New Jersey News


FALL 2021

Big picture


Big picture

It is hard to believe we are starting another fall without photos or stories from an international convention or conference, but here we go again! This summer the international conferences in Portland, OR, and San Antonio, TX were held in a hybrid format with members given the option of attending virtually or in person. To the best of my knowledge, only one DKGNJ member attended the Portland conference in person, and no one ventured to San Antonio. My hat is off to Dr. Barbara Glazewski for making the trip to Portland to attend the conference and the pre-conference session to learn about Robert’s Rules of Order. Our new state parliamentarian is ready to go and will keep our meetings running smoothly!

Leadership training for incoming officers and treasures was also available in a hybrid format. Our second vice president, Annabelle Boehm, and treasurer, Ellen Hahn, attended their trainings in the virtual format. First vice president, Irene Maskaly, and I drove to Atlanta, GA to be part of the in-person training. It was exhilarating to be in the presence of other incoming state officers and to learn about what is going on in other state organizations! Despite travel restrictions and uncertainty about getting back home, there were even members from Canada present; that’s what I call dedication! At the training Irene, Annabelle, Ellen, and I learned new skills preparing us to serve DKGNJ more effectively.

I am sure many of you are thinking about when the New Jersey State Organization can have an in-person convention. We are all hoping it won’t be that much longer and plans are underway for the DKGNJ state convention to be in person at the DoubleTree in Somerset on April 1 through the 3! This is not an April fool’s joke. We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to be there in person, but of course, protocols will be in place to prevent transmission of the virus. Masks will be worn, except when eating, and social distancing will be encouraged. If we see things getting worse in NJ, we may need to reconsider this decision and have another virtual event, but I, for one, hope it doesn’t come to that.

Now for a piece of very good news…we’ve found a new home for our DKGNJ state archives! The Dean of the School of Education at Georgian Court University has found a spot for us so our archives will be moving back to their old home, only to a new room! State historians PJ Madreprel and Elizabeth (Puddy) Flynn and I will be visiting the new space in October to begin the process of re-establishing our presence at the university.

Unlike many of my predecessors, I do not have a dedicated president’s project, but I do have something near and dear to my heart that I hope many chapters will support. As many of you have heard me say (probably multiple times), supporting early educators will help DKGNJ in several ways. First, we may be able to increase our membership by inviting collegiate members. I’ve heard comments such as “But, how do we know they [collegiate members] will be outstanding women educators?” I agree we don’t know for sure, but how much better will they be with mentorship from key women educators in your chapter? Another benefit of supporting early educators is the impact newly minted teachers will have on DKG and the world. They will bring fresh ideas and inspire us to continue in the work we do. They will bring innovative programs and discussions to our chapter and state meetings. Early career educators will also impact our children, grandchildren, and generations down the line to do great works around the world. I know that many chapters are already doing great things to support early educators and I think it is time to share those ideas and projects in a more public forum; therefore during this biennium,

I have asked our newsletter editor to create a “featured article section” where chapters can brag about how they are supporting early educators. I asked Lambda Chapter to provide the first featured article as we (yes, I am a member of Lambda) have been working on an innovative early educator project since late 2019. I invite all chapters to write an article for future editions of the newsletter about how you support early educators.

To our members who returned to schools in September, I wish you a wonderful year full of excitement and new learning for your students. Be sure to be on the lookout for key women educators to invite to membership. Likewise, to those who did not return to a school building, I wish you a wonderful year full of new things. Good health to all!

Big picture

Featured Article

Big picture


The members of Lambda Chapter took seriously some of the words from our DKG song, “Women teachers to the calling…”, combined them with the Purposes of our Society, and added newly acquired information of the cost and process aspiring educators encounter in obtaining their initial permanent instructional certificate. All of this combined to the Lambda Ladies taking action and creating the Early Educator Award (EEA).

Initially, information was gathered and shared: that to earn New Jersey teaching credentials undergraduate course work must be successfully completed, along with standardized tests of basic skills and subject content areas, as well as an accredited certification program. An early-on decision was made to partner with a four-year New Jersey College offering a teacher preparation program, meaning that our aspiring educators would be issued a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS). Holders of this certificate go through the Provisional Teacher Program, which involves a period of mentoring, supervision, and assessment, before being issued a permanent Standard Certificate.

New Jersey is one of 27 states which participates in a teacher induction program which is a formal, comprehensive platform that matches new teachers with seasoned educators for the primary purposes of mentoring and providing support through the initial years. This high level of support and assistance is costly. Lambda Chapter learned that the projected costs to complete a State Approved Teacher Certificate Program was approximately $1500 and upward.

Included in these costs are examinations, required certificates, background checks, and varied fees to the NJDOE. It is not uncommon for college students to complete so many of the requirements, but not obtain their certification simply because of the high cost. Lambda felt that there was a mission to complete, even if it meant helping but one such aspiring student. Thus, the work began to create the EEA to assist a rising female educator with the expenses incurred in obtaining a New Jersey state-approved certificate.

An Ad Hoc Committee was formed to begin the work of determining the college with whom they would partner along with the outreach to said institution. Timelines were established along with the process and procedure. It was decided that the college would do the outreach to the students and form an internal committee to complete the first level of applicant screening. The focus was not only on successful college work completed but emphasis also was placed on the financial need of the student. Final criteria were developed and three finalists were sent to the EEA Committee for interview. Since the College had done the first level of vetting, the Committee was challenged in selecting one recipient from three outstanding seniors with excellent credentials and strong desires to be the best educator possible.

While the process and procedures were in place and moving forward, also in place was the creation of a Patron Program within the Chapter. At each meeting and via e-communications, the EEA was publicized and members were encouraged to support financially this very important chapter project. The Chapter also approved an allocation from the general fund to a specific EEA line item in the budget. Thus, donations were continually being received and acknowledged.

Lambda Chapter presented the initial EEA to a senior at Georgian Court University. The EEA Committee and representatives from Lambda were invited as special guests to the University Convocation. In a private ceremony in the Mansion at GCU along with the Dean of the School of Education and the Vice President for Advancement, the EEA was presented to Hanna Moran. At Convocation the Award was officially recognized by the Dean. As one of our Committee members said, “What grows from a seed is a miracle to watch.”

Indeed, the seed was planted and with the cooperation and support of all the members, the idea germinated took form and bloomed to fruition. Members of the Committee who still are actively engaged in their educational careers found this experience to be what they, too, needed to spark their enthusiasm and excitement as they prepared for a new school year.

It has been said that “Teachers are arguably the most important members of our society. They give children purpose, set them up for success as citizens of our world, and inspire in them a drive to do well and succeed in life. The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and teachers are that critical point that makes a child ready for their future.”

Lambda Chapter is proud and pleased to have initiated this program to support early educators. As members of our esteemed Society, we embrace the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Lambda is proud to have contributed to that change by supporting an outstanding aspiring teacher.

Big picture

EEC: Program Planning: To Inspire, Motivate, Innovate and Cultivate Change

Irene Maskaly, 1st VP DKGNJ

Educators are hardwired to be quick thinking, flexible and creative. A bold statement? Absolutely! But before you dismiss this statement, think about the past year; how we learned to adapt, all our accomplishments (in and out of the classroom), and personal growth. Take that same fortitude and pour that energy into program planning for your chapter. Sometimes, programs and projects are rehashed because it’s easy, or the chapter becomes a social gathering, losing the purposes of our organization.

Our State President, Dr. Nora Pollard, has challenged us with her biennium theme, “ever moving forward”. As we plan and implement our chapter programs, think about your chapter’s ability to inspire members and adapt to change.

Let’s be self-reflective:

  1. Programs - What was your favorite, that most engaged your members and guests?

  2. Projects - What work did your chapter do to support international topics, your community, a member of need, for students, to implement a DKG principle, or for charity?

  3. Speakers - Who were your best and most intriguing speakers?

  4. Activities - What were your most fun activities this past year?

  5. Planning – Did you approach your chapter planning with the same energy/excitement that you have or had in your classroom?

I encourage you to visit and use the DKG website ( to access Educational Excellence Committee tools under the What We Do - Educational Excellence tab. Ideas for Supporting early Career Educators, Project Spotlight, and Program Ideas for Chapters are wonderful creative resources. Under the About Us tab, check out the DKG/UN relationship.

Looking ahead, share your knowledge with our members. Every DKG chapter has a personality and energy of its own. Our state organization is continually looking for people willing to present innovative workshops to inspire and motivate our members. Consider sharing you or your chapter’s interests with our membership. If you have any chapter projects you would like to share or would like to present at a DKGNJ State convention, please reach out to me, Irene Maskaly at Remember, as a team, we all grow stronger with diverse ideas and support from one another!

Big picture


Annabelle Boehm, DKGNJ 2nd VP

Happy Fall!

The colorful leaves and smell of pumpkin everything is getting us ready for the holiday season. My time has been filed since July 1st. The training in Atlanta spoke to the goals of the DKG organization. As states, we shared our successes and challenges. We shared the problems of losing members and attracting new inductees. We agreed meeting the needs of today’s multitasking, technology savvy woman is our goal. This discussion continued when the Executive Board met with President Nora and when we had our September DKGNJ State meeting. My meeting with the Chapter Membership Chairs focused on sharing ideas to support and attract members. We also discussed the importance of helping our sisters affected by Hurricane Ida. We examined the Emergency Fund and how to apply for assistance.

Lastly, I had the opportunity to attend the NE Regional President’s meeting and observe the Illinois State Program on growing membership through mentoring student teachers and women entering the field of teaching after graduation. Our membership always inspires with its creativity and generosity. I look forward to working with all of you.

Thank you.

Forever in our Hearts

Big picture
Big picture

Remembering Harriett DiLeonardo

On a sad note, ETA member for 60+ years, Harriett DiLeonardo, passed away at the age of 101 in Maine on September 6, 2021.

Harriet was a woman ahead of her time. She was intelligent, gracious, warm, friendly, and always ready to enjoy life. Whether it was in her chosen field of education, her personal family life with Ray, her husband, and Jay, her son, or the many organizations to which she belonged, she gave her all.

Harriet was very proud of her “Jersey Girl” status. She was born and raised in Hammonton. In 1941, she started her teaching career in Cape May County Courthouse. While there she met and married Ray, the love of her life. He was an NJ State trooper and was assigned to posts throughout South Jersey. Harriet taught in Haddonfield Township, Oakland, and Audubon. In 1959, Harriet found herself teaching kindergarten in Burlington City where she would complete her teaching career. In 1970, she was named principal of Boudinot School, a role she kept until her retirement in 1982.

It was while teaching in Burlington City that she was invited to join ETA Chapter where true to her leadership style, she became an active participant, always ready to do whatever was needed. She served on many committees, participated in all activities and was instrumental in inviting other outstanding educators to join her as members. Her leadership capabilities led her to be President for the 1972-1974 biennium. For many years she was a Parliamentarian. Members always were reminded to wear their ETA pin or she would collect the 25 cents fine!

Her involvement in ETA extended to her active involvement in DKG, the state organization. She held the office of Recording Secretary and Historian as well as serving on Necrology, Initiation, Nominations and Installations.

While participating in ETA and DKG activities Harriet also became very active in the Burlington County Retired Educators’ Association and New Jersey Retired Educators’ Association. She was editor of the BCREA newsletter while serving on many committees. She always attended BCREA AND NJREA Conventions, luncheons, and legislative conferences. Whenever NJEA asked for representation at Trenton rallies, Harriet was there to carry the torch.

In 2010, Harriet received the prestigious BCREA Distinguished Service Award. The Harriet DiLeonardo Scholarship continues to be awarded to Burlington County students.

The late Dr. Blossom Nissman said, “Harriet was recognized as one of the most outstanding principals in Burlington County. She was greatly respected by her colleagues and her staff. The parents of her students appreciated greatly her personal involvement in their children’s lives. Harriet’s upbeat personality was an incentive for everyone.”

That statement exemplifies the woman Harriet DiLeonardo was. She was a force to be reckoned with and a great lady who lived life fully. Whether spending summers in Maine or living life as a proud “Jersey Girl”, whatever life dealt her, she faced it with grace, humor, and inner strength; something for all of us to emulate. Thank you Harriet for setting a great example. You are sorely missed.


Big picture

ZETA CHAPTER - President: Johanna McCauley

As the summer starts to unwind at the Jersey Shore, and the cool autumn breeze starts to gently visit us, our Zeta sisters head back to school, part-time jobs, volunteer work, or just the quietness in their towns. After retiring from their teaching positions, two of our cherished members moved South but remain forever as Zeta girls. We wish Staci Cornelius and Lisa Andrews much luck and happiness in their new homes. Both promise to visit and make as many meetings as possible when they are in the area. We can't ask for more than that!

A pizza-perfect menu and the warmth of the summer sun - this is exactly how the Zeta sisters celebrated at their annual Summer Pizza Party, hosted by President Johanna McCauley. While enjoying the company of friends, Zeta sisters shared their ideas for the upcoming school year, their own children’s plans for education, exciting plans for traveling, and the sweet news about the arrival of new grandchildren. It was a relaxing night and one to make new memories with good friends.

Our programs will commence at our September meeting with a live, in-person meeting where Zeta sisters will learn more about the program titled, "Exploring Dyslexia." The meeting will be held at the Ocean County Library, and members anticipate a night of learning. Everyone is thrilled that we will be together, and we hope to continue this throughout our year of scheduled programs.

With Zeta sisters, near or far, we are always in each other’s hearts.

ETA CHAPTER - Jacquie Long, President

ETA Chapter is pleased to announce that Jeanne DelColle was the recipient of the Rose Award presented at the DKG Virtual Convention held on April 24, 2021. This award is given to a professionally active chapter member for outstanding service to education, community or chapter.

Alexa Olsten, a junior at Rutgers University, is the ETA 2021 recipient of the Arianna Claypool Scholarship in the amount of $1000.

IOTA – Submitted by Shannon Pizzuta

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” Lauren DeStefano

As we start packing up our swimsuits and sun tan lotion for the year and start pulling out our cozy sweaters and pumpkin spice everything, it’s comforting to watch the leaves turn bright as we are reminded to see the beauty in change and in letting things go.

Like the leaves, our Iota members are quite busy making changes. Irene Maskaly is now the DKGNJ State Vice President and Dianne Papadinec is the State Recording Secretary. Stacy Kasse is also DKGNJ’s new World Fellowship Chair. We are so proud of their hard work and dedication to DKG.

Outside of DKG, our members are continuously taking on leadership roles as well. Kimberly Dickstein-Hughes has earned an amazing NEA Foundation Global Fellowship. This year-long commitment will allow her to integrate global awareness into instruction, advocate for global competency in her entire district, and help her students to become world learners. This Fellowship even culminates with a trip to Africa in 2022!

Jaime Grookett has been named the new President of the Haddonfield Board of Education. Her dedication to education extends far outside her classroom walls.

Sharon Gardner’s published book, Max’s Tree, is available for purchase on Amazon. It’s a great story for young readers and it’s perfect for this time of year! It focuses on the changing of seasons from a child’s perspective. She plans to visit local districts to read her book aloud and donate it to local libraries as well.

Shannon Pizzuta donated 20 inches of her hair to Locks for Love this summer and is currently organizing a Cancer Awareness Week Fundraiser across the Deptford school district. The students are already looking forward to “painting the town pink” in honor of breast cancer awareness, an annual tradition in her district.

Iota recently completed a member interest survey through the use of a Google form to poll our members on committee interests, ideas for group activities, and meeting time preferences. This information helped us plan events and activities that our members will enjoy and attend. We are trying our best to stay connected in these socially distanced times. A group of our members enjoyed a day trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum this summer, our retired members are enjoying luncheons again, a few went line dancing, our book club is still running strong, and our upcoming plans include a Food Tour in Bordentown and a presentation on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) at our next meeting.

Lambda Chapter - Cathy Fortunato, President

Lambda’s Annual Picnic was held in person on June 19th hosted by Linda Walton. Immediate Past State President, Ingrid Williams, graced us to celebrate connection and sisterhood. We formally recognized milestones of 5, 10, and 50 years of membership. The creation and distribution of a Lambda Brochure for prospective members by Cathy Fortunato were presented. The bright sunny day was a reflection of our smiles being together.

Lambda celebrates!

DKG International captured our talented and passionate “Flash” in a “Spotlight on Gallery Artist” article. Michele Contala was highlighted and celebrated by sharing her journey and accolades through her eye for photography.

Georgian Court University expressed gratitude. The Early Educator Award committee, our Chapter President, and other members were invited for a tour of the campus, lunch, and attendance of the Convocation Ceremony.

Lambda gives back.

Joan Stuart’s fundraising ideas, Gift Card Club and white cap and rose, will continue to benefit Kilolo School in Tanzania, Africa, and the James O. Bryant Food Pantry in our community of Middlesex County. Lambda sisters affected by the remnants of Ida were assisted with gift cards and notes of encouragement.

Our first meeting, via Zoom, kicked off this enthusiastic year.

Our guest speaker, Julia Saltzman, Oasis of Peace, topic "Memory Sites and Atrocity Prevention" shared the importance of this research.

Wishing luck and support to our sisters who are taking on new endeavors.

Kimberly Falcone accepted a newly appointed position as an Academic Reading Coach in Woodbridge Township School District. For 2021-22 Annabelle Boehm has been named Communications Co-Chair and Member of the Board of Directors for the Northern Monmouth County AAUW NJ.

These women continue to inspire. It is such an honor to be in wonderful company. Here’s to a wonderful year!!

Respectfully submitted by Annabelle Boehm and Noreen McHale

Nu Chapter Highlights

Nu chapter celebrated its 50th birthday In 2021. Founded in April 1971 this chapter milestone was celebrated at our annual covered dish dinner held this past June. At the celebration founding member, Joan Smith was recognized for 50 years of dedicated service to Nu Chapter and DKG. Also recognized was Betty Jean Wissinger for her 30 years of service to DKG. Both of these women serve as excellent role models to our chapter members.

Nu chapter inducted two new sisters this past Spring. Shelly Rowe is a principal at Baker Elementary School in Moorestown, NJ. Shelly was a math teacher in Lawrence Township before making the move to Moorestown. She is a graduate of The College of New Jersey.

Susan Powell is the principal of Moorestown Upper Elementary School in Moorestown, NJ. Susan taught math in the Clearview Regional District. Susan is a graduate of Juniata College and Rowan University.

Omicron Chapter Highlights

Despite Covid restrictions, the Omicron sisters continue to participate in activities to make a positive difference to others.

Barbara Smith has been an active Red Cross volunteer since 2017. Since then, she has been aiding New Jersey residents, as well as being deployed to other states, when necessary, in a variety of roles. She began taking Red Cross classes to qualify for working in and setting up shelters, responding to disasters, which include home fires and floods. Because of Barbara’s educational background, the Red Cross quickly recognized her expertise in this area and sought her out to become a part of the Youth Preparedness Team. The mission of the team is to provide emergency preparedness education to young students, grades 3-5, through the Red Cross Pillowcase Project by going into schools, attending Girl and Boy Scout meetings, as well as summer camps. With many of the in-person activities reduced due to COVID regulations, she began volunteering at Blood Drives in Ocean, Atlantic, and Burlington Counties.

Sara Dreher, a general music teacher at the Frog Pond Elementary School in Little Egg Harbor, performed with the South Jersey Wind Assemble over the summer.

Omicron is pleased to announce they collected 1,211 books that were distributed through Book Smiles and food pantries.

Many thanks to Kathie Moon for chairing this committee and to all who donated books!

Big picture

Connect With Me!

Please send all items for future newsletters to me, Heather Lieberman, Gamma Chapter.

My email is below.