Board of Directors

Executive Committee

President's picture
Term until Nov 2014


Mae08ben02x's picture
Term until Nov 2014

Treasurer's picture
Term until Nov 2014

Communications Officer

kseddon's picture
Term until Nov 2014

Membership Officer

Term until Nov 2014

Board Members

Term until Nov 2014
phalasz's picture
Term until Nov 2014
rfeiertag's picture
Term until Nov 2014
sbreitzer's picture
Term until Nov 2014

Board Biographies

Mona Berman (President)

Mona Berman is an artist, art dealer, curator, educator, and consultant specializing in both contemporary art and material culture. Her primary interest in ethnographic jewelry and textiles takes her to many parts of the world, most notably to Asia.

Mona received her B.F.A. from the University of Illinois and her M.F.A. from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts University.

Mona received an artist grant from the CT Commission on the Arts. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally.

As art dealer, Mona's clients include major Fortune 500 corporations, national museums, architects, designers, and private collectors. While Director of Mona Berman Gallery from 1979- 86, Mona curated exhibitions, many of which were widely acclaimed by reviewers of major publications, including Art in America and The New York Times. Connecticut Magazine named the gallery 'Best of Connecticut.' Mona has written articles and book reviews for professional journals and art publications and catalogs for exhibitions and corporate collections. She has provided curatorial services for Wesleyan University's Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Arts, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and for corporations such as General Electric and The Travelers where she was Director of the headquarters gallery.

She has provided curatorial services for the Yale Art Gallery and recently conducted a Master Class in conjunction with the inaugural exhibition of the Gallery's new Indo-Pacific Department.

Mona helped draft Connecticut’s first Arts Advocacy Legislation, has been a reviewer for the US Dept of Higher Education Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Competition, and a juror for Connecticut’s Per Cent for Arts Program. She was recently appointed to the Board of New Haven's Cultural Affairs Commission. She served on panels that help third world artists create economically viable, well designed, indigenous products and spent five years on the Board of Directors of a Khmer NGO women’s development center in Cambodia.

In addition to her membership in NCIS, Mona is a member American Council for Southern Asian Art, College Art Association, and the Textile Society of America. She has taught at Hampshire College, Fairfield University, and other CT. institutions.

Susan Breitzer (Board member)

Susan Roth Breitzer completed her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, and is currently revising her dissertation, “Jewish Labor's Second City: The Formation of a Jewish Working Class in Chicago, 1886-1928,” and working on a book proposal. She has published essays in History Compass, the Indiana Magazine of History, and Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts. She has presented papers at the Organization of American Historians,  the American Historical Association, and the Labor and Working-Class History Association. She has recently served on the Board of Directors of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars, for which she organized the organizations first affiliated society panel. She has taught United States and world history at Fayetteville State University, and is currently teaching Western Civilization and United States History for the Fort Bragg Extension Campus of Campbell University.

Ruth Feiertag (Board member)

In grammar school, Ruth Feiertag's father started handing her Great Works of English Literature with the admonition, "Here—read this before they ruin it for you in school." After that there was nothing for it but to major in English Literature, and Ms. Feiertag got a B.A. from the University of California Santa Cruz and eventually an M.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She meandered towards a Ph.D. but arrived in the realm of independent scholarship and NCIS instead. She finds Medieval and Renaissance literature (mostly poetry and drama) endlessly fascinating, and anyone who wants to be treated to a long monologue should ask her about bastards from the Middle Ages through the Early Modern period. At the moment, Ms. Feiertag is attempting to make a living as a freelance editor (; she is one of the NCIS members participating in the
Manuscript Review Service) to support her addiction to writing literary criticism.

Piri Halasz (Board member)

At Barnard, Piri Halasz majored in English. She next worked for Time magazine, as a researcher, then as a writer. At the end of this period, she wrote about art for Time, and became more interested in art than in Time. She left, went to graduate school, and took her PhD in art history from Columbia. Since leaving Time, she has published more than 200 articles in 13 publications ranging from The New York Times to the College Art Journal, and most recently, In addition, she publishes From the Mayor’s Doorstep, an online column/newsletter that also appears in hard copy. She has taught at Columbia, Hunter College, C. W. Post Center/Long Island University, Molloy College and Bethany College (WV). Her books: A Swinger’s Guide to London (Coward McCann, 1967; pb iUniverse, Authors Guild “back in print” program, 2010) and A Memoir of Creativity: abstract painting, politics & the media, 1956-2008 (iUniverse, 2009). The latter won a gold medal in the category of Writing/Publishing from the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards, and was reviewed by Ann Lee Morgan in The Independent Scholar (January 2011).

Gary Shapiro (Board member)

Gary Shapiro earned his A.B. in Classics at Harvard University.
He earned  J.D. at Columbia.
He is a former contributing editor the quarterly journal, the American Scholar.   Shapiro wrote a column for the Forward (the national Jewish newspaper) and The New York Sun.  He has since written for The Wall Street Journal and The Villager.   He is a licensed tour guide in New York City.    
Current Research interests:  History of Anthropology,  History of New York City.

Janet Wasserman (Secretary)

JANET I. WASSERMAN is the founder and executive director of the Schubert Society of the USA (2003) and has been a member since 1999 of the Schubert Institute-United Kingdom (SIUK). She is a published independent scholar in the fields of music history (with an emphasis on Franz Schubert), music iconography, art history, and biography. She is a graduate of City College of City University of New York (CUNY) with BA and MA degrees in Modern History; she reached candidacy for a Ph.D. in Modern German History (ABD) at the CUNY Graduate Center; and has a J.D. degree from CUNY Law School. She has over forty years of administrative and executive experience in the nonprofit sector, government and academia. She has been a member since 2001 of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars and was elected Vice President for 2005-2006, then served as interim President until she was elected President in 2008, serving one term. She was appointed Secretary in 2013 to fill the unexpired term of the former Secretary. Her publications are available at the NCIS website member pages where they are cited in full in her CV and at her personal site “An Independent Scholar’s Voice” (

Mary Zimmer (Treasurer)

Mary Zimmer is a unique blend of academic scholar, high-level university administrator, and accomplished entrepreneurial leader.  She has published and taught in her fields of 17th century British poetry and prose, medieval thought and literature, and early modern science.  She has held executive administrative positions at Rice University, where she received her PhD.  In 2007, after almost twenty years in academia, she took the helm of a family business with a nearly four decade history.  In her time there, she has doubled the size of the business and diversified its operations into different markets.  She has brought her experience and skills to NCIS, and is working with Klara Sedon on a variety of projects.