When schools succeed,
Meet the RACs
Spring Banks serves as a Turnaround Coach for the NJDOE's Region 1 & 2 Regional Achievement Center. An educator for 35 years, she began her career as a language arts teacher in the Elizabeth and Plainfield School Districts prior to going to the Essex County Vocational Technical School District (ECVTS). She served as a language arts teacher for twenty-one years then became a supervisor for the language arts, social studies, performing arts and physical education/health departments for the district before being appointed assistant to the superintendent. While there, Spring assisted with implementing the district's first summer reading program which infused literacy across language arts and social studies content areas. She also played a role in creating a partnership with the Newark Museum which resulted in the district being awarded a four-year grant in the amount of $400,000 to assist teachers in infusing art in their classrooms as students in grades 10 and 12 participated in gallery and studio experiences at the Newark Museum. In addition, one of the four high schools in the district was selected as a Distinguished Title 1 School during Spring's tenure there and several years later, that school was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. After retiring from ECVTS, Ms. Banks served as a supervisor for student teachers for New Jersey City University and a teacher coach for Seton Hall University. She then began working for the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) as a Collaborative Assessment Planning for Achievement Consultant (CAPA) and as a Network Turnaround Officer (NTO) in 2011.
Kathy M. Brantley
Kathy M. Brantley is an Intervention Specialist at the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center. In her role, Ms. Brantley is responsible for assisting schools in Essex and Hudson counties in implementing research-based programs to support students two or more grade levels behind in literacy and/or mathematics. Prior to joining the NJDOE, Ms. Brantley worked for Newark Public Schools in a number of roles over the course of 15 years as a teacher, Literacy Coach, Intervention Specialist, and School Operations Manager. Ms. Brantley earned her BA from Morgan State University, her MA in Administration and Supervision and a MEd in Critical Thinking from Montclair State University. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership (EdD). In her spare time, Ms. Brantley enjoys traveling.
Mary Ann Capetola
Mary Ann Capetola is the State Instructional Specialist for the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center. In her role, she assists school instructional staff to improve student achievement through the continuous improvement of instruction. With her RAC team colleagues, Ms. Capetola assists schools in identifying effective instructional practices, implementing a high-quality standards-based curriculum and assessment system, and utilizing a school walk-through process for improving instruction. An educator for nearly 30 years, Ms. Capetola began her career as a teacher in the Union City and Elizabeth School Districts. Prior to joining the RAC, Ms. Capetola worked at NJDOE in various capacities. In the Office of Evaluation, she helped research and develop the blueprint for New Jersey's Teacher Evaluation System. Ms. Capetola also worked in the Office of Leadership Development, facilitating professional learning communities for administrative staff throughout New Jersey. She has also served as the Director of Reading First, a K-3 literacy initiative. Ms. Capetola earned her B.A. from St. Peter's University with certification in Elementary Education and Reading and her M.A. in Urban Education from New Jersey City University with concentration in English as a Second Language. In her spare time, Ms. Capetola enjoys activities like baking, reading, solving word puzzles and, most importantly, spending time with her family and friends.
Janice Gabbidon is the Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center serving Priority and Focus Schools in Essex and Hudson counties. In her role, she supports schools with the development and implementation of their School Improvement Plans (SIPs) and work closely with the Executive Director on RAC team coordination and various school/district level projects. Prior to joining the RAC team, Janice worked with the offices of School Improvement and Abbott Services as an Education Specialist and Interim Manager. She has served on CAPA teams, NJQSAC review teams, assisted schools and districts with the development of various plans, and collaborated on school and district level budget reviews. Additionally, Janice worked at Drew University in the Educational Opportunity Scholars Program providing academic advisement and counseling services to students considered at-risk. She graduated from Clifford J. Scott High School in East Orange, New Jersey, earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and her Masters degree in Counseling in Higher Education from Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.
Bruce Henecker is the Data Specialist for the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center. In his role, Mr. Henecker assists the 38 schools in the Essex and Hudson County Regions to collect, analyze, and use multiple measures of school data to improve student achievement. Prior to joining the NJDOE, Bruce worked as a teacher, technology coordinator and supervisor of assessment and evaluation in the Jersey City Public Schools, in particular Liberty High School. Throughout Bruce's career, he has consistently worked with New Jersey public schools in matters of integrating technology and education. He will continue to do so in his role as data specialist. Bruce holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism and Mass Media from Rutgers University. He also has a Master of Arts in English from Montclair State University.
Dr. Ray Lindgren is a math specialist at the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center. In his role he works with Priority and Focus Schools in Essex and Hudson Counties where mathematics has been identified as an area of needed improvement. Prior to joining the RAC, Dr. Lindgren was a teacher and school and central office administrator with the Newark Public Schools, and more recently was the Director for Educational Program Planning with the New Jersey Schools Development Authority. Dr. Lindgren earned a BA in mathematics from Montclair State University, an MS in mathematics from Purdue University, and an EdD in Public Administration from Rutgers University. He is an avid fan of high school and college sports.
Picture coming soon!
Josephine McDowell, Ed.D.
Dr. Josephine McDowell is a State Turnaround Coach for the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center. In her role, she works directly with five Priority and Focus Schools – four schools in East Orange: Campus High, Cicely Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts, John L. Costly Middle, and Patrick F. Healy Middle, and West Caldwell Technical School in West Caldwell – to ensure that interventions from the school improvement plans are cohesive, coordinated, and designed to promote sustained achievement. In addition, she works collaboratively with the RAC team to assist principals in leading the school turnaround effort. Prior to joining the RAC team, Dr. McDowell worked as a Network Turnaround Coach for the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG). Additionally, for many years she worked for the Newark Public Schools and has served as Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, Special Assistant in the Office of Innovation and Change, and School Principal. In her pursuit in supporting excellence, she has served as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University where she taught courses in their Administration and Supervision program as well as completing New Jersey Leaders to Leaders Mentor Training for new administrators. She holds a Master's degree as a Reading Specialist, certification in Education Administration from Kean University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Seton Hall University. In her spare time she enjoys researching family history, fishing, and spending time with her grandchildren.
Ana M. Mistral, Ph.D.
Dr. Ana M. Mistral works as Language Arts/ ELL Specialist at the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center. In this capacity, and in cooperation with other members of the team, she assists Focus and Priority Schools in Hudson and Essex County with their School Improvement Plans, professional development, instruction, and assessment in the areas of English Language Arts and Bilingual/ESL Education. Before joining the Regional Achievement Center, Dr. Mistral worked for the Jersey City Public Schools as Supervisor of Bilingual/ESL and World Languages. As such, she participated in the yearly audit of the district's bilingual/ESL program as well as teacher mentoring and evaluation, and all curricular decisions concerning the program. As an extension of her professional work, Dr. Mistral co-chaired the North Jersey Bilingual Supervisors organization for two terms and was a member of the state advisory committees on assessment, bilingual education, and parental involvement. In 2004 Dr. Mistral was appointed a member of the Governor's Task Force on Reading in the Middle Grades. She was previously a member of the Governor's Committee to establish a Latino educational agenda. In May 2007, Dr. Mistral received the Fred Carrigg Leadership Award in recognition of her lifetime commitment to the education of ELLs and her advocacy efforts on behalf of immigrants. Dr. Mistral has taught graduate and undergraduate courses since 1983 at Fordham University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Kean University and New Jersey City University. She also worked as Assistant Professor at Kean University, Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education for three years. She has done research on the assessment of high school ELLs in a big urban district and co-authored the NJTESOL/NJBE position paper on literacy: Literacy and English Language Learners in New Jersey. Dr. Mistral received a BA in Education from NJCU, a MA in Bilingual Education from Kean, a MA in Spanish Language and Culture from Salamanca University, Spain, and a Ph.D. from Fordham University with specialization in language, literacy and learning. Dr. Mistral holds New Jersey certifications as elementary and reading teacher, ESL and bilingual teacher, supervisor, and principal.
Bio coming soon!
Stephen V. Peters
Stephen V. Peters serves as a Turnaround Coach for the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center, bringing over 15 years of experience in teaching/teacher training, program development and school leadership to this role working directly with Priority and Focus Schools. Having served in both the public education system and education-focused non-profits, Stephen has led people and organizations through the process of innovation and change which have fostered double-digit gains in student achievement. He has served as a New York City Teaching Fellow with The New Teacher Project and as an Assistant Principal with the New York City Department of Education.
Serving as a principal in Newark, Stephen provided instructional and organizational leadership to a multi-campus high school funded through New Jersey's School Improvement Grant.
As principal of a dual language elementary school, Stephen guided the organization through the implementation of a new teacher evaluation system and fostered a school-wide practice in making data-driven decisions to employ and support school improvement. In his work with Turnaround For Children, Inc. Stephen trained teachers and school leaders of high needs urban schools in the implementation of high-leverage instructional and organizational practices designed to strengthen instruction, build school culture and increase leadership capacity of school based teams.
As an author, Stephen's research on the impact of gender and ethnicity on leadership perceptions has been published in Journal of Basic and Applied Psychology.
Stephen earned a Bachelor's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Lincoln University of Pennsylvania; a Master's of Art in Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a Master's of Arts in Urban Education Studies from Adelphi University. Stephen also possesses certification in School Leadership from the College of Saint Rose and another in Conflict Resolution from the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Carlos Rodriguez is the Culture and Climate Specialist for the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center. In this role, he works directly with Priority and Focus Schools in Essex and Hudson counties. His primary responsibility is to ensure that schools create and maintain a positive learning environment and develop a culture of high expectations. In addition, Carlos also supports schools with the development and implementation of their School Improvement Plans (SIPs) and works closely with related offices, schools and districts on various projects. Prior to joining the RAC team, Carlos worked with the NJDOE's offices of School Improvement and Abbott Services as an education specialist. He has served on CAPA teams and NJQSAC review teams, assisted schools and districts with the development of various plans, and collaborated on school and district-level budget reviews. Carlos has earned both his B.A. in Communications and M.A. in Counseling Services from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.
Brooke Rosenkrantz is the Project Manager for the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center. In her role, she works to achieve meaningful results for students and schools by assisting in and monitoring the school's implementation of their individualized School Improvement Plan. In addition, she helps organize the operations of the RAC3 office, supporting the instructional specialists on her team to most effectively and efficiently work with schools 90% of their time. Prior to joining the RAC team at the NJDOE, Brooke worked with schools and educators in New York City, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Tennessee in a variety of roles, including working on educator recruitment and serving as a founding project manager for a school network literacy department. Brooke earned her Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College and her Master of Education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, where she graduated from the Education Policy and Management program.