JENNIFER SINAL SWINGLER
Dr. Jennifer Sinal Swingler currently serves Fairfield Public Schools as the Program Director of Secondary Literacy and Learning. Her twenty years in education have provided her opportunities prek-12 including working as a middle school and high school teacher, a building leader, and a central office administrator. In addition, Jenn is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport in the Educational Leadership program where she works with sixth year and doctoral students.
Cathy Sosnowski has worked in public education for thirty-six years. She has been a teacher, department coordinator, department chair, assistant principal, assistant principal of teaching and learning and a director of curriculum, instruction, assessment for secondary English and Social Studies. She is an active member in the New England Association of Teachers of English where she has presented multiple times. Cathy has spent the last six years working with teachers to create trauma-informed classrooms and teacher self-care. Currently, Cathy works as an adjunct professor at CCSU in the M.A.T. program working with pre-service ELA teachers.
Vice President & Membership Chair
Dina Secchiaroli is a Professional Learning Specialist with over 23 years of experience as an educator, facilitating learning for both adults and students. She specializes in literacy, curriculum design, blended learning, project-based learning, PLCs, data teams, and instructional coaching at ACES Professional Development and School Improvement (PDSI). Dina is a reader for the Foundational Skills for Evaluators and is a certified Cognitive Coach™. Dina has co-written a chapter on scientific argumentation in Toward Inclusion of all Learners through Science Teacher Education and has five curriculum units published through Yale New Haven Teachers Institute.
Past Vice President
Kris Nystrom is the Director of English at Regional School District 19 and English Methods instructor for the CT State Department of Higher Education Alternative Route to Certification (ARC). Kris taught high school for twenty-one years and worked in child psychiatric education for five. He has taught courses in humanities, art history, English composition, and education philosophy at Goodwin College, Southern Connecticut State University, and Central Connecticut State University. He completed his BA in English at Salisbury University; MALS in humanities at Wesleyan University; and Ed.D. at Central Connecticut University, where his research focused on adolescent literacy.
Martha Curran is Assistant Principal at Polson Middle School in Madison where she taught language arts for 20 years. She also served as the K-8 ELA program coordinator for the district. Martha was a 2018 Finalist for the Connecticut State Teacher of the Year Program, and that same year, she was chosen as the 2018 CAS Middle Level Educator of the Year. Outside the classroom, Martha has facilitated workshops on Teacher Leadership and Adult Learning for NNSTOY (The National Network of State Teachers of the Year). Prior to teaching, she worked for 15 years in public relations, marketing, and sales training.
Lucia Fonseca is a grade 6 language arts teacher at Thomas Edison Middle School, an ACES Magnet. As a content leader for ACES, Lucia writes district-wide ELA curriculum. She is deeply involved by working with teachers and school leaders to implement culturally and socially responsive, Common Core aligned units of study. In addition, she is committed to developing children’s love of learning, reading, writing and communicating. She earned a BA in Journalism at Marist College; MA in Curriculum & Instruction at Fairfield University; and Sixth Year Diploma in Education Leadership at Southern Connecticut State University. She lives in Prospect, CT and enjoys traveling the world.
Equity & Inclusion Officer
Aiyah Moustafa teaches language arts at King Philip Middle School in West Hartford. As an Equity and Diversity Council member, Aiyah is passionate about planning and implementing anti-racism lessons that focus on SEL and Social Justice Education. She is involved with parent partnership groups, professional development, community outreach, and curriculum design. In addition, she is committed to fostering and encouraging all students’ love of reading by advising the Kids’ Lit Quiz club, coordinating nErDcamp 2019 and 2020, and collaborating with other teachers to coordinate author visits within the district. She has a Bachelor of English and Master of Education from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
Nicole Martone has taught English for 19 years and served as a high school English department head, a grades 6-12 ELA instructional leader, and an administrator for academic programs. She has a PhD specializing in Educational Leadership from Lesley University, a 6th-Year Diploma in Educational Leadership and an MAT in English Education from Quinnipiac University, and a BS in English Education from SCSU. She has experience at middle school, high school, and college levels. She has also been recognized by NCTE as an Emerging Leaders Fellow and by Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education as a Master Teacher. Her interests include supporting the growth and development of teachers and students, by fostering effective teaching and learning practices and by promoting efforts that support and sustain positive school and student-learning climates, respectively.
Julie Sochacki is a Clinical Associate Professor of English and Director of the Secondary English Education Program at University of Hartford. She is a former urban educator and has the Connecticut credentials as an ELA teacher, literacy specialist, and intermediate administrator. Julie holds a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and is also a member of the Connecticut Bar. In her supervising/coaching practice she meets teacher candidates where they are and moves them forward with wisdom, motivation, and grace. Julie is piloting two resilience courses this semester and is in her second season of her podcast on Apple Podcasts, The Resilient Teacher Project. Julie is a 200 hour Kripalu Yoga teacher; she also brings mindfulness into the classroom. Her courses are engaging, collaborative and reflective. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys.
Rob Ford, a 6-12 ELA Leader for North Branford Public Schools and a district teacher-of-the-year in 2017-18, has taught high school English for 15 years. He has published articles in The English Journal and The Explicator, and also presented at several national and international conferences, including conferences on educational technology as well as current topics in ELA at NCTE and NEATE. His mostly-updated CV can be found here. He regularly reviews articles for The English Journal and The Leaflet and also edits the newsletter for NEATE.
Member at Large & Newsletter Editor
Gina Derasmo teaches English at New Britain High School. She has been lucky to teach at the elementary and middle school levels within the Consolidated School District of New Britain, as well. She serves as a TEAM mentor for the district, instilling confidence and guiding both current and prospective teachers to realize their full potential as difference-makers in children's lives. Her commitment to providing an inclusive and equitable education can be seen in her involvement with several curriculum revision committees, including the development of an Independent Reading Seminar, the current Senior Capstone, and the ninth grade Foundations of English curriculum. She earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Connecticut; MS in Education from the University of Bridgeport; and Sixth Year Certificate in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University.
Member at Large
Meredith Sinclair is an associate professor of Secondary English Education at Southern Connecticut State University and a former high school English teacher. She has a BA in English, MA in Teaching and Ph.D. in Education, all from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research and teaching focuses on critical, anti-racist pedagogy and critical literacy as a component of justice education for adolescents, pre-service teachers, and practicing educators. She is the co-director of the SCSU Educational Justice Collective and a founding organizer of Change from Within, a professional development model for educational justice. Meredith lives in New Haven with her husband and 4 children.
Member at Large
Joanne R. White, Ph.D. is the K-12 Literacy/English Language Arts Education Consultant at the Connecticut State Department of Education. Her primary role is implementing policies carried out through the State Board of Education rule and Connecticut statute. Joanne’s key responsibilities include developing, implementing, and managing policy programs. She also creates guidance documents and provides technical assistance and content expertise to support public school districts and charter schools.
Member at Large
Jaime is a lifelong resident of Hamden, CT—the Land of the Sleeping Giant. She has been a high school English teacher in CT public schools for 24 years, and she currently teaches world literature, American literature, and creative writing at Haddam-Killingworth High School in Higganum, CT. She has attended The Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching for several summers, twice serving as the program’s Teaching Fellow. Jaime has presented on the topic of using poetry in the high school classroom at the New England Association of Teachers of English conference. She has also attended Tony Hoagland’s Five Powers of Poetry workshop in Chicago and the NEH Steinbeck Institute in Monterey. Jaime is active as a Dementia Friends Champion, helping people gain a clearer understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and people who live with the illness. She is also studying to become certified in Therapeutic Recreation.