Chief of Staff and Vice President for Communication
Phone: (845) 257-3291
Shelly Wright oversees daily operations of the President’s Office at the State University of New York at New Paltz and directs executive communication and institutional interaction with the college’s many internal and external constituencies. Ms. Wright serves on the President’s Cabinet, the College’s senior leadership team, along with the President and five Vice Presidents, to shape college policy for New Paltz, a 7,800-student (6,700 undergraduate, 1,100 graduate) public comprehensive master’s institution. She serves as the College’s Government Relations Officer, working with local, state and federal officials, as well as Secretary to the College Council, a governance oversight group that includes 9 governor-appointed individuals and the Student Association president. She guides the President on communication strategy, writes/edits public remarks, speeches, and presentations, and plans and advises on many campus ceremonial events, including two presidential inaugurations. She is campus liaison to the following SUNY System Offices: Office of General Counsel, Communication Office, Government Relations and the Office of the Chancellor. Ms. Wright also serves as campus Records Access Officer. She regularly represents the college at various community, government and business functions. She is a member of the College’s Strategic Planning Council.
As Vice President for Communication, Ms. Wright directs the college’s strategic communication efforts. She supervises the Office of Communication and Marketing, which employs 2 part-time and 19 full-time staff members and encompasses Crisis Communication, Internal Communication, Media Relations, Marketing, Web, Social Media, Design (Publications), Print Shop, Mail and Video Services, and Alumni Communication (New Paltz Magazine and alumni e-newsletter). She is responsible for the President’s Office and Communication and Marketing budgets. In this role, she manages implementation of the College’s brand identity across campus. She served on the Brand Marketing Task Force, to research, create, and launch a new brand identity for the College in 2010. She co-chairs the Marketing Council, a coordinating group with representatives from departments across campus that perform marketing and outreach activities for the College. The Marketing Council is a vehicle to achieve an integrated marketing approach to the college’s communications. She also has been instrumental in shaping the College’s emergency communication procedures.
Before joining the President’s Office in 2003, Ms. Wright spent seven years as a public relations and journalism professor in the Department of Communication and Media at SUNY New Paltz (1996-2003). During that time, she helped start and coordinated the Public Relations Program and briefly worked as interim director in the Office of Public Affairs in 2002. She also taught public relations and journalism at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, for three years (1993-96). Her professional experience includes two years (1987-89) working in public relations for an international nonprofit organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where she wrote and edited print materials for distribution to internal and external audiences in both German and English. She also worked as a staff writer for The (Middletown, N.Y.) Times Herald-Record (1990-94) where she covered municipal government, education, business and police beats, and served as a part-time copy editor, editing stories, writing headlines and proofing pages (1995-1999)
Wright earned her B.A. in journalism and German at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, in 1987 and her M.S. in journalism from Columbia University in 1990. She has completed doctoral coursework in sociology, communication and higher education administration at the University at Albany. She resides in New Paltz with her husband, Lee, who is a SUNY New Paltz alumnus.
Community and Government Relations Associate
Richard Winters joined the President’s Office in November 2013 as Community and Government Relations Associate. He supports and assists the work of the College President and the Chief of Staff/Associate VP for Communication with key institutional initiatives outlined in the College’s Strategic Plan and supporting the Power of SUNY system-level strategic plan. These include strengthening regional and community engagement, marketing the College internally and externally, and creating/building relationships with various constituencies, including alumni. Significantly, he will use previous advocacy experience to serve as a liaison between the President’s Office and government officials, chambers of commerce, and other key business and community organizations. In addition, he will provide critical support for the College’s participation in the Governor’s Start-Up NY initiative.
Previously, Rich worked for nearly three years as a Freshman Admission Advisor in the Office of Undergraduate Admission at New Paltz. He was responsible for advising prospective students through the admission and enrollment processes. He also reviewed and fully evaluated applications for first-year admission, conducted on- and off-campus information sessions to prospective families, and coordinated with academic faculty to design and implement the admission process for the College’s seven-year joint medical programs. Rich has also served as a member and chair of the Campus Judicial Board and, in support of the President’s Office, represented New Paltz at SUNY system-wide events, advocacy days, and other key legislative opportunities for the College.
Rich began his professional career working for Former Congressman John Hall from 2008 to 2011, initially as a Staff Assistant and then as a District Representative. He led outreach efforts to constituents within the Congressman’s district, which included parts of Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Westchester, and all of Putnam counties. Rich interacted with local, state, and federal officials, business/community members, and other stakeholders on issues affecting the district. He also handled economic development projects, managed individual constituent casework issues, and planned/executed events on behalf of the Congressman.
Rich is a proud graduate of SUNY New Paltz, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2008. He received his Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from Stony Brook University in December 2013. Rich currently resides in Wappingers Falls with his wife, Alex, also a 2009 graduate of New Paltz.
Phone: (845) 257-3288
Cathi Castillo became Executive Secretary to the President in June 2011.
She joined the College in 2006 as a Keyboard Specialist 1 in the Department of Human Resources and later became Department Secretary and Assistant to the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources. Prior to that, she served for seven years as Office Manager for Valley Management, a property management company in New Paltz. Cathi also owned and operated her own business for 13 years.
Phone: (845) 257-3291
Lisa moved to the Hudson Valley area in April, 1998, and started work at SUNY New Paltz in the Office of Human Resources. In May, 1999, she accepted a job in the President's Office as secretary to the Executive Assistant to the President. She previously worked at SUNY Stony Brook in the Division of Campus Residences and prior to that worked at Monroe Community College in the President's Office as the secretary to the Executive Assistant to the President.
Lisa and her husband, Scott, reside in Kingston, NY.