When schools succeed,
Meet the RACs
State Turnaround Coach
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.
Bonnie Kole is a literacy specialist at the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center (RAC). In her role, she works with Priority and Focus Schools in Essex and Hudson counties, where literacy has been identified as an area in need of improvement. Prior to joining the RAC Team, Bonnie has worked as a classroom teacher. teaching on every level from elementary through graduate school; a reading specialist; chairperson of the English Department at New Brunswick High School; and a supervisor of curriculum and instruction at state-approved private special education schools. Bonnie has also worked as an associate editor for a major school textbook publisher; served as adjunct faculty at The College of New Jersey; and taught courses in content area literacy and appraisal and diagnostics of reading disabilities. She has also recently served as a pre-service educational mentor at Montclair State University. Bonnie is a Dodge Fellow, has earned her B.A. in Political Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University and did her graduate work at The College of New Jersey, earning an M.Ed. in Developmental Reading and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership. She holds NJ state standard certifications as an Elementary School Teacher, Teacher of Social Studies, Teacher of Reading, Reading Specialist, Supervisor and a Certificate of Eligibility for Principal.
State Turnaround Coach
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.
State Intervention Specialist
Natalie Pereira is an ELL Specialist for NJDOE's Regional Achievement Center 3, which encompasses Essex and Hudson counties. In her role, she works with Priority and Focus schools to strengthen the instructional programs for English Language Learners and help close the achievement gap. Natalie works closely with administrators, testing coordinators, district supervisors and teachers to provide specialized support in all areas. Prior to becoming an ELL Specialist, Natalie worked as an ESL site-based coordinator, handling all the on-site testing, data collection, scheduling and development of tools to enhance the Bilingual and ESL programs in place. Her additional responsibilities included curriculum development, test coordination, training, mentoring of new bilingual teachers and advocating for equitable access to high-quality education. Natalie also worked almost exclusively in urban areas for 16 years as a public school teacher. Her entire teaching career was spent educating English Language Learners of all ages in Northern New Jersey. Natalie holds a B.A.in Psychology, Rutgers University, and an M. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with ESL Specialization from American College of Education. In her free time, Natalie travels extensively to experience new cultures and languages, fosters and rehabilitates abandoned and neglected dogs, photographs her life journey and takes time to enjoy life's simple but beautiful moments with her dog, family and friends.
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.
Debbie Schepis is an Education Planner at NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center serving Priority and Focus Schools in Essex and Hudson counties. In her role, she serves as a support person for the RAC office. Debbie began her career in the Department of Education in 1988 with the Regional Curriculum Services Unit (RCSU)-North, which then became the Academy-North. She has also worked for the PIRC-North, Abbott Services, the Bergen County Office and CAPA. Debbie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Drew University.
Bruce Titen, M.A. is a Math Specialist at the NJDOE's Region 3 Regional Achievement Center (RAC3). 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. He also trains teacher on integrating technology into their classrooms using SMART boards and Promethean boards. Prior to joining the RAC, Bruce worked as a teacher in grades 5-12, and was a certified SMART trainer, Master Teacher, Department Chair of Mathematics, and a Supervisor of Mathematics. Throughout his career he has consistently worked to integrate technology into his classroom and train others to do so as well. Bruce holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Education from Brandeis University. He has a Masters of Science in School Psychology from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. He completed his K-12 math, School Psychologist, and School Service Personnel certifications at Montclair State University. Bruce completed the NJEXCEL program for Educational Administration in 2008. Bruce holds certifications for Elementary Education, School Psychology, School Service Personnel, Mathematics K-12, Supervisor, Principal, and School Administrator. When he is not working with teachers and administrators he is spending time with his wife, four daughters, and his dog.