Executive Officers

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<p style="text-align: center;">Laura McClintock</p>
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Laura McClintock

President

Laura McClintock is a French teacher in the Burlington Township School District, where the majority of her teaching takes place in the middle school. Laura is also an adjunct faculty member at Rowan University, where she teaches in the World Language Department and in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Education. At Rowan, Laura teaches French courses, as well as Methods courses. Additionally, she serves as a Clinical Practice (student teaching) supervisor. In addition to teaching at Rowan, Laura has taught French courses at various community colleges and universities throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Laura has attended and presented at a variety of conferences, such as FLENJ, NECTFL, ACTFL, and the NJEA Convention. She has also given workshops within her own school district, as well as other school districts in New Jersey. The topics that Laura has focused on are teaching in the target language, children’s books in the World Language class, station based learning, and games in the World Language class.

Laura received her Master of Arts (MAT) in Teaching French at Rutgers University, New Brunswick and her undergraduate degree at Rutgers University, Camden. She also received her New Jersey Supervisor Endorsement at Rowan University. While in her undergraduate program, Laura spent a semester in Nice, France. Laura is looking forward to growing as a teacher and learning from other educators as she serves on the Board at FLENJ.

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

Past President

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

Advisory Trustee

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;">Piao Zheng</p>
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Piao Zheng

Vice President
Programs

Piao Zheng is a Chinese teacher in the Piscataway Township School District. She completed her B.A. in Computer Science from Zhejiang University of Technology in China and her M.A.T. from Rutgers University. She has been teaching since 2013 and is certified in Chinese. She began her teaching career in China as the founder and teacher of an English Language Learning Summer School. During her time pursuing the M.A.T graduate program, she has served as an adjunct instructor for The Department of Asian languages and Cultures at Rutgers University teaching various Chinese language courses. Currently she is the Chinese teacher at PHS, Piscataway Township High School. She has held this position since 2015.  As a passionate user of Technology, Piao enjoys teaching and sharing online by running a Chinese learning Youtube channel Mandarin Chinese with Piao<https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIFKNf5iIQxWCcY_dwtO2Gw> and a podcast: Learn Chinese on the go<https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/learn-chinese-on-the-go-chinesecancom-9DdOzxjm5Ri/>. Piao is looking forward to collaborating with other educators and growing as a teacher as she serves on the Board at FLENJ.
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<p style="text-align: center;">Ashley Warren, EdD</p>
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Ashley Warren, EdD

Vice President
Membership

Ashley Warren (@AshleyWarrenWWP) is a language educator 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. Most recently, she taught Kindergarten in WW-P’s Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Spanish program. Currently, Ashley serves as the proud supervisor of WW-P’s World Language & DLI Department. 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.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Fernanda Saborido</p>
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Fernanda Saborido

Secretary

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;">Coming Soon</p>
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Coming Soon

Treasurer

Coming Soon!

Board Members

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<p style="text-align: center;">Lois Baldwin</p>
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Lois Baldwin

Board
Member

Lois holds a Certificate of Supervision from Rider University as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching from the same institution. Lois lived in Paris, France from 1982-1987 and received her Diplôme de Langues et Cultures from L’Institut Catholique de Paris. She received her BS in Business Administration from the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire and also studied Liberal Arts at Vanderbilt University.

Lois is currently the district K-12 Supervisor of World Languages, ESL & Business at Hopewell Valley Regional School District in Pennington, NJ. She has co-chaired the Culturally Responsive Teaching, Grading, and DEAC committees and has presented on diverse topics in education including Differentiation, Blended Learning, Second Chance Learning, and Culturally Responsive Teaching. Lois is a strong advocate for the NJDOE Seal of Biliteracy program. Prior to her current role, Lois served as a Teacher of French grades 7-12 at Robbinsville Public Schools where she was responsible for teaching all levels of French and developing and implementing curriculum to vertically align with the AP themes. At Robbinsville, Lois initiated a peer coaching program. From 2002-2011, Lois served as a Teacher of French grades K-5 at Readington Public Schools. Prior to joining the world of public education, Lois was Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Purnell School in Pottersville, NJ. During her tenure at Purnell, she also taught French and coordinated month-long homestays for her students in Guadeloupe and France.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Alexander Ballas</p>
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Alexander Ballas

Board
Member

Alexander Ballas is a Teacher of Spanish at Ridgewood Public Schools. He is a passionate world language educator and polyglot who has been teaching since 2013.  His love of languages stemmed from growing up in a Greek speaking household and traveling to Europe every summer.  He received his BA from Montclair State University in Italian and minored in Business. After a year of teaching Italian, he went back to his alma mater and received his post BA in Spanish, certification in interpreting and translating in Spanish, and a MA in Educational Leadership.  He also studied at la Universidad de Granada, where he received a MA in Teaching Spanish Language and Culture.  He is an avid skier who served as the Assistant Coach of Ridge High School’s Ski-Racing team for six years.  He has taught all middle school levels of Italian and Spanish as well as high school levels 1-3 in Italian and levels 1-5 in Spanish.  He is a SEL advocate who has served on multiple committees from Character Education to National Honor Society.  He presented a workshop on how to incorporate a “Culture and Society” course in high school level world language curricula at NECTFL in 2019.  Alexander is always looking to grow as a professional through being a member of FLENJ and ITANJ and attending professional development workshops. He is looking forward to working with his colleagues as a FLENJ Director.
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<p style="text-align: center;">Jessica Castro-Verrault</p>
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Jessica Castro-Verrault

Board
Member

Jessica Castro-Verrault (@jessicaverrault) is a teacher in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District with 16 years of experience.  Jessica attended The College of New Jersey where she earned her B.A. in Spanish and Secondary Education and her M.Ed in ESL.  She also earned her certificate in Supervision at Rowan University.  Jessica has taught various levels of Spanish at both the middle and high school.  In addition to teaching Spanish, Jessica served as Teacher Resource Specialist for Technology for 3 years. An avid user of technology,  Jessica believes in leveraging technology to create meaningful student-centered learning experiences that can be differentiated to meet their unique needs.  Jessica has presented professional development both in her district and beyond.  She has also served as a mentor for ACTFL and within her district.  Beyond the classroom, Jessica enjoys building relationships with her students and school community as a Class Advisor.  She has served on various committees throughout the district during career and has collaborated with her colleagues numerous times on curriculum writing and revision.  Jessica enjoys learning and collaborating with other educators and looks forward to continuing her learning with the FLENJ Board of Directors.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Alyssa Katz </p>
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Alyssa Katz

Board
Member

Alyssa Katz is a Spanish language and culture educator who has taught high school and middle school courses for nearly 20 years. She graduated with a BA in Communications from Ithaca College with a Spanish minor, and after working in corporate America for a year, she decided to return to school to pursue a degree in education. Alyssa attended Holy Family University, where she earned her M.Ed in Secondary Education, and a K-12 teaching certificate in Pennsylvania. She taught middle and high school Spanish in PA for two years, before moving to NJ and beginning her career in Lawrence Township. Since joining the world language department at Lawrence High School in 2013, she has taught courses from Spanish 1 to Spanish 4 Honors, worked for 6 years as the 9th Grade Academy Leader, provided various workshops on technology initiatives for district staff, and spent three semesters as an adjunct professor of Spanish at TCNJ.

Alyssa has also been working with the non-profit organization, Students Helping Honduras, for over a decade, and currently serves as their High School Chapter Outreach Coordinator. This organization provides access to education for children by building schools in Honduras while also offering American students the opportunities to connect and interact with Spanish-speaking communities. Since 2013, Alyssa has been traveling to Honduras with her high school students during summer break to work on the construction of the school projects that they fundraise for during the school year. While she was a student in high school, Alyssa had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua, spending two weeks learning about the culture and practicing her Spanish. This experience helped her to recognize the importance of being a global citizen, and she has since provided similar opportunities for many of her high school students through their volunteer work in Honduras. Her current position with Students Helping Honduras gives her the opportunity to share with other Spanish teachers throughout the country how they can involve their own students in this international service project. Alyssa was also recently recognized as a 2022-2023 Top Friend of the Latino Community by The Latino Spirit. She is very excited to join the FLENJ Board of Directors and share her passion for teaching Spanish with educators throughout New Jersey.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Qinqing Lan</p>
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Qinqing Lan

Board
Member

Qingqing is the founder of MeiYu International Learning Group, an online school serving underrepresented groups, and also provides intense training in business Chinese for companies. She is currently a Chinese and Special Education teacher at Freehold Regional High School District in Englishtown, New Jersey, and a student at Harvard Business School, Boston.  In addition, she has been a guest speaker at Minzu University of China since 2017. Her interest in research fields is VR and AI applications in teaching. Some of her publications are Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence Application in Chinese Teaching, Development Report on Chinese International Education (2015- 2016) P108-119; Corpus-based Research to Verify the Hypothesis of Preference for Basic-Level Category Vocabulary (BLCV) Acquisition, Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol.9, No.4, P405-410; The influence of American Foreign-Language Education Policy on Chinese Education and the Existing Chinese Teaching Resources, Journal of Yunnan Normal University, Vol.19, No.4, P2-17.

She is also a contributor and committee member for “No Choreography Scholarship,” which helps Chinese dancers study abroad. She runs a YouTube channel in her free time called “Q’s Mandarin” https://www.youtube.com/@qsmandarin/playlists and enjoys talking with people.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Shari Manners</p>
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Shari Manners

Board
Member

Shari is a teacher of Spanish at East Brunswick Public Schools whose love for the Spanish language evolved from her time growing up in Ecuador. She earned her BA in Elementary Education and in Spanish from Evangel University, including a teaching internship in Salamanca, Spain. Before her tenure as a language educator, Shari taught English in Spain for two years at both primary and secondary schools in Galicia and Madrid. She received her MAT from Rutgers University in 2019 in Spanish. She is currently pursuing a Supervisor Certificate at Rider University. As a Spanish teacher, she has taught a variety of levels at elementary, middle and high school. Shari has served as a mentor at her school and regularly presents at workshops for her department and school community. Shari is passionate about language education and fostering collaboration between teachers, so she is honored to serve on the FLENJ board. She is excited to contribute to the continued success of the organization that has been so impactful in her own development as a language educator.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Julie Mitschow</p>
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Julie Mitschow

Board
Member

Julie Mitschow is currently the K-12 Coordinator of World Languages and ESL/Bilingual for Nutley Public Schools. Julie is now leading a team of language educators in the district in which she grew up. In her current position, Julie is a fierce advocate for the needs of multilingual learners and their families. As a native Spanish speaker, Julie is a strong supporter of bilingualism and its impact on learners and their futures. Julie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s degree and worked in the private sector for years prior starting her career in education. Julie returned to school to obtain her ESL certification as well her Master’s degree in Teacher leadership. Julie is a lifelong learner with a passion for shaping future leaders and positively impacting teachers and students.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Matthew Raden</p>
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Matthew Raden

Board
Member

Dr. Raden earned his Ph.D. in Spanish literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. A life-long learner, he has served as an educator for 27 years, as a graduate teaching fellow in Spanish at the University of Pennsylvania, a full-time college professor for 5 years, an adjunct professor for 14 years and a Spanish teacher in the Cherry Hill and Moorestown school districts for 18 years combined. During his tenure in the Moorestown Public Schools, he has taught at Moorestown High School, William Allen Middle School and more recently at the Moorestown Upper Elementary School (grades 4-6). Having taught every age group from 4th grade Spanish to Advanced Placement, Dr. Raden possesses first-hand knowledge of the different challenges involved in engaging students of all ages and levels of proficiency. He also taught language, literature, civilization and culture at Ohio University and at Tulane University. In addition to his full-time position in the Moorestown Public School District, he also teaches on-line Spanish as a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, Camden. 

Dr. Raden is an active presenter at the district and state level: the Moorestown Township School District, the FLENJ Annual Conference, the NJEA Annual Conference, the RU On-line Conference at Rutgers, New Brunswick; and the Teaching and Technology Conference at Rutgers, Camden. His main areas of interest are pedagogy, technology and cross-cultural communication. 

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<p style="text-align: center;">Tanya Stevenson</p>
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Tanya Stevenson

Board
Member

Tanya Stevenson is a German teacher in Morris Hills Regional school district. She has taught German for ~20 years in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Morris Hills Regional school districts. She has also served as an Instructional Coach at Morris Hills High School, where she assisted with professional development and one-on-one consulting with teachers. Tanya has her MA and Ph.D. Candidacy in the field of Germanics, with a focus on literature and art history. She spent two years on scholarship in Salzburg, Austria, where she assisted a curator with an art history course and assisted undergraduate students with literary interpretation. 

Tanya’s passion for language lies in the ability to communicate with others through a different lens, changing one’s perspective of the world. Raised by a mother whose first language was German, she understood from an early age that bilingualism meant being able to communicate with family who couldn’t speak English as well. From the start of teaching middle school, it was Tanya’s priority to simulate authentic communication in the classroom since she “didn’t win the lottery yet” to take all of her students to Europe herself. It is her mission to bring excitement into the classroom for students when acquiring a second language, driving them to continue learning beyond high school.

Tanya has presented at FLENJ, NECTFL, NJASCD, and Pequannock Tech Summit. She especially enjoys curriculum development, personalized learning, student engagement and the implementation of technology in the World Language classroom. She is excited to continue growing professionally by serving FLENJ, the organization that contributed to her fundamental start as a World Language teacher 23 years ago.

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<p style="text-align: center;">Tracy Zarodnansky</p>
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Tracy Zarodnansky

Board
Member

Tracy Zarodnansky has been a high school Spanish educator since 2003.  Spending the first half of her career at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, Tracy was involved in many school committees including the School Schedule Task Force, mentoring a new teacher, mentoring a student teacher, and advising multiple classes and the Student Soldier Support Club.  Tracy left Hunterdon Central in 2015 and began teaching at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North in January 2016 where she continued her involvement in her school community, advising the classes of 2020 and 2024 and the Gender-Sexuality Alliance as well as sitting on various committees.  Tracy was also an adjunct Spanish professor at both Raritan Valley Community College and Rider University.  Throughout her career, Tracy has taught and helped write curriculum for Spanish 1-Advanced Placement Spanish Literature and Culture.  

Tracy graduated from The College of New Jersey with her BA in Spanish Secondary Education.  In 2011, she earned her Masters in Spanish Literature from Montclair State University and recently returned to The College of New Jersey to receive her M.Ed. in Education, concentrating in curriculum and instruction.  She is a member of both FLENJ and ACTFL and has found her love of curriculum and PD, presenting for her district at PD days as well as being hired to present in other local districts.  She has also presented at NECTFL and FLENJ and is currently a FLENJ mentor.