Executive Director

Green Chimneys 


Like many young men of his generation, when Joseph Whalen found him self facing a selective service draft notification, the prospect of college suddenly seemed much more appealing. Within days of his draft physical he had his sights set on attending Mercy College and was accepted. 

"I know I didn't help raise the G.P.A. of my class at Mercy," he said wryly. But it was there that he was introduced to teaching and youth work, which would occupy the next almost-30 years of his life.

Whalen was one of many men who chose to enter the field of education to avoid going to war, and who stayed long after that threat had passed. It brought an influx of qualified men who might otherwise have chosen other professions.


Soon after graduating from Mercy in 1972, with a bachelor of science degree in Education, Whalen took a position teaching at Green Chimney's School, an agency that serves children and adults with handicapping conditions, and those without, on a more than 160-acre campus in Brewster. It targets its services at restoring and strengthening the emotional health and well-being of children and families and fostering optimal functioning and independence. Its programs range from shelter care, to day and nursery school care, residential treatment adult services, group homes, therapeutic horseback riding, and more. It offers a wide variety of programs to the public, including farm tours and outdoor education.

Whalen was soon named the school's principal, and over the years continued to move up through the ranks. In October of 1996, he was named the organization's executive director.

Whalen earned a master's degree in Special Education from Western Connecticut State University in 1977, and then an MBA from the University of New Haven in 1993. In between, he received his certification in School Administration and Supervision from Fordham University, and certification in Not-for-Profit Management from Columbia University.