Coterie Award Celebration 2024

Coterie Award Celebration 2024

Many people sit around a circular table, chatting and engaged with each other.


On Thursday, April 25, 2024, Children’s Institute held a celebratory Community Breakfast at Rochester’s Century Club. Board members from across the country, staff, and community members visited to celebrate the induction of three new members into our Coterie. The Coterie honors individuals who have offered substantial, consistent, and exceptional support to Children’s Institute.  It acknowledges excellence, encourages innovation, and celebrates the contributions of individuals that are making a substantial impact on health care quality in the Rochester area. 


Relecia Person was the guest speaker for the event and shared her experience and involvement with Rochester Area Parent Program (RAPP), a program for which she has facilitated over eight parent session since she participated as a parent at Ibero.

Board member Renu Bora and staff member Bill Brien smile at the Coterie Celebration.
Newly initiated Coterie Winner Ida Perez and her nominator Dawn Breitung share a hug.
A table of attendees smile for the camera!


We are delighted to share key points from each new Coterie member’s nomination:


Dianne Cooney Miner has a passion for improving health care, patient care, and health outcomes to meet the needs of the greater Rochester community.  As the founding dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing, Dianne helped establish a longstanding partnership with Children’s Institute, participated on many committees, and served as vice chair of the board. She also supported St. John Fisher’s participation with Get Ready to GROW, a Children’s Institute program where senior nursing majors provide valuable early screenings to three-year-olds in pre-kindergarten to ensure that they are ready for school and started on a healthy path in life.


Dirk Hightower joined Children’s Institute, then called Primary Mental Health Project, in 1982 at the Research Director. He became the Executive Director in 1991, a role he held until 2019. He was key to many formative initiatives that have contributed to our community’s reputation for high quality early childhood education services, including RECAP and Get Ready to GROW. Dirk has directly shaped the scope and breadth of Universal Pre-K in Rochester, pioneered the creation of the Teacher-Child Rating Scale (T-CRS) to measure social-emotional adjustment, led the school readiness community initiative to provide early comprehensive screenings and follow-up support, and so much more. Under Dirk’s leadership, Primary Mental Health Project was transformed into the Children’s Institute we know today – expanding its reach to children, families, and communities in the City of Rochester, across New York State, nationally, and internationally.


Ida Perez is a steadfast community partner for CI not only in service provisions but also in her leadership to strengthen CI’s work in early learning and child wellbeing among Latinx communities. She is a long-standing champion in IBERO’s early education programs, which are exemplary in their commitment to comprehensive child wellbeing. She helps families that have recently migrated from places such as Puerto Rico to acclimate to the Rochester community. From connecting CI to seasoned professionals, to lending advice and guidance for RECAP, to helping us tailor our programmatic efforts such as Get Ready to GROW, to helping support parent engagement in play and school attendance with Caring Connectors, Ida has made a lasting impact on the work that CI does for children’s wellbeing. 


A table of attendees smile for the camera.


Interim Executive Director Terry Hartmann, new Coterie Member Dianne Cooney-Miner, and board member Amy Kahn smile.
Featured speaker Relecia Person with Program Coordinator Linda Murray and Interim Executive Director Terry Hartmann.


Staff members Sarah Boorsma, Sarah Bennett, and Charlotte Passero hug and smile!
New Coterie member Dirk Hightower and his nominators hug.


Two attendees smiling and dressed up.


These individuals join the following distinguished Coterie Members:

Mary L. Consler

Eleanor Eksten

Thomas R. Frey

Kenneth F. Harris

Kathleen E. Leary

James Starkweather


William G. Haffey

Roger J. Robach


Ann Farie

Richard Huxley

Barbara Purvis


Primary Project Child Associates: 1957-2007


Andrew Doniger

Donna Fielding

Robert Silver


The Community Foundation

Eleonore Hanson Herman


David Broadbent

Sharon DeVita

Audrey Cummings


Carol Gravetter

Esther Karp


Deborah Johnson

Jeffrey Kaczorowski

Gary Lazenby


Susan Gorin

Patricia Leo

Mary Anne Peabody

Jonathan Trost


Jackie Campbell

Dennis DeLeo

Charlotte Landhuis

Serge Lossa



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