2014 Inductees


    Joanna is a 1999 graduate of Gates Chili High School.  She also graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing from Boston University’s School of Management.  Joanna is presently self-employed as the owner and artist of philoSophie’s ® located in Spencerport, NY.  philoSophie’s® is a successful business model with an illustrated character named Sophie and inspiring messages imprinted on various products such as stationary, mugs, invitations, etc.  These drawings and motivating thoughts focus on personal and professional topics such as work challenges, entrepreneurial lessons, friendship, and special occasions.  Joanna has been rated by Business Week as one of the top five entrepreneurs under 25 in 2005 and featured in a CNN segment “Young People Who Rock.”  She was also featured on HGTV Decorating Cents, Fox Business “Women in Business,” and 13WHAM/ABC Affiliate “Made in Our Hometown Spotlight.”  Joanna has also been involved in community service through donations of her illustrations to be used in organizations like the American Cancer Society where she has designed for “Toast to Hope” for the last three years.  She also has been involved in numerous speaking engagements to young entrepreneurs.  Joanna believes the foundations she received through the art program at Gates Chili helped to foster her passion for illustration.  She also believed being involved in student government, NHS, and sports added to her team and leadership skills.  She states, “…I loved my time at Gates Chili.”



    Doug is a 1991 graduate of Gates Chili High School.  He also received his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from SUNY Cortland in 1995 and his Master’s degree in School Counseling from the University of Rochester in 2006.  While at SUNY Cortland, Doug was a two sport college athlete in basketball and baseball. Doug has over 15 years of extensive experience in entrepreneurial and executive level sales.  He is presently the CEO and EVP of Sales and founder of Nationpay Solutions/APFS Rochester, which offers human capital management solutions including payroll, benefits, human resources, retirement, and investment services.  He also is an investor and business consultant for Global Technology Brokers which is dedicated to the growth of world class technologies available today.  Doug also has experience working for FindLaw, HR Works, Inc., and Paychex Inc. He is also involved in many community activities such as being a committee member with Bivona Child Advocacy, Autism Up, Penfield Little League, Girl Scouts of Western NY.  He has been married for 14 years and has two children, Makaylah and Aiden.  He believes his Gates Chili school experience prepared him socially, mentally and physically for the demands of college and beyond.  He credits his GC teachers with support and helping him with the foundation to be successful in his future endeavors


    Sonja is a 1988 graduate of Gates Chili High School.  She also graduated from St. John’s University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 1992.  She holds a World Record in the 20# weight throw in 1992, a 1991 Pan-Am Games Silver Medalist in the Hammer Throw, a member of the 1989 USA Junior Track and Field team, a two time Penn Relays Champion in 1992 for Hammer Throw and Discus Throw.  She is also an eight time US National Champion where she won the first three USATF Women’s Hammer Throw Championships, including the 1992 US Olympic Trials.  She also won the first five USATF Women’s 20-lb. Weight Throw Championships, three-time ECAC Conference Champion and twelve-time Big East Champion.  Her personal best performances involve the Shot Put at 14.9 m, Discus Throw at 48.54 m, Hammer Throw at 58.68m, and 20lb Weight Throw at 19.51 m. Sonja was inducted in St. John’s Hall of Fame, Niagara Track and Field Hall of Fame, multiple Metropolitan Athletic Congress Woman Athlete of the Year, 1992 Big East Indoor Championship named her Women’s Performer of the Meet, and set records in Hammer Throw, Shot Put, and Discus Throw in 1991-1992 in competitions at Notre Dame and Columbia.  She was also involved as the Assistant Thrower’s Coach at St. John’s in 1992, Track Coach of Southwest Area Neighborhood Center from 1998-2008, Pop Warner Cheerleader Trainer for the Southwest Colts from 1998-2011, and is presently a board member and thrower’s Coach for the Flower City Track Club.  Her talent has helped many underprivileged children in Rochester through her coaching abilities and continuing representation of Spartan pride.



    Annette (Nettie) is a 1976 graduate of Gates Chili High School.  She also received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Bachelor of Science in Special Education K-12 and Elementary Education N -6 in 1980 from Nazareth College.  Nettie received her Master of Science Degree in Educational Administration in May 2010 from Canisius College and her Master of Science Degree in Reading K-12 from Nazareth College in 1995.  She presently is the Coordinator of Staff Development and Program Support at Gates Chili Central School District.    Nettie was also a building Reading Teacher at GC Middle School, and Instructional Coach K-12 at GC Central School District, a Remedial Reading Teacher at GC Middle School and Reading Teacher for Special Education K-12 for GC School District.  She has helped develop and facilitate NYS ELA Curriculum Alignment with reading skills, coordinated NYS Assessments for grades 6-8 at GC, directed Academic Intervention Services programs, implemented Lexile testing, and organized Literacy Initiative Training.  Nettie has been involved in mentor training, collegial circles, Wilson Reading, NMSA National Conference, differentiated instruction, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Rochester Area Reading Council, NYS Association of Women Administrators, and International Reading Association.  She is married to Vince, her high school sweetheart, and has raised four children, Mario, Angela, Danielle, and Vincent, all graduates of Gates Chili.  Nettie is also a past member and co-chairperson of Gates Chili Cooperative Nursery, Executive Board Member of Neil Armstrong Home School Organization, Troup Leader of Genesee Valley Girl Scouts, and president of Rochester Area Literacy Council.  She believes Gates Chili was, and still is, a place that offers opportunities for her to explore her interests and abilities. 



    Jeff is a 1989 Gates Chili graduate.  Jeff was recruited by Ithaca College in his senior year to play football for the Ithaca Bombers, graduating in 1993.  Jeff is presently a physical education teacher at Gates Chili High School, but has taught at Walt Disney, Paul Road, and Florence Brasser schools.  He has also been a dedicated football and wrestling coach.  As defensive coordinator, he helped lead GC to the Section V Football Championships in 2006 and 2008.  During Jeff’s time as a student at Gates Chili, he was a member of football, wrestling, and baseball teams.  He triumphed as a wrestler in his senior year to become Monroe County Champion and Section V Champion in his weight class.  Jeff also played football at the Varsity level for Jim Briggs, a Section V Hall of Fame Coach.  Many of his high school accolades include rushing for 875 yards on 134 carries, including 13 touchdowns during the 1988 season.  He averaged 6.5 yards per carry and 56 yards per kick-off return.  He also was named to the NYS Third-Team Class A All-State Football Team, All County Division I first team tailback and player of the year, earned 42 tackles from his linebacker position, member of the Times Union Super 22 Team, Democrat and Chronicle All Greater Rochester Team, named Gates Chili Team MVP, named Premier Sports Section V Player of the Year, and Offensive MVP for the West Team in 1989 Eddie Meath All Star Football Game where he ran 109 yards and scored a touchdown to defeat the East Team 21-7.  While attending Ithaca College, he also was a record breaking fullback and ran for 100 plus yards in a game 18 times, led Ithaca Bombers to a 36-8-0 record, broke 16 career rushing and scoring records, three time First Team All-American, rushed for Ithaca record 3,410 yards and 44 touchdowns, led Ithaca to Division III National Title in 1991, 1993 Ben Light Senior Male Athlete of the Year, and inductee of Ithaca College Athletic Hall of Fame and Section V Football Hall of Fame in 2001.  In 2013, Jeff was inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame.  Jeff is married to Dorothy and has two children, Tyler and Jessica.  Jeff is involved in community service with his students who do yard work for senior citizens in Gates and Chili, volunteering with his son’s lacrosse, football, and wrestling teams, coaching Chili Recreation Soccer, fundraisers, and church involvement. 



    Tim was a graduate of Gates Chili High School Class of 1968.  He also graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.  He became a Certified Public Accountant in 1982 and was a member of NYS Society of Certified Accountants from 1982-2012.  Tim is being honored posthumously as a member of Gates Chili Hall of Fame.  He passed away in 2012 but will be remembered for his influence as a CPA, soccer coach, and involvement in the Gates Chili community.  Tim played Varsity Soccer at Gates Chili and was a sectional champion and continued to play soccer at RIT.  He spent many summers coaching Chili Little Guy Soccer.  Tim was a soccer coach for over 40 years for both boys and girls travel teams for Gates and Chili. He coached and mentored generations of children, touching the lives of many through his love of soccer.  He was known as having the “Golden Touch” when it came to managing teams.  Tim’s teams learned discipline, poise, competition, and how to become premier soccer players.  He knew how to bring out the best in players and to excel as a team.  Tim was known for instructing from the sidelines, gaining the confidence of his team through quiet instructional talks on the sidelines.  He and his wife Patricia (GC grad too) raised three children, Brad, Justin, and Erika, all graduates of GC.  Tim established and kept lifelong friends from Gates Chili.  He believed in pursuing your passions both professionally and personally and to challenge yourself by continuously setting goals and meeting them.  He believed it is important to “..be happy, live life and live it to the fullest, as it goes by too fast…).



    Elizabeth (Liz) was a graduate of Gates Chili Class of 1986.  She also graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College in 1990 and an MBA from Columbia Business School at Columbia University in 2000.  She is presently Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for the Simon Property Group in NY Stock Exchange located in New York City. This is the largest retail real estate company in the world. She is responsible for global investor relations and communications working with a fifty billion dollar market capitalization.  She also was Senior Vice President for Global Head of Investor Relations while working for Nielsen and Vice President of Investor Relations for Moody’s Corporation. Liz was Senior Manager for Dealertrack Technologies in NASDAQ and worked as Director of Marketing and Sales for Columbia University’s Business School of Executive Education.  She was voted 2014 Institutional Investor Best Investor Relations Program, 2012 Best Investor Relations Professional, recipient of Arthur C. Nielsen Award, IBM High Five Award, Member of Nielsen Cares Global Council which promotes community involvement and social responsibility, and founding board member of Third Wave Foundation, an organization focused on funding college educations for young women.  Liz was also the co-founder and co-chair of MiddGALA, gay and lesbian alumni association of Middlebury College.  She was the co-Chair of National LGBT MBA conference at Columbia Business School, co-founder and executive sponsor of LGBT employee resource group at Moody’s Corporation, and advocating for global relationships with Junior Achievement programs. She has demonstrated success in the corporate world and volunteers by contributing expertise and finances to support many educational and social programs.  Liz also endowed a scholarship at the Eastman School of Music for Rochester area students with high musical talent and financial need.  Liz believes Gates Chili helped prepare her to succeed academically; just as well as her college classmates who were from some of the best prep school in the world.  She states, “…I had great, committed teachers, smart fellow students, and experiences in musicals, plays, and chorus that helped me grow and become ready for any audience. Gates Chili can be the foundation to go anywhere and achieve!”