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Where are our grads now?

In May 2011, our program was well represented at TCNJ graduation. Jessica Kerley, Kristina Avisado, and Kimberly Hart received their Master’s degrees and successfully completed the Urban Education Program. These three women are truly pioneers. They jumped in with both feet before while we were still building the program. Their commitment to children and public schools is unwavering. All three of them completed impressive teacher research during student teaching, volunteered many hours to local schools and are poised to become great teachers.

Profiles of our graduates

Jessica Kerley (’10) examined how valuing children’s local knowledge can positively impact her teaching. This work was subsequently published in a professional journal called Talking Points. She is currently teaching Math and Science ESL in Pleasantville, NJ.

Kimberly Hart (’11), the very first person to ever land in my office with interest in this program, did a comprehensive case study of a student with selective mutism. Ms. Hart’s first position was in Edison and is currently teaching in Cranford, NJ as a 7th and 8th grade Math teacher.

Kristina Avisado (’11), who was also the recipient of an outstanding student award from the Department of English as a Second Language, studied classroom management strategies in her classroom. She began her career as an ESL teacher for grades 3-8 in Trenton, NJ. Currently, she is teaching in Newark, NJ.

Ruth Orama (’12) is a brilliant artist and teacher. Ms. Orama has a natural rapport with students and brings skill and positive energy to everything she does. She is currently teaching in Hamilton, NJ.

Kaleigh Kaithern (’12) is kind, smart, and organized. She is great with children of all ages but a genuine gift to the youngest children. Ms. K is a wonderful early childhood educator and is currently teaching Kindergarten in West Caldwell, NJ.

Jen Espinosa (’12) was one of the first students who expressed interest in our Urban Education Program. She had been studying to become a teacher for students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing but switched gears to study with us. She has brought her love of dance and a wonderful commitment to student learning. After teaching ESL at Passaic Middle School for a year she and her husband decided to move to Fort Worth, Texas. She is in the process of obtaining her Texas teaching credentials and hopefully will be sharing her passion with little Texans very soon.

Beth Dorrity (’12) is the teacher you wish you had when you were in school. She is brilliant, playful, and really cares about her students. Ms. Dorrity is the 2012 recipient of the  Social Justice in Teaching Award and she is currently teaching Math in South Plainfield.

Ashley Gianfrancesco (’12) is currently teaching 6th grade Math in Hamilton, NJ. Don’t let her big smile and small stature fool you. Ms. Gianfrancesco could have worked at NASA with her Math skills but instead she has dedicated herself to supporting the academic growth of children. In addition to her traditional program of study she also taught in Rome, Italy for 7 weeks as part of her student teaching.

Kelsey Martin (’13) is currently living and working in Houston, TX as a Teach for America corps member. She teaches 2nd grade at a KIPP Houston charter school called KIPP Shine Prep.

Karyn Unger (’13) became interested in urban education as a result of working with children in the Trenton community as an undergraduate. She enrolled in the five-year program during her junior year. As an urban education student, she researched social justice orientations to teaching with other students in the program, which she plans to implement in her classroom. Ms. Unger is currently teaching 6th grade math in Newark, NJ.

Megan Gerity (’13) became interested in urban education back in 2007 when first attending The Urban Teacher Academy. In college, Ms. Gerity served as a Bonner Scholar working with K-12 students of Trenton. Ms. Gerity has taught 1st grade at University Heights Charter School in Newark, NJ since graduation. She also serves on the school’s leadership team, planning events, writing curriculum, and supporting new teachers.

Susan Kelly (’13) is currently teaching ESL in Sayreville, NJ.  She works in the upper elementary school and the high school. During her time at TCNJ Ms. Kelly conducted research that examined the relationship between differentiating instruction and social justice in the classroom.

Katie Grasso (’13) teaches in Marlboro, NJ. When she was at TCNJ she acted as President of DREAMS student group, taught English to adults from the community, and conducted research on the effectiveness of using Yoga in the classroom.

Mariah Alston (’14) teaches 2nd grade Math & Science at University Heights Charter School in Newark, NJ. While she was at TCNJ she collaborated and lead several studies on how teacher candidates and faculty understand and implement social justice practices.

Cynthia Perez (’14) is teaching 6/7 Bilingual Science (push-in) and 8th Grade ESL at Frelinghuysen Middle School in Morristown NJ.

Carolyn Remde (’14) is at Mount Olive district – Sandshore Elementary and CMS, grades K-5 as an ESL teacher.

Loribel Mulero (’14) is teaching 1st grade dual language in Perth Amboy, NJ as well as ESL at Middlesex County Community College.

Shannon Stone (’14) is teaching 4th grade at Anthiel Elementary in Ewing, NJ

Robyn Beekman (’14) is teaching 1st grade at Knightdale Elementary in Knightdale, NC.

Priscilla Gutierrez (’14) is teaching 5th grade in Union City, NJ.

Alexandra Patrizio (’14) is teaching 4th grade at Stevens Cooperative School in Jersey City.

Stephanie Ramos (’14) is teaching ESL in Summit, NJ.

Stephanie Pisabaj (’14) is teaching ESL in Trenton, NJ.

Daria Wells After graduating, Daria began teaching 4th grade in Linden, NJ. With a second major in iSTEM Education, she got the unique opportunity to teach all subjects in a technology one-to-one classroom where each student has a MacBook. She can be contacted at

Summers in our Program!

Quite a few of our Urban Education students study ESL in Mallorca, Spain. It is a super intense and completely amazing global experience. Below are the students who have taken classes at this site. Please feel free to get in touch with them if you want “insider information” about the program. For general inquiries, please check with Dr. D ( or Dr. Carroll (

Summer, 2010: Jessica Gaeckle

Summer, 2011: Beth Dorrity and Ruth Orama

Summer, 2012 Kelsey Martin and Karyn Unger

Summer, 2013: Alexandria Patrizio and Shannon Stone

Summer, 2014: Gianna Esposito, Erica Roberts, Erica Paolucci, Erica Rolek, Megan Steinberg, Desiree Ganz