Mentoring Fellowship


Arianne Dowd is a Spanish Teacher at South Brunswick High School.  She is committed to lifelong learning.  She holds dual BAs in Spanish and Psychology with a minor in International Studies from Montclair State University. She has two Master’s degrees, an MA in Spanish Literature from Montclair State University and a MAT in Italian from Rutgers University. In addition, she studied abroad in Seville, Spain, Guadalajara, Mexico, and Urbino, Italy.  She is passionate about making the switch in her classroom to using TPRS and Comprehensible Input in order to engage all learners.  Collaborating with colleagues through social media to create compelling and comprehensible units comprised of cultural knowledge is her favorite hobby, and she has begun do

cumenting these activities on her blog,  She has also had the opportunity to be the guest blogger for Fluency Matters’ blog CI Peek.

Arianne also enjoys incorporating technology into her lessons. She recently presented workshops at the South Brunswick Technology and Learning Conference including Ignite Curiosity in Your Classroom, Beyond the Play Button with Señor Wooly and Give Students the Gift of Voice.  Finally Arianne enjoys creating BreakoutEdu games for novel and film study in her classes.

Marlene McLellan is the Middle School Teacher of Spanish at East Amwell Township School in Ringoes, Hunterdon County, N.J. She attended Montclair State University, where she earned her B.A. in Spanish. She has  her Masters of Arts in Teaching Spanish from Rutgers University Graduate School – New Brunswick and her Educational Leadership Degree from Montclair State University with Principal/Supervisor certification. In addition to teaching at the Middle School level, Marlene also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Rider University teaching various level of Spanish. Prior to teaching at East Amwell, she taught Spanish levels 1, 2 and 3 at Voorhees High School in Glen Gardner, NJ.

Marlene is passionate about integrating technology in the world language classroom and using comprehensible input to engage all learners. She  enjoys collaborating with colleagues and sharing ideas. She is excited to return for a second year and be a part of the FLENJ Mentorship Program

Jim Francis is a Spanish Teacher at Toms River High School South.  He is a lifelong learner, passionate about language teaching and second language acquisition and its related pedagogical implications.  At the undergraduate level, he attended the University of Delaware.  During the 2005-2006 school year, Jim was granted a sabbatical leave to pursue a Masters Degree in Spanish Language from Middlebury College.  He has his Supervisor Certificate. In July of 2015, he was a presenter at the 2015 AATSP Conference National Conference. Jim is beginning his 26th year as a Spanish teacher.

Noemi Rodriguez 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. She is currently enrolled again as a graduate student within The Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University to obtain an Ed.M. for reading specialist certification.  Prior to supervising, she taught Spanish in the Freehold Township and Marlboro Township school districts in Monmouth County. This is Noemi’s fourth experience as a FLENJ mentor.

As an avid user of technology, Noemi enjoys collaborating and sharing with other world language educators through her blog: and throughout her presentations at AATSP, ACTFL, FLENJ, ISTE, and NECTFL. She has also organized EdCampWL and the WL Tech Institute.

Gabriela McCann is a French teacher at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Iselin. Gabriela has a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in French language and literature, and worked as a kindergarten teacher for five years prior to earning her BA in French at Montclair State University. She is currently working towards her MA at Rutgers University and teaching French at the high school level, after teaching various levels for the past six years. Passionate about making her students’ experience learning French more meaningful, she has established a Pen Pal Cultural Exchange program with a sister school in southern France, currently in its fourth year of existence. An avid user of technology, she has co-presented workshops at the district level, and has pioneered new technologies for use in the classroom. Gabriela encourages her students to become explorers of the world around them through a new language.

Josephine A. Serrano is newly 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 management career in the international arena, where she utilized her various languages. 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.  She holds an MBA from Baruch College of CUNY and an MAT from Montclair State University. Previously, she taught Spanish at Chatham High School and served as an adjunct professor at County College of Morris. She is excited to continue to be a part of the FLENJ Mentoring program.

Fernanda Saborido is a Spanish and French teacher at Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, N.J.   She has been teaching both languages for the past nineteen years.  She earned a BA in Spanish and French  from Montclair State University and went on to earn a Master of Arts in teaching Spanish at Rutgers University.

Fernanda absolutely loves teaching and sharing her love of languages with her students and other colleagues. She is a technology enthusiast who loves to integrate technology into all of her lessons.  She is a Tech Leader at her school and has presented several workshops on technology integration.  This is Fernanda’s fourth year as a FLENJ mentor and she is looking forward to working with a new mentee.

Diane Reilly has been teaching Spanish for over 20 years.  This will be my fourth year as a FLENJ mentor.  My experience with my mentees in the past years was an unforgettable growth experience for all of us.

For the past eight years I have been a high school Spanish teacher in Basking Ridge, but previously I taught Spanish in the elementary school in the same district.  Imagine having students for 5 years in elementary school and then teaching those same students in high school.  How wonderful is that!  This year I will be teaching at  Middle school for the second year and I will be adding seventh grade to my repertoire. It’s new to me, but luckily I have great support of excellent colleagues who will help me through my first experience with 7th graders.

I have a B.A. from Douglass College in Spanish and 2 Ed. M. degrees in Education, one from Rutgers and one from The College of New Jersey (Class of 2015).

Traveling and Spanish are my passions. My passion for Spanish began in high school when I was an exchange student in Mexico and then the following summer I studied in Granada, Spain.  I have gone on teacher trips to Honduras to teach elementary teachers and supervisors strategies to enhance classroom instruction.

I bring my enthusiasm for Spanish language and culture to every course I teach.

Sara Goldberg is a middle school French teacher in Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District. This is her eighth year teaching at the middle school level. She earned her B.A. in French Language & Literature from The George Washington University and her M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction from The University of Connecticut. Sara has developed and implemented curriculum based upon thematic units culminating in Integrated Performance Assessments. In addition, she is an advocate for using literature in the classroom.

Tatiana Irina Meza – I was born and raised in Paterson, NJ by Colombian parents and will soon begin my 5th year as an Elementary Spanish Teacher at Thomas G. Connors Elementary School in Hoboken School District. This is my first year as a FLENJ mentor and I am super-excited to be giving back to the organization that has given me so much!

I hold a Liberal Arts Degree from Sarah Lawrence College, a combined Certificate in Translation and Interpretation Studies from Hunter College, a Master’s Degree in Urban Education with a Specialization in World Languages from New Jersey City University (NJCU), and I am currently working toward a Combined ESL/Bilingual & Bicultural Certification, also from NJCU. I recently returned from a service learning opportunity in Costa Rica with Hunter College (and a group of fabulous NYC teachers) where I volunteered as an EFL teacher and studied teaching English in global contexts, while also taking coursework in Spanish Language and Culture at the Universidad Latina in San Pedro. This experience helped me reconnect with an “old friend” and allowed me to see the true nature and value of the work that we do as World Language educators. I have worked for The Metropolitan Museum of Art and have served as a community interpreter in Hillsdale School District and for parents of early intervention children in Hudson County. I have lived in Italy and Colombia and am the mother of two.

Lucy Lee is the Mandarin teacher at Livingston High School. Prior to being hired at Livingston High School, Lucy taught Mandarin at Redwood High School, Drew University and Seton Hall University. She worked as a volunteer teacher to help Forest Avenue Elementary School to start Mandarin classes in Verona Public Schools. She is a teacher educator at Rutgers University’s StarTalk teacher and student summer program and currently serves as a guest teacher advisor for the College Board Chinese Language and Culture Initiatives. Lucy served FLENJ Board for ten years. She also served two terms as the president of the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools (CLASS). Her professional service includes serving on the National Commission for the AP World Languages Course and Exam Review Project, the US Department of Education’s Teacher-to-Teacher Training Corps, and the National Chinese Language Commission for a Luce Foundation Project on the Chinese Language Field Initiative. Lucy is most excited to be serving as a FLENJ mentor.  She feels good about being able to give something back to the world language teaching community in New Jersey.

Aurora Boyette, a native of Cuba and longtime resident of Galloway Township, NJ, is a Spanish teacher at Absegami High School and an adjunct instructor of Spanish at Stockton University.  She holds a BA in Biology from Stockton University and a Master of Arts in Teaching Spanish from Rutgers University.

During her 15 year tenure at Absegami High School, Aurora established the Jose Marti chapter of the Spanish Honor Society and the Spanish for Heritage Speakers program.  In addition to her commitment to promote the study of world languages and cultures, Aurora is dedicated to provide her students with opportunities to use Spanish beyond the physical space of the classroom through service learning.

Aurora is a member of FLENJ, ACTFL, AATSP, and the Philadelphia Area Spanish Educators (PASE).  She serves in the Atlantic County Heritage and Cultural Advisory Board and is a former board member of the Hispanic Alliance of Atlantic County.


Pamela Rose is the Upper School (5th-8th Grades) Teacher of Mandarin at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ. She attended the University of Chicago, where she earned her A.B. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Art History. She received her M.A. from the Graduate Institute of Teaching Chinese as a Second Language (TCSL) from National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, where she researched and wrote (in Chinese) her thesis on developing TPRS materials for Mandarin teaching.

Pamela loves teaching and sharing her passion for Mandarin with her students. Seeing the lack of compelling comprehensible input based Mandarin resources for middle schoolers, she wants to collaborate and develop more materials that incorporate history, culture and art.

Jacinta da Silva attended Kean University and received her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and in Spanish. She is a teacher in the Manville School District. This will be her third year teaching grades 4 and 5 Spanish in the district.   She enjoys working with children and is enthusiastic about sharing her love of learning. As a second year mentee she  is excited to be a part of FLENJ and looks forward to collaborating and learning with and from colleagues.

Valerie Sanchirico is a Spanish Teacher at Delran High School in Delran, New Jersey. She is in her fourth year of teaching. Prior to being hired at Delran High School this summer, she worked in a middle school setting for two years. She attended Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas where she earned a B.A. in Spanish. She spent her entire junior year abroad at La Universidad de Málaga in Málaga, Spain. She completed her M.A. in Spanish through Middlebury College’s C.V. Starr School in Madrid, Spain and Guadalajara, Mexico. She received a grant to complete graduate work in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the summer of 2016. She received a second grant to complete graduate work in Bilbao, Spain during the summer of 2017l. In addition to her Spanish studies, she completed her Graduate Certificate in ESL with Rowan University this past fall. She is an active member of FLENJ, NECTL, ACTFL, and AASTP. She looks forward to collaborating with others in the field who share similar interests.

Martha Moncada has earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Montclair State University. She has been teaching K-8th grade Spanish for 4 years and is currently the Spanish teacher in Warren Township. She also works part-time as a fill-in court interpreter.

She is excited to be a mentee with FLENJ and hopes to gain more knowledge and receive guidance that will give her the opportunity to grow as an educator.

Karla Giron is a Spanish,ESL teacher and Admissions Director at Mother Seton Regional High School in Clark. This is her third year as a FLENJ mentee.  She earned an Associate Degree in Science from Bergen Community College and Bachelor’s in World Language from New Jersey City University. Currently enrolled at Saint Peter’s University pursuing a Master’s degree in Education Leadership with Supervision certificate. Will be completing her Master’s Degree in the Spring of 2018.  Born in El Salvador, she is passionate about teaching Spanish and furthering her education . She enjoys attending professional workshops and sharing ideas with colleagues. She look forward to this new endeavor.

Jenny Benedetti Rousos is a High School Spanish Teacher at Bridgewater-Raritan High School.  She earned her BA in Spanish and Political Science from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Jenny is currently enrolled in a Master Programs and hopes to complete her Ed. M in the next few years.  As a 1st generation Argentine, she is passionate about the Spanish language and looks forward to sharing it with her students everyday.  Her past work experience, makes her passionate about using technology in the classroom and training others.  She is excited to have formed such a fantastic network of colleagues through the Mentor Program of FLENJ.

Elena Spathis is a Spanish teacher at Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale, New Jersey. Elena received her B.A. in Spanish and Modern Greek Studies from Rutgers University and her Ed.M. in Language Education from Rutgers Graduate School of Education. She is certified to teach Spanish and English as a Second Language from grades K-12, and is currently enrolled at Rowan University to receive her second Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership with a concentration in ESL.

Elena is passionate about integrating technology tools in her Spanish classes. In addition, Elena enjoys traveling and teaching about cultural traditions and customs within the Spanish-speaking world. She previously studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain and participated in an exchange program in Mérida, Mexico. Elena is also interested in community outreach, as she volunteered as an English conversation partner in Highland Park, NJ while enrolled at Rutgers Graduate School of Education. Last August, Elena presented a workshop at the World Language Technology Institute in Montvale, NJ that focused on technology tools for presentational tasks. She also presented a session about Google Maps at the FLENJ Conference’s Tech Garden this past spring. Elena is looking forward to continue learning and evolving as she begins her third year of teaching.

Patrick McGovern is the Mandarin teacher at St. Peter’s Preparatory School, Jersey City. Patrick is going into his third year teaching Mandarin as an elective at his alma mater, where he also teaches Latin and occasionally German. He double-majored in German and Mandarin at Georgetown University, where he concluded his studies with an MA in German Literature and an East Asian Studies Fellowship at National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan. After his studies, Patrick moved on to work in the brand protection industry in Taipei and Shanghai.

Patrick enjoys the challenge of trying to make Mandarin as accessible as possible to high school students drawing on his extensive language studies and international work experience. In his free time he enjoys reading, walking and eating Chinese food.

Matt Knoth -Matt is a Spanish teacher at Spotswood High School in Central Jersey. After teaching English in Austria for two years, he is new to teaching in his home state. Matt swam for TCNJ and graduated in 2014 with majors in International Studies (concentration in European Studies) and Spanish. During his undergraduate studies, Matt studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Leipzig, Germany, and on a Maymester Semester at Sea voyage through Central America and lived in the on-campus International House during his sophomore and senior years. His favorite free-time activities include photography and travel. He is excited to dive into the world of foreign language teaching!

Judith Guillen – Judith is a Spanish teacher at New Horizons Charter School in Newark.Studied Education in New Jersey City University. This is the second year teaching Spanish from Kinder to seventh grade.

Inais Vazquez is an elementary Spanish teacher at Nutley Public Schools.  She teaches an average of 500 students.  She received a BA in social sciences from Adelphi University and a MA in Adolescence Education – Spanish from St. John’s University.  She is certified both in both New York and New Jersey.  She was an ESL student herself so she has an understanding of what it is like to be on the other side learning a foreign language.

Her teaching philosophy is to find the most effective way to help students by working proactively in a collaborative fashion with teachers, parents, administration, and the community.  She believes in making the best of what is available, and being an advocate for students so that the school climate and culture is one that can foster growth and success.  As a native speaker, and growing up surrounded by diverse Hispanic cultures, she has extensive knowledge to bring into the classroom.  She has a holistic approach in her teaching and strongly believes in technology infusion to keep the students of today’s world engaged.