Terri Allen, Ph.D. is a certified school psychologist with over 30 years’ experience serving children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Allen has worked as a school psychologist practitioner in New Jersey public schools, as a researcher-clinician at the Center for the Management of ADHD at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and as a graduate trainer of school psychologists at Rowan and Georgian Court Universities. Dr. Allen earned her Masters degree and advanced certification in School Psychology at the University of Rhode Island and a Ph.D. in School, Clinical and Community Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Allen is actively involved in public policy and advocacy efforts at state and national levels. She serves on the Executive Board of the New Jersey Association of School Psychologists as a Past President, chair of the Public Relations Committee, and as a member of the Government and Professional Relations Committee. Additionally, she represents NJ as the state delegate for the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and is recognized as a leader in the profession. Currently, she consults with professional organizations, school districts and families as director of The Allen Group for Educational Consultation and provides school psychology services to a K-8 community charter school in Camden, NJ. She was recently chosen as the recipient of the National Association of School Psychologists’ 2020 “Outstanding Advocate Award.” This award is given to individuals or groups who have worked to make systemic change in policies that govern the provision of education and mental health services. In addition to teaching graduate school courses, Dr. Allen has presented regionally and nationally on a variety of topics, with emphasis on practical application. Dr. Allen offers workshops for parent groups, schools, and other professional organizations on topics related to learning, behavior, and psychological well-being.
Fanteema Barnes-Watson is a licensed clinical social worker in New Jersey and New York. She has worked in educational settings for over a decade ranging from elementary public schools through private graduate schools. Her career in education focused on working with underserved populations, decreasing the achievement gap, and connecting students to mental health services in their communities. Her interests include first generation college students, multiculturalism, women (including moms with young children), LGBTQQIA, trauma, CBT, and mindfulness. Her areas of specialty include anxiety, depression, self-esteem, anger and stress management, relationship issues, and telemental health. She earned her LCSW degree from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.
Donna S. Bogart, Ed.D., spent the majority of her career as a Special Education Consultant with the NewJersey Department of Education. In that position, Donna provided training and technical assistance at the statewide, regional and local district levels for school personnel and families involved in the education of children with disabilities. Her expertise covers a wide range of topics including New Jersey special education regulations, individualized education program development and implementation, inclusive practices, and family /educator collaboration. Donna has a doctorate in higher education and, upon her retirement from the NJDOE in 2011, she joined the faculty at Montclair State University as an adjunct instructor. At MSU, Donna teaches courses on family-professional partnerships and collaborative teaming for pre-service and in-service teachers who are becoming certified as Teachers of Students with Disabilities. On the home front, Donna is the mother of an adult son with bipolar disorder and the grandmother of a grandson with ADHD, anxiety and mood dysregulation. Since 2018, Donna has been a volunteer presenter for NAMI NJ’s Educating the Educators program. Drawing upon her professional and personal experiences, Donna provides school personnel with the family perspective on parenting a child with mental health challenges.
Anfal Muhammad-Jenkins endured many of the hardships of her Generation X era. Having battledthrough an urban landscape marked by rebellion and community indifference, Anfal realized the call to pioneer the cause of the unheard and underserved. Raised by a mother who went from becoming a successful executive, artist and a mother of five to a woman who’s lived through paranoid schizophrenia can produce a victim of paralyzed fear. Through tireless work within advocacy organizations, non-profits, philanthropic ministry, event coordination and educational counsel, Anfal’s life trajectory saw a transition from high performance sales to organizing and enhancing education for the underserved community in mental health, developmental disabilities as well as co-occurring substance abuse treatment. Anfal challenges the cause of children with various intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as those, who struggle with mental health conditions specifically, among those confronted with Autism and bi-polar syndrome, depression and schizophrenia. Certified in peer education by advocacy organizations, SPAN (Statewide Parent Advocacy Network) and NAMI NJ proved invaluable to being on the front lines of engaging individuals and families grappled with these serious conditions in adults and children. As a mother of two such children, one diagnosed with autism and one diagnosed bipolar schizo-affective, she seeks to enlighten society with a broader view of individuals who face challenges that developmental, or behavioral conditions present. As founder and Director of Newark SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council), this endeavor cemented passion and efficiency of engaging struggling parents, placing her in a prominent position to advance special education equity. Her work has been augmented by serving as a primary means of educational advocacy, under the auspices of civil rights, social action and policy for the Newark public schools district.
Saafir Jenkins is VP and Chief Public Affairs Officer of the Newark Special Education Parent Advisory Council (“SEPAC”), an organization that actively advocates for disabilities’ rights and equity within Newark
Public Schools and across the state. He is a Devoted Father, Committed Education Advocate, Impactful Keynote Speaker, Mental Health Educator and a Dynamic Human Capital and Talent Management Executive. Saafir consistently serves as a voice for the under-served with a passion for ethical capacity-building, development, advocacy and education. His advocacy includes in-depth research, analytical reporting, writing letters, and public testimony at the NJ State Special Education Advisory Council meetings and related public hearings. Saafir works tirelessly to provide critical information, resources, and support to parents and administrators in the Newark Public Schools District where he and wife, Anfal own a home and raise their children, one of whom is diagnosed with autism, and another, a successful business owner and an internationally-acclaimed sustainability expert who lives with a mental health condition.
Barbara Johnston is the Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ).
Suzanne Siverio Kreie, LCSW is the Chief Executive Officer of Coordinated Family Care, a private non-profit Care Management Organization funded by the NJ Department of Children and Families. In this role she assists the Board of Trustees to accomplish the organization’s operating and strategic objectives while effectively communicating the mission of the organization internally and to families, providers and community stakeholders.
Dr. Michael Kuchar is currently the Superintendent of the South Bergen Jointure Commission, a special needs district. He has served as the Superintendent of the Bergenfield Public School District for 12 years. He has also served as Bergenfield’s Director of Guidance and Testing and Bergenfield High School Principal. Dr. Kuchar also previously served as the High School Principal at Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County, an International Baccalaureate School. Dr. Kuchar has been teaching at Seton Hall University in the Educational Leadership Program for over 12 years and has expertise in School Finance, Data Analysis, Personnel Administration, Public Relations, Strategic Planning and Board Management. Dr. Kuchar is currently the Chair of the Commission of Secondary Schools, Middle States and is Past President of NJASA. Dr. Kuchar holds a PhD in Curriculum and Teaching from Fordham University.
Penelope Elizabeth Lattimer, Ph.D. is currently the Executive Director for the NJ School Development Council and immediate past director of Rutgers Institute for Improving Student Achievement. Prior to assuming these leadership roles affiliated with Rutgers University Graduate School of Education, she held the following positions: NJ State Assistant Commissioner of Education specializing in urban education and special programs, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction and Professional Development for New Brunswick Public School District. Her teaching certification is in French language and culture with a concentration in Spanish language and culture and a Masters of Arts degree in Student Personnel Services and School Counseling. Her Ph.D. included studies at RU-GSE and was completed with Union Graduate School in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Her dissertation project demonstrating excellence was the creation of the demonstration high school on the Gibbons Campus of Rutgers, The State University. She became the first principal of this comprehensive high school on the campus of Rutgers University. The school was named The Gibbons School and was operative for 8 years serving the communities of: New Brunswick, Milltown and North Brunswick. Following the Gibbons School, she developed the New Brunswick Health Sciences Technology High School. This unique high school is located on the campus of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and is a collaborative of RWJUH and New Brunswick Board of Education. NB Health Sciences Tech HS opened in 1995 and is the only high school of its type in the State of NJ. Throughout her career her focus has been directed toward student achievement emphasizing the importance of teacher preparation and teacher confidence acknowledging the responsibility to be able to teach ALL learners. This requires an understanding: equity-diversity-inclusion of learning styles, resources and a diversity of assessment techniques. Another important aspect of her professional work includes the integration of THE ARTS in the content areas. The important work that she has addressed always included attention to pathways for ALL learners (especially learners of color and issues addressing the impact of poverty on academic achievement). Matters of leadership and commitment to ongoing professional development for all levels of educators (all positions) and members of boards of education are of keen interest to her.