Albany Law School’s Kate Stoneman Honorary Committee is proud to announce Hon. Teneka E. Frost ’02—Schenectady’s first Black City Court judge—as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Miriam M. Netter '72 Kate Stoneman Award.
Additionally, Judge Patricia Marks ’74, the first female full-time Assistant District Attorney in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, and Secretary Alejandra N. Paulino ’02, the first Latina to serve as the Secretary of the New York Senate, will be honored with Kate Stoneman awards as part of the law school’s 29th Kate Stoneman Day, scheduled for Thursday, March 23, 2023.
Albany Law School's prestigious Stoneman Awards are presented to individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to seeking change and expanding opportunities for women within the legal profession. The awards are in honor of Kate Stoneman, the first woman admitted to practice law in New York State and the first female graduate of Albany Law School, Class of 1898.
Past Stoneman Award honorees include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, New York State Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, Arlinda F. Locklear, pioneering litigator in Native American law, the Honorable Constance Baker Motley, the first African-American woman appointed to the federal judiciary, former New York Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye—who delivered the inaugural keynote in 1994—and other leaders in the private sector, public service, and academia.
About the honorees:
Judge Teneka Frost ‘02
Judge Frost has served as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, as co-chair of the Equal Justice in the Courts Initiative for the Fourth Judicial district, and as the Chief Administrative Law Judge and Director of the Office of Administrative Hearings at the NY Department of State. Last year, she was named to Albany Law School's National Alumni Association.
In 2018, she was appointed as a city court judge by Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy. In 2021, she began the United Against Crime Community Action Network (U-CAN), a program where first-time offenders 18-25 years old with no criminal record can learn from mentors and work on self-improvement in a year-long program. In 2005, she was selected for a post-graduate fellowship in government law and policy at Albany Law School’s Government Law Center, during which time she also served as an elected member of the Board of Education for the City School District of Albany.
At Albany Law School, Judge Frost was Northeast regional director of the National Black Law Students Association, regional representative of the Albany Law School Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and a member of the law school’s Moot Court Board. As a student she interned for the Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caucus of the New York State Legislature and worked as a law clerk at Lemery Greisler LLC.
Judge Frost is a graduate of Syracuse University, Albany Law School, and the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany.
Growing up in Albany, she saw family members fall into one of two cycles, incarceration for men and teenage pregnancy for women. Her parents were 16 and 18 when they started their family and Frost was labeled a “high-risk student” in high school.
“Now my family members—cousins, nieces, and nephews— can say my aunt or my cousin is a judge. They have a stake in me becoming who I am, they have helped shape me,” she said. “I do feel it is my purpose to stay in this community so that particularly my family members can see an example of success.”
Judge Patricia Marks ’74
Judge Marks was the first female full-time Assistant District Attorney in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, and then years later became the first female County Judge elected in Monroe County. She served as a County Court Judge for 25 years and retired in 2011. Since her retirement, she has remained active in a number of areas throughout the law including as Interim CEO/Executive Director of Veterans Outreach Center, a not-for-profit organization that provides advocacy, direct service and community collaboration for veterans and their families, as a Hearing Officer with the NYS Local and Retirement System and the Title IX office at the University of Rochester. She also provides pro bono services to various family law clinics in the Western New York area.
Judge Marks began her legal career as a legal assistant with the Monroe County Department of Social Services. In 1976, she became the first female, full-time Assistant District Attorney in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.
She was the first woman elected to the county court in 1984 and served as supervising judge following her 1994 appointment by New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.
Judge Marks also presided over the Judicial Diversion Program and Veterans Court, which she created, and played a key role in establishing the Monroe County Mental Health Court. She is the author of 27 published legal decisions and several New York State Bar Journal articles.
Catherine Cerulli, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, and Director of the Susan B. Anthony Center, has partnered with Judge Marks on projects throughout the years. They include programs on suicide prevention for attorneys and Judge Marks’ work with Rule of Law Program with the State Department.
“Judge Marks [is always] quietly is on the sidelines, cheering on younger women in their work and lives. We can’t really become “all we can be” when our lives throw us curve balls. She helps us know how to catch them,” she wrote.
Josie Sheppard Wilson, President of the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys said:
“There is one thing that all of Judge Mark’s efforts have in common: each role – regardless of whether it is a paid or volunteer position – leaves people feeling better about themselves then they did when they entered the process. She spoke to people in her courtroom with dignity and respect. While she was on the bench, she held attorneys and litigants to high standards – always maintaining a professional decorum in the courtroom. In fact, she went so far as to even improve the processes within the sentencing report processing, jury instructions, and sentencing guidelines. These efforts continue to ensure that our legal system is transparent and always improving.”
Secretary Alejandra N. Paulino ’02
Secretary Alejandra N. Paulino ’02, is the first Latina to serve as the Secretary of the New York Senate and an expert in New York State election law.
She was elected by members of the State Senate in 2019 and serves as chief administrative officer to the Senate and its 16 departments. She has increased access to resources and worked to improve working conditions at the New York State Senate. She has updated the Senate’s sexual harassment policies and has added cultural competency to the training for all Senate employees.
She has spent her career in several different government offices and adjacent groups. She got her start as a Senate fellow and has since served in the Majority Counsel’s Office as Crime, Crime Victims, and Correction Committee Counsel and Team Counsel for Public Protection.
She has been an adjunct professor at Albany Law School since 2016 teaching Election Law. She also serves on the Government Law Center Advisory Board.
In 2019, she was the recipient of the Capital District Black and Hispanic Bar Association’s 2019 Trail Blazer Award.
While at Albany Law School, she participated in Moot Court and was a member of the Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA) and the Black Law Students Association (BLSA).
“It was with joy and a touch of pride that I watched her meteoric rise to one of the most powerful and influential positions in the New York State Legislature,” said Hon. Rachel Kretser (Ret.), who nominated Paulino along with Professor David Pratt.
“While holding leadership roles in a very demanding position, Ms. Paulino has inspired and mentored countless women. Our paths have continued to cross since graduation, and I have had the honor of serving on the Government Law Center Advisory Board with Ms. Paulino and have watched her provide a voice of reason and insight on key issues. I have also watched her mentor countless Albany Law students and Government Law Center fellows over the years. She is always there when asked to help, and she shares her time and insights with students at every opportunity,” said Amy Kellogg ’02.