Eleanor Cotter, Senior Warden
Eleanor lives in Larchmont with her husband and two children and has been a member of the St. Thomas community since 2010. She works as the Grants and Foundations Manager of My Sisters’ Place, a domestic violence and human trafficking agency in Westchester. In addition to non-profit development, Eleanor’s professional background is in corporate and derivatives law: she previously worked as an in-house counsel at Goldman, Sachs & Co., providing legal advice and support to prime brokerage and trading desks.
Since joining St. Thomas, Eleanor has taught Sunday School and served on the Communications and Hospitality committees. She looks forward to taking part in Lent Madness every year. In her spare time, Eleanor is a volunteer Girl Scout Troop Leader and subscribes to more podcasts than she can reasonably listen to in the week.
Eleanor has a BA in Politics from the Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and a JD from Fordham Law School. Raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, Eleanor was received into the Episcopal church in 2015. A native of Dublin, Ireland, she has been living the New York area since 1996.
Mike Spoonauer, Junior Warden
Throughout his 40-plus years, whether he lived in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston or New York, Mike has always sought out a spiritual community to which he could connect. What drives him is a desire to be a part of something bigger than himself, but also an underlying need to discover how God inspires each of us to impact the world around us.
As a gay man, Mike has always struggled to find a religious organization into which he could theologically “fit”. With the Episcopal Church, he feels that he can embrace the person he is, the husband he loves, and the God whose love and justice influences every major life decision that he makes.
In speaking about St. Thomas Episcopal Church Michael had this to say: “I have had the opportunity to interact with a number of amazing people, many of whom share so much of who they are: aspirations, frustrations, doubts, fears, hopes for the future, and more. It is the people who make up St. Thomas who will enable me to translate my faith into action, my morality into compassion, my hubris into humility.
If there are things I can contribute to the vestry of St. Thomas, it is God who will surely help me to uncover them, but it is the congregation of St. Thomas who will continually show me, through their own example, how to truly make a difference.”
Steve was born in Greenwich, Connecticut. His family moved to Darien, Connecticut when he was three years old. He was baptized in the Episcopal Church, but his family decided to bring their children to a local Community Church starting when he was in the fifth grade. That church had an active youth group which had a significant impact on his developing spiritual growth. He continued to attend that church after graduating from college and served on many of the boards and committees, ushered and was a lector as well as the youth group leader. Working as an outdoor maintenance supervisor/trainer at the ARC in Greenwich, he met the woman who would become his wife. After marrying Karen he moved to Larchmont and joined the family with her son AJ and daughter Jen and cat Tiger.
Steve and his wife Karen have been members of St. Thomas church since early 2001, and he has served in a number of capacities since then. He has served twice on the Vestry, been a junior and senior Warden and spent many years on the communications committee and the properties committee. He was also a member of the recent search committee, is a Sunday school teacher, an usher and lector. He helped the Men’s Group get started and continues to take an active role in planning and coordinating the annual retreats to Holy Cross Monastery.
Steve has a BS in Environmental Science and a Master’s in Public Administration and has worked for the City of Stamford for the last 29 years, most recently in the Technology Management Services Department.
Dave has been a member of St. Thomas since 2014. Originally from a small town in Michigan, his first job brought him to the New York metro area and he has been a Westchester country resident for the last 20 years.
After spending most of his adult life without a religious affiliation, an internet search for local churches led him to the St. Thomas link that beckoned “seekers, searchers and doubters welcome.” That invitation encouraged him to visit one Sunday and he has found a spiritual home with this open-minded, diverse and thoughtful community ever since.
Dave has worked for 20 years in the retail branding and market research industries where he has provided consulting for 50+ companies across 22 countries. Also passionate about training and education, he has parlayed those skills into Sunday School teaching.
Dave and his wife of 18 years have two boys and live in Rye Brook, NY. When he is not attending swimming meets and school activities, he loves to run and pretend to play his guitar.
Shahin was born in Tabriz, Iran. He spent his childhood and most of his teenage years in Tehran with his family. He moved to the US in 1978 and graduated from Hoosac School, an Episcopal high school in upstate New York. After attending Bennington College for two years right after high school, Shahin transferred to New York Institute of Technology School of Architecture and Design in Old Westbury, LI, New York, from which he graduated with a bachelor of science in architectural technology in June 1985.
After his graduation he worked for several architectural firms like Design Collaborative, Inc., and Robert Nerzig and Assoc. on Long Island.
Shahin moved back to Tehran for many years to run his own small architectural office. In his second year of living there he met his wife, Maryam Azizi, while she was a pediatric resident at Mofid Hospital. Their son was born four years after they met and two years after they were married.
Among his many professional achievements is the second prize for Tehran’s largest cultural center architectural competition, and he appeared on a morning TV show as an architect.
For the past 10 years Shahin has been back in the US, and he has worked on projects like Larchmont Children’s Library additions and renovations at the offices of Richard Hein, Architects. He started Design 3 Studio, Inc., providing design services to design-build companies and some private clients.
Shahin and his son Daryoush were baptized at St. Thomas on March 30, 2014. He is also member of the Building and Grounds Committee.
Suzanne was born and raised in Westchester. After completing her graduate work, she lived in Manhattan for many years, before returning to lower Westchester.
Suzanne completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at NYU and practices couple and sex therapy in Manhattan. She is on the faculties of several psychoanalytic institutes in the NYC area and also teaches at the Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York. She has published numerous professional articles and book chapters, and has co-edited two books.
Suzanne also enjoys leisure time including travel, cooking, reading, biking and tennis. Together with her family Suzanne has become an active member of St. Thomas, participating in services and community dinners. Providing opportunities for her children to grow in faith and fellowship has been a major gift from the St. Thomas community.
Lisa was received into the Anglican Communion at the Church of the Apostles in Fairfax, VA in 1983. She served as the Chair of their Outreach Committee and was involved in women’s ministry at COA. While living in the Washington, DC area she used her degree in Arts and Humanities working as a development and public relations associate for the Warner Theater and Arena Stage. She also served a one year appointment with the US Department of Education.
Lisa returned to New York City in 1990, where she joined All Angels’ Episcopal Church in Manhattan and became active in their ministry to the homeless members of the congregation. She received her MS in Special Education and earned a certificate in Educational Administration and Supervision at Hunter College. She worked for the NYC Department of Education as a teacher, literacy specialist and finally as an Assistant Principal, serving mostly in East Harlem and Washington Heights. Lisa moved to Harrisburg, PA in 2007 where she became the principal of Hamilton Elementary School. A career opportunity for her husband Matthew brought them back to the New York area and the Pearson family, including Jacob and Joshua, moved to Mamaroneck in 2010. They attended Christ’s Church in Rye where Lisa served as the director of their nursery school until 2016.
Kristen lives in Rye, NY with her husband and three sons and joined the St. Thomas community in 2010, where she found the welcoming and inclusive faith community she had been seeking for her family. She was formally received into the Episcopal Church in 2019 alongside her middle son, who was confirmed at the same time.
Kristen has been a community development practitioner for over 20 years, with experience in the banking, government and nonprofit sectors. She currently works for Citi Foundation, where she helps municipalities and not-for-profit organizations develop programs focused on creating greater economic opportunity for low-income families across the United States.
Prior to Citi Foundation, she was a regional director for NeighborWorks America, a community development banker for HSBC, and helped run a community development loan fund at Seedco. Kristen also worked in state and local government, with stints in former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell’s administration and at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
Kristen is an active swimmer and has completed several triathlons. When not swimming and biking, you can see her jogging around Mamaroneck with her black Labrador, a brood from Guiding Eyes for the Blind that her family fosters.
Kristen earned a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a baccalaureate from Mount Holyoke College.