Faculty and Staff

Agriculture and Food Management Department

Richard Benninger

Keith Buerker

Jo Anne Cloughly

David Campbell

Jason Evans

Jaimie Handy

Dayton Maxwell

Esther Miller

Sean Pehrsson

Anne Rogan

Kelly Tavares DaSilva

Cherryl Vaccarella



Richard Benninger, MBA

Visiting Instructor

Champlin Hall 208

(518) 255-5288

Email: benninrr@cobleskill.edu


Rich Benninger is a visiting faculty member Chef Benninger teaches Culinary I, Introduction to Baking and Pastry, and American Cuisine.  He has enjoyed a 28 year career in hospitality management. Chef Benninger is a former Executive Director of Catering and Convention Services at two of Las Vegas’ premier hotel casino resorts. In addition to teaching, he owns and operates a full service catering venue and tavern.  Chef Benninger earned his AAS Professional Chef degree from SUNY Cobleskill and holds a BS in Hotel Administration from University of Nevada Las Vegas, an MBA from University of Phoenix-Nellis Air Force Campus, and is currently working on a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership at University of Phoenix.




Keith Buerker, MS, CEC, CCE, CFBE

Associate Professor

Champlin Hall 211

(518) 255-5328

Email: buerkek@cobleskill.edu


Keith Buerker is a faculty member in the Agriculture and Food Management Department at SUNY Cobleskill.  He is a Certified Executive Chef, a Certified Culinary Educator, and a Certified Food and Beverage Executive.  Chef Buerker is a member of the ACF Capital District-Central New York. He has a bachelor of science from Southern New Hampshire University and a master of science from SUNY Albany. Chef Buerker was named Chef of the Year of the Tri-Lakes Chefs Association and has won six ACF gold medals, six ACF silver medals and five bronze medals in National and International competitions. He has also won numerous awards and honors including: Societe Culinaire Philanthropique, The American Cancer Society and the New York State Beef Council.




Jo Anne Cloughly, BPS, MA

Associate Professor, Department Chair

Champlin Hall 212

(518) 255-5476

Email: cloughje@cobleskill.edu


Chef Cloughly is an American Culinary Federation certified Executive pastry Chef and Chef de Cuisine. She is a member of the American Culinary Federation, Les Dames de Escoffier, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR) and the Retail Baker’s Association. Chef Cloughly was awarded Educator of the Year in 2011 by WCR. Chef Cloughly serves as a chairperson for New York State SkillsUSA. She advises the Student Pastry Arts Club. She is a certified Allergen and Gluten Free trainer. Chef Cloughly teaches Culinary I and the Baking and Pastry courses.




David Campbell, MS, CCC, CCE


Prentice Hall 012

(518) 255-5822

Email: campbed@cobleskill.edu


David Campbell, an American Culinary Federation member, has earned several distinctions with the ACF including Certified Culinary Educator and Certified Chef de Cuisine. He is an active member of the Capital District Chefs Association.




Jason R. Evans, Ph.D., MS, BA

Assistant Professor of Agriculture Business Management

Old Gym 107


Email:  evansjr@cobleskill.edu


Dr. Jason Evans received his BA in Economics and Psychology from the University of Virginia, and his MS in Agricultural Economics and his Ph.D. in Natural Resource Economics from West Virginia University.

Prior to his arrival in 2009 at SUNY Cobleskill he was a Graduate Teaching Assistant and a Research Assistant Professor at WVU.  Dr. Evans has authored two books and several refereed journal publications.  He is the advisor to the American Animal Producer’s Club, the Livestock Show Team and Epsilon Pi Tau honor society at SUNY Cobleskill, and also an active member of many on-campus committees.  He is also enthusiastically involved in grant writing.




Jaimie Handy, BA, AS

Instructional Support Assistant

Champlin Hall 207

Email: handyjl@cobleskill.edu



Jamie Handy applies her years of food service experience to assist with the daily operations of the Culinary Arts department. 




Kelly Tavares DaSilva


Champlin Hall

(518) 255-5425>

Email: tavarekm@cobleskill.edu




Dayton T. Maxwell, MBA, MAT

Associate Professor

Old Gym #4

(518) 255-5032

Email: maxweldt@cobleskill.edu


Dayton Maxwell received his Master of Business Administration from the University at Albany and his Master of Arts in Teaching Agricultural Education from Cornell University.  Professor Maxwell has professional work experience in agricultural lending along with farm management education and consultation.  He specializes in Agricultural Business Management and Agricultural Business Financial Management.




Esther Miller, Ph.D., MS, BA, CHA.


Champlin Hall 209

(518) 255-5329

Email: millere@cobleskill.edu


Dr. Esther Miller is a Certified Hotel Administrator who incorporates her years of experience in hotel management, food and beverage management and tourism promotion into the Agriculture and Food Management Department at SUNY Cobleskill. Dr. Miller teaches hospitality math, management, dining room service and upper level marketing courses. She prepares bachelor students for their internship semester and is a faculty supervisor for Bachelor students' internships. Dr. Miller is a former general manager of a full-service hotel who believes that the hands-on experience gained by our students gives our graduates a competitive advantage when they enter the hospitality workplace.


Dr. Miller earned her Master of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism from Rochester Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. from the University at Albany.  Her doctoral dissertation, "The Effect of Rewards, Commitment, Organizational Climate and Work Values on Intentions to Leave: Is there a difference among generations?" focused on employee turnover in hotels.




Sean Pehrsson, BPS, AOS

Adjunct Professor

Champlin Hall 208

(518) 255-5288

Email: PehrssSB@cobleskill.edu


Sean Pehrsson received both his Bachelor in Professional Studies and his Associate in Occupational Studies degrees from the Culinary Institute of America.  Chef Pehrsson has many years of industry experience as an executive chef.  He is currently teaching American Regional Cuisine.




Anne Rogan, Ph.D., RD, CDN


Warner Hall 102

(518) 255-5426

Email: rogana@cobleskill.edu


Dr. Rogan earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Foods at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.  Her Master’s degree in Food Science, also earned at Cornell, was completed in the Department of Vegetable Crops.  She attended a dietetic internship at the Mayo Clinic/St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN.  to become a Registered Dietitian (RD).  Dr. Rogan studied Statistical Process Control in the HACCP system for food processing for a Ph.D. in Administrative Systems at Union Graduate College, Schenectady, NY.  Her research was conducted with financial support of PMI Industries and with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst providing lab support. Dr. Anne Rogan is responsible for teaching sanitation, nutrition and food purchasing courses. Dr. Rogan has research interests in food safety, Hazard Analysis Critical Control (HACCP) and statistical process control. Dr. Rogan is a certified instructor for the National Restaurant Association Serv Safe Program. She is a certified dietitian/nutritionist with the NYS Education Department. Dr. Rogan has provided nutrition and food consultation for children in Head Start and school lunch programs. She has also provided diet and nutrition information to county Office for the Aging on-site and meals on wheels centers and at long term care facilities.




Cherryl Vaccarella, MS

Associate Professor

Champlin Hall 205

(518) 255-5820

Email: vaccarcl@cobleskill.edu


Professor Cherryl Vaccarella is an alumna of Cobleskill and teaches a variety of courses in the department, including catering, casino management, menu planning, dining room service, beverage management and principles of management for the service industry. She has been a part of the SUNY Cobleskill's Department of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism since 1998. She received an award from the Societe des Culinaire de Philanthropique at the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show in New York City and also the SUNY Cobleskill Alumni staff award. She is a certified TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) trainer teaching responsible handling and service of alcohol and won a trainer award in 2011.  Professor Vaccarella is also a trainer for the Federation of Dining Room Professionals in dining room service.  She is a member of WCR - Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, a national organization that fosters women in the Hospitality Industry.  She is an active member of the campus and surrounding communities with her CHAT (catering) club that received many awards for their participation in charitable organizations' fundraising events through the years.