Facilitators

Damon Affinito

Mr. Damon Affinito teaches social studies at Northern Valley Demarest. His primary courses are in the areas of American history and civics. He has also taught many elective courses, including Sport in History. Mr. Affinito earned his Bachelor's degree at the University of Notre Dame and his Master's at Montclair State University. He has written on many topics involving local sports history.


Sabina Albirt

Ms. Sabina Albirt has been working as a Library Media Specialist for 17 years, and is in her fourth year at NVD. She also serves on the board of BELS and is on the book selection committee for Battle of the Books. She is a lifelong reader and lover of books of all shapes and genres.


Pamela Bagot

Ms. Pamela Bagot is the Art Teacher at Haworth Public School for the past 5 years. Ms. Bagot has been an Art Teacher for the past 15 years teaching K-age 21.  Her previous career was in TV programming, scheduling and production.  She has a Bachelor's from Clarion University and her Art Teaching Certification from Montclair State University.  Parsons School of Design:  Floral Design Certificate.  
Deborah Bajakian

Ms. Bajakian has been the Student Assistance Coordinator (SAC) at Demarest HS since September 2006. As the SAC, her responsibilities include confidential counseling, crisis intervention, referral services, and an overall social-emotional focus on student, staff, and family wellbeing. Ms. Bajakian helps run the Wellness Center at NVD and is passionate about wellness.   She is a member of numerous school committees including the district's Crisis Response Team, and the School Safety/School Climate Team. Ms. Bajakian is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master's in Social Work from Rutgers University. In addition to holding a certification as the Student Assistance Coordinator, she also maintains certifications as a school social worker and supervisor.


Lauren Barbieri

Ms. Lauren Barbieri is a Reading Specialist at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, in Wyckoff. She worked within the Northern Valley district for 18 years. She received her Bachelor's degree from Florida State University, her Master's Degree in Literacy Instruction from Long Island University, and her Supervisor certificate from Rider University. Additionally, she is a certified Orton Gillingham Dyslexia Specialist.


Barbara Battaglia

Ms. Barbara Battaglia is the Director of High School Special Education for Northern Valley Regional High School District. She is a certified elementary education teacher, Teacher of the Handicapped, Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant, and School Psychologist. Prior to NVRHS, she served as the Supervisor of Student Services in Alpine and LDT-C in Harrington Park. Prior to serving special education students she taught elementary school. Ms. Battaglia is passionate about advocating for Special Education students and programs.
Allison Beesley

Ms. Allison Beesley works as an English teacher and technology mentor for the Northern Valley Regional High Schools. With 20 years of experience, she is inspired to help educators leverage technology to invigorate their practice. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education from Boston College and a Master’s degree in Literature from Middlebury College. Ms. Beesley works to continually advance her professional practice and digital literacy.


Amy Brown

Ms. Amy Brown serves as the Literacy Specialist for the Old Tappan School District and part-time staff developer for the Office of Curriculum and Instruction since 2002. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources Administration, along with her teaching certificate, from Muhlenberg College and her Master's degree in Literacy from Long Island University. Ms. Brown holds Supervisory Certification and Orton Gillingham Teacher Certification. She is also a member of the Northern Valley's first cohort of instructional coaches. Ms. Brown teaches graduate courses through the Regional Training Center for TCNJ and LaSalle University in addition to working with private clients with dyslexia.


Courtney Carmichael

Before becoming a PreK-8 administrator, Dr. Courtney Carmichael taught history in middle school and high school. She was nominated for both NJ Council on the Humanities Teacher of the Year and NJ Historical Society Teacher of African-American History Teacher of the Year. She served as a Keizai Koho teaching fellow in Japan and has been a recipient of numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, NJ Council on the Humanities, Amistad Commission, Center for Holocaust & Genocide, Gilder Lehrman Institute, and the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia. She is an ASCD Emerging Leader.


Marc Cicchino

Dr. Marc Cicchino is the Director of Special Projects and Innovation for Northern Valley Regional High School district. Previously he served as District Supervisor of Humanities for grades 7-12 for Roxbury Township School District. Dr. Cicchino completed his doctoral studies in the Design of Learning Environments at Rutgers University where he currently serves as an adjunct professor in their undergraduate program, helping to grow the next generation of educators using a wealth of cutting-edge instructional strategies.


Kerry DeLalla

Ms. Kerry DeLalla is a mathematics teacher at Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest. Ms. DeLalla received her Bachelor's degree from James Madison University. She also holds a Master's Degree in Instructional Technology from New York Institute of Technology.


Donna Dolby

Ms. Donna Dolby holds a Bachelor's degree in Art Education from Montclair State University with a minor in Cultural Anthropology and went on to earn a Master's of Fine Art from Christ Church University in Canterbury, England. Ms. Dolby is also a professionally working artist and graphic designer and has been shown internationally. Ms. Dolby teaches all levels of art including AP Studio at Northern Valley Region High School in Old Tappan for 17 years and has been giving vision board workshops in NJ for three years knowing the power of being allowed to dream, and set SMART goals and visions for your future! She is completely committed to the mental and emotional well-being of her students and colleagues. She has been actively involved in the All School Musical Program for 17 years and is also an active member of the AENJ. 


Helena Gliatta

Ms. Helena Gliatta is a NVOT alumnae and teacher at NVOT. Ms. Gliatta holds a yoga teacher certification from LifePower Yoga and has a degree in school counseling and teaches Asian Philosophy. Ms. Gliatta actively practices yoga and meditation.


Lydia Greco

Ms. Lydia Greco currently serves as the Student Assistance Coordinator (SAC) in the NVOT wellness center. She completed her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at Felician University and holds a Master's Degree in Counseling and Post Master's Certificate in Advanced Counseling from Montclair State. She is a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in New Jersey. Ms. Greco maintains a part time private practice as a psychotherapist in addition to her position at NVOT. Ms. Greco is passionate about issues of wellbeing, mental health, equity and social justice.
Jonathan Harris

Mr. Jonathan Harris is the Supervisor of Related Arts for the Northern Valley Regional HS District. He began his teaching career in 1999 and has been at Northern Valley since 2003. He spent 15 years in the classroom, teaching band, orchestra and general music during that time. His degrees include a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance with Teaching Certification from William Paterson University, a Master of Music in Music Education from the University of Connecticut, and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati.


Michael Ives

Mr. Michael Ives is a Math Teacher and Instructional Coach at Northern Valley Regional HS in Demarest. He received his Bachelor's degree from Bloomsburg University where he majored in Mathematics. Mr. Ives also holds a Master's Degree in Math Education from Montclair State University. Mr. Ives currently serves as the Gifted and Talented advisor at NV Demarest, and has coached varsity swimming, track, and soccer.


Silvia Jost

Ms. Silvia Jost is the K-4 Science Teacher at Hillside School in Closter and previously taught fourth grade in the same school. She received her B.A. in Speech and Theatre with a concentration in Broadcasting, and M.A. in Elementary Education from Montclair State University. She has presented literacy and science/STEM workshops at Northern Valley Curriculum Center, as well as at the Paramus Reading and Writing Institute. Additionally, Ms. Jost has served as a Literacy Coach in the Northern Valley schools.


Brandon Klevence

Mr. Brandon Klevance teaches Technology and Engineering at Northern Valley Demarest. His background is in Product Design, but he's been working in various fabrication shops and schools the last decade.

Steven Korner

Dr. Steven Korner earned his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania and has been appointed to the following positions: director of the child and family unit of the Benjamin Rush Center in Philadelphia; director of psychology and assistant professor of psychiatry, New York Medical College-Metropolitan Hospital Center; and associate professor (tenured) in the doctoral program in child clinical psychology and director of the school psychology program at Seton Hall University prior to working as a psychologist at Harrington Park School. He has been appointed to chair the continuing education and media committees of the New Jersey Psychological Association, was elected president of the Bergen County Association of Licensed Psychologists, and currently is on the Advisory board of the Learning Disability Association of New Jersey. Dr. Korner has either published or presented over 50 papers and was an editorial consultant for the journals Private Practice in Psychotherapy and Psychotherapy in Independent Practice. 


Sheba Koshy

Ms. Sheba Koshy has been a language teacher for 22 years and has taught both in the US and in Asia. She joined the Harrington Park School district in 2003 where she taught Spanish for grades 4-8 for 11 years and K-8 ELL for 19 years. She loves to take any opportunity to support her colleagues as they navigate the waters of teaching English Language Learners of all levels both in the general classroom as well as in the ELL classroom.


Jeff Krapels

Mr. Jeff Krapels is an English teacher at Northern Valley Old Tappan. He is in his 15th year in education, 13+ of which have been in the Northern Valley school system. Mr. Krapels has taught every grade level and various electives in the high school. He's worked as a technology mentor at NVOT and has been a part of both the local and regional professional development committees. He earned his undergraduate degree in English, with a minor in Spanish from the University of Delaware, his MS in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Scranton, and his supervisor's certification from Rowan University,.

Arpi Lajinian

Dr. Arpi Lajinian teaches mathematics and is an instructional coach at Northern Valley Regional HS at Old Tappan. She strives to make mathematics meaningful and accessible to students and shares with them her passion for the beauty and richness of the subject. She is the author and coordinator of the AMTNJ annual High School Mathematics Contest. Dr. Lajinian holds a Master's of Science in Mathematics from the American University of Beirut and a Doctorate in Mathematics Pedagogy from Montclair State University. She remains focused on why students need to learn what they study, and how they learn. Dr. Lajinian continues to take advantage of regional and national conferences and other learning opportunities that allow her to reflect on her practice, share and grow professionally.


Megan Langan

Ms. Megan Langan is a NVOT alumnae and teacher at NVOT. Ms. Langan holds a yoga teacher certification from Ramapo College and a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction certification from the Krame Center of Mindful Living. Ms Langan actively practices yoga and meditation.


Andrew Lefer

Mr. Andrew Lefer has been the 7th grade Social Studies and Civics teacher at Demarest Middle School for the past eight years. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, he is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in American History through The Gilder-Lehrman Institute. He has previously led professional development sessions through the Northern Valley Curriculum Center regarding engagement in social studies classes and also serves as an instructional coach.


Cristina Martell

Ms. Cristina Martell is the Middle School Spanish for Haworth. Ms. Martell received her B.A in Spanish and her B.S in Secondary Education from Bloomsburg University. She also has a M.S. in Educational Technology from Ramapo College. She loves teaching Spanish and sharing her love of the culture and language with others.


Christine Massaro

Ms. Christine Massaro is a Social Studies Teacher at Northern Valley Old Tappan. She received her Bachelor's Degree in History/American Studies from Rutgers College at Rutgers University. Christine has also earned a Master's in Educational Technology from New Jersey City University. She is a certified Apple Teacher, as well as both Level 1 and Level 2 Google Administrator. Ms. Massaro has taught World Civilizations and Cultures, United States History, American Studies, and History of the United States through Film and Media throughout her 12 years at Northern Valley. Ms. Massaro is an assistant basketball coach at OT, where she’s in the Athletic Hall of Fame. She serves as Technology Mentor for the district, as well as advisor for Peer Mentors and Varsity Club. She’s a Youth Minister for her parish, St. Pius X Old Tappan. Ms. Massaro believes in giving back to the community that has given so much to her.
Nadine McGrath Ms. McGrath is the Dean of Students/Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction for Northvale Public Schools. She received a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Elementary and Special Education with middle school certification in Math from Seton Hall University. Mrs. McGrath also received a Master's Degree in Reading from William Paterson University.  After receiving her Master’s degree, she was awarded a scholarship for certification as an Orton Gillingham Teacher through Fairleigh Dickinson University.  She earned her Supervision Certification from William Paterson University. Since joining the Northvale Public School Staff in 2008, Mrs. McGrath has taught special education, Basic Skills, and Orton Gillingham.

Jennifer Mezzina

Dr. Jennifer Mezzina is Director, Data, Compliance and State Reporting for the Northern Valley Regional High School District.

 

Chris Nerkizian

Chris Nerkizian is a special education/ STEM/ gifted and talented/broadcast journalism teacher at Luther Lee Emerson and County Road Schools in Demarest, NJ. He received his B.A. in History from West Virginia University and an M.S. in Education from Long Island University. Chris received his STEM Certification from New Jersey City University and will complete his M.S. in Educational Technology in the spring of 2023. Mr. Nerkizian is a Google Level 1 and 2 Educator, Certified SMART Board instructor, and an Apple Teacher. Mr. Nerkizian enjoys the challenge of effectively incorporating high tech, low tech, and no tech in the classroom and lab.


Danielle Nix

Ms. Danielle Nix is a mathematics teacher at Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest. Ms. Nix received her undergraduate degree in Mathematics from The College of New Jersey. She has also earned an MS in the Natural Sciences from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and, an M. Ed. in Educational Leadership from Bank Street College of Education. Additionally, Ms. Nix holds Supervisory Certification. 


Kathleen O'Flynn

Ms. Kathleen O'Flynn is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. She received a Master's Degree in Education from Montclair State University and a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education/American Studies from Douglass College at Rutgers University. Additionally, Ms. O’Flynn holds Supervisory Certification. Before becoming the Supervisor of Professional Learning at the Office of Curriculum and Instruction, Ms. O’Flynn was an NVCC Staff Developer and also taught at the first and second-grade level. Ms. O’Flynn serves as co-chairperson for the Northern Valley Schools Regional Professional Development Board. She is a graduate of the Learning Forward Academy 2014, a two-year national professional development and leadership program. She has presented at both state and national conferences.


Angela Panagiotopoulos

Ms. Angela Panagiotopoulos is an English teacher at NVD. She received her Bachelor's in English Secondary Education from The College of New Jersey and her Master's in Literature from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. Ms. Panagiotopoulos's favorite parts about teaching are interacting with her students and collaborating with her amazing colleagues.


Anne Paolucci

Ms. Anne Paolucci is the Supervisor of English (ELA) in Northern Valley Regional High School.


Meghan Pleus

Ms. Meghan Pleus teaches first grade in Closter. Prior to working in Closter, Ms. Pleus was a Teach for America corps member in Newark, New Jersey. Ms. Pleus taught for three years in a high-performing charter school where she wrote curricula for mathematics and literacy. Ms. Pleus received her undergraduate degree from Ramapo College of New Jersey and a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has completed professional coursework in the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She is passionate about curriculum writing, professional development, and finding the best ways to engage students in the learning process!


Joseph Polvere

Mr. Joseph Polvere has been a teacher for 20+ years in NJ. He obtained his undergraduate degree in history from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York, in 2000. Mr. Polvere also earned a master's degree in Education at MSMC in 2001. From there, he earned a master's degree in Educational Leadership at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2004. Finally, Mr. Polvere recently completed a third master's degree in History in July of 2020 from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Mr. Polvere began his career as a fourth grade teacher, and also taught fifth grade. He spent one year as an administrator. Mr. Polvere currently teaches 6th Grade Social Studies in Demarest, New Jersey. He serves as an instructional coach for the Northern Valley schools. He is a past recipient of District Teacher of the Year during the years he spent in the Tenafly Public Schools. Mr. Polvere has been an adjunct professor of Education and History since 2006. He currently works for Bergen Community College, New Jersey City University, Montclair University, Seton Hall University, and Mercy College in various semesters. He has taught alternate route education courses for 14 years.
Courtney Reinfried
Ms. Courtney Reinfried is the Media Specialist at Old Tappan High School

 

Rachel Ring

Ms. Rachel Ring, MPH, is a public health educator and consultant specializing in comprehensive sexuality education. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Tufts University and a Master of Public Health from Columbia University with a concentration in human sexuality. She has 20 years of experience working in schools and community-based organizations, developing age-appropriate, thoughtful, and comprehensive health and wellness programming. She has taught on these topics across the lifespan; her students have ranged from pre-K classes to adults. For the past 10 years, Ms. Ring has worked as an independent consultant, working with schools to develop and implement health and sexuality education programs. Her work generally includes a mix of direct teaching, training and support for educators, and support for parents. She is also a parent of two children who are students in the Northern Valley.

 

Ron Romano

Mr. Ron Romano is a retired Social Studies Teacher and District Supervisor at Northern Valley Regional High School.


Kristen Sellix

Ms. Kristen Sellix is the Wellness Coordinator at Northern High School - Demarest joining the staff in 2020. Ms. Sellix is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master's in Social Work from New York University, and a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Ramapo College of NJ. Her responsibilities as the Wellness Coordinator include confidential counseling, crisis intervention, and referral to services for students in grades 9-12. Ms. Sellix works collaboratively with the student assistance coordinator in the wellness center as part of the guidance department's comprehensive school counseling program. In addition to being a school social worker, Ms. Sellix practices clinical social work at a private practice in Bergen County. Her professional affiliations include the NJ Association of School Social Workers and the National Association of Social Workers.


Virginia Senande

Ms. Ginny Senande is the Supervisor of Professional Learning at the Office of Curriculum and Instruction. Ms. Senande received her Bachelor's Degree in Spanish and Political Science as well as her Translation Certificate from Rutgers College at Rutgers University and her Master's Degree in Education: Administration and Supervision from St. Peter’s College. Additionally, Ms. Senande holds Supervisor and Principal Certification. Before joining the Northern Valley Curriculum Center, Ms. Senande taught high school Spanish and served as an Administrative Intern, Tech Mentor, and Acting Assistant Principal. Ms. Senande was most recently the Learning Systems Technology Integrator for the Northern Valley High Schools. Ms. Senande has also served on the Local and Regional Professional Development Committees and the Regional Professional Development Board, and as an Instructional Coach and Consultant to the Northern Valley Curriculum Center. 


Debbie Shapiro

Ms. Debbie Shapiro was a Northern Valley Regional High School English teacher for 20 years and holds an M. Ed. from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education and a Certification in Positive Psychology from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health where she studied Positive Psychology with Tal Ben-Shahar.


Erica Sposa

Ms. Erica Sposa is an English teacher at Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan and has been in the classroom since 2003 at both the middle and high school levels. She holds a Master's Degree from St. Peter's University.


Brittany Steele

Ms. Brittany Steele has been employed by the Closter School District since September 2016. She has worked with grades 5, 7, & 8 as a special education teacher. She is currently working on her master's degree in literacy.


Kelly Stevens

Ms. Kelly Stevens is the Supervisor of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for the Demarest Public Schools. In addition, she has taught second grade, as well as a second through fourth-grade language and learning disabilities class. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Rhode Island and a Master's of Professional Studies in Elementary and Special Education from Manhattanville College. She has also completed coursework in the area of Educational Technology. In addition to classroom teaching, Ms. Stevens is also an instructional coach in the Northern Valley, as well as a trained mentor. She has also served on curriculum writing committees for both Language Arts and Science.

Mark Torrie Mr. Mark Torrie is a physical education and health teacher in Harrington Park for over 15 years and has been a varsity soccer coach for more than 10 years in the Northern Valley. He has a Bachelor's of Exercise and Movement Science from William Paterson University, as well as a Master's in Educational Leadership from Ramapo College. Mr. Torrie's own personal health and wellness transformation drives his desire to help students improve outcomes physically, mentally, and social/emotionally.

Susan Van Buskirk

Ms. Susan Van Buskirk is a passionate educator with a broad background in the classroom and on the stage. A graduate of Smith College (BA, Psychology, Theatre Arts and Art History) and William Paterson University (MA-Teaching). Ms Buskirk is currently a Theatre teacher and director of Golden Arts company at Northern Valley Regional HS at Old Tappan. Before joining the staff at NVOT, Susan spent 20 years in private and public schools, teaching middle school language arts, gifted and talented, and drama. She is a 4-time Winner (2007-2010) of the Paper Mill Playhouse Educational Impact Award, which recognizes excellence in "developing teaching curriculum for students." Her educational work has been featured on FOX5 Good Day New York. In addition to her work with Old Tappan, Ms. Buskirk has directed students at Saddle River Day School, Fieldstone Middle School (Montvale, NJ), Travell School (Ridgewood, NJ), and Garage Theater at Bergen Community College. She has also worked as a consultant for Luna Stages in West Orange, teaching workshops for arts educators. Ms. Buskirk is also the proud owner and artistic director of Forbidden Theatre Company which creates theatrical opportunities for high school and college students to explore social issues and challenges through theatre.


Amy Wilcox

Ms. Amy Wilcox is the Director of Instrumental Music at Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan where she directs the Concert Band, Wind Symphony and Orchestra. In addition to the curricular ensembles, Ms. Wilcox is the director of the Golden Knights Marching Band, the NVOT Jazz Band and serves as Producer and Conductor for the All School Musical Program. During her tenure at NVOT, the ensembles have received consistent Gold ratings at the North Jersey Region Band Festival as well as various competitions in the tri-state area. In addition to the performance ensembles, Ms. Wilcox has helped to co-found the first ever Northern Valley Winter Guard which serves both Northern Valley Demarest and Old Tappan. Prior to NVOT, Ms. Wilcox was the Director of Instrumental Music at Tenakill Middle School in Closter, New Jersey for five years.


Ms. Wilcox has been actively involved in county and region organizations throughout her teaching career. She currently serves as the audition chair for the Music Educators of Bergen County High School County Honors Band, has served as the audition chair for NJSMA’s Junior Region Band, and was the 2011 Bergen County Middle School Band Conductor. Ms. Wilcox received her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from The College of New Jersey and her Master of Arts in Conducting from Montclair State University under the direction of Dr. Thomas McCauley. When she is not teaching, Ms. Wilcox enjoys training for long distance triathlons and running events and spending time with her family and cat Milo.

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