Executive Officers

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<p style="text-align: center;">Derek Sica</p>
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Derek Sica

President
Workshop Series Coordinator

Click to read bio

Mr. Derek Sica is the K-12 Supervisor of ESL, Music, and World Languages in Jefferson Township.  As the grandson of Italian immigrants, his love of languages and cultures from a very young age led him to study Italian, Spanish, and Secondary Education at Muhlenberg College. He was able to merge his passion for student government, performing arts, and world languages as a class advisor and language teacher across several public school districts in New Jersey over the past twenty-five years.   He is a certified teacher of Spanish and ESL and has recently completed a Master’s degree in SLA Education from Fairleigh Dickinson University where he is a part-time instructor. He also holds two additional Master’s degrees from Montclair State University; Educational Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction. He is a verified lover of balanced literacy, languages, and cultures and is a confirmed PD junkie.  He is the coordinator of the 2020-2021 Professional Development Workshop Series during his second year as a member of the FLENJ Board of Directors.  

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<p style="text-align: center;">Frank M. Ruggiero, EdD</p>
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Frank M. Ruggiero, EdD

Past President
ACTFL LILL Liaison

Click to read bio

Dr. Frank Ruggiero (@DrFrankWLandESL) is the district supervisor of world languages for grades 6-12 in the Edison Public Schools and was previously the K-12 supervisor of world languages & ESL in both the Livingston Public Schools and the Nutley Public Schools. In these roles, he implemented the Seal of Biliteracy and oversaw a comprehensive program review leading to a programmatic shift that included the design and implementation of integrated performance assessments.  As a teacher, he taught French and Spanish in Edison for over 15 years and was an adjunct at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham campus in Madison. After studying both French and Spanish at Drew University, he worked in international business and in French translation before joining the teaching profession. He completed his MAT in French and his EdM and EdD in educational administration at Rutgers. His dissertation research focused on how middle school interdisciplinary teaming affected members of a school community whose approach to teaming included core subject teachers but excluded world language and all other related arts teachers.

Frank has served FLENJ as president, treasurer, co-chair of the 2016 annual conference, and coordinator of the professional development workshop series.  He is also the northeast regional representative to the advisory council of NADSFL and a member of the NECTFL Board of Directors.  Professional growth has been a continuous thread throughout Frank’s 19-year career in education in both his own pursuit of growth opportunities and in his desire to help prepare the next generation of teachers and leaders. Most recently, Frank attended the ACTFL LILL summer institute and is spearheading a FLENJ mentorship program for pre-service and in-service supervisors of world language departments, as part of his personal plan to give back to the profession.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Kristine Keefe</p>
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Kristine Keefe

Vice President
Programs

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Kristine Keefe has been teaching Spanish at John P. Stevens High School in Edison since 2001. She has taught level one through Advanced Placement Language and Culture. Kristine has worked on curriculum for a variety of courses offered at the high school level. Kristine has presented workshops for the Edison Public Schools, FLENJ, NECTFL and GWATFL. Kristine was the 2018 FLENJ Mini-Grant winner for her project “Book Club Fridays in AP Spanish.” She was selected as FLENJ Teacher of the Year for 2019 and a finalist for NECTFL Teacher of the Year 2020.

Kristine studied Spanish and Linguistics at New York University and Curriculum and Instruction at Kean University. Her interests include proficiency based methods, technology in the world language classroom, teaching with comprehensible input, professional development and advocacy.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Julia Koch</p>
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Julia Koch

Vice President
Advocacy & Outreach

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Julia Koch currently teaches four levels of French at West Morris Regional High School District.  In February 2019, she represented FLENJ as “Best of New Jersey” presenter at the Northeast Conference of Teachers of Foreign Languages .  While teaching at Montville Township High School in Montville, NJ, she was honored by the American Association of Teachers of French with an Exemplary French Program Award.  She earned her BS in Education (French and English) from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, and an MA in Learning, Cognition and Development from Rutgers University. Julia’s primary focus is on practices that allow teachers to stretch their students’ interactive linguistic skills and their intercultural awareness – and she is always pursuing new sources, resources, and good ideas via an extensive network of like-minded teachers. She blogs about teaching and learning at La Prof Caféinée.  Connect with Julia on Twitter at @jaybeekay518!

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<p style="text-align: center;">Salvatore Veniero</p>
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Salvatore Veniero

Secretary
2020 Summer Refresher

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Salvatore Veniero began his career teaching German and Italian after graduating from the Catholic University of America with a degree in German and Secondary Education in 2009 and completing a program in European studies at the Collegio Europeo di Parma in 2011. Since September 2011 he has taught introductory through Advanced Placement German courses at St. Peter’s Preparatory School, adult and adolescent language courses at the Deutsche Sprachschule in Union, NJ and German 101 and 102 at New Jersey City University. In addition he spent two summers as a High School Credit Teacher at Waldsee, the German language camp of the Concordia Language Villages before enrolling in the Master of Arts program in German at Middlebury, which he completed in August 2017. In the summer of 2018 he taught an introductory course at Middlebury’s German School. He has been an active member of the American Association of Teachers of German and is currently the president of the Northern New Jersey Chapter. His passion for language learning and belief in its positive and dramatic impact on lives of students have driven these pursuits.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Michele Schreiner, EdD</p>
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Michele Schreiner, EdD

Treasurer
ACTFL LILL Liaison

Click to read bio

Michele is the Supervisor of ELL & World Languages in Egg Harbor Township Public School District. Michele has taught Spanish, Bilingual math, and Bilingual Reading in all grades 3 through 12. Michele received her Masters in Language Education and Doctorate in Learning, Cognition, and Development from Rutgers University. She is a member of NADSFL and regularly attends the ACTFL convention and FLENJ conferences. Michele is an advocate for multilingualism, the Seal of Biliteracy, global education, and study abroad. Michele implemented a heritage Spanish program for Spanish speakers in grades 5 – 12 in Egg Harbor Township that has been recognized as a Model Program by the NJDOE.  She joined the FLENJ Board of Directors in 2016 and was elected Treasurer in 2017. She served as FLENJ’s representative to ACTFL’s LILL initiative in 2017 and 2018.

Board Members

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<p style="text-align: center;">Mirta Barrea-Marlys, PhD</p>
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Mirta Barrea-Marlys, PhD

Board
Member

Click to read bio

Dr. Barrea-Marlys is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Italian, as well as Chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Monmouth University. In addition, she coordinates the MU Teacher Education/Spanish program and is the Department Career Advisor. She holds a PhD in Romance Languages from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was extensively trained in the communicative method of teaching languages and the pedagogy of second language acquisition. Her current research interests include preparation for and efficacy of oral and written proficiency testing for World Language teacher candidates, edTPA, and the role of language study in Education Abroad. She is recognized as an advocate for the profession and promotes developing multilingual skills during students’ university careers and beyond, to have the opportunity to earn the NJ Seal of Biliteracy, as well as to promote and incentivize university students to build on their multilingual strengths.  As a teacher candidate supervisor, Dr. Barrea-Marlys continues to mentor current and former students on language education, careers, and advocacy for the language teaching profession. She has worked on strengthening World Language teacher preparation programs and collaboratively
implementing the edTPA. At Monmouth University she is a member of the Council of Chairs,
the Peace Corps Prep Committee, the Teacher Education Advisory Committee, Chair of the
Global Education Committee, and the Study Abroad Faculty of Record.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Christina Buck</p>
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Christina Buck

Historian
& Social Media Coordinator

Click to read bio

Christina Buck, a creative spirit and Spanish teacher at Boonton High School, discovered her love for world languages and cultures through studying and traveling in Latin America.  Christina is certified as a K-12 Spanish and K-12 art teacher, with Master’s degrees in Spanish and Studio Art and at Montclair State University. While sharing her passions in the fields of education, and the visual arts and design, she saw the critical need for multilingual individuals to bridge the lines that may divide us in our communities and the world.  She has taught every Spanish level at her high school from beginners through Advanced Placement, as well as the Dual Credit Middle College Program with Fairleigh Dickinson University. Christina has enjoyed developing and presenting professional development workshops with an emphasis on virtual collaboration for her school district, and at the FLENJ Annual Conferences, the FLENJ Summer Refresher, the NECTFL Annual Conference, the NYSED-OBEWL Conference for World Language Design for Global Proficiency, and the NJEA Convention.  She encourages her students to explore our linguistic and cultural patrimonies in her Spanish language classroom and beyond.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Glennysha Jurado-Moran</p>
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Glennysha Jurado-Moran

Teacher & Student
Awards

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Glennysha Jurado-Moran holds her B.A., M.A.T., and Supervision Endorsement from Rutgers University. She has been teaching since 1995 and is certified in Spanish, Special Education, ESL and Supervision. She began her teaching career at East Jersey Stare Prison, teaching math and science for the GED. At the Edison Public Schools, she taught Students with Disabilities from 1995-2001 and was a Spanish teacher at the middle school and high school levels from 2001-2013. Currently she is Department Chair of World Languages/ELL at PHS, Piscataway Township Schools. She has held this position since 2013.

Glennysha has been disseminating information and providing workshops and in-services for over two decades at various school districts, professional conferences (ACTFL, FLENJ, NECTFL, NJEA, NJAATSP and NJ DOE), and universities throughout NJ and the Northeast. Topics include developing interpersonal communication, curriculum mapping, technology, strategies/modifications for Students with Disabilities, and IPA’s. She has written curriculum for Edison Public Schools and created Classroom Application Documents for the New Jersey Department of Education (N.J.D.O.E.). She wrote Thematically Organized Assessments for the CAPS FLAP grant. In 2007, she received a FLENJ Mini Grant for her planning and implementation of pod-casting in the World Language classroom. She served on the model curriculum writing team for NJ DOE. In 2014, she was selected to the committee that revised the NJ Core Content Standards. Her presentation, Chit Chat: Building a foundation for interpersonal speaking, won Best of NJ at the 2015 FLENJ Spring Conference. During her tenure at Piscataway, Glennysha founded and serves as coordinator of the district’s ESL Academy/ELL Institute. This program received the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics “Bright Spot in Hispanic Education” as well as the NJ School Boards School Leader Award – District of Distinction for the ESL program.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Tatiana Meza</p>
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Tatiana Meza

Mentor Fellowship
Co-Chair

Click to read bio

Tatiana Irina Meza is a forever learner and committed to collaborating and sharing with other world language and ESL teachers in New Jersey and beyond. She holds a Liberal Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College, a combined Certificate in Translation and Interpretation Studies from Hunter College, and a Master’s Degree in Urban Education with a Specialization in World Languages from New Jersey City University (NJCU). Tatiana is certified in ESL, Bilingual Bicultural Education, Elementary (K-6), Spanish (K-12), Social Studies, and is currently pursuing her Supervisor (P-12) certification. She has worked as an interpreter in Hudson County for parents of Early Intervention children, for the Hillsdale Board of Education and, before becoming a stay-at-home mother in 2006, she worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In her spare time, she immerses herself in learning opportunities and literature regarding equity and social justice and incorporates these themes into her work.

Tatiana serves as the District-Wide ESL Teacher in Hoboken Public School District and is overjoyed to serve on the Board at FLENJ with Alice Ennis Simonson as its President.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Dana Pilla</p>
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Dana Pilla

Board
Member

Click to read bio

Dana M. Pilla (@dpilla) is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish at Rutgers University Camden.  She is the Co-director and creator of the Spanish for the Health Professions Certificate Program, and works in collaboration with the School of Nursing under a DOE International Education grant. Dana has developed and implemented several online courses for the department of World Languages over the past several years, including Elementary Spanish 1 and 2, and currently Spanish for the Health Professions 1, 2 and 3.  She has also created community internship opportunities for students in Spanish, and is an Engaged Civic Learning Faculty fellow, having created a service learning course in which students interact with speakers of Spanish in the local community.  A frequent state, regional and national presenter on topics relating to technology, proficiency and assessment in the World Language classroom, Dana values providing professional development for public school teachers across the country.  A former public school teacher, Dana has taught elementary, middle and high school Spanish for over 18 years of her career.  She has participated in a multiyear FLAP grant, helping in the creation of model assessments and rubrics (found under CAPS on flenj.org) and has been part of the NJ DOE model curriculum writing team under the state supervisor of World Languages. In 2015 Dana was named the Foreign Educators of New Jersey World Language teacher of the year.  Her interests include proficiency based language instruction for healthcare workers, and medical translation & interpretation. Dana resides in Cherry Hill with her family.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Noemi Rodriguez</p>
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Noemi Rodriguez

Board
Member

Click to read bio

Noemi Rodriguez (@srtanrodriguez) is the Supervisor of World Languages, ESL, Music, and Family & Consumer Sciences for the Pascack Valley Regional High School District in northern Bergen County, N.J. She attended Rutgers University, where she earned her B.A. in Spanish and Ed.M. in Language Education & completed her Reading Specialist certification. Prior to supervising, she taught Spanish in the Freehold Township and Marlboro Township school districts in Monmouth County. She has also served as an adjunct professor for The Graduate School of Education of Rutgers University teaching graduate courses related to teaching methodology & assessment design. Noemi has presented at various conferences including AATSP, ACTFL, FLENJ, ISTE, NECTFL, and NJEA. As an avid user of technology, Noemi enjoys collaborating and sharing with other world language educators through her blog: http://srtanrodriguez.wordpress.com/ She also founded and organized EdCampWL & WL Tech Institute. For FLENJ, she has been involved in the mentor fellowship program since it started and has enjoyed getting to know many new World Language educators.
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<p style="text-align: center;">Fernanda Saborido</p>
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Fernanda Saborido

Mentor Fellowship
Co-Chair

Click to read bio

Fernanda Saborido (@saboridof) is a French and Spanish teacher at Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, NJ. She has taught both languages at the middle and high school level over the past 21 years. She received her BA in French and Spanish from Montclair State University and earned her MAT in Spanish and her Supervisor Endorsement from Rutgers University. As a teacher, Fernanda has experience in writing and revising curriculum and presenting workshops both at the regional, state and district levels on a variety of topics, including technology. She is enthusiastic about collaborating and sharing with other world language teachers and has been a mentor for the FLENJ Mentoring Fellowship for the last six years. She is looking forward to working with new mentees.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Josephine Serrano</p>
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Josephine Serrano

Annual Conference
Co-chair

Click to read bio

Josephine A. Serrano retired as Supervisor of World Languages & ESL for the School District of the Chathams. She is a Cuban-American who began her journey in world language learning at the age of four and has happily continued this journey throughout all her life experiences.  Her passion for languages fueled her undergraduate degree in Spanish, French and Italian and further directed her successful business career, where she utilized her various languages and enjoyed wide-ranging experience in international account management. That same passion ultimately prompted her to change career to share her experience in using languages as a means to better connect with people of other cultures.  Prior to serving as District Supervisor, she taught Spanish at Chatham High School and served as an adjunct professor at County College of Morris.  She holds an MBA from Baruch College of CUNY and MAT from Montclair State University, has served as mentor within the FLENJ Mentoring Program for various years and with the NJDOE as committee member for the World Languages Model Program.  Besides serving on the FLENJ board, Josephine continues to develop and share her experience by providing consulting services in the area of World Language Education for public and private academic institutions seeking to modify, improve, streamline, or implement practices to elevate the performance of its teachers, students, and academic language programs.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Ashley Warren, EdD</p>
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Ashley Warren, EdD

Board
Member

Click to read bio

Ashley Warren (@AshleyWarrenWWP) is a teacher in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Ashley attended The College of New Jersey, where she earned her B.A. in Spanish and Secondary Education and her M.Ed in ESL & Bilingual Studies. She received her Ed.D from Rutgers University, where her doctoral studies focused on teacher leadership and teacher education. In West Windsor-Plainsboro, Ashley has taught everything from 4th and 5th grade Spanish to Advanced Placement Spanish Literature & Culture. She is currently teaching Kindergarten in WW-P’s new dual language immersion (DLI) Spanish program. Beyond WW-P, Ashley has taught ESL as an adjunct instructor for Middlesex County College. She has also conducted research through the Fulbright Hayes Group Project Abroad grant and FLENJ’s Education Program Abroad grant. Ashley loves collaborating with other educators, and is excited to continue learning and growing through her work with FLENJ.