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Pascack Valley Regional High School

Valerie Mattessich


Valerie Mattessich, President of NJCTE, is Pascack Valley Regional High School District's Supervisor of English, Art and Libraries. Ms. Mattessich has long been a teacher-leader through the National Writing Project, previously at Rutgers and currently at Drew University, and also acts as an appointed member of the NCTE Secondary Steering Committee. Ms. Mattessich has planned, implemented and facilitated professional development workshops throughout the state and across the country. She has also published articles in Educational Viewpoints, English Leadership Quarterly, and New Jersey English Journal; her classroom and teaching strategies were also featured in Kristen Turner and Troy Hicks' book Argument in the Real World. In her free time, Ms. Mattessich enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, walking her dog, going to the beach and exploring new cuisines.

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Lindenwold Middle School

Denise Weintraut

Vice President

A proud graduate of Camden County College, Rutgers University-Camden, and the American College of Education (M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction), Denise revels in teaching 8th-grade English Language Arts at Lindenwold Middle School. As a former ELA interventionist, she believes in the profound power of reading to elevate one’s future and is passionate about developing lifelong readers who think critically about their communities. She also serves on the Board of the West Jersey Reading Council. She loves tech, is always up for a challenge and is committed to elevating those around her. She has presented at area conferences including WJRC, NJCTE, Summer D.I.V.E., and NJAMLE, and encourages you to do the same! Committed to sharing a love of reading with her students, she maintains an extensive classroom library and regularly attends conferences where she brings home suitcases of books for her students. Be sure to ask her if you need help building your own classroom library! She enjoys singing with an a cappella women’s trio, gazing at flowers, binging on movies, and firmly believes that books and chocolate are a natural pairing that should be savored together.

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New Jersey City University

Audrey Fisch

Treasurer/Past President

Dr. Audrey Fisch is Professor of English at New Jersey City University, where she coordinated the Women’s Studies and the Secondary English Education Program. Her scholarship includes work on slavery and abolition (American Slaves in Victorian England and the Cambridge Companion to the African-American Slave Narrative). With Susan Chenelle, she has written several texts focused on using informational text to teach literature. Fisch is the founder and president of More Than Bootstraps, a nonprofit that builds a community of first-generation, underrepresented students who empower each other to access and succeed in higher education. She is the immediate past president and current treasurer of the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English.

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Jersey City Public Schools

Deborah Bartley-Carter


Deborah Bartley-Carter is the Board Secretary for NJCTE and has been working in public education for 20+ years. Deborah was the Regional Instructional Specialist for Language Arts and Libraries Region 10 in New York City and District Supervisor for Language Arts in West Orange, New Jersey. In 2020, Deborah received the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching and in 2021 Teacher of the Dream. Deborah stays connected to the community and her passion for the arts by volunteering her time with local and international non-profit organizations in New York and New Jersey as an active Board Member. Deborah earned her bachelor's degree in English from Binghamton University and her master's degree in education from Teachers College at Columbia University.

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Susan Reese

Past President

My retirement offered an opportunity to step outside the classroom and become more active in NJCTE. Under my leadership, NJCTE began a new reign of recognition for excellence from NCTE. We added new opportunities for educators to become involved while continuing previously established programs such as the writing contest for high school students and the educator of the year for professionals. As I see new members join, I am reassured that NJCTE is in good hands and will continue the support, the innovation, and the opportunities that will keep New Jersey's educational practices in the vanguard. I urge educators who love language and all that communication entails to join NJCTE.

Retired from Ocean County

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Lauren Zucker

New Jersey English Journal Co-Editor

Lauren Zucker is a high school English teacher, adjunct professor of education, writer, and researcher whose work focuses on the intersection between literacy and technology. She is the co-editor of NJCTE's New Jersey English Journal (NJEJ), and an active member of the NCTE Commission on Digital Literacies and Teacher Education. She writes about her teaching and research at

Northern Highlands Regional High School

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Susan Chenelle

Blog Editor & New Jersey English Journal Co-Editor

I am the supervisor of curriculum and instruction at University Academy Charter High School, where I previously taught English and journalism for several years. I am pursuing a doctoral degree at Montclair State University in Teacher Education and Teacher Development. My research interests are culturally sustaining pedagogy and teacher evaluation. I am the co-author of the Using Informational Text to Teach Literature series with Audrey Fisch, and I was honored to be named the NJCTE Educator of the Year in 2017. I am the NJCTE blog editor and was recently named co-editor of the New Jersey English Journal.

University Academy Charter High School

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The College of New Jersey

Emily Meixner

Communications Chair

Emily S. Meixner is professor of English and the coordinator of the secondary English education program at The College of New Jersey. She regularly teaches undergraduate courses on English Language Arts reading and writing pedagogy as well as graduate and undergraduate courses on children’s and young adult literature. Dr. Meixner’s scholarship has been published in a variety of scholarly journals including Radical Teacher, English Leadership Quarterly, The Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Multicultural Perspectives, Voices from the Middle, and English Journal. She regularly presents on reading and writing pedagogy, LGBTQIA+ curriculum development, and teacher leadership at at local and national conferences and works as a staff developer and consultant in New Jersey schools. Passionate about teacher education and teacher professional development, Dr. Meixner was a founding organizer of #NerdcampNJ, serves on the executive committee of CEL (the Conference on English Leadership), and enjoys contributing to NJCTE as a member of the board.

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Joseph Pizzo

Mentor Program Director, Fall 2020 Conference Co-Chair

Coming Soon

Black River Middle School

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Nicole Warchol

Nicole Warchol has been teaching middle school and high school students for more than a decade. She previously served as one of the original NCTE Lead Ambassadors. She also completed the Summer Institute becoming a Teacher Consultant with the Kean University Writing Project. She earned her master’s degree in Instruction and Curriculum, Secondary English from Kean University and has a graduate certificate from Montclair University in Teaching Writing. She is an Aquarius and so from birth she was destined to contain multitudes. Nicole is also a Ravenclaw who on occasion writes poetry and does yoga with puppies.

Kenilworth Public Schools

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Katie Nieves Licwinko

Web Coordinator

Dr. Katie Nieves Licwinko spent the first part of her career as a middle school special education language arts teacher before moving into educational technology. Katie earned her Ed.D. in Educational Technology Leadership from New Jersey City University. She is a Google Certified Innovator (VIA20), Trainer, and Educator. Her research and work have been published in peer-reviewed textbooks and journals and featured on websites like Edutopia. She has presented at national, state, and local conferences about using technology to support all learners. She runs a platform and podcast dedicated to sharing inclusive learning practices called Assembling Inclusion. Katie has served as the treasurer, web coordinator, and summer learning co-chair during her time on the NJCTE board.

Wayne Township Public Schools

Lynn Love-Kelly

Writing Contest Director

Dr. Lynn M. Love-Kelly is a secondary English teacher in New Jersey. Dr. Love-Kelly has a BA in English from Douglass College, MS in Education with a specialization in Literacy Learning from Walden University, Ed.D and Ed. S in Teacher Leadership from Walden University. During her educational career, Dr. Love-Kelly has provided New Teacher Training, taught AP English Literature and Composition courses, advised a high school online newsletter and poetry club. Dr. Love-Kelly has presented professional development workshops on infusing technology into diverse classrooms and time management. Dr. Love-Kelly has taught developmental writing and reading courses at Passaic County Community College. Dr. Love-Kelly has 11 years of experience as an Adult Basic Education/HiSet Prep course teacher. Dr. Love-Kelly is the writing contest director for the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English (NJCTE) and recipient of the 2018 NJCTE Teachers for the Dream Award.

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Wayne Township Public Schools

Alexandria Lefkovits

Executive Board Member

After over 15 years of working with middle and high schoolers, Alexandria still cherishes that moment when a student is suddenly captivated by a work of literature. Her practice revolves around inquiry-based learning, Socratic discussion of texts and themes, and an examination of the real world applications for each domain of English language study. She particularly values works that encourage an appreciation of divergent perspectives and experiences. In her current position, Alexandria enjoys the challenge of delivering a vigorous, PBL-oriented curriculum to middle schoolers. Her academic background includes a Bachelors in Comparative Literature from Yale University and a Masters in Adolescent Education from St. John’s University.

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Metuchen Public Schools

Louis N. Manziano (They/Them/Theirs)

Executive Board Member

Lou was born and raised in New Jersey, where they are the supervisor of ELA and Social Studies for grades 6-12 for Metuchen Public Schools. They were previously an instructional coach and an English Language Arts teacher for 13 years. Lou is a graduate student at Bank Street College of Education working toward a Master's degree in Progressive Leadership. As a teacher and leader, they value student choice, skills-based learning, independent reading, and equity and social justice. Lou has facilitated professional development surrounding LGBTQ+ inclusion in ELA curriculum, the classroom, and the broader school community.  Lou has served as their building Equity Team Leader for two years. As a white, non-binary, queer person, Lou continues to learn how to use their voice and advocate for equity, inclusion, and access for all historically marginalized identities. They believe in fostering critical thinking to analyze the current world and grappling with its history, inspiring curiosity and openness, and developing a love for reading with students across all disciplines. 

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Amanda Crane

Spring Conference Co-Chair and Poetry Coordinator

Amanda Crane has been a secondary and higher ed educator for 22 years, and her area of expertise within English Language Arts is Creative Writing specializing in Poetry. She is the author of the poetry collection Barbiecue, and she has her work published in literary journals including: Barbaric Yawp, Chronogram, The Paterson Literary Review, and Sawbuck. She is a two-time Editor’s Choice recipient for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, and her latest manuscript, The Queen of Joyful Things, placed as a semi-finalist for the Laura Boss Narrative Poetry Award. Her BA in English is from SUNY at New Paltz, and her MFA in Creative Writing is from BGSU in Ohio. She lives and works in New Jersey as an English and Poetry Educator for Outschool. She has two son, two dachshunds and loves taking long walks, practicing yoga, going to the beach, and, of course, reading and writing.

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Cathline Tanis

Executive Board Member

Cathline Tanis is an educator activist of 17 years who is passionate about creating connections with students, ensuring nuanced representation, decolonizing the literature and fostering student voice. Cathline runs workshops focused on social justice and the role of education in dismantling oppressive systems of power. As a Supervisor of Humanities, she supports teachers as they create classroom communities that are vibrant and nuanced in experience, identity, voice and choice. Cathline is on the Executive Board of CEL, a member of NCTE, a former CEL Emerging Fellow as well as her district's Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator.

North Plainfield School District

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Jersey City Public Schools

Daphney Civil-Acosta

Executive Board Member

Dr. Daphney Civil-Acosta earned M.A.T in Early Childhood Education from New Jersey City University in 2014. Her career took off working with preschoolers, and has worked in public education for 9+ years. In 2021, her passion continued to grow for teaching, and she obtained her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership K-12 from Saint Peter’s University. In 2022, Dr. Acosta received the Teacher of the Dream award. Dr. Acosta’s career goal is to become an administrator working with experienced staff educating young minds of children to foster a love for learning in a culturally responsive environment. She continues to work with the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. (NSPDK), supporting their youth group in community service and activities to prepare them for their future. She is also a Girl Scout Troop Leader in Jersey City and supports her troop by participating in their communities, standing up for themselves, being leaders, and traveling the world.

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