2019 Women's Leadership Conference NJ



Women’s Leadership Conference
March 14-15, 2019
The Palace - Somerset, NJ

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




Registration Fees: 

Full 2 Day Conference Fee  $349

One Day Fee  $199



Thursday, March 14

8:00 – 9:30am - Registration

Musical Performance: Diavoli Blu, Westfield School, Westfield, NJ

9:30am - Welcome

Dr. Lamont O. Repollet, New Jersey Commissioner of Education

9:30 – 10:45am - Keynote Presentation

Trish Rubin, Brand Consultant, Baruch College, CUNY/Trish Rubin Ltd., New York, NY 

10:45 - 11:00am - Break

11:00am - 12:00pm - Concurrent Workshops

The SHADES of a Female Administrator

Women in leadership roles wear many hats but they also wear many masks. Sometimes our roles are unclear but sometimes we have to hide our true selves just to make other comfortable around us. As we we under value our worth. Through this session leaders will understand and accept their roles and remove the masks in order to position themselves for a more defined path in leadership.

Deneen Washington, Principal, Newark Public Schools

Monique Cumberbatch-Jenkins, Vice-Principal, Newark Public Schools


Building the Capacity for Global Competencies through Cultivating Community 

Building an equal playing field means not only gender equity but assertive inclusive recruitment efforts that speak specifically to culture, family and communities. Our greatest natural resource is human capital. Director of Human Resources of Linden Public Schools, Michele G. Dorney explores a philosophy and practice that instills a respect for educators, educational support staff, and accesses community resources through recruitment, selection, support and ethical mentorship with the foundation of empathy hit the structure of law, Statute, Code, contract and Policy.

Michele Dorney, Director of Human Resources, Linden Public Schools


Comprehensive Career Coaching

This workshop provides attendees with practical ideas and take-away tools to craft their own systems and structures that are supportive of new staff and veteran teachers using cost-effective means. Continually and proactively building internal capacity is critical to meeting short and long-term goals in a public school district. The workshop will highlight two programs from the Freehold Regional High School District: the Teacher Mentoring Program, and the Aspiring Administrators Academy. Discussions of the multi-tiered levels of new teacher mentoring support will be featured, including purposeful trainings provided to teacher mentors, the orientation and induction program, and its sustained support and coordination under the leadership of the Induction Specialists. Discussions about the Aspiring Administrators Academy will feature how the program supports the growth and development of its participants through networking and realistic scenarios. Together these two programs represent a comprehensive approach to career coaching that school districts can offer to staff.

Jennifer Sharp, Director of Personnel, Freehold Regional High School District

Erica Galinski, Induction Coordinator/Teacher, Freehold Regional High School District


A Culture of Accountability 

Beverly City School District was classified for many years as a failing school district, which was later classified by the NJDOE as a "focus" district. In 2017-18, we were able to shed that label and were recognized as the flag-ship, Light House District by the NJDOE and a National Title I Distinguished School. We attest this great growth all to the culture of accountability we have implemented from the students, teachers, staff, and administration.

Elizabeth Giacobble, Superintendent/Principal, Beverly City School District

Kerri Lawler, Director of Curriculum, Beverly City School District


Organizing for Empowerment 

Dr. Pamela Nathan, Dr. Charlene Marchese, Christine McKim and Ali Miller share their process to cultivate Freehold Township School District’s Vision that everyone is a leader of their own learning. Utilizing a 3-prong framework, consisting of Philosophical, Practical and Structural components, our team will share how we built an organizational system for empowerment. This interactive session will focus on strategies to foster agency and leadership within a school district. Employing the aforementioned framework, participants will build their understanding of organizational systems, gain access to resources, analyze current practices and set goals for empowering systemic thinking in their own districts.

Pamela Nathan, Assistant Superintendent, Freehold Township School District, Freehold Township, NJ

Ali Ryan, District Supervisor, Freehold Township School District, Freehold Township, NJ   

Christine McKim, District Supervisor, Freehold Township School District

Charlene Marchese, District Supervisor, Freehold Township School District


  Using Social Emotional Learning to Manage Crisis

More than half of all students have had an adverse childhood experience (ACE) which affects how ready they are to learn. This is a nationwide crisis that affects every community. In fact, over 100 billion dollars is spent annually on problems relating to childhood abuse and trauma. In this workshop we will define “traumas”, explain the neuroscience behind it, and explore how an emphasis on Social Emotional Learning can reduce behavioral problems, increase academic success, and foster a greater sense of well-being that has long-lasting, positive life outcomes. As women, we possess a greater EQ than our male counterparts, and thus, are well positioned to create Trauma Informed Schools.

Evelyn Swift, Principal, Manchester Township School District

Darlene Parks, Supervisor of Humanities, Southern Regional School District


12:00 - 1:15pm Lunch & Keynote


Tahesha Way, Esq., New Jersey Secretary of State


1:30 - 2:30pm Concurrent Workshops


Women and the Superintendency: Pathways to Leardership

This workshop will review the leadership literature and coursework offered in leadership preparation classes at universities including a 2008 national study of the superintendency which dispelled several of the myths prevalent amongst gatekeepers regarding the position and why they believe women do not aspire to be a superintendent. A report on minority female representation related to the national study will be discussed. A subsequent focus group was held at the AASA Conference where female superintendents were invited to share their experiences and personal pathways to leadership. Their experiences will be shared providing insights into national issues related to the profession. Connections will be made to current research on women and the superintendency as well as the importance of mentoring and developing an ‘ol girls network to support the novice administrator.

Effie Christie, Assistant Professor, Kean University


Removing 'Balance' from our Vocabulary: Managing the Emotions and Sacrifices of Being a Full-Time Working Mother

One of the worst terms ever introduced into the female workforce is "Work/Life Balance". When a woman loves her work and loves her family, the idea of balance is quite simply unattainable. Furthermore, there are simply too many working women who think that there are other fictional women who are truly achieving balance. Despite outdated views that the teaching profession is parent-friendly, the increasing teacher and administrator workload makes this less and and less true. Both teachers and leaders are invited in this somewhat comedic presentation to imagine a school workplace which supports the emotions and sacrifices of working mothers, dispel the idea of balance, and seek to create a vision for women leaders who really do "have it all".

Tamar Spitzer, Supervisor of World Languages, ESL and Business, School District of Chathams


Every Child, Every Voice, Every Battle for Equity

Fighting for every child’s right to their “voice” drew me to teaching and has fueled my passion for 22 years. All children deserve access to a language. As a teacher of the Deaf and American Sign Language, I advocate for the many deaf children often deprived of language. Becoming the 2018 NJ Teacher of the Year magnified my success, enabling me to influence the Senate and Assembly education committees to vote in favor of language equality and the Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights. In July, I learned the NJ Assembly granted my proposal for $550,000 to enhance NJ’s Early Intervention system. All deaf babies deserve a future where language is accessible and goals, dreams and family relationships are possible. Being able to influence policy and impact lives, empowered me to advocate for the right that every child has to succeed, not as a version of anyone else, but as themselves.

Amy T. Andersen, 2018 NJ State Teacher of the Year, Ocean City Schools

Kathleen Taylor, 2018 NJ State Superintendent of the Year, Ocean City Schools


Empowering Our Future Women Leaders

The presentation will be focused on the ways that we may encourage and develop our future women leaders. It is important that current women leaders empower women by supporting, educating, and encouraging them to seek leadership positions within their communities. The empowerment involves current leaders sharing their effective leadership skills with other women, informing them about the leadership challenges that may occur, and encouraging other women to step out of their comfort zones to try new leadership roles. By supporting one another, we will identify our leadership potential in ways that we may otherwise not see. As a principal, school board of education president, doctoral student, and mother of three young women, I am passionate about supporting other women as they evolve their leadership qualities and identify the leadership opportunities that exist in their worlds.

Kathleen Koop, Principal, Madison School District


Leading from the Balcony and from the Floor: A Continuing Professional Responsibility 

The authors of Leadership on the Line describe effective leaders as having the ability to shift fluidly between the managerial and the visionary.  These leaders know when and how to give “boots on the ground” attention to the details, and when and how to climb up to the balcony to observe the whole, guide with the benefit of distance, and see beyond. During this session, you will interact with a panel of successful women education leaders who are adept at this kind of shifting. They will share the timeless practices that they have used to address enduring leadership issues such as:

Connecting passion with purpose, being the “lead” learner, maintaining integrity and being a good person, gaining perspective, owning the crisis, and being hopeful. 

Marie Adair, Executive Director, NJ ASCD

Willa Spicer, Former NJ Deputy Commissioner, NJ State Department of Education

Penelope Lattimer, Former Assistant Commissioner and Director of RIISA at Rutgers University, NJ State Department of Education

Adele Macula, Former Assoc Superintendent of Jersey City, NJ SD and Director of C&I for NJ PSA, NJ PSA


The Superintendent as Instructional Leader: Living This Role in Daily

School Superintendents and Principals in districts of all sizes who wish to strengthen their instructional leadership skills will find this workshop a valuable resource. How do we engage Board Members in discussions about teaching and learning? How do we keep our eye on the ball of student achievement when non-instructional issues are constantly pulling our attention away? You’ll leave this session with specific strategies to implement right away in your school community.

Barbara Sargent, Superintendent, Parsippany-Troy Hills School District


2:30 - 2:45pm Break


2:45 - 3:45pm Concurrent Workshops


The Leader Kaleidoscope

What's the difference between feedback and reflection? Dialogue and discussion? This session is designed to bring awareness to the multiple ways we, as leaders, can engage others in meaningful and mindful practices to benefit students.

MaryJane Garibay, Superintendent, Colts Neck Township School District


Connected Action Roadmap: How Instructional Leaders Improve Teaching

How do instructional leaders effectively drive the cycle of teaching and learning? Implementing a coherent approach through the CAR framework provides leaders with powerful tools to build the capacity of all staff to actively collaborate in the development of a viable curriculum and implement a cohesive cycle of instruction and assessment within the classroom and across a school. Endorsed by key New Jersey educational organizations, the CAR framework is also a critical element of the NJDOE vision to foster equitable outcomes for all students using the CAR process to develop ELA and Math units with common student learning objectives. In this session, (1) discover how the CAR Framework can enhance instructional leadership in schools and promote shared leadership; and (2) learn more about the tools current being developed by the NJDOE and educator teams from across the state.

Patricia Wright, Executive Director, NJPSA   


The Effect of Our Implicit Biases in the Classroom and In Our Practice

This workshop will focus on how to work with faculty to introduce the concepts of cultural relevancy. We will explore professional development that begins by fostering staff reflection into their own inherent biases and how these can hinder relationships with students and families. Participants will explore how inherent biases manifest via attitudes, thought processes, interactions and pedagogical practices. The workshop’s goal is to create safe and trusting environments where teachers and staff are able to discuss concepts of identity and diversity and support staff in their own journeys towards cultural relevancy. We will correlate how staff support in this area can have significant impact and the relevance of this work in relation to our national landscape. The ideas of the White Supremacist Narrative, Courageous Conversations, micro-agressions, race relations and socioeconomics will be deeply explored.

Jennifer Osemwegie, Principal, Highland Park Schools District


Transforming a Learning Community and Defining one's voice as an Educational Leader.

Discover how three educational leaders in an urban school district are aggressively addressing long term deficiencies in student achievement while identifying, developing, and defining their voices as independent and unified district educational leaders. This session will focus upon educational leadership and the necessity to know oneself while working collectively toward common goals. Communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration, the four C’s of 21st Century learning, comprise the fundamental systems behind their work in the South Bend Community School Corporation and have been the impetus for transforming learning in both the elementary and middle school levels. Whether you are new to school administration or have been a leader for some time, each participant will take away practical applications for navigating school leadership while building voice as a solid educational leader and without compromising beliefs.

Kay Antonelli, Assistant Superintendent, South Bend Community School Corporation

Karla Lee, Director of Middle Schools, South Bend Community School Corporation

Darice Austin-Phillips, Director of Federal Programs, South Bend Community School Corporation


Fostering Teaching Leadership

An important aspect of being a leader is the ability to foster the growth of leadership in other members of your organization. By promoting and supporting leadership development in teachers and other school staff, the capacity of the whole organization increases. This session will focus on how to coach and support teacher leadership as defined through the Teacher Leader Model Standards. This session will provide current leaders tools to increase opportunity for potential teacher leaders to develop and thrive. Although the seven domains of teacher leadership will be explored, Domains III, IV, and V will be more closely examined. These domains focus on instructional improvement and student learning and promote professional learning for continuous improvement with the use of district, school, and classroom data. Creating structures within your organization to support teacher leadership can positively impact both student learning and organizational capacity growth.

Laura Godlesky, Director of Curriculum, Keyport Public Schools


What's Really the Priority? Finding work life balance when everything is important! 

This session will help female leaders focus their efforts towards finding work life balance while navigating high profile leadership positions. As a leader you will be faced with new initiatives on a daily basis, the day to day routines of the job all while packing lunches and barely making it to baseball practice. 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, how to build your organizational and instructional capacity, and what are the non-negotiables when it comes to family. Our session will provide a personalized, targeted and interactive experience, while keeping all participants actively engaged. Through our planned activities, this session will allow participants to be reflective and collaborative with female colleagues who experience the same reality.

Farrah Mahan, Director of Curriculum, Cherry Hill Public Schools

LaCoyya Weathington, Director of Pupil Services, Cherry Hill Public Schools


Servant-Leaders: What they are and what they are not.  how the service model of leadership is more effective and rewarding than the power of model. 

Servant-Leadership begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve first. Then, conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead...The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant - Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?" ~ Robert Greenleaf This session will provide an orientation to the Servant-Leadership, and make the case for this ethical, relevant, practical, and effective model of leadership. This model is the healthiest, most meaningful, most fulfilling for those who lead, and for those who are lead. While I am convinced Servant-Leadership is the best form of leadership, and the antithesis of the power model, you will need to decide that for yourself. My hope is each participant will leave thinking about how they can better serve their people and their organizations, and gain more satisfaction from their work.

Danielle Shanley, Superintendent, Saddle Brook Public Schools


4:00 - 5:00pm Keynote


 Sasha Pudelski, Advocacy Director, AASA The School Superintendents Association, Alexandria, VA 

 Sasha Pudelski has the privilege of representing school superintendents on Capitol Hill. She will walk through the federal budgetary processes this year as well as past, present and future education policy issues of importance this Congress. 


5:00pm Reception 


Friday, March 15

 8:00 – 9:30am - Registration

Musical Performance: Jazz Quartet, Governor Livingston High School, Berkeley Heights, NJ 

 9:30am - Welcome 

 9:30 – 10:45am - Keynote Presentation

Lizette Delgado-Polanco, New Jersey Schools Development Authority Chief Executive Officer

10:45 - 11:00am - Break

11:00am - 12:00pm - Concurrent Workshops

Teacher-Leader to School Leader: Pathways to School Leadership

Pathways to school leadership can differ but successful leaders were teacher-leaders long before they attained their first administrative position. This session details two different pathways to school leadership, both beginning with teacher-leadership. Ms. Staffin began as a History teacher in the Cherry Hill School District and became a recognized leader through her innovative instruction and curriculum work. Ms. Staffin completed an MBA prior to becoming an Assistant Principal at Cherry Hill West. Ms. Metzger earned a MA in Special Education and began as an elementary Special Education teacher Virginia. Next she taught at Lower Merion High School where she was a recognized leader in special education practice and policy. She completed coursework in Educational Leadership prior to becoming an Assistant Principal at Cherry Hill West. As colleagues, Ms. Staffin and Ms. Metzger collaborate utilize their different preparation and diverse experiences to best meet the needs of students and teachers.

Rebecca Metzger, Assistant Principal, Cherry Hill Public Schools

Allison Staffin, Assistant Principal, Cherry Hill Public Schools


Why is My Leadership Legacy?

School leadership is not solely measured in numbers. It brings with it a responsibility to leave our schools, districts and communities better places than they are today. Leave a lasting legacy that reflects who you are and what you honor becomes the organization’s path for future performance. So, what type of purpose do you want to leave in your organization? As a result of your leadership, what values will remain long after you’ve left? Together, we will define your individual definitions of leadership and how this shapes how we can lead with our legacy in our minds. We will explore how leaders can develop their legacies to pass along the best of us to others.

JoAnn Cardillo, Superintendent, Passaic Valley Regional High School

Tracey Marinelli, Superintendent, Little Falls Township Public Schools

Michele Pillari, Superintendent, Woodland Park School District

Patricia Capitelli, Superintendent, Totowa School District


Wow...You're the Superintendent?!? Truths and Tricks About Surviving and Thriving as a School Leader

The leadership pipeline for women is inherently different than it is for men. It is not comparable because, even though I may be as smart or smarter than the other people in the room, I am seen by some as a woman who happens to be a leader rather than a leader who happens to be a woman. The double standard that women will face is painfully obvious. Having lived the role as teacher, principal, and superintendent I can attest to this very powerful reality. There is a reason that our schools are filled with female teachers and very few female administrators. We can handle the job, but we are also being forced to handle all our other roles equally well. This session will delve into the truths that no one told me, and the tricks and strategies that I use to rise and thrive professionally and personally.

Jennifer Cenatiempo, Superintendent, Lafayette Township School District


The Imperfect Leader

During this workshop, I will explore the "ups" and "downs" of being a female, Latina, LGBTQ leader. Steering away from unrealistic ideals of perfection and embracing strength in honest relationships with stakeholders has proven very successful for me. In my first full year of administrative leadership, I started my own business, published an article for NJPSA's Educational Viewpoints, and have become the Stigma-Free Task Force Leader for my school district & borough. All of this and more, was done with fumbling grace, some obsessive behavior and frightening moments of honesty about my personal life. Injecting the human spirit into everything you do is an integral part of being more than an effective female leader; it is what it takes to be a sustainable one.

Samantha Rodriguez, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, North Arlington School District


Mindfulness for Leaders and for Life

Defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn as “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment”, mindfulness gives us the tools we need to focus, interact positively with others, and better understand own emotions. As educational leaders, mothers, community volunteers, and in any other role we play, we often do not time for ourselves because we just “don’t have time.” In this session, we will learn why it is important to find time, even if it’s just for a few mindful breaths. Mindfulness is an easy, applicable strategy to make an impact individually and as school leaders. Participants will leave the seminar not only personally relaxed but with a stronger understanding of how mindfulness can be a valuable tool in achieving balance in our lives.

Bobbie Downs, Director-Educational Services Unit, Burlington County Special Services School District


12:00 - 1:30pm – Lunch and Legislative Panel

1:30 - 2:30pm Concurrent Workshops  

How we can embrace our authentic leadership styles to make a lasting impact?

This session is focused on the gifts we have as women and how we bring them into our leadership roles. Using research, experience, reflection, and collaboration, we will explore the leadership characteristics that make women outstanding leaders- and work to embrace our own authentic leadership. We will engage in artistic reflection, use arts-based creativity, and work together in thoughtful discussion. You will return to your work with a new sense of purpose and pride to lead like a woman and make a lasting impact!

Rebekah Sterlacci, District Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts, Piscataway Township Schools

Leading with Heart and Proud of it

In this presentation, together we will embrace the idea of leading with your heart, advocating fiercely for all and being proud of it. We will allow for networking among participants, have time to share successes and to problem solve together. When you lead with your heart you renew yourself while inspiring others.

Jodi Mahoney, Principal, Greenbrook Elementary School

Bonnie Capes, Principal, Crossroad Middle Schools 


Resiliency in the Superintendency 

Research tells us that most superintendents' tenure is approximately three years. However, to make real change in mindset and vision in a district, it takes nearly five years. What does a superintendent need to know and be able to do to sustain oneself and positively lead a district? This session will review the important skills of emotional intelligence that will aid one in creating positive relationships to foster productive change. Participants will have an opportunity to unpack, evaluate and navigate the various scenarios. The session will conclude with specific and tested strategies that can be employed to connect with stakeholders and avoid pitfalls.

Loretta Radulic, Superintendent, Roxbury Public Schools


The Inheritance: A Comprehensive Look at Team Building as a Newly Assigned School Leader 

Becoming a newly appointed school leader is a truly joyous time. You will finally have the opportunity to be an active member in decision-making in your local school district. You will be able to work with key stakeholders and develop a school community. You will be able to design a school culture that promotes academic excellence. It is a wondrous experience for the newly appointed leader.. However, as you enter the school doors for the first time , you quickly realize that norms have already been established. Expectations have already been set, and a staff is already in place. How do you mold an environment that may be resistant to change? How do you develop a shared vision in an environment where a vision already exists? How do you move your school from stagnation to excellence? This presentation will explore these questions using real-world experiences, testimonials from the presenter and audience and resources from scholarly literature. Join us. Let’s embark on an exploration into the world of school leadership.

Cleopatra Wingard, Principal, Jersey City Public Schools


Present Over Perfect: From Busyness to Productivity 

In a culture that values speed, efficiency, image, and busyness, women in leadership are often heralded as high capacity individuals, with schedules frequently overbooked from morning to night. This workshop inspires discussion about moving from mania to meaning, from artifice to depth, from comparing to connecting, and finally to living and working in a more intentional, meaningful, and productive way.

Lisa Gleason, Director of Curriculum, Wall Township Public Schools