Staff & Board of Directors
CARLO PELLEGRINI (aka, ‘Mr. Amazing’) is AGC!’s co-founder and Artistic Director. Mr. Amazing performed for many years as White Clown, Acrobat and Ringmaster with Big Apple Circus, The Royal Lichtenstein Circus, and Piccolo Circus NYC. He was a professional dancer with internationally acclaimed Nikolais Dance Theater, and appeared in movies, TV and many radio commercials over the years. He brings over 40 years of professional circus, dance and theater experience to AGC! He has assembled a team of circus arts trainers and educators that is highly skilled in teaching the circus art form to children, teens and adults. His primary focus is fundraising, choreographing, producing shows for AGC! and sitting on the Board of Directors of American Youth Circus Organization. He advocates for circus arts education every chance he gets because he believes in its power to transform students into high-performing learners. Fun Fact: Carlo holds the unofficial world’s record for teaching the most number of people how to juggle three balls at one time (for Intel Corporation). See his full Bio here.
JANET HAYES, COTA/L, is co-founder and Program Director of AGC! Her work with children on the autism spectrum and children with different abilities at B.O.C.E.S. in Rockland County, NY, is an invaluable asset to AGC! She is responsible for the programs, health and well-being of the teens in AGC!’s Youth Circus Troupe, as well as strategic planning and growth of AGC!. Janet has worked with Carlo for over 18 years in youth development. See her recognition award here.
KAREN GERSCH – Began her professional circus career studying with Moscow Circus acrobat Nina Krasavina. A founding member of both Big Apple Circus and Vermont’s Circus Smirkus, she has toured with one-ring & three-ring circus shows throughout the U.S., Canada and France. In 1981, Karen founded ACROBRATS, Inc., a non-profit physical arts theatre company specializing in educational and family shows. For the past 15 years, Karen was Artistic Director/Ringmistress of “CIRCUSundays” – an acclaimed circus-variety series aboard the Waterfront Museum Showboat Barge, in Brooklyn, NY. Many AGC! teens have performed on ‘The Barge’. Karen has also choreographed many acro acts for AGC! since its founding in 2002. Karen is also an internationally recognized and collected artist and illustrator of circus subjects. See her full Bio here and her art website here.
HILARY SWEENEY – principal aerial and dance trainer for AGC! – has been a ballet dancer since the age of 5. Hilary attended her first Cirque du Soleil show 14 years ago and was so inspired by the high flying artists that she decided to learn to dance in the air. Shortly after, she traded her ballet shoes for a pair of wings and set out to train intensively with some of the top aerialists in the field including Elsie and Serenity Smith and Ivo Georgiev (Cirque du Soleil), Kevin O’Connor (National Circus School), Laura Witwer (Imaginaerial), Bobby Hedglin-Taylor (Streb), and Terry Beeman. Hilary performs at and books major talent for corporate and ‘life-event’ productions around the country with her company WowFactor TALENT. She is currently co-founder of Westchester Circus Arts Center at LIFE, The Place to Be, Ardsley, NY and has been a member of the AGC! staff since 2010. See her full Bio here.
Board of Directors
AGC! Board members come from various segments of our community. The majority of our Board members are Rockland County residents; others reside in New Jersey and Massachusettes. 100% of the Board makes financial contributions to the Circus.
KARIN BAERE, Chair/Treasurer, Current Term expires 12/17…Karin is CFO of The Bridges, Inc., a not-for-profit organization in New York City that cares for mentally and emotionally challenged individuals in group home settings. Karin is also co-chair of the Grace Episcopal Church Nyack Youth Commission and previous bookkeeper of Grace Church.
SALLY SEILER, VP, Current Term expires 12/17…Sally is Village Clerk of South Nyack, a long-time member of Grace Church, co-chair of the Friends of Nyack, chair of the Youth Commission at Grace Church and wife of Roger Seiler, president of the Nyack Library.
THERESA BERGEN, Secretary, Current Term expires 12/17...Theresa is a retired teacher, a curriculum writer, and trains teachers to teach.
DIRECTORS – Terms expire 12/17
Jordan Davis, Esq., family lawyer…Jordan is a partner in the New City, NY, law firm of Davis & Davis, a family law practice. Jordan is our newest AGC! Board Director.
J. Christopher Haera, Senior Vice President – Investment Officer, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, New City, NY…Chris was AGC!’s first Board President and has served in various capacities (as advisor, donor, directors, champion) for AGC! over a span of 14 years.
Jennifer McCann, educator and fundraiser, Nyack, NY…Jennifer’s been a fundraiser for many non-profits including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The Clinton Foundation. She’s a Clinton Foundation – Clinton Global Initiative Ambassador and a New York State Captain & U.S. campaigner for Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton – Hillary for America.
Patty Wright-Ferrini, retired Director of Training at M&M/Mars, Inc, and professional photographer…Patty has known Mr. Amazing since college and has supported his artistic endeavors for over 40 years. She was AGC!’s first photographer, giving life to its existence through her images. Patty also designed our first website.
Peter Palliser, screenwriter and non-profit management consultant…London, England. Peter is a key consultant to AGC! When Carlo creates a new children’s story, Peter hones it naratively.
Mary Jane Brock, Vice Chairman, Big Apple Circus Board of Directors
Karen Gersch, Artistic Director, Acrobrats, Inc.
David Howe, chief counsel, Howe Law, West Nyack, NY
Deborah Grosmark, President, Creative Arts Corner, Suffern, NY; professional photographer
Barbara Katz, organization development and strategic planning consultant
Dick Kohlhausen, President, Capitol Risk Management, insurance
Jeanette Mathews, retired teacher
Edward Nicoll, CEO, Instinet Corp., NY, NY
Helen Nicoll, artist, dancer, choreographer, NY, NY
Nick Weber, artistic director and creator of the Royal Lichtenstein Circus, Madison, WI
Joe Zina, non-profit management consultant, Boston, MA; artist; entrepreneur
Youth Advisory Board:
AGC! is a 501c3 organization designated by the IRS for educational and charitable purposes.
AGC! is a recipient of a Special Congressional Award for our work advocating for the physical, mental and educational health of children everywhere
STAFF: Pam Moskowitz, Office Manager