Celeste has always enjoyed her various roles and the challenges of learning new things. But maybe being a Public Servant is what she has loved the most.
Celeste first moved to the Mohawk Valley in 2002 and started spending lots of time in Utica. She fell in love with Utica because of its strong sense of community, and because she was drawn to the culture of arts and artists. She could tell that it would be a good place to build a life. In 2005, she bought her house on Emerson Ave, and decided that Utica would be home.
Loving Utica, and loving politics, Celeste had long considered running for Common Council. Then, in 2017, she decided that it was time to run. First, she worked as a Volunteer for Anthony Brindisi’s campaign for Congress, and learned a great deal about how to run for office, (and later, how to be a real public servant). Then in 2019, she ran for Common Council. She ran a big, grass roots campaign that some called the best run campaign in Oneida County that season. And so, despite not being from Utica, and despite not having a lot of name recognition, she won and was sworn in on January 1, 2020.
Since taking office, Celeste has taken to local politics like a duck to water. She enjoys providing Constituent Services, and helping people one-on-one to navigate City Hall and local government services. She thrives living a busy, meeting filled life. She has built relationships both with her Constituents, but also with the various hard-working City employees who help her solve every day problems. Communicating with people about government has perhaps been the highlight of her short time in office, sending out dozens of email Newsletters, including her “How Utica Works” series.
Celeste was raised in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the youngest of seven children. She went to UMass Amherst, graduating in 1988, and then moved to New York City. She got her PhD in Philosophy from the City University of New York Graduate School and University Center. After graduating in 1995, she took a series of full-time but temporary faculty positions in Ohio. In 2002, she took a teaching job at Hamilton College, where she taught full-time until 2007. After a year off from teaching, in 2008 she took a position as an Adjunct Lecturer at SUNY Poly. She teaches two courses every semester: World Religions and Science, Technology, and Human Values. She has also run a small jewelry business since 2008, producing and marketing her own line of fine sterling silver jewelry. As if that weren’t enough, she is also the Executive Director of Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival, an annual arts Festival in Norwich, NY.
Celeste lives with her partner Andy and their two rescue ginger cats, Edward and James, in an art-filled purple house surrounded by gardens. She enjoys bicycle touring and most recently rode up the coast of Maine with Andy and friends.
Celeste has always enjoyed all her various roles and the challenges of learning new things: being a Philosopher, teaching college, forging jewelry and marketing it to people, directing a large, multi-faceted Festival. But maybe being a Public Servant is what she has loved the most. She hopes that the people of South Utica feel well-served by her efforts and will re-elect her in 2021.