Meet the Board

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Kenneth Kunz, Ed.D.

President

Lindsay Bernero, M.A.

Board Member

Rita Spaulding, M.A.

Board Memeber 

Dr. Kunz holds a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and English from Kean University, a master's in Reading Specialization from Rutgers University, and a doctorate in Teacher Leadership from Rutgers.  He is a certified Elementary Teacher, Teacher of English, Reading Specialist, Supervisor, and Principal.

 

Dr. Kunz is a former elementary school teacher, professor of teacher education, and intermediate school supervisor.  Currently, he is the Supervisor of Curriculum & Instruction (K-12) for the Middlesex School District and serves as a literacy consultant in school districts across New Jersey.

 

Dr. Kunz has been recognized by the NJ Governor's Teacher Recognition Program and was a recipient of the Edward Fry Fellowship in Literacy at Rutgers.  He currently serves as President of NJ Literacy Association and is a member of the Board of the International Literacy Association.

 

He is co-author of Breaking through the Language Arts Block: Organizing and Managing an Exemplary Literacy Day and lives in Mountainside, NJ with his partner, Maltese, and chickens.  Dr. Kunz enjoys running, exercising, and socializing with his literacy friends and family.

 

Professional Development Topics:

  • Guided Reading/Differentiated Small Group Instruction

  • Organizing and Managing an Exemplary Literacy Day

  • Vocabulary

  • Literacy Environment

  • Literacy Strategies

  • Literacy Leadership

Lindsay holds a bachelor's degree in Teacher of the Handicapped and a master's in Reading Specialization from Kean University. She is currently finishing her Supervisor’s Certificate at Kean University.

 

Lindsay has been teaching in the Linden Public Schools District for 13 years. She has worked in many areas of Special Education and is currently a Reading Specialist. She has devoted her time to PBSIS, Fast Grant Services, and is a member of the Instructional Leadership Team where she analyzes data and incorporates current research and best practices throughout classrooms. She has given Professional Development around the state of New Jersey and plans to reach new goals.

 

Lindsay is a Board Member of NJLA and runs the Social Media Accounts. She enjoys traveling with her husband and spending time with family and friends.

Professional Development Topics:

  • Guided Reading/Differentiated Small Group Instruction

  • VAKT Approach for Struggling Readers

  • Student Engagement

  • Developing Visual Models to Aid the Classroom Literacy Environment 

Ms. Spaulding holds a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Preschool from Rider University and a masters in Reading Specialization from Rowan University. She is a certified Elementary Teacher, Preschool Teacher, Special Education Teacher, Reading Specialist, and Supervisor.

                                

Ms. Spaulding is a former reading teacher, and special education teacher. Currently, she is a third-grade teacher in a (K-5) elementary school in the Clayton School District.

 

Ms. Spaulding has served as a Board Member and President of the South Jersey Reading Council and is a member of International Literacy Association. She currently serves as a Board Member of NJ Literacy Association

 

She has presented workshops on Project Read, a literacy program encompassing phonics, reading comprehension, and written expression. She has served as language arts chair for three years in the Clayton School District.  She lives in Atco, NJ with her husband, three children, and two rescue pets.  Ms. Spaulding enjoys music, scrapbooking, and spending time with friends and family.

Professional Development Topics

  • Guided Reading/Differentiated Small Group Instruction

  • IEP Planning

  • Comprehension

  • Literacy Environment

  • Literacy Strategies

Dr. Susan Dougherty 

Board Member

Rachel Donnelly

Board Member

 

Dr. Susan Dougherty holds a. bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Kindergarten Education from Penn State University, a master’s degree in Reading from Rutgers University, and a master’s degree in Educational Media and Technology and a doctoral degree in Language and Literacy from Boston University.

 

Dr. Dougherty is currently an associate professor of Literacy Education at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ, where she works with future elementary teachers and in-service teachers pursuing reading specialist certification.  She began her career as an educator in New Jersey, teaching in grades K-4 for 10 years.  She serves on the Board of NJLA and is co-editor of the newsletter.

 

Dr. Dougherty recently published Pivotal Research in Early Literacy: Foundational Studies and Current Practice, which she co-edited with colleague Christina Cassano. She is also co-author of Engaging Readers: Supporting All Students in Knowledge-Driven Reading, Grades 4-8 with Dana Robertson and Evelyn Ford-Connors. 

 

Professional Development Topics:

  • Literacy & Science: Informational Texts and the Next Generation Science Standards

  •  Family Literacy: Developing True Partnerships

  • Supporting Students Who Find Reading Difficult

  • Word Recognition in Grades K-6

  • Building a Solid Foundation for Literacy in Pre-K

Kurt Abel

Board Member

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kurt joined the board of NJLA in November 2017.  He holds a BA in Communication and an MA in both Reading and Educational Leadership.  Kurt currently serves as a Supervisor of Instruction and Language Arts for Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District.  Previously, Kurt has worked as a classroom teacher, Reading Specialist, and Literacy Coach.

 

In between various literacy endeavors and his career, Kurt enjoys family outings with his wife and four children.

 

Professional Development Topics

  • Professional Learning Communities

  • New Teacher Training and Induction

  • Data Analysis

  • Classroom Management

  • Instructional Coaching

Dr. Lella holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and American Studies from Rider University, a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Monmouth University, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Kean University, and a doctorate in Teacher Leadership from Rutgers University. She is currently completing a master’s degree in Language Acquisition at Rutgers University. She holds certifications as an elementary teacher, supervisor, and principal. Based on her research at Rutgers, she received the Edward Fry Fellowship in Literacy and the Center for Literacy Development Endowed Scholarship.

 

She began her career in education in 2006, teaching students in grades PK-4 for 12 years before accepting her current position as an elementary and K-12 ESL curriculum and instruction supervisor in the Wall Township Public Schools. Dr. Lella belongs to a number of professional education associations and has presented at their local, state, and national conferences.

 

Dr. Lella serves on NJLA Board and is a member of the fundraising committee. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two young daughters, and can typically be found at or near the beach with a good book.

 

Professional Development Topics

  • Creating Student Independence in Self-Selecting Reading Strategies

  • Supporting Struggling Readers

  • Supporting English Language Learners

  • Literacy Leadership

Juli-Anne Benjamin

Board Member

Juli-Anne Benjamin is a veteran educator who has dedicated her life in the service of children, both nationally and internationally, having taught in South Africa and recently in New Delhi, India at Delhi Public Schools.

A highly qualified, lifelong learner trained by Teachers College Instructional Coaching cycles in workshop methodologies and small-group instruction, Juli-Anne loves to read and is devoutly committed to building culturally relevant and sustainable classroom libraries. She champions read-alouds in literacy lessons and grounds instructional practice in building and curating sound relationships with teachers and students and culturally aligning books that serve as windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors into the diverse experiences and worlds of children.

 

Juli-Anne holds several Master's degrees in English Education and School Leadership, has been featured in Who's Who Among America's Teachers, and has proudly served NYC Schools as an English teacher, reading specialist, mentor, and instructional coach.

As Founder of EdCampBROOKLYN and EdCampNewark(NJ), Juli-Anne has married her love of classroom teaching with the lens of teacher leadership to usher teachers into open spaces of personalized professional learning networks and is deeply committed to amplifying teachers as leaders in advocacy and agency of effective professional development that arms teachers with the most innovative, collaborative, and practical pedagogical tools that have a rich impact on student learning.

 

Juli-Anne has been pursuing her Doctorate degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Leadership
while tangentially studying at Harvard Graduate School of Education and has participated in modules within the Professional Studies programs. She works tirelessly within social justice and equity frameworks to include teachers of color into emerging professional learning spaces, currently works in Newark NJ, as an instructional coach and is deeply honored to serve as a member of the NJLA Board. 

Professional Development Topics

  • Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

  • Culturally Responsive Literacy Instruction

  • Using picture books as a window, mirror and sliding glass doors into the diverse lives of characters

  • Read Aloud for all

  • Reading as a civil right 

  • How to choose diverse texts for the middle school classroom

  • Reading books as a ways to disrupt non-responsive curriculum 

  • Cultural Sustainability in middle school texts

  • Urban classroom management

  • Children’s Right To Read

Maureen Hall

Vice President

Maureen has been an educator for over 45 years.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Hartwick College, a master’s in Student Personnel Services from Montclair State University, and managed to complete all of the coursework for her doctorate in Curriculum and Supervision at Seton Hall University, but not her dissertation.  Maureen has been trained at Teachers College in workshop methodologies.  She is certified in New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts as a teacher of English and elementary school, a guidance counselor, a supervisor, and a principal.

 

Maureen has taught grades two, three, six, seven, eight, and high school English.  She has served as a program director, a supervisor of summer school, an assistant principal, a curriculum specialist, and as a principal in New Jersey.  She has also worked at Rutgers University as both a part time lecturer and literacy coach.  She is currently happily at work as a literacy coach for the Rutgers Center for Literacy Development in several wonderful school districts across the state.

Maureen’s teaching was recognized by the New Jersey Governor’s Teacher Recognition Program.  She currently serves as a member of the Rutgers Center for Literacy Development Advisory Board and as co-president of the New Jersey Literacy Association, where she is also the chair of the professional development committee. 

Maureen’s goal throughout her life has been to share her love of reading and writing with teachers and students.  She is the co-author of Breaking Through the Language Arts Block: Organizing and Managing an Exemplary Literacy Day.  She has been happily married to Bill for 33 years, is the proud mother of Elisabeth, and the thrilled new grandmother of Hannah.  She spends summers on an island in Maine where she reads innumerable books. 

Professional Development Topics

  • guided reading

  • organizing and managing an exemplary literacy day

  • vocabulary

  • content area literacy

  • comprehension strategies

  • curriculum writing and revision

Gina holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s deree in Science and

Environmental Education. Gina also has completed 30 additional credits in Literacy andReading Instruction. Gina is currently enrolled in a Supervisor’s certificate program which she

plans to complete in June 2019. Gina is a certified K-6 teacher in New York and New Jersey.

 

Gina started her career in New York teaching 2nd and 3rd grade and her passion for teacher

leadership and coaching began to take hold. Gina worked as a literacy coach for Children’sLiteracy Initiative for 10 years, coaching best practices and facilitating Professional

Development mostly in the tri-state area. Gina has also facilitated Professional Development

workshops in multiple states across the country.

 

Gina presently works at Dr. William H. Horton School in Newark NJ as a school based literacy coach, working with grades K-5. Gina works in classrooms with teachers on Literacy

Environment, Guided Reading practice, Learning Centers, Interntional Read Aloud, and

Classroom Culture. In addition, Gina facilitates professional development, teaches small groups

and works with teachers to impact practice and increase student achievement Gina is a board member of NJLA and serves on Professional Development comittee. Gina is a

published writer of the NJLA newsletter.

Professional Development Topics

● Guided Reading

● Independent Reading and Conferring

● Read Aloud

● Literacy Environment/Classroom Culture

● Family Literacy

Gina Molinari-Schiano

Board Member

Eugenia Cooley

Board Member

I am currently a 6th grade Language Arts teacher in the Hillside Public Schools District.  I began my career here as a substitute teacher in 2004 and after completion of state alternate route requirements became a 3rd grade teacher within the same district in 2006.  I have also taught kindergarten and 5th grade during my career and took a two year detour to teach in the North my Bachelor's in Marketing from Kean University, and my Master's in Reading Specialization from Saint Peter's University, where I also received my Supervisor Certification.

 

I am presently co-president of the Epsilon chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary organization for women educators, Montclair State University Network for Educational Renewal Clinical Faculty member and Leadership Associate, a Scoring Leader for ETS, and an Early Intervention Child Development Specialist.  I also am a liaison for my school’s Social Emotional Learning Team, a member of the NJIT LiFE (Leadership and iSTEAM for Females in Elementary Schools) Cohort, and provide home instruction services to students in need. I have previously served as a member of the Merck ALISI (Advancing Leadership in Science Instruction) Cohort and past Teacher of the Year for Hurden Looker School.

 

A few of my passions within education are social emotional learning, student led engagement and activities, supporting novice teachers, fair and equitable classroom management, restorative justice and practices, and attending EdCamps.  I have raised two adult daughters that continue to amaze me.  I enjoy reading, watching basketball, travel, Zumba, crocheting, spending time with family and friends, and connecting with my favorite PLN on Twitter, look me up @theteachernme.

 

It is an honor and a privilege to join the NJLA community and I anxiously look forward to serve alongside these esteemed educators.

 

 

Carolina Public Schools.  I studied Biology at North Carolina A&T State University, received.

Follow:

https://www.donorschoose.org/eugenia.cooley?projects=true

Jenna Maxman

Board Member

Jenna has taught 4th and 6th grade for 13 years. She was the 2016 NJ Governors District Teacher of the Year. Jenna currently serves as a member of the Rutgers Center for Literacy Development Advisory Board. She is the advisor of the afterschool club-EarlyAct (a division of Rotary International) that is comprised of 50+ members in 1st -6th. Jenna specializes in Visual Literacy and Sketchnoting.  She also supports John Hattie's Visible Classroom philosophy.  She presents annually at the NJEA convention on literacy and acts as a literacy coach in her district.  

Kathryn Diskin

Board Member

Mrs. Diskin holds a bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University with a concentration in Education and a minor in Spanish, and a master’s degree from Kean University in Educational Administration. She is a certified Teacher K-8, Supervisor, Principal, and School Administrator. Currently, Mrs. Diskin is completing her certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language and working on her doctorate at The College of Saint Elizabeth.

 

Mrs. Diskin is in her 30th year as an educator in the state of New Jersey. She began her career as a middle school and elementary school teacher. Her administrative experience ranges from being an assistant principal in Montclair to Principal of Watchung Elementary School, Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Assistant Superintendent in Middlesex. Currently, Mrs. Diskin is the Assistant Superintendent in the Millburn Township Public Schools. 

 

Mrs. Diskin has been recognized as a Geraldine Dodge Leadership Fellow and a certified NJ Sheltered Instruction Staff Developer. She lives with her husband and two boys in Mountainside, NJ. She enjoys spending time with her family and spending family vacations in Florida.

 

 Professional Development Topics:

  • Literacy Leadership

  • Reading and Writing Workshop

  • ESL and Sheltered Instruction

  • SEL and Mindfulness

Nicole Mancini teaches fifth grade English Language Arts at Bedminster Township School District. She graduated Washington College in 2002 as a triple major in English, education, and gender studies. She earned a Masters of Science in Education from Monmouth University and has a Reading Specialist certification. Nicole has served as a member of Bedminster Township School's Gifted & Talented Advisory Council, Technology Committee, Teacher of the Year Committee, and English & Language Arts Literacy Curriculum Committee; she also led the faculty's professional book club. 

 

Nicole has presented various workshops both in and out of New Jersey on technology, building students' passion for reading, motivating reluctant readers, battling mental health stigmas through books, and engagement. She has been an advocate for using diverse and neurodiverse books in the classroom for several years and has worked with authors from around the country to help educators learn more about this topic. In addition, Nicole is a freelance writer, a member of the International Literacy Association and National Council of Teachers of English, and an ambassador for Flipgrid. She has been published on the Nerdy Book Club blog and Teaching Channel, appeared on the Books Between Podcast and My Disney Class Podcast, and was featured on the Educator Spotlight column for MG Book Village. Nicole also organizes and appears on author panels for both children and adults in local bookstores. 

Nicole Mancini

Board Member

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