Nicolle M. Anthony
Nicolle is an educational consultant and currently a Business Development Manager for Barnes & Noble, Inc. After completing her Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing, she moved on to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Master of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University. Nicolle moved to New Jersey after working as an educator in inner-city Baltimore and the Howard County Public School System in Maryland. She utilizes her combined education and experience in business and education to provide unique solutions to schools and businesses. Tweet her @NicolleMAnthony.
Karen Armano, Dr. Tammy Bowling-Jenkins, Dawn Purdy, Kim Menchu
Karen Armano is a Teacher of Math at Sunnymead Elementary School. She holds a dual certification and an advanced degree in elementary and special education. With 19 years of teaching experience in Hillsborough, she has worked as a classroom teacher and math instructor for students in grades K-4. In her current position, she has created resources that teachers utilize to provide differentiated, targeted, and engaging math instruction. Her goal is to instill a positive attitude in her students helping them believe that they can be successful in math.
Dr. Tammy Bowling-Jenkins began her teaching career over 25 years ago. Her experience ranges from grades Prek-8. She has worked with students, staff and families from all ethnic and socio- economic backgrounds. In the role of principal she served as principal of the first community school in Plainfield N.J. She is currently serving as principal of a National Blue Ribbon School in Hillsborough Township. Dr. Bowling-Jenkins has received both state and national recognition for her work in education and leadership. She is the recipient of the 2001 Professional Woman of the Year award. Most recently, she was named the 2017 NJPSA Visionary Principal of the Year and the 2017 National Distinguished Principal of the Year. Dr. Bowling-Jenkins has presented several workshops on a variety of topics both on the national and local circuit. She is an educational consultant as well as an adjunct faculty member at Rutgers University and Kean University.
Dawn Purdy has been teaching for 25 years and is currently the Teacher of Writing at Sunnymead Elementary School in Hillsborough, NJ. She graduated from Rider University with a dual certification in elementary education and psychology and quickly realized that inspiring students to love learning was a passion. After 15 years teaching in the classroom, Dawn switched roles and became the Teacher of Writing where her position includes modeling lessons for colleagues and small group instruction for both struggling and accelerated learners. Being involved in how literacy learning is evolving at Sunnymead School is a source of great pride for Dawn.
Kim Menchu is the Reading Specialist at Sunnymead Elementary School. She has a degree in visual arts, elementary certification, and a masters degree in Reading/Language Arts. With 18 years of teaching experience in Hillsborough, she has worked as a classroom teacher in grades T.P. through 4. This is her first year as the Sunnymead Reading Specialist and is loving every minute of it. A new program that she started with the students is a monthly reading strategy focus, which is introduced each month by her chihuahua, Roxy. She has made it a personal goal to make all students excited about reading and to develop lifelong lovers of literature.
Garwood W. Bacon, Jr
Garwood W. Bacon, Jr. has 18 years of experience teaching at Cinnaminson Middle School. He is a certified reading specialist and has been teaching general, in-class support, and advanced education students for most of that time. He typically has 125 reading students spread over 5 classes during the day. In addition, he has been the gifted and talented coordinator/teacher for grades 6-8 since 2007. This program entitled, Project Challenge, usually has class sizes that range from 12-25 students per grade level. He is inspired by growth mindset principles and tries to incorporate them in his lessons. He believes in the power of relationships and strives to foster a learning environment comfortable to all learners. Recently, he was blessed to expand his educational relationships beyond his school district. With the help of many sources and support systems, he has been able to design a curriculum of study on the Holocaust that includes the reading of Night by Elie Wiesel, a visit with a second generation survivor, and finally a Holocaust Remembrance Program that is provided by the Jewish War Veterans of America Post 697. Along with this organization, Holocaust survivor Mr. Danny Goldsmith comes to his school and shares his amazing story with students. This experience has taught Garwood Bacon the value of community and the importance of bringing that outside community into classrooms.
Ms. Barnett has been a passionate English Language Arts educator and instructional leader for over 17 years. As a graduate of Burlington County College, Rowan University, and Wilmington University, Ms. Barnett brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her role as the ELA Department Supervisor for Washington Township Schools. In her role, Ms. Barnett oversees the creation and implementation of a rigorous, student centered ELA curriculum, develops and conducts professional development workshops to support teacher growth, and continues to seek ways to ensure the needs of all students are met as they develop skills to lead literate lives. Tweet her @melissa_lbi.
Brian Belsky has been a music teacher in Cinnaminson Township for the past 21 years teaching General Music to 6th-8th graders along with directing a 7th and 8th Grade Guitar Ensemble of over 100 students each year. Over the years he has had arrangements published and presented at the New Jersey Teachers Convention along with several local colleges and universities. As a music teacher his goal is to make the connection between music and other areas of the student’s personal and school lives. Lessons involve connecting music with Language Arts Literacy, Civics, Math and Science. Along with being a Music Teacher he is an active member of his local association and just recently finished his Master’s in Educational Leadership.
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 ILA as a Board member.
Paul is a middle school Capstone teacher in a Makerspace. His class encourages kids to wonder and become radically curious and make things that they thought were previously impossible. As lead designer, it is Paul’s job to not just plan and teach, but to learn and explore alongside his students. Prior to becoming a Capstone teacher, Paul was an Adjunct Professor at St. Joseph’s University, and a middle school social studies teacher. Paul has presented for the Library of Congress, Educon, New England League of Middle Schools Annual Conference, Northeast Regional Conference for the Social Studies, Connecticut Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference, and a host of EdCamps on the east coast. Tweet him @PaulBogush.
Kelly Boyer is in her 16th year as a Special Education teacher at South Brunswick High School. She has taught and/or co-taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II and currently Personal Financial Management. She has participated in extracurricular options for students as an advisor over the years. Clubs and organizations she has advised include Interact, Habitat for Humanity, Odyssey of the Mind, Student Council, Student Senate and many others. Having interactions with students of all different ability levels, interests, goals and family backgrounds was the main reason for Kelly going back to graduate school at TCNJ to get her Master’s in School Counseling. With an open mind and a tool belt filled with counseling tools, her classroom is always a safe haven for her past, current and future students.
After 11 years in the high school social studies classroom, Jenn found herself moving from a teacher-centered model to an entirely learner-centered one. This process took an exorbitant amount of trial and error because there isn't much information out there about how to successfully "do" student-centered learning effectively. She was finding her calling more outside the classroom helping colleagues adapt to this method and decided to make the career leap into the full-time professional development world in 2018. Thus, Student-Centered World was born, striving to be the go-to resource for all things student-centered learning.
Val Brown is a professional development trainer for Teaching Tolerance. Her role primarily includes designing, facilitating and evaluating anti-bias professional development for educators across the country. For 14 years prior to joining Teaching Tolerance, Val worked in the public K-12 education and higher education sector as a teacher, instructional coach, district administrator and professional learning specialist. Her other professional interests include instructional coaching, teacher leadership and educator pathways. She credits her first ECET2, which she attended in 2012, for helping to develop and elevate her teacher voice.
Michael completed his undergraduate degree at Seton Hall University in 2008 and completed his graduate degree at Teachers College of Columbia University in 2012. He taught social studies at Indian Hills High School in Oakland, NJ from 2008-2014. In August of 2014 he became the Supervisor of Social Studies and World Languages at the Somerset Hills School District in Bernardsville, NJ. Michael is a strong advocate of project based learning and the importance of family engagement. Tweet him @M_Catelli.
Melissa Collins, Ph.D.
Dr. Melissa Collins has been an elementary school teacher at John P. Freeman Optional School in Memphis, TN for 19 years. She is a member of Tennessee Hope Street Group. She is the recipient of several awards and honors, including: the 2018-2019 National Board Fellowship, the 2018 Global Teacher Prize Finalist, the Queen Smith Award, the Stephen Sondheim Award, the Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, and the West Tennessee Teacher of the Year. She is a proud National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Early Childhood Education. Tweet her @CollinsNBCT.
Michael Curran Jr., Ed.D
Michael Curran Jr. EdD coordinates and operates the partnership between a local middle school and the teacher preparation program at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. He has served as a classroom teacher and department chair in New Jersey public schools and as supervisor, bureau manager, and interim assistant commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Education. He takes a practical look at instruction development, personalization, leadership, technology integration, and supervision, focusing on the implementation of the NASSP Breaking Ranks series concepts. Tweet him @mgcjusa.
Neel Desai is currently the Director of Community Education for the South Brunswick School District. In this role, Neel serves the diverse needs of his community that has over 8,500 students. He oversees the planning and implementation of various parent workshops that connects the mission of the school district with the needs of the community. He also supervises summer programs, Title 1 programs, leads professional development workshops and works collaboratively with schools to promote positive relationships with families. Prior to this role, he served as a Principal of an elementary school, a Vice Principal of an elementary school and as a classroom teacher at the elementary level. Neel also teaches in the NJEXCEL (FEA) Program and is also a Leader to Leader (NJL2L) mentor for new administrators in the State of NJ. Tweet him @NeelDesaiBA.
Brent Elder, Ph.D.
Dr. Elder’s research focuses on the development of sustainable inclusive education practices in under-resourced schools in the United States and around the world. During the 2015-16 academic year, he conducted his doctoral research in rural western Kenya as a Fulbright scholar. His current research focuses on the application of inclusive education practices learned in Kenya to under-resourced schools in the United States. At Rowan University, he is a professor-in-residence at an elementary school where he works to systematically move students with disabilities out of self-contained settings and into inclusive classrooms. He also teaches courses on disability studies and inclusive education.
Luis F. Ramirez
Luis F. Ramirez has been an educator for 27 years and an administrator for 6 of those years. His teaching career began in the Philadelphia School District before moving on to the Allentown (PA) School District and then the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. As an administrator, he has been an Assistant Principal for all grade levels Pre-K through 12, and is currently in his 4th year as an Elementary School Principal. He is fortunate to be leading Littlebrook School, a National Blue Ribbon School in the Princeton Public Schools. He also has a background in educational technology and the Reading and Writing Workshops.
Tobey is an Academic Coach of Math and Science in Woodbury, New Jersey. She believes that every student deserves a quality education that is both rigorous and meaningful. Tobey began her career as a sixth grade teacher before earning her Masters Degree in Standards Based Teaching. She leveraged her skill set to coach other teachers to to improve instruction. She encourages teachers to use innovative strategies to engage all their learners. Another aspect of her career has been providing professional learning opportunities for teachers in the district in addition to teachers in many other New Jersey schools. Tobey has also been an adjunct instructor at Rowan University. Tweet her @3Realley.
Justin currently teaches physical education, health, and technology integration in Springfield Elementary School which includes grades prek-6th and is located in NJ. He has taught there for 5 years. He previously taught for 5 years at Mercer County Special Services and Lambertville Public School. He is the brains behind #slowchatpe and slowchatpe.com which is the impetus for the slow chat (question a day) Twitter and Voxer. He is also the co-creator of voxerpe.com, nlpc.us, and the Voxer physical education chat which has 500 physical education teachers from all over the world. Justin is also the technology director for the NJ AHPERD which is the NJ state organization for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, and Drivers Education programs.
Donna Staten has become an internationally known art teacher through her willingness to share resources via the social media site Pinterest. Her over 150,000 “pins” contain lessons, videos and other resources and have received up to 4.5 million views per month. She has spoken at state, national, and online conferences. Donna was one of five teachers invited in 2013 to NYC to meet with Melinda Gates about social media in education. That led to a term on the 2014-16 Teacher Advisory Council of the Gates Foundation and an invitation to speak at their ECET2 conference in Snowbird, Utah. In 2015, she was the first art teacher honored as a “20 to Watch” educator in technology by NASB at the Consortium of School Networking national conference in Atlanta. Donna has been published in leading art teacher journals many times, has presented national workshops for Michael’s, and was the first Camp Crayola Director for Binney & Smith. Her artwork was published in an art book for children that was created entirely through an online Professional Learning Network with other art teachers. CelebratingArt.com named her a Teacher of Distinction in 2012. Currently, Donna is a K-5 art teacher at Gattis Elementary in Round Rock, Texas. Tweet her @artgirl2.