Executive Committee

Walter W. Stockton - President and Chief Executive Officer

Walter W. Stockton is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Independent Group Home Living Program, Inc. (IGHL), an Eastern Long Island based not-for-profit agency that provides lifetime alternatives for people with intellectual disabilities.

Mr. Stockton was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He earned his Bachelors degree in Psychology from California State University in Pennsylvania. In 1969, he accepted a position at Maryhaven Center of Hope in Port Jefferson, New York as the Director of Recreation, where he subsequently served as Director of Residential Services.

After completing his Masters degree in Special Education at Adelphi University, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Careers at Suffolk County Community College in Selden, New York in 1974, where he was the Program Director of the Therapeutic Recreation Leadership Program and also initiated a curriculum in Community Residence Management.

In 1978, he established IGHL after receiving an initial Federal grant to convert a private home on Long Island’s North Shore into a residence for eight adults with developmental disabilities residing in the Willowbrook State School. Since then the agency has opened over 80 residential programs, 25 day programs and a 32-bed Nursing Intensive Care facility for senior citizens. IGHL serves a total population of over 5,000 children and adults and agency-wide employs over 2,400 professional and support staff.

IGHL affiliate agencies include: The New Interdisciplinary School (NIS) in Yaphank; Angela’s House, which includes three homes in Suffolk County for medically frail children; Smile Farms at IGHL, a greenhouse and garden center; The Families of TWA Flight 800 Association Inc., The Center for Development Disabilities, providing a full range of services for those who experience intellectual and physical disabilities, and Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County (VIBS), a provider of services for those that are victims of domestic violence and other issues.

He also served as a Member of the Quogue School Board for 18 years and as its President for five years.

Mr. Stockton is currently the President of the Alliance of Long Island Agencies, Inc., whose membership advocates for people with developmental disabilities, and the Secretary/Treasurer of the Advance Care Alliance (ACA). ACA is a care coordination organization currently serving over 25,000 individuals who experience intellectual and physical disabilities in the downstate New York area. Mr. Stockton has also been elected President of TriaDD, a developing statewide managed care organization that will eventually serve over 65,000 individuals throughout New York State.


Mary Beth Lichtneger — Chief Financial Officer

A graduate of Pace University, Mary Beth Lichtneger is a Certified Public Accountant. Prior to joining IGHL in 1998 as Chief Financial Officer, she worked as the Finance/Accounting Manager for First Data Corporation.





Frank Lombardi — Chief Operations Officer, IGHL and Affiliates

Frank Lombardi graduated from the State University of New York at Cortland. He earned his Masters of Business Administration from Alliant international University. From 1989 until 1996, he served as captain in the United States Army. Before joining IGHL Frank was the Operations Manager for General Electric covering the New York City and Long Island markets.  In April, 2018, Frank was promoted to the position of Acting Executive Director of IGHL.




Robert Policastro — Executive Director of Angela’s House

Bob Policastro received his Bachelor of Science in Management and Marketing from Valdosta State University. Ever since the birth of his daughter, Angela in 1989, Bob experienced a broken system that was lacking in supports and services. He dedicated his life advocating and assisting individuals who are medically frail and developmentally disabled. Bob created the non-for-profit  Angela’s House in 1992 that assists hundreds of children that live at home with their parents.  In 2000 Angela’s House affiliated with IGHL creating the first of its kind homes for medically frail children. These homes offer 24-hour skilled nursing care including support of mechanical ventilators assisting children with breathing.  These programs help to prevent our local children from living in hospitals or in facilities out of state.



Jay Silverstein - Executive Director of the Center and NIS

Jay Silverstein, Ph.D., earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Duke University and a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in School/Clinical Psychology from Hofstra University. Dr. Silverstein has over 20 years experience working with and administering programs for children with special needs and their families. He has worked in the public sector as a building and district level administrator as well as a principal, director, and consultant in the private sector. Dr. Silverstein is a licensed Psychologist and certified School District Administrator who has published several peer-reviewed journal articles, held adjunct professor posts at St. John’s and Fordham Universities, and is a bilingual (Spanish) certified School Psychologist. He has an expertise in innovative program development and collaborative service integration for special needs and typically developing children.  In January, 2019, Jay was promoted to the position of Executive Director of the Center.


Charles Vanek - Executive Director of Maryhaven


Charles Vanek is the Executive Director of Maryhaven, Inc. a Long Island based not-for-profit agency in existence for more than 90 years, which promotes residential, day habilitation, and vocational opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues. Mr. Vanek was raised in New York where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Sciences from the New York Institute of Technology. In 1988, he accepted a position at Maryhaven Center of Hope in Yaphank as a Habilitation Specialist in the vocational program. After completing his Master’s degree in Health Care Policy & Management at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, he served as Director of Community Based Services and Assistant Vice President for more than two decades until he was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2018. Mr. Vanek assumed the role of Chief Administrative Officer in 2019 following the retirement of its long standing Chief Executive Officer. During his tenure, Mr. Vanek was instrumental in increasing development and expansion for special needs populations and improving operations while driving company growth. His natural leadership skills as well as creative thought process has generated new strategies for improving performance and maximizing revenue. Mr. Vanek also established the agency’s first Corporate Foundation Office to support the organization through philanthropy. Maryhaven is comprised of 30 group homes, 13 day habilitation programs and Integrated Business Services serving approximately 1,000 individuals while employing 705 professional and support staff.


Angela Syrett - Sr. Director of Human Resources


Angela Syrett received her Bachelors of Science degree from New York Institute of Technology and a Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certificate from St. Joseph’s College.  She has over 20 years experience in different capacities within the Human Resources field.  Prior to joining IGHL in 2003, she worked in Human Resources for the Estee Lauder Corporation.  Angela was promoted to Sr. Director of Human Resources for IGHL, Angela’s House and VIBS in April, 2018.



Deborah Kneidl - Chief Development Officer


Deborah has over 28 years of fundraising experience. She has a comprehensive understanding of fundraising, marketing, and volunteer management, resulting in increased annual gift programs and secured funding from individual donors, foundations, and government agencies. With the belief that the key to being successful in philanthropy is based upon understanding and communicating the mission you represent, Deborah has raised 50+ million dollars to advance the goals of several Long Island healthcare and human service organizations. She earned her Master's in Business Administration from Dowling College, is a certified grant writer, and has been actively involved in many civic organizations on the east end of Long Island.