2017 Women's Leadership Conference NJ



2nd Annual Women's Leadership Conference    

Online Registration Open

An event designed for women in or aspiring to positions in educational Leadership



Small hotel room block at a reduced rate are available at the Crowne Plaza Monroe for the Conference.
Room rate of $109, valid only until March 8, 2017.  
Hotel Information  

March 30-31, 2017

Forsgate Country Club, Monroe Township, NJ



Thursday, March 30

9am – 9:15am - Registration & Welcome

9:15-10:15am – General Session 


 Sonia Manzano, Author and Actress 



Sonia Manzano is a first-generation American of Latino descent who has affected the lives of millions of parents and children since the early 1970s, when she was offered an opportunity to play “Maria” on Sesame Street.  Manzano was raised in the South Bronx where her involvement in the arts was inspired by teachers who encouraged her to audition for the High School of Performing Arts. She was accepted there and began her career as an actress. A scholarship took her to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and in her junior year, she came to New York to star in the original production of the off-Broadway show Godspell. Within a year, Manzano joined the production of Sesame Street, where she eventually began writing scripts for the series. She was thrilled to help write the story line for “Maria’s” marriage and birth of “Maria’s” baby, played for a while by Manzano’s real-life daughter Gabriela.

Manzano has performed on the New York stage in the critically acclaimed theater pieces The Vagina Monologues and The Exonerated andLove Loss and What I Wore.  Movies includeDeathwish,Follow That Birdand Elmo in Grouchland.  She is an advisor for literary NY institution Symphony Space and is often a reader for Selected Shorts. She regularly reads for their adult literacy program All-Write.  Guest appearances include The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.   Dinner Impossible (2009).   Interviewed on NBC Nightly Newsfor Sesame Street’s 40 Anniversary. Interviewed by Jeffrey Brown for PBS Newshour website in connection with Sesame Street’s 40th Anniversary. Manzano was hired as a spokesperson for Cohn & Wolfe for their child vaccination campaign in 2008.

She has written for the Peabody Award-winning children’s series, Little Bill, and has written a parenting column for the Sesame Workshop web site called Talking Out Loud. Her children’s book, No Dogs Allowed! published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing in 2004. In 2005 General Mills selected No Dogs Allowed! for their Spoonfuls of Stories series. Over one million copies of No Dogs Allowed! were given away in cereal boxes courtesy of General Mills.  Manzano contributed poem Chessybreadville toMarlo Thomas and Friends, Thanks and Givingbook and CD.  No Dogs Allowed! has been turned into a children’s musical, with a production at the Actor’s Playhouse, in Coral Gables, Florida and the Atlantic Theaterin New York. Productions included Ridgefield Theater Barn and Theaterworks at the Milford Playhouse, both in CT. Theatrical Rights Worldwide has licensed No Dogs Allowed! Her second book, ABox Full Of Kittens, was published in 2007.

Her first young adult novel entitled The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, published by Scholastic was a Pura Belpre Honor.  Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx, is a memoir published by Scholastic, 8/25/2015. Miracle on 133rd Street is a picture book published by Simon and Schuster, 9/25/2015.  Donated her services to the Bronx Children’s Museum by writing picture book, The Lowdown on the Highbridge. Sale of the book proceeds will go to the operations and efforts of an actual museum for the children of the Bronx. Volunteers for the Bronx River Alliance.

She enjoys traveling the country giving comedic speeches with substance.   


10:15-10:30 - Break

10:30 - 11:30am - Concurrent Workshops

Leading Change using 21st Century Leadership, Management Skills & Technology

Leading change can be a daunting task but our presentation will show future and current leaders that it can done and done efficiently using 21st Century leadership and management skills and technology. We will discuss the following important elements that facilitate the change process: improve school climate and culture, build relationships, being courageous, over-communicating, learning from other cultures and educational systems, learning from other generations, being adaptive, being influential, breaking boundaries and silos, achieving integrity, experimenting and promoting experimentation, and protecting your own physical and mental health. We will use real-life examples (that we have actually implemented) and will use technology and web tools like padlet, google forms, twitter, todaysmeet, mentimeter during the presentation to model how to use technology to help lead change.

Francesca Amato, Director of Academic Affairs, Weehawken Township School District, Weehawken, NJ

Suzanne Mera, Principal, Theodore Roosevelt School, Weehawken, NJ


10 tips to build district-wide LGBT cultural competencies through GSA and other inclusive clubs/practices

The presenters hail from vastly different experiences ranging from the private sector, to a conservative, rural district in the north to a progressive, suburban district in the south. They will discuss their efforts to provide equity and cultural proficiency training by using student groups as the catalyst to discuss and act on linguistic and cultural competencies for diversity and acceptance. This workshop will focus on LGBT inclusivity and access.

Sarah Bilotti, Superintendent, North Warren Regional School, Blairstown, NJ  

Elisabeth Yucis, English Teacher, Collingswood High School, Collingswood, NJ


From High School Teacher of English to Superintendent: Lesson from Literature that Influences Leadership

As an educational leader, I often reflect upon the themes, conflicts, and characters from literature that I taught to hundreds of high school students. Bringing my passion for the content I taught as a teacher into my role as a superintendent is a skill that can be shared with others who may sometimes struggle with having passion for daily administrative tasks.

MaryJane Garibay, Superintendent, Colts Neck Township Schools, Colts Neck, NJ


Relationships Matter: Getting the Most Out of your Team

This presentation will center around the skills essential to leaders in 2016. Research suggests that relationships are the key ingredient in successful organizations. Successful leaders possess the ability to build their team based upon their leadership and personality differences. Please join us as we share how to navigate and harness the collective power of the differing behaviors, temperaments, and personalities in your workplace.

Nancy Gartenberg, Superintendent, Montgomery Township School District, Skillman, NJ


Surviving and Thriving as a School Leader

This workshop is based on my twenty-five years as a school leader - including seven years’ experience as a superintendent - as well as my doctoral dissertation on superintendent longevity. Strategies for entry into and sustainability as a school leader will be shared. While current and aspiring superintendent may be most interested, many of the principles are applicable to other leadership roles.

Annette Giaquinto, Superintendent, Galloway Township School District, Galloway, NJ


Educational Equity and Morality

The Moral Imperative; the Need for Interventions Understanding the need to create equitable learning experiences for all students is backdrop for true educational reform. As educators we have a moral obligation to ensure that we are creating college and/or career ready citizens. Our goal must be to Assess the needs of our students; Create an instructional program tailored to meet the needs of all students and Execute programs that support the way students learn as opposed to the way teachers teach. This presentation will focus on why Equity in Education is necessary to actualize increased student performance and achievement. As the Director of Curriculum and Instruction in one of the top three Most Rapidly Improving School Districts in the Nation, the story of how Asbury Park School District was able change the trajectory for its students through a host of blended learning programs coupled with intensive instructional and leadership coaching will be the emphasis.

Sancha Gray, Assistant Superintendent, Asbury Park School District, Asbury Park, NJ


11:45am-12:30pm Lunch


12:30-1:15pm Keynote 


 Jody Spiro, Director Education leadership, The Wallace Foundation  


1:30-2:30pm Concurrent Workshops


Teacher Leadership: Creating Opportunities

The future leaders of our schools are currently teaching students in their classrooms. However, the learning curve that a teacher embarks upon when making the move from a highly effective classroom teacher to an administrator is a steep one. Fostering opportunities for teacher leadership is one way that can contribute to future administrators’ success, while also making a positive impact on a school district. This session will share ways that leadership skills can be developed among teachers in structured, focused learning experiences that serve the district’s goals as well. Activities such as mentoring or leading a professional development session provide school leaders the opportunity to coach future leaders when they engage their mentors, speakers, curriculum writers, literacy coaches, and others in formal leadership training and reflection activities.

Debra Gulick, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, East Brunswick Public School, East Brunswick, NJ


Fostering Leadership: Pathways to Achieve

Dr. Haimer, Assistant Superintendent, and Ms. McKim, District ELA Supervisor, share an integral component within Freehold Township’s journey towards personalized learning. Progressions for learning have shaped and supported leadership as the district’s vision and its mission to create “Leaders of their Own Learning.” This interactive session will focus on the tools and strategies utilized to foster a growth mindset for leadership in a pre-k-8 school district. Employing learning progressions to promote the innovative practice of goal setting will be demonstrated. Ways to incorporate reflection and critique into daily practices will be shared. Participants will have the opportunity to build their pathway to achieving their own personalized leadership goal thus creating “leaders of their own learning” at all levels.

Pamela Haimer, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Freehold Township School District, Freehold Township, NJ

Christine McKim, District Supervisor of Instruction,  Freehold Township School District, Freehold Township, NJ


Emotional-Social Intelligence, Leadership, and Gender in Contemporary New Jersey School Districts

An examination into the relationship between the self-perceived emotional-social intelligence and the self-perceived leadership effectiveness of New Jersey educational administrators in relation to issues potentially complicated by gender will be reviewed. Both emotional-social intelligence and leadership will be categorized into more specific aspects for comparison purposes. Several research questions will be posed and studied. The null hypothesis that will be discussed relates to whether or not there are significant differences between male and female school leaders’ responses on the two instruments. Exploration will be made into whether or not a there is the relationship between emotional-social intelligence and administrators’ self-perceived performance when analyzing response variables and explanatory variables of each gender group. Resultant quantitative and potential qualitative data will be analyzed, triangulated, as will measures of validity and reliability. The work provides a framework to better understand the emotional-social acuity, leadership skills, and experiential history of male and female New Jersey educational leaders in relation to past and current professional organizational experiences. Preliminary suggestions for additional research in the area of leadership development in schools will be explored.

Noelle Jacquelin, Cape May Court, NJ


The Revolutionary Act of Listening

The most revolutionary way to have an impact as a leader is to engage in the pure and unadulterated act of listening. This presentation will detail four ways in which listening has the potential to transform teaching and learning. The key points are as follows: Effective listening serves as a form of non-judgmental data collection. Listening empowers teachers to control the direction of their professional growth. Educational leaders should demonstrate active listening as a model for teachers to implement with their own students. True listening is a gift that we do not often have the fortune to experience in today’s fast-paced society Participants will be engaged in a two-way conversation about the power of listening, as well as hands-on experiences designed to simulate engaged vs. disengaged listening. Presenters will also highlight digital resources to support the act of listening for educational leaders, including journal articles, podcasts and apps.

Jane Losinger, Supervisor of Language Arts Literacy, Howell Township Public Schools, Howell, NJ


Grant Writing: Empowering Teachers, Administrators and You

More and more we are asking our administrators and faculty to meet the needs of students with less and less available resources. This presentation will demonstrate how to enhance your educational programs through engaging your entire faculty and administration in grant writing. Grant writing is a strategy to empower educators to challenge themselves to develop creative and meaningful curriculum projects for their classrooms, their schools, and/or the district; hone a valuable skill; take ownership; collaborate; and get positive feedback and recognition. Whether your district is small or large, urban or suburban, grant writing can level the playing field. In this workshop you will learn about how the culture of grant writing evolved in one district over five years. You will also learn where to find resources for grants, strategies, and tips about how to slowly introduce grant writing strategies in your district, and how to grow your grant writing program.

Nancy Lubarsky, Chief School Administrator, Mountainside School District, Mountainside, NJ


Building Partnership to Develop District STEAM Initiatives

An integral to assist students primarily to graduate with STEAM knowledge, skills, & applied learning capabilities necessary for success in STEAM college education & careers and to possess STEAM knowledge, skills, & awareness to positively impact our region, nation, & world. This session will guide participants to build a network of STEAM community partnerships in order to provide rich opportunities for students. Session priorities will assist participants to accomplish four goals: 1) maximize access to high-quality STEAM education for all students, from pre-k through post-secondary students, both in and outside the classroom; 2) develop strategies to inspire & prepare students to achieve proficiency in STEAM disciplines; 3) assist students to consider pursuing careers in STEAM fields, particularly women, people of color, & special needs populations; and 4)develop ways to support educators who teach STEAM subjects to ensure they have access to the resources they need to prepare students with STEAM skills needed for college & career.

Kari McGann, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Delran Township Schools, Delran, NJ  


2:30-2:45pm Break


2:45-3:45pm Concurrent Workshops


Building Your Capacity and Managing It All: What Aspiring Leaders Need to Know

This session will help aspiring female leaders focus their efforts towards attaining leadership positions and improving leadership capacity. As a new leader you will be faced with new initiatives from teacher evaluation to standardized testing in addition to the daily functions of your job specific role. We will discuss how to manage the competing priorities and what the specific areas of focus should be all while maintaining your personal well-being. We will examine professional development opportunities, professional readings, and how to build your organizational and instructional capacity. We plan to equip you with the professional steps you can take to transition into a leadership role. Our session will provide a personalized, targeted and interactive experience, while keeping all participants actively engaged. Through our planned activities, this session will be informative, interactive, reflective, and collaborative.

Farrah Mahan, Director of Curriculum, Cherry Hill Public School District, Cherry Hill, NJ

LaCoyya Weathington, Director of Pupil, Cherry Hill Public School District, Cherry Hill, NJ


Standards-Based Report Cards

I am the new Supervisor of Elementary Education and one of my goals this year was to create a standards-based report card for our K-2 students. This challenge included changing the physical form of our report card, and changing the fixed mindset of a traditional grading paradigm to a more growth mindset. I led a great team of hard-working teachers who spent many many summer hours researching and collaborating. The teamwork produced a high quality report card. Our superintendent was very proud of the final result my leadership produced.

Isabel McGinley, Supervisor of Elementary Education, Weehawken Township School District, Weehawken, NJ

Anna Rudowsky, Principal of Daniel Webster School, Weehawken, NJ 


Clothed in Garments of Virtue: Exploring Women's Place in the History of Schooling and How It Impacts All of Us Today

Teachers’ voices are often overlooked, both within the realm of education and in the public sphere. The marginalization of educational professionals in America has roots in education’s history as a feminized industry. The consequence of historical origins is far-reaching in education today; impacting both respect and compensation given to teachers, women in leadership roles, and the role of teacher voice. From the exemplary young woman “clothed in garments of virtue” to early union leaders, a woman’s place in the classroom has changed over time. Leave this session with a better understanding of the role women have played in the history of American education and how women can lead the shaping of its future.

Amy Mount, Director of Curriculum and Intruction, Gateway Regional High School, Woodbury, NJ


Leadership and STEAM: How to create an environment for Learning  

Leaders will be able to see first hand how to transform a Media/Library into a STEAM lab. Strategic planning and community based programs will be discussed. JoAnn Nocera and her team of teachers, parents and administration worked together to raise $17,000 in less than 2 years. In addition, East Dover School was also the recipient of the Ocean First Model Classroom grant of $10,000 which was used to set up a STEAM/Makerspace area for teachers to use.

JoAnn Nocera, Supervisor of Instruction k-5, Toms River Regional School, Toms River, NJ


Leading as a Team: Panel Discussion

A collaborative climate, the constant exchange of ideas, ongoing mentoring, necessary reflection and a built-in support network - are all components of an effective leadership team.  Every leader posseses a different set of strengths, skills, experiences and perspectives.  What better way to ensure a postive and effective educational environment, then to work together in setting goals, troubleshooting events, managing groups and interacting with stakeholders, then to utilize the strengths of all district leaders. A panel of women leaders, including a Superintendent, Guidance Director, Athletic Director and Assistant Principal will host a panel discussion demonstrating how working together as a team, helps to foster this postive and successful environment.

Tara Oliveira, Assistant Principal, Berkeley Heights Public Schools, Berkeley Heights, NJ


Women’s Aspirations and Career Pathways to the Superintendency

What drives women to aspire to the superintendency? Understanding the internal factors that women confront and the external factors that influence decisions is critical to developing a system for cultivating the next generation of leaders. This session will explore these factors and provide proactive solutions for increasing a qualified and capable pool of future leaders in our school systems.

Jennifer Polinchock, Assistant Superintendent, Centennial School District, Warminster, PA


Friday, March 31

  8:30am – 9:00am - Registration

  9:00am – 9:15am - Welcome and Introductions  

9:15-10:15am – Keynote

Kimberley Harrington, Acting Commissioner of Education

10:30 - 11:30am - Concurrent Workshops

Living in Organized Chaos: Strategies for Leaders Balancing Work and Life

This interactive workshop will engage leaders in meaningful reflective activities and discussions that focus on their work/life balance. Participants will learn how nurturing the self helps to maintain the multiple facets in their life that need to be balanced.

Suzan Radwan, Director of Special Services, Hillsborough Public Schools, Hillsborough, NJ


Building Networks to Support and Advance Women in School Leadership

More Than a Power Lunch: Building Networks to Support and Advance Women in School Leadership. The initiative was established by AASA to help mitigate the impact of social barriers women face in ascending to the top leadership positions within our school systems. In this session, representatives of the AASA National Women's Leadership Consortium think tank will provide an update on the initiative and share some activities that have helped to prepare women for leadership roles in school districts. Participants will: · Gain insights into the barriers and challenges you may face; · Help prepare you for the next step in your career · Learn about some resources that are available which will help prepare you to become a women leader.

Judy Rattner, Superintendent, Berkeley Heights Public School, Berkeley Heights, NJ


Promoting Leadership Opportunities for Prospective Female Leaders

An important aspect of the superintendent’s job is to encourage and motivate staff members to newer heights. Promoting teacher leadership opportunities lifts the level of teaching and professionalism for that particular emergent leader and creates a climate where shared leadership is embraced and supported. It also is a critical way to build the number of female principals and superintendents in New Jersey, as data shows the proportion of female principals and superintendents continues to be low relative to the large number of female teachers in New Jersey.

Barbara Sargent, Superintendent, Readington Township Public School, Hillsborough, NJ


Moral Leadership

A leader, by definition, is one who guides, who shows the way by example. A leader, if she is to be effective, must have the ability to persuade others. If there is no persuasion, there simply is no leadership. In order to be able to persuade others to follow a course of action, a leader must have personal integrity. Moral Leadership is a very different kind of leadership. Rather than aspiring to being followed, moral leaders aim to serve. Instead of showcasing their own skills, moral leaders tend to develop the capacities of others. Moral Leaders know how to manage themselves, how to temper their egos and how to act with integrity. They are visionary and affect personal change. They work to overcome obstacles and are skilled at the art of consultation. They build consensus, navigate diversity, and establish unity. Moral leaders are the moral compass of learning community.

Debra Sheard, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Plainfield, NJ


Professional Standards for Educational Leaders: A Reflection and Growth Tool  

The PSEL Reflection and Growth Tool is a set of questions that align to the new educational leadership standards. They include the critical actions that are important for a full understanding about how the standards can positively impact all NJ leaders. The focus is on helping all leaders to grow in the practices that result in higher levels of student learning. In this workshop, participants will understand the impact of the new standards will have on leadership in their school and district; reflect on their own practice; drive collaborative conversations with school/district leadership teams to explore how these standards can build collective capacity to achieve school/district goals; and develop a shared district mindset of what powerful leadership looks like in action. 

Patricia Wright, Executive Director, NJ Principals & Supervisors Association, Monroe Township, NJ

Patricia Haney, Superintendent, Logan Township Public Schools, Logan, NJ  


11:30-11:45am - Break

11:45am-12:45pm – Legislative Panel

12:45 - 1:45pm - Lunch 

1:45-2:45pm Concurrent Workshops  

Exploration of Barriers & Solutions for Women on the Pathway to Educational Leadership

The purpose of this session is to discover the various pathways women have taken to achieve roles in educational leadership, a position of power historically dominated by their male counterparts. Understanding how women are able to overcome the historical barriers presented before them and break through the glass ceiling sheds light on the pathway and provides inspiration for females who aspire to the roles of supervisor, vice-principal, principal and central office.

Tracy Skinner, Supervisor of Humanities, Wall Township Public Schools, Wall, NJ 

Access, Cultural Proficiencies, and Equity: Creating a Culturally Responsive Environment for All

What does it mean to empower educators to create a culturally responsive learning environment? The presentation will focus on three basic principles of learning to help educators understand how to become agents of change (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking 1999; Donovan & Bransford, 2005). Through the experience of three female leaders, participants will gain an in-depth understanding of what it really means to lead with passion and heart to reach every student and to empower educators alike to create a safe learning environment for all.

Joanne Sung, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Somerville Public Schools, Somerville, NJ


Diversity and Equality in a Time of Homogeneity

Using meaningful discourse and pedagogical practices to facilitate equal access, equity and cultural proficiencies are prevalent in daily leadership and educational practices.

Annette Walters, Director of Special Education, Warren Hills Regional School District, Washington, NJ


Safety and Security in the Social Media Age

In today's society, students and families often have details of an incident before school officials can get accurate information to the community. Hear how the Barnegat School District recognized the needs of the community, used social media (and other forms of communication) to keep students safe, worked collaboratively in crisis situations, and informed families expeditiously. All strategies can be implemented the next day. They are easy to replicate or customize to the needs of your district, and have little to no cost to your school budget.

Karen Wood, Superintendent, Barnegat Township School District, Barnegat, NJ


Leadership and Effective Collaboration

In this seminar, participants will discover their preferred pattern of behavior and how to create a collaborative and positive school culture.  Leaders will engage in a self-actualizing process by appreciating their own uniqueness and understanding style differences in others.  It will foster collaboration and create a power of connection among all staff members.  A research based and proven survey tool will be used to allow the participants to reflect on and energize their own attributes while respecting the differences in others.

Denise Hecht, Assistant Executive Director, NJ Principals & Supervisors Association, Monroe Township, NJ




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