identities, social movements, and women in the tattoo subculture. She has earned a Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University, in addition to a BA in Government from Eastern Washington University. She teaches sociology at Siena College, in Albany, New York. At the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center, she is the Program Assistant, collaborating with the Director of Programs and Services and Program Coordinator, to support and evaluate programs, activities and special events. Beverly is happy to be working in an applied and hands-on manner, to assist in the development of meaningful activities and events for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. Some of her current hobbies include gardening, collecting reptiles, and making crafts with social justice themes.