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2022 NJAFPA Annual Spring Conference

March 15, 2022 | 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Rider University 2083 Lawrenceville Rd, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648


Caring for our School Family for a Safe and Successful Return

Register as an exhibitor for the annual NJAFPA Virtual Conference.

The primary conference audience consists of District Administrators, Directors, Program Coordinators, Building Principals, and Teachers who coordinate the use of Federal Funds (Title I, II, III, IV) to support student achievement. Workshop content and instruction is geared to a level that is appropriate for the target audience.



  • 8:00 am – 9:30 am – Networking & Registration
  • 9:30 am – 9:45 am – Welcome – Ana Washington, NJAFPA President
  • 9:45 am – 10:45 am – Keynote: Dr. Tracey Severns, Teach4Results
  • 10:45 am – 11:00 am – Break
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm – Session I
  • 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm – Lunch – Cavalla Room
  • 12:45 pm – 1:15 pm – EdConnective – Cavalla Room
  • 1:15 pm – 1:30 pm – Scholarship Information – Cavalla Room
  • 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm – Session II
  • 2:30 pm – 2:45 pm – Break
  • 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm – Closing Session: Gina Hernandez, Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse NJ
  • 3:45 pm – 4:00 pm – Get to Know Your Association



We are seeking dynamic, engaging, and knowledgeable presenters for the 2021 NJAFPA Annual Conference!


The primary conference audience consists of District Administrators, Directors, Program Coordinators, Building Principals, and Teachers who coordinate the use of Federal Funds (Title I, II, III, IV) to support student achievement. Workshop content and instruction should be geared to a level that is appropriate for the target audience.


Proposals are solicited for a 60-minute, in-person presentation that is interactive, creative, dynamic, and feature best practices in the area of:


The presentation time frame will include introductions, presentation material, question and answer session, and evaluation

Attendees should leave with specific knowledge and skills about various aspects of the topic and how it relates to the planning, implementation, evaluation, and sustainability of using Federal Funds.

Presentations should provide attendees with educational value and refrain from promoting a specific business, product, or service.

Resilient Leader: The Power Within You

by Gina Hernandez

How is it that some people with adverse childhood and traumatic experiences develop into strong, powerful advocates for others, while others seem to struggle to survive?  Gina will lead you through a look at what the brain science tells us and how resilience is developed.  This engaging sessions will uncover and explore how each of us use our experiences to become the leaders we are today and why connections and relationship are the key to healing even the most challenging environments.

Biography for Gina Hernandez, M.A., LPC, CCTP

Gina Hernandez, was appointed by the Board to the position of Executive Director of  Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey and the Child Wellness Institute in April 2021.  Gina has extensive experience in nonprofit leadership, clinical services and program evaluation.

Gina joined the staff of PCA-NJ in 2005 and worked in a variety of roles throughout the agency.  As Senior Vice President for 7 years, she was responsible for development, oversight and evaluation of all prevention programs, now serving more than 60,000 families.  She has been published for her research as a co-principal investigator in several publications including the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior and Prevention Science for her work on addressing maternal depression and substance use disorders. In 2018, Gina was recognized as “A Woman of Achievement” by the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs for her dedication, commitment and extraordinary work on behalf of children and families in New Jersey.

Also under Gina’s leadership, the Child Wellness Institute (ChildWIN) was created in 2019 to assist and support even more children and families. It was designed to offer healing centered and resilience building skills to professionals, children and families in New Jersey and beyond.  To date, ChildWIN has partnered with more than 30 schools statewide and is working to expand its services.

Prior to PCA-NJ, Gina worked at the Edison Job Corps Academy and Alternatives, Inc in Somerset County and continues to volunteer at several nonprofits throughout the state. She started her career in television and radio broadcasting at WMGM-TV in South Jersey.

Gina has a BA in Communications, an M. in Counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She is also a Certified Infant Massage Instructor, holds a Certificate in Play Therapy and earned a Post Master’s Certificate in Trauma: Clinical Foundations. She is a co-developer of the Trauma Transformation Initiative and co-author of the Healing Hearts and Building Resilience curriculum.

Leading Adaptive Change:  The Answer is the Questions  by Dr. Tracey Severns 

In Leadership on the Line (2002), Heifetz & Linsky distinguish between “technical challenges” that can be resolved by using current know-how, and “adaptive challenges” that require people throughout the organization to use new ways to solve unprecedented problems.  When serving as a leader during times of rapid change and uncertainty, like during and after a pandemic, anxiety and adaptive challenges abound.  Heifetz and Linsky warn, “When fears and passions run high, people can become desperate as they look to authorities for the answers. This dynamic renders adaptive contexts inherently dangerous.” 

Despite the demands for immediate answers, educators must stop doing, stop knowing, and start asking.  This requires three things:  the skill and the will to ask questions, and knowing what to do with the questions once they’ve been raised.  During this highly interactive session, participants will gain knowledge and skills in:

  1. Understanding and applying the research on question-centered leadership.
  2. Using the “Why, What if, How” framework to lead a process of collaborative inquiry that promotes reflection, elicits engagement, creates possibilities, and produces new ways of thinking and acting.
  3. Cultivating a culture of inquiry that uses questions to fuel a continuous cycle of improvement.
  4. Developing the competence and confidence to lead a variety of question-based activities.

Biography for Tracey Severns, Ed.D.

Dr. Tracey Severns has dedicated her career to the service of students, teachers and administrators since 1992.  She has served as a classroom aide, special education teacher, vice principal, principal, director of student performance, superintendent, adjunct professor, and Chief Academic Officer for the New JerseyDepartment of Education. 

Over the course of her career, Dr. Severns has received numerous awards for her outstanding service and achievements.  In 2011, Dr. Severns received the Middle Level Leadership Award and was selected as New Jersey’s Visionary Principal of the Year.  In the same year, Dr. Severns was named a National Distinguished Principal.  In 2012, while Principal of Mt. Olive Middle School, her school was named a National School of Change, one of only six schools in the United States to receive this distinguished honor.

In 2014, Dr. Severns was named Educator of the Year by the Peace Islands Institute and was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Georgian Court University.

Currently, Dr. Severns works with individuals and school districts across the nation, providing educational consulting, professional development and coaching services through her company, Teach4Results.  Dr. Severns also offers individualized job coaching services that include resume writing, interviewing skills, and creating administrative entry plans.

Creating a Learning Acceleration Plan for Grade Level Instruction and Asking the Right Questions of Your Data

Presented by:  Kenneth Tam

Ken is a thought partner on addressing unfinished learning through acceleration, and implementing change management strategies.




Presentation Goals & Description:

How do I move students forward, according to the latest research by TNTP? Classes receiving learning acceleration struggled less this year and completed 27% more grade-level lessons than remediated classrooms.  As a leader, how can I tell the difference between acceleration and remediation and utilize data to inform my instruction?  

In this workshop, we’ll explore and develop a common definition of acceleration and remediation and engage in a series of “hands on” tasks to build our ability to distinguish between the different methods for addressing unfinished learning.  We’ll also explore how to ask the right questions of our data and engage in a data chat process with our teachers to help them identify their students’ strengths and opportunities for growth.

This session will help Federal Program Administrators design programs that focuses on acceleration and to determine the efficacy of such programs.

Accelerating Learning via Online and Traditional Tutoring Opportunities

Presented by:

  • Dr. Nicole Hazel, Chief Academic Officer, Freehold Regional High School District
  • Bruce Henecker, Director of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Freehold Regional High School District, @bhenecker



Presentation Goals & Description:

This session will review strategies employed by the Freehold Regional High School District to meet students where they are in terms of providing federally-funded supplemental academic support. Specifically, this session will review how we have leveraged Google Meet, traditional, in-person tutoring, and two different online, on-demand tutoring services to ensure all students have an opportunity for additional academic support beyond the school day.

Our wrap-around tutoring program leverages federal funding to provide students with much needed academic support.

Redesigning New Teacher Induction to Better Meet New Teacher Needs

Presented by:

  • Dr. Thoma D’Eia, Director of Operations/Chief Talent Office, Belleville Public School District,, @BPSCTO
  • Diana Kucko
  • AnnaMaria Contella



Presentation Goals & Description:

By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

~Consider their use of title II funds for retention of new teachers utilizing in-house professional development and support;

~Have a better understanding of new teacher needs through responsive and reflective induction practices that focus on highly-localized needs and processes;

~Rethink multi-year induction practices and revitalize such practices to allow for peer-driven professional development to foster both individual and group needs.

This presentation aligns with the mission of the NJAFPA in that it provides support and guidance of title funding use through peer-delivered professional development.

Increasing Family Partnerships and Student Engagement Through School Wide Programs

Presented by:

  • Neel Desai, Principal, Piscataway School District, Neel Desai is currently a Principal in Piscataway Township. He proudly serves a diverse K-3 school and leads various family engagement workshops.
  • Ms. Lisa Naturile, Grade One Teacher
  • Ms. Jennifer Aiello, Inclusion Special Education Teacher



Presentation Goals & Description:

Family engagement is an ongoing process that when implemented, increases active participation, communication, and collaboration between families, schools, and communities.  With family partnerships, effective school wide programs such as a PBSIS program can be implemented. In this workshop, participants will: 

– Become more aware of strategies that will increase family partnerships.

– Develop an understanding of what PBSIS is and how it can enhance the mission of a school.

– Develop an understanding of how to engage families with the PBSIS program.

Teachers and administrators need tools and resources in order to successfully promote and implement student and family engagement which directly impacts school and district goals.

Teachers and administrators need tools and resources in order to successfully promote and implement student and family engagement which directly impacts school and district goals.

Addressing Learning Acceleration through Summer Opportunities

Presented by:

  • Meagan Drapkin, Director of Curriculum and Instruction K-12/Supervisor of PreK, Keyport Public Schools,  @KPSDCurriculum



Presentation Goals & Description:

The presentation will review using ESSER funds to enhance learning through a summer enrichment academy K-12. The presentation will highlight how differentiated interventions and social emotional development can be integrated to help address learning loss. Additionally, how funds can be used for STEAM integration to support Sustainable, NJ. The importance of engaging teachers by asking for their expertise in summer lab courses they would be interested in teaching as well as including the parents and community members in family ecosystem activities. 

The presentation aligns with the mission of NJAFPA by using ESSER funds to address SEL, Academic Intervention, and Family Engagement through summer opportunities and ESSER funds.