The Rutherford English Language Arts Department consists of a dynamic teaching staff in grades 7-12. Grades 7 and 8 are taught in Union Middle School. Grades 9-12 are taught at Rutherford High School.
Working alongside the teachers are two dedicated media specialists and several clerical assistants who work to provide an exciting learning environment for all students.
Our staff is comprised of:
Mrs. Wendy Armacost, Library Clerical Assistant, Union Middle School – Mrs. Armacost graduated from Rutgers College with a degree in Art History. She worked for many years for Sotheby’s auction house in New York. She is also a member of the board of the Rutherford Public Library. Working in the Union School Library since 2011, she has discovered a passion for Young Adult literature and loves to help students find their new favorite book.
Ms. Nina-Rose Barcenas, Teacher of English, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School – Miss Barcenas graduated from Caldwell University with a double bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and English, along with a Middle School Math Endorsement. Miss Barcenas is returning to her hometown roots at Rutherford High School – she is a proud alumnus. She is excited to work with her students this year!
Mr. Mark Bergen, Teacher of English and Special Education, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School – Mr. Bergen is now in his third year at RHS, teaching English and Special Education and continuing his involvement with co-curricular organizations. Just recently, Mr. Bergen completed his Master’s Program in Educational Leadership through Kean University and is committed to developing skills in education in the realm of curriculum development and legislative involvement with the teachers’ union.
Mrs. Nicole Bowden, Teacher of English, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School – Mrs. Bowden received her bachelor’s degree from Rowan University and her Master’s degree from Montclair State University. She began teaching at Rutherford High School in 2007. Mrs. Bowden is currently teaching AP Language and Composition and English 200; she is also the assistant director of the marching band and the co-director of PopCert.
Mrs. Regina Buell, Departmental Clerical Assistant, Rutherford High School – Mrs. Buell has been the English Department Clerical Assistant since 2006 and is a graduate of Rutherford High School. She is a lifelong member of the Rutherford community where she raised her three children. Mrs. Buell is also an active community volunteer, serving as both a past PTA President and the past RHS PTSA Vice President.
Mrs. Megan Collins, Teacher of English Language Arts, Grades 7&8, Union Middle School – Mrs. Collins has been with the Rutherford School district since 2008. She earned a BA from The College of New Jersey, with a major in English and Secondary Education, and an MA in Literacy from Montclair State University. A lifelong reader, Mrs. Collins’s favorite genres include young adult historical fiction and narrative nonfiction. She is passionate about literature and technology, and she is looking forward to new and exciting ways of integrating the two in the upcoming school year.
Mrs. Lauren Djecki, Teacher of English Language Arts, Grades 7&8, Union Middle School – Mrs. Djecki is looking forward to another great year working with the middle school students and staff in Rutherford. She earned degrees in Secondary English, Elementary Education, and Special Education from The College of New Jersey. She is excited to work with seventh and eighth graders again, and is ready to explore literature with her students.
Mrs. Melissa Dougard, Teacher of English, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School – Mrs. Dougard received her degree from Montclair State University. She began teaching at Rutherford High School in 2001. Mrs. Dougard is currently teaching Honors English 100 and Creative Writing; she is also the advisor for the school’s literary magazine, Scribe.
Mr. Brian Ersalesi, Supervisor of English Language Arts and Fine, Practical & Performing Arts, Grades K-12 – Mr. Ersalesi joined the Rutherford Public Schools in September of 2013. Prior to that, he spent many exciting years as a teacher of English, Theatre Arts and Broadcasting for grades 7-12 at Midland Park High School in Midland Park, NJ. Mr. Ersalesi received his M. Ed. in Educational Leadership from William Paterson University and holds teaching certifications in Elementary Education, English, Speech Arts and Dramatics.
Mrs. Dawn Gallo-Pasquale, Teacher of English, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School – Mrs. Gallo-Pasquale attended Felician College where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English. She studied Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Oxford University. After receiving her Master of Arts in English from Seton Hall University, she taught English at Immaculate Conception High School and College Writing at Seton Hall University and Montclair State University. She enjoys moderating Book Club.
Mrs. Maria Garo, Teacher of English, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School – Mrs. Garo earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from New Jersey City University, Suma Cum Laude, with a concentration in British Literature. She began her teaching career in the Jersey City public school system where she taught at the high school level for two years and joined Rutherford Public Schools in September of 2016. She will be teaching English 300 and English 300 Honors in the 2018-2019 school year. She comes from a family of educators who sparked her love for education and learning. She is thankful to be a member of the Rutherford community and eager to begin a very successful and positive school year.
Mrs. Sherrianne Herninko, Library Media Specialist, Rutherford High School – Mrs. Herninko attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY where she received her BS degree in Psychology and became dual certified as an Elementary and Special Education teacher. She began her teaching career as a Special Education teacher at Rutherford High School, where she also coached volleyball, softball, and track. She attained her MS degree in Information Science from Rutgers University and also became certified as a Media Specialist. Mrs. Herninko worked for one year as the Media Specialist at Holdrum Middle School in Rivervale, before making her way back to Rutherford.
Mrs. Dawn Karczewski, Teacher of Special Education and English Language Arts, Grades 7 & 8, Union Middle School – Mrs. Karczewski is the Co-Teacher for Grade 8 ELA. Prior to teaching in Rutherford, Mrs. Karczewski first acted as a Behavioral Health Counselor for children and adolescents at Saint Claire’s Hospital of Boonton. She then moved on to teach at the Windsor Schools of Pompton Lakes where she assisted students in meeting their academic and social growth through the implementation of a behavior modification system. Mrs. Karczewski has had the honor and privilege of working with children since the year 2000. Mrs. Karczewski graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Montclair State University and holds a Masters Degree in Special Education from New Jersey City University. She currently holds New Jersey certifications in Elementary Grades K-5, Elementary School with Subject Matter Specialization Language Arts/Literacy Specialization in Grades 5-8, and Teacher of the Handicapped. Mrs. Karczewski is pleased to be apart of the Rutherford teaching community and looks forward to an exciting new school year.
Mrs. Colleen Kiick, Teacher of English Language Arts, Grades 7&8, Union Middle School – Mrs. Colleen Kiick has been happily teaching English Language Arts at Union School since the 2005/06 school year. She graduated from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2005 with a degree in English and Secondary Education. During her undergraduate studies, she attended the University of Brighton, England to study Old to Middle English literature. In 2008, she graduated with a Masters’ Degree in Instruction from the College of New Jersey. In her personal life, she and her husband welcomed their first child in 2014. She very much enjoys traveling, coffee, photography, writing, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Mrs. Kelly Lancaster, Teacher of English, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School –Mrs. Lancaster earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in African American literature from Montclair State University. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Mrs. Lancaster began her teaching career teaching at Emerson High School in Union City. She is a lifelong resident of Rutherford who believes that with a growth mindset, all students can succeed. Mrs. Lancaster teaches English 100 and English 200.
Mrs. Margaret MacFadyn-Doty, Teacher of English Language Arts, Grades 7 & 8, Union Middle School – A graduate of Georgian Court University with her BA in Education and the recipient of a Masters Degree in Educational Theory from The College of New Jersey, Mrs. MacFadyen-Doty (aka Mac-Doty) has been a teacher in Rutherford for 24 years. She began her career here as a first grade teacher, where she stayed for ten years, before moving up to fourth grade and then seventh grade in 2010. At UMS, Mrs. Mac-Doty will work with both seventh and eighth grade, as well as teaching the Pop Culture elective. She looks forward to exploring literature and writing with all of her classes. Along with several of her colleagues, she is also enthusiastic about advising the eighth grade class, publishing the Union School literary magazine, tweeting out school updates and events, and directing the school play.
Mrs. Kaitlin Mac Millan, Teacher of English Language Arts, Grades 7&8, Union Middle School – Mrs. Mac Millan is looking forward to another great year working with the seventh and eighth grade students at Union School. She earned degrees in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Felician College, as well as a Secondary English degree from William Paterson University. This year, she is excited to explore the many avenues of Language Arts with her students by utilizing different technology platforms in the classroom.
Ms. Courtney McManus, Teacher of English, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School – Ms. McManus joined RHS as an English teacher in September 2022. Prior to joining the RHS English Department, she was a 6th Grade Reading and English teacher at Pierrepont School. Ms. McManus is also the director of the RHS School Musical.
Ms. Erica Prinzo, Teacher of English, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School – Ms. Prinzo joined the Rutherford community in September 2017 as an English teacher. She graduated with her B.A. in Literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey and has been teaching since 2014. Prior to coming to RHS, she worked at Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest and Henry P. Becton Regional High School. She’s been involved in many extra-curricular activities over the years, and this year she is proud to be the advisor of the R-Hi newspaper. She is excited to have another great year at Rutherford High School.
Mr. Jason Narozny, Teacher of English, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School – Mr. Narozny received his Bachelor of Arts from Montclair State University and his Masters in Educational Technology from Ramapo College. He began his teaching career at Rutherford High School in 1998. Throughout the years Mr. Narozny has had the privilege of teaching each high school grade level, as well as college prep, honors, and AP courses. He has also been the Academic Decathlon coach since 1999 and looks forward to continuing coaching for many years to come!
Miss Monica Rizzi, Teacher of English and Special Education, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School – Miss Rizzi graduated from Montclair State University with a B.A in English. She then received her teaching certification at Caldwell University. She currently is pursuing her M.Ed in Special Education.
Mr. Michael Stracco, Teacher of English, Grades 9-12, Rutherford High School – Mr. Stracco is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University and Ramapo College. Mr. Stracco teaches Public Speaking and English. In addition to his teaching duties, Mr. Stracco is the advisor for the GSA.
Mrs. Margaret VanDyk, Library Clerical Assistant, Rutherford High School – Mrs. VanDyk has been a resident of Rutherford for many years. She is the mother of seven who are all graduates of the Rutherford school system. She enjoys interacting with the high school students and assisting them with all their library needs.