Cavanaugh Bell is a 6-year-old philanthropist who after being told that he was too young to volunteer, started his own nonprofit called Cool & Dope to raise awareness of various causes and to give young kids ways to give back. Through his dedication to community service, monthly charity campaigns and for his anti-bullying efforts, Cavanaugh was awarded a Certificate of Congressional Recognition and has had his work featured on NBC, CBS, and ABC.
Debbie Piescor is a master teacher in a kindergarten/first grade combined classroom at a private NAEYC accredited, Reggio Emilia inspired school enrolling children from ages 3 to 7, nursery through first grade. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in both early elementary education as well as psychology from Caldwell University in New Jersey and is a member of Kappa Delta Epsilon, an honors fraternity for professional educators. Debbie has a published article in the March 2017 edition of Young Child entitled, Play as the Foundation for all Learning Domains Across Multiple Age Groups. She has attended NAEYC National Conventions in Washington D.C. and NYC, and presented several times in Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, and Washington, D.C. She has presented for the Association for Constructivist Teaching in Charleston, South Carolina, Kean University in New Jersey, and Columbia, North Carolina.
Assistant Professor Of Italian
Dr. Gina M. Miele, Assistant Professor of Italian and former Director of the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America at Montclair State University, received her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University in 2003. She has published in Italica, Marvels and Tales, Fabula, Marvelous Transformations: An Anthology of Tales and Contemporary Critical Perspectives, the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales, Teaching Fairy Tales, the Italian American Review, Altreitalie, and The Paterson Literary Review. She co-authored the Activities Manual of the textbook Parliamo Italiano! In 2014 and 2015, she presented at the NAEYC national conference on the principles of Reggio Emilia and play based learning. In 2016, Gina joined a panel with Debbie Piescor, Kathy Berkowitz and Lella Gandini at Montclair State University on the Reggio Emilia Approach: US Responses to an Italian Educational Philosophy. She is the mother of three children.
Melina Stock is a design professional and Director of Bricks 4 Kidz, a mobile children’s STEM enrichment program in Monmouth County.
A graduate of the New York School of Interior Design she brings her knowledge, and respect of architecture, engineering and design styles to elementary and middle school children through active building sessions in afterschool activities and in-school field trips.
Using a Learn, Build and Play pedagogy she meets children at their skill level and moves them further along in their abilities, confidence level and understanding of STEM concepts in an encouraging, hands-on and collaborative environment.
Melina and her team have watched hundreds of elementary school kids discover their abilities and go to the next level of understanding STEM concepts all while developing confidence, new friendships and having fun.