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

     Women’s Leadership Conference Agenda

    March 15-16, 2018

    Forsgate Country Club - Monroe Township, NJ




    Thursday, March 15

    8:30 – 9:00am – Registration

    9:00 – 9:15am – Welcome 

    9:15 – 10:15am – General Session/Keynote - To access the PowerPoint presentation, click on the link below


    Kathy Hurley, CEO, Girls Thinking Global, Arlington, VA

    Fostering Women in Leadership.  Real Women Leaders: Their Competencies & Their Stories

    Hurley will share research from a Harvard study that revealed women are better leaders than men based on 16 competencies needed for people in positions of leadership.  She will discuss the importance of diversity in leadership while sharing examples of three top women educators and their journeys to the top. During the session, attendees will learn how to discover and develop their natural leadership competencies. Each attendee will also receive a copy of her book, Real Women, Real Leaders:  Surviving and Succeeding in the Business World.

    10:15 – 10:30am – Break 

    10:30 – 11:30am – Concurrent Workshops 

    Trailblazing Leadership: 10 Tips for Establishing Yourself as a Leader

    Ambition is a prerequisite skill for those of us who lead. This session is geared toward those who crave new leadership opportunities or are ready to try some new strategies to take their leadership role to the next level. Ten distinct strategies for establishing yourself as a necessary and worthy district leader will be shared - interlaced with some fun stories, inspiring anecdotes, humor, and a little interactive technology. By the end of the hour, you'll have a veritable toolkit of inspiration to take the leadership leap - and take your district in new directions!

    Kathi Kersznowski, Technology Integration, Washington Township Public School, Williamstown, NJ

    Breaking Glass Ceilings!

    A supervisor, principal and director will describe the obstacles they have overcome and sacrifices they have made to climb the leadership ladder. Important characteristics of female leaders will be shared and celebrated. This interactive session will have participants analyze the various roles women play and conquer throughout their lives. Activities will also include engaging with each other to better prepare our female students for leadership roles in today's society. This amazing opportunity to collaborate with females who are on the same career path and striving for equality should not be missed!

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

    Francesca Amato, Director, Weehawken High School, Weehawken, NJ

    Jenna Wendolowski, Supervisor, Weehawken High School, Weehawken, NJ 

    Networking, Coaching, and Mentoring: Survival Skills for Aspiring Leaders

    Three educational and business leaders, who have experienced the power of networking, coaching, and mentoring, will focus the presentation on why these skills are necessary for women who aspire to be leaders. Helpful advice will be provided for those seeking leadership positions and for those who are already in leadership roles. The presenters will encourage participants to employ a variety of strategies for establishing network contacts, staying current in their field, and refining collaboration and communication skills. The benefits of having a mentor or coach and maintaining healthy mentoring or coaching relationships will also be highlighted. All of the presenters continue to network, have been mentored, and are currently mentoring or coaching others so they will share real-life stories about how these skills can help the workshop participants further develop their careers and become sustainable leaders.

    Dr. Deitra Spence, Educational Consultant, Foundation for Educational, Wyndmoor, PA

    Tonya Breland, CEO/Educational Consultant, Burlington, NJ

    Dr. Robin Daniels, Assistant Superintendent, Bridgetown Public Schools, Bridgeton, NJ

     Perspectives from Both Sides: How to Cultivate a Strong Relationship Between Administration and the Board

    With the unique perspective as leaders in their own districts, these board of education members join with the board attorney and district administration to describe how they leverage their strengths to create change, provide a positive culture, and build strong relationships between the BOE and administration. This positive and proactive approach seeks to sustain empowerment of women in an often male-dominated system.

    Anne Drescher, BOE Member, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

    Jeanene Stettner-Dutt, Principal, North Warren Regional High School.

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

    Dr. Bethany Summers, President, North Warren Regional, Blairstown, NJ 

    Grace Acosta, Vice Principal, North Warren Regional, Blairstown, NJ 

    Amy Canning, Vice President North Warren Regional and Board Attorney, Fogarty & Hara, Fair Lawn, NJ 


    Creepy Clowns! Tech Hacks! and Mercury! Oh My!

    Learn how one district handles crisis communications with a T.E.A.M. approach, poise, confidence and transparency. There are ways to get ahead of potential PR explosions and keep the backlash at a minimum. Creepy clowns, network attacks, and mercury are the just tip of the iceberg for the issues this community has faced. Learn the methodical approach used to tackle district issues effectively, efficiently, and most importantly CALMLY!

    Liz Scott, Director of Human Resources & Community Relations, Burlington Township Schools, Burlington, NJ

    Mary Ann Bell, Superintendent, Burlington Township Schools, Burlington, NJ    

    Bossy Women Lead: Embrace and Build on your Natural Instincts to Become a Transformational Leader

    Despite the common vision of bossy as a negative description, women leaders can embrace their so called, "bossy tendencies" to become strong leaders, while also tapping into other natural female strengths and characteristics that help them grow into transformational leaders. In this session, participants will learn specific leadership strategies to help them build teams, influence others, and strengthen their leadership skills. Participants will be able to take away a resource of practical strategies and ideas to implement in their leadership roles.

    Janet Ciarrocca, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, & Technology, North Brunswick Township Schools, North Brunswick, NJ 

    11:30am – 1:00pm Lunch & Keynote  

    Marita Zuraitis, Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Horace Mann Educators Corporation

    She joined Horace Mann as President and Chief Executive officer–elect in May 2013 and assumed her present role in September of that year. Prior to joining Horace Mann, she was President of the property and casualty insurance companies of The Hanover Insurance Group with responsibilities for both personal and commercial lines representing $3 billion in annual premium. She was also a member of Hanover’s Executive Leadership team. Prior to joining The Hanover in 2004, she served in senior management positions at The St. Paul/ Travelers Companies, USF&G and Aetna Life and Casualty. Zuraitis is a proven leader in the property and casualty industry, and her 30-year career includes leadership positions in both home office and field environments. The breadth of her experience provides her with a unique understanding of the industry, which has enabled her to bring exceptional knowledge and insight to the organizations she has supported. She has a strong connection to Horace Mann’s educator niche through several family members who are teachers. Zuraitis holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut and has completed the Advanced Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Institute for Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters (The Institutes) and is a member of the Board of Directors of Citizens Financial Group. She is a past board member of the Worcester Academy, a private secondary school in Worcester, Ma.  


    1:05 – 2:05pm Concurrent Workshops

    Leading with Your Whole Self

    This workshop will be presented by a team of female leaders that are working together as change agents in an urban New Jersey district. They will share their personal stories of leadership growth, teamwork, and how they are learning to lead with their "Whole Self" every day.

    Rachel Goldberg, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, Passaic Public Schools, Passaic, NJ

    Dr. Gloria Vargas, Director of Bilingual/ESL Education, Passaic Public Schools, Passaic, NJ

    Laura Turci-Delgado, Director of Elementary and Secondary Education, Passaic Public Schools, Passaic, NJ

    Liteove Tighe, Director of Early Childhood Education, Passaic Public Schools, Passaic, NJ

    Cynthia Costa, Director of Special Education, Passaic Public Schools, Passaic, NJ


    Collaborative Management Minimizes Conflict

    Montgomery Township District Administrators and the Montgomery Township Education Association, with support from Rutgers University School of Labor and Management, have formed a District Leadership Team (DLT) created to foster a collaborative working relationship between the administrators and the staff across all aspects of our district to positively impact student academic achievement and social & emotional growth. This team is comprised of 50% administration and 50% faculty. Together with our School Leadership Teams (SLT’s), we are responsible for establishing and implementing an effective system of school-wide communication, creating targeted teams with clearly defined timelines to design and implement collaborative solutions to situations as they arise, and monitoring progress of district goals. Our guiding principles: • We will commit to and model a culture of collaboration • We will always be solution-minded • We will always be student-centered • We will view ourselves as a listening/learning team focused on “we”.

    Nancy Gartenberg, Superintendent, Montgomery Township Schools, Skillman, NJ

    Susan Lacy, Principal, Village Elementary School, Skillman, NJ

    Scott Mason, Montgomery Township Education Associate President, Montgomery Township Schools, Skillman, NJ  

    Jennifer Jones, Teacher, Montgomery Township Schools, Skillman, NJ  


    How to Rediscover the Girl Inside of You!

    If you’re feeling stuck in a life you never imagined, buried, stressed, overlooked or unsure of your identity, you are not alone! As we travel through life, sometimes we find ourselves far from where we thought we would be at this point. We may have even found that the road has been filled with potholes, bumps and detours. Or, maybe you ended up exactly where you worked so hard to get and now you find out that this is not the place you though it would be. Sometimes we have to be reminded that where we are today is not who we are, nor is it where we have to stay. In this session we will share a few secrets to loving and honoring our lives. We will begin to gain a new perspective as we rediscover our direction, our purpose, our beauty, our girl inside.

    Pamela Moore, Assistant Superintendent of C&I, Millville Board of Education, Millville, NJ

    Nurturing Leadership

    Women are great nurturers, who naturally feel the need to take care of those around them. With that in mind, it is incumbent upon the current female educational leaders to identify ways to use this innate ability to develop leadership skills in our colleagues. This session will look at ways to identify the leadership potential within our schools, nurture individual growth, while further supporting and developing one’s own personal leadership style. Bill Bradley, former NJ Senator and professional basketball player, wrote that “leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” Participants will begin to develop a plan to tap into the wealth of strengths and abilities within our colleagues in order to enhance the educational experiences for our students and move the building and district professional experiences to a higher level while creating a stronger network of women leaders.

    Edythe Austermuhl, Superintendent, Berlin Township School District, West Berlin, NJ


    Presentation and Organization Tech Tools to Make Your Life Easier!

    I will share some tech tools like Smore, Emaze, and Trello that can help leaders save time when presenting or leading meetings. In my district, we use technology to save face to face meeting time and I will share those quick tools that make a big difference.

    Jennifer Diszler, Assistant Superintendent, South Brunswick School District, Monmouth Junction, NJ


    Notes to Me: The Balancing Act

    This relevant and interactive session will provide participants with practical tips and strategies that will allow them to live and lead....undistracted, soul-filled and hands free! During this session we will focus on time management, stress management, attention management, device management, interruption management, refueling strategies, wellness tips, and living a more gratifying work/ home life.

    Tammy Jenkins, Principal, Sunnymead School Hillsborough Township, Hillsborough, NJ  

    Kimberley Giles, Principal, Miller School, Old Bridge, NJ  

    2:05 – 2:15pm Break

    2:15 – 3:15pm Concurrent Workshops

    Purposeful Coaching:  Sharing Your Thinking to Build Leaders

    Do you make it look easy? It's important that aspiring leaders know what it takes to lead. In this session, we will search for opportunities to coach aspiring leaders by planning, sharing and reflecting together. Often opportunities arise during small, informal moments rather than during formal mentoring projects. This session will assist you in identifying opportunities to be just transparent enough to assist future leaders in understanding what it takes to lead, while creating experiences for future leaders to practice skills in a supportive environment.

    Debra Gulick, Chief Academic Officer - Secondary, Edison Township Public School, Monroe Township, NJ


    Cultivating Leadership from Within: From Master Teacher to Teacher Leader

    It's important to recognize that a large body of educational professionals do not naturally view themselves as leaders. It is therefore a responsibility of the administration to build confidence and to create a culture of learning that cultivates leadership. This workshop will focus on environment and opportunities for female leaders to emerge from within the organization.

    Cara DiMeo, Elementary Curriculum Director, Toms River Regional Schools, Toms River, NJ   

    Jennifer Martins, Supervisor of Mathematics, Edison Township Pubic Schools, Edison, NJ 


    Who Are You? Discover, Define, & Design Your Brand?

    In 2017, social media is the core of communication. In this presentation, attendees will learn how to create a brand for their district, their school, and their self. The presenter will model the platform necessary to launch your identity. In order to establish your brand, the presenter will outline the necessary steps to create a mission statement, website design, logos, Twitter pages, hashtags and blogs to promote your school community.

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


    Confronting Gender Stereotypes in the Workplace

    In this 60-minute break-out session, participants will discuss the role they play in identifying and challenging gender stereotypes in the workplace. We will identify how as women, our attitudes and mindsets can shape (or hinder) our opportunities and advancements. Facilitators and participants will share personal anecdotes and participate in exercises to confront these stereotypes head-on. This session will highlight the work of Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In) and Jessica Bennett (The Feminist Fight Club).

    Kelly Bosworth, Supervisor of Mathematics and Business, Madison Public Schools, Madison, NJ

    Stacy Snider, District Supervisor of World Languages/Visual and Performing Arts, Madison Public Schools, Madison, NJ   


    Time Management:  First Things First In

    Having the ability to effectively manage one’s personal and professional time is critical to one’s ability to lead successfully. The responsibilities of administration are multi-facet. The more demanding these responsibilities become, the more equipped administrators must be to handle the demands by managing all administrative responsibilities effectively. This workshop is designed to guide participates through the professional planning process by managing their time personal and professional time. This workshop will cover effective planning, evaluating the use of your personal time, timely communications, planning, organizing and maximizing the use of off stakeholders to accomplish the goals of the school in a timely fashion.

    Dr. Robin Moore, Principal, Galloway Township School District, Galloway, 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 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.

    Donna McInerney, Director of Program Development & Design, Foundation for Educational Administration, Monroe Township, NJ

    Patricia Haney, Superintendent, Logan Township School District, Logan Township, NJ  


    3:20 – 4:00pm Keynote

    Sasha Pudelski, Advocacy Director, AASA The School Superintendents Association

    Sasha has been with the organization since 2010. She focuses on federal education issues pertaining to school vouchers, special education, Medicaid, rural schools, ELLs, homeless and foster care youth and other vulnerable populations. In 2017, Sasha was featured multiple times in press coverage by EdWeek and Politico as well as quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, USA Today, and interviewed on the PBS Newshour. Sasha resides in Virginia with her husband and young daughter.

    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. 

    4:00pm Reception – Sponsored by Edmentum

    Friday, March 16

    8:30 – 9:00am – Registration

    9:00 – 9:15am – Welcome  

    9:15 – 10:15am – General Session/Keynote – Sponsored by Scholastic

    Pam Allyn, World-Renowned Literacy Expert, Author and Motivational Speaker. 

    She is the Founder of LitWorld, a groundbreaking global literacy movement serving children across the United States and in more than 60 countries, and LitLife, a cutting-edge education consulting group specializing in professional development for Pre-K-12 literacy instruction. 

    Pam is the author of 27 books for educators, leaders and families on reading, writing and quality learning. Her most recent book is Every Child a Super Reader (Scholastic, 2015), co-authored with Dr. Ernest Morrell. Other books include Your Child's Writing Life (Avery, 2011), the award-winning What To Read When (Avery, 2009), and Pam Allyn's Best Books for Boys (Scholastic, 2011) and the forthcoming Taming the Wild Text. She has co-authored and contributed to a number of curriculum and instruction books, including the Core Ready series (Pearson, 2013) and The Complete Year series (Scholastic, 2008).

    Pam has received many awards for her work, including The Children’s Village Legacy of Service Award and the Scholastic Literacy Champion Award, both for bringing the joy and power of reading to children. She was also selected as one of twenty national mentors for the Bush Institute's Women's Initiative Fellowship to help young Egyptian women develop leadership skills. For these past three years, Pam has served as a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fellow in Racial Equity and Healing. She received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Teachers College, Columbia University in April 2017.

    10:15 – 10:30am – Break

    10:30 – 11:30am – Concurrent Workshops

    Managing Toxic People with Grace and Dignity

    Many of us feel anxious as we navigate difficult relationships whether at work, with family or within our community. Our ability to negotiate complex circumstances impacts our professionalism and leadership. My book, 11 Simply Brilliant Ideas for a Life of Love, Joy and Abundance, is filled with deeply personal, perspective changing ideas. The workshop will be profound as we analyze our behaviors and bring awareness to how our judgments and personal experiences influence what we believe. Participants will walk away with tools to find more joy in the moment. They will learn how to focus their attention to specific tasks at hand. They will understand what it means to stay in neutral and how this will help them remain centered and calm during any stressful situation. They will also learn how to diffuse people’s energy. The techniques are designed to bring dignity and grace into our lives.

    Georgett Van Vliet, Supervisor of Instruction, Cliffside Park School District, Cliffside Park, NJ


    Vantage Points to Leadership

    We, as educational leaders need to take time to acknowledge our leadership strengths and how women add unique value to a learning organization. Too often, women are better at highlighting the strengths of others rather than valuing their own leadership qualities. According to a Harvard Business Review Article, Women Rising: The Unseen Barriers “People become leaders by internalizing a leadership identity and developing a sense of purpose… Internalizing a sense of oneself as a leader is an iterative process. These interactions inform the person’s sense of self as a leader and communicate how others view his or her fitness for the role”. During this session, participants will be guided through a process to reflect on their current leadership traits through quick self-reflection. Participants will take this information to identify a tiered level of support needed to continue their pathway to the next step in leadership.

    Tamu Lucero, Assistant Superintendent, Stamford Public School, Stamford, CT   


    Leading the Pack! Women in Leadership and Pathways to Success

    Women often exhibit common traits, which are beneficial to leadership. This presentation will center on the essential skills necessary for women to be leaders and the intrinsic traits that women can use as assets in leadership. We will analyze assets necessary to navigate the leadership continuum and strategies. This presentation is designed to focus on the maximization of unique talents, skills, traits, and characteristics. During this presentation we will explore creating binding relationships, navigating double standards, network and negotiating, self-care, mentoring and inclusion. Participants will leave with strategies centered on developing roadmaps for successful personal leadership pathways.

    Annette Walters, Assistant Superintendent, Warren Hills Regional Schools District, Washington, NJ 


    Thriving Through a Doctoral Degree 

    If you thought you could finish it with glee, would you work towards a doctoral degree? This session will discuss suggestions and resources to help you thrive through doctoral coursework and the dissertation process. From the perspective of a recent degree earner and new mom, we will address the benefits of doctoral studies, tips to be healthy while balancing degree requirements with a full-time job, tools you can use for research, and ways to set yourself up for success during dissertation time. More specifically, participants will learn about the benefits of networking and applying current research to their practice. Options to consider when selecting a program, finding mentors, choosing an approach to the time required, and planning your dissertation will also assist participants in successfully earning a degree. Citation managers, graphic organizers, task apps, and file storage services will provide doctoral candidates with concrete tools to thrive.

    Cindy Assini, Supervisor of Social Studies/Gifted and Talented, Hillsborough Township Public Schools, Hillsborough, 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

    11:35am – 12:20pm – Legislative Panel

    Introductions by Melanie Schulz, NJASA Director of Government Relations

    Facilitated by Judith A. Rattner, Superintendent - Berkeley Heights


    Angela V. McKnight (D)

    Nancy F. Munoz (R)

    12:25 – 1:10pm – Lunch 

    1:15 – 2:15pm Concurrent Workshops  

    How to Transform from Feeling Burnt-Out, Emotional, Stressed and Tired (B.E.S.T.) to Being Your BEST!

    Feeling stressed out? Are you working hard to balance managing the needs of schools and classrooms with supporting your own personal growth and peace of mind? In this workshop space participants will engage, take a deep breath, and be inspired. We will focus on professional learnings, growth strategies, and targeted outcomes as well as ways to expand personally and feel more fulfilled. Come join us as we move from feeling Burnout-out, Emotional, Stressed, and Tired (B.E.S.T.) to being our BEST!

    Sharon Leathers, instructor, William Paterson University, Fort Lee, NJ 

    Rethinking School Designs: Creativity and Imagination Drive Leading and Learning

    Participants will learn how we redesigned our school by cultivating a mindset of creativity and imagination, which anchor our improvement efforts. Through teaming and teacher leadership, we implemented Personalized Learning with Design Thinking to facilitate Project-based Learning. Learn how a clear, compelling vision brought this plan to life.

    Kimberly Honnick, Principal, Newark Public Schools, Matawan, NJ

    Mark Megaro, Teacher, Newark Public Schools, Matawan, NJ  


    The Impact of African American Female Leadership on Creating a Positive School Culture and Improving Student Achievement

    Historically, women and minorities are underrepresented among school leaders. African American women face substantial scrutiny during their professional careers and take divergent routes to acquire administrative positions. The workshop will describe how African American female educational leaders understand and characterize the influence of race and gender on their leadership experiences. Three theoretical frameworks form the basis for this understanding: Critical Race Theory; Racial Identity Development Theory; and The Black Feminist Thought Theory. From this research, African American women gained a positive sense of self, developed their conceptualization of leadership, acquired skills to handle barriers, and conceived effective strategies to attain positions. Their personal stories, culture, case studies, student outcomes data, and performance assessments illustrate why these women were successful leaders. Participants will develop a possible plan to apply the practical experiences and conclusions from these leaders to determine placement of such personnel in various global educational settings.

    Beverley Folkes-Bryant, Adjunct Professor, The City College of New York, Brooklyn, NY 

    Joyce Coppin, Assistant Professor, Mercy College, Manhattan, NY 


    When Board Members Think Less of You as a Woman: Strategies to Overcome Gender Bias in the Superintendency 

    Female superintendents and administrators sometimes find that board members either explicitly or implicitly act differently towards them and think less of their decision-making skills due to their gender. Female leaders may feel that they have to work harder to prove or assert themselves, or simply to be heard. This session, offered by an experienced Superintendent, will offer a variety of strategies that female leaders can use to combat inherent gender bias. Use of these strategies can help to focus all board members to partner with their leader in the best interests of the district!

    Dr. Nancy Hacker, Superintendent, Springfield Township School District, Oreland, PA