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Posted by admin on May 19, 2022
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As part of its 2022 Innovative Teacher Grants Program, NBEF selected 12 creative and cutting-edge
projects for funding support that involves 7 schools and impacts over 2,000 New Brunswick Public
School students ranging from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Prior to launching their respective projects and activities in various learning disciplines including
technology, reading and literacy, performing arts and cultural enrichment, the grant recipients were
publicly acknowledged at a special virtual reception attended by School District Administrators,
Sponsors, NBEF representatives and community friends.

NBEF thanks Johnson & Johnson, PNC Bank, and MagyarBank Charitable Foundation for their
outstanding partnership in this special initiative to benefit New Brunswick youth.

2022 Innovative Teacher Grants Project Descriptions 

Beth Maratea, Basic Skills Teacher
Woodrow Wilson Elementary School
Battle of the Books
Who doesn’t love a small friendly competition, especially when it involves reading? New books will be
purchased with the focus to have 3rd-5th grade students read, discuss and compete with other students to read, read, read. This project will promote the use of reading skills and strategies that children are learning in school.

Carmelo Leotta, Health & Physical Education Teacher
Lincoln Annex School
Manage, Move and Motivate

Children love to move, jump, play and go outside, but the COVID pandemic limited the amount of
exercise and outdoor hobbies children did, causing many students to become unmotivated. Now,
returning to school has served as a motivation for children to start moving. With the purchase of
tracking pedometers children will be able to manage their own goals, by counting their steps for the
day/week and get back to the things that they love to do. 

Jeanmarie Swiontkowski, Fashion Design & Textiles Teacher
New Brunswick High School
Recreating Iconic Gowns (with a focus on sustainability)

Project Runway, a television series, focused on the fashion industry is a popular show that is an
attention grabber. With this theme in mind, high school students will recreate iconic gowns by designers
such as Alexander McQueen, using sustainable practices. They will do the research, learn draping
techniques, sewing skills and explore sustainable methods in fashion to reduce waste and combat fast

A.C. Redshaw School
JoAnna Castellano, Mathematics Specialist
Math Number Mats

This project is geared towards children becoming more engaged in math by making it enjoyable to learn
and understand. It focuses on self-confidence using Kinesthetic learning. With scheduled times
incorporated into the lesson will ease math anxiety and improve retention for hands-on learners.

Kaitlyn Comerford, 2nd Grade Teacher
Woodrow Wilson Elementary School
Woodrow Wilson’s Buddy Bench

Making new friends may come easy to some kids, but not so easy to others. The concept of the buddy bench is to help kids avoid feeling lonely and isolated and help foster friendship in the playground. Children can go to the bench if they have no one to play with, and other kids who see someone on the bend can go over and ask them to play. 

Steven Thornburg, Theater Arts Teacher
New Brunswick High School
Documentary: Live, Devised Theatre

Due to limitations during the COVID pandemic, schools had to go virtual for two years and many students in the arts haven’t had the same opportunities as students in the past. This project will provide a much-needed performance opportunity and document the work that the theatre program does. They will have live theatre experience and they will be able to see talent on video.

Danielle Fleming, Art Teacher
New Brunswick High School
The Printing Experience
Students get exposed to so many useful resources, and the opportunity to learn about Printmaking is what this project offers.  This project will focus on Pop Art, Modern Art, Op QArt, Contemporary Art and Street Art. They will use Printmaking as a tool for creating and implementing SEL Art and Social Justice Art.

Jessica Bulleit, Art Teacher
New Brunswick High School
3-D Printing: Incorporating STEM into Art

Hands on learning is a great way to engage students in something new. By bringing cutting edge technology, such as a 3D printer, students will have the opportunity to use the engineering and design process to create a 3-dimensional sculpture, that will later on be displayed in an art show at the school. 

Lauren Haug, General Music Teacher
A.C. Redshaw Elementary School
Improvisation & Composition

Learning how to play an instrument is something that every child should have. The goal is to provide every student in any given music class with a barred instrument for them to use throughout a music class period. They can read and play musical selections with/out accompaniment and can be recorded so that their performance can be shared with others.

Joseph F. Kriete, JAG Specialist
New Brunswick Adult Learning Center
Career Readiness & Digital Literacy

During a four-phase learning plan, the goal is to maximize student understanding of College and Career Readiness topics that are associated with the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program. Through “real word” concepts, students will engage in lectures, hands-on activities and computer-based learning. 

Lixangel Daniel, Special Education Teacher
New Brunswick Middle School
Vertical Farming

Climate change threatens the long-term food security and with this project students will be exposed to different ways of sustainable farming, such as Vertical Farming. This type of farming is friendly to our environment, using up to 90% less water than conventional farms. 

Rashana Evans, Art Teacher
New Brunswick High School
Positively Making Murals

Art is a way that individuals can express what they feel, think, and enjoy! This project will engage students in the process of making murals, from the design to the production. They will research, sketch, plan and paint as a team. With the use of vibrant colors, students will create words and imagery that promote positivity and success.