NJCTE is thrilled to announce the two winners of our 2021-2023 Teacher for the Dream Award: Alexandria Lefkovits and Deborah Bartley-Carter. This award is a collaboration between the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English and the National Council of Teachers of English.
Alexandria Lefkovits is currently a middle school Gifted & Talented teacher in New Jersey, transitioning from many years as a teacher of English Language Arts. Alexandria holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Yale University and an MS in Education focusing on Adolescent English Instruction from St. John’s University. She has spent 15 years nurturing her love of working with students — whether tutoring, launching an English-immersion summer camp in China, building a preschool Mandarin immersion program in Colorado, or delivering dynamic, literature-focused lessons. She has taught across grades 6-12 and delivered instruction to Integrated —i.e., mixtures of ELLs, students with disabilities, and students on-level— and Honors-level classes; additionally, she has held the position of AP English Literature and Composition Teacher and prepared students for the AP English Language and Composition exam.
Though her official teaching career began in New York, Alexandria returned to her home state of New Jersey to pursue her passion for equity in education. Since her return, Alexandria has often found that she is the only teacher of color either on staff, in the English department, or in the general education setting. She believes that it is imperative to have teachers of color in general education and higher-level environments in order to avoid subconsciously affiliating high-need environments as being the natural domain of people of color; moreover, she insists that it is the duty of a robust academic program to ensure that multicultural perspectives permeate all areas and levels of learning. Authentic access to these perspectives demands the inclusion of the people holding them. Alexandria has already begun to address these concerns in her own school: serving on the Equity and Inclusion committee, developing an enrichment cluster complementary to the Gifted and Talented program that more accurately represents the demographics of the student body, and guaranteeing all students access to special opportunities irrespective of the perceived barriers of level or language. Alexandria is thrilled to be a recipient of the Teacher for the Dream Award and welcomes the opportunity to share her voice, experience, and ideas with the NJCTE and beyond.
Deborah Bartley-Carter’s lifework has been in education for 20 years. She advanced in her career from primary classroom teacher to district level leadership roles. As a Regional Instructional Specialist in Literacy K-12 in New York City and then District Supervisor of Language Arts K-12 in New Jersey, she worked to find innovative and sustainable ways to impact teaching and learning literacy. As an Assistant Principal in grades 6-12 in New York City, she worked with teachers and fellow administrators to design curriculum, support professional growth and build a thriving school community.
Deborah continues to learn throughout her professional career. She has always been invigorated by her inquisitiveness and her quest for improving learning experiences for all students. She has been awarded grants to enhance and improve her skills as an educator through the Fund for Teachers, The National Endowment for Humanities, The Moth Teacher Institute and The Gilder Lehrman Foundation. In 2020, she received the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching and conducted her inquiry research at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
Deborah stays connected to the international education community by volunteering her time in programs for visiting Fulbrighters and organizations that support student exchange. She has served as a Board Member for several organizations in New York and New Jersey. She currently serves as a Board of Director for Valley Arts NJ in Orange, New Jersey and One to World in New York City. She was previously a Board member of Dancewave Dance School in New York City and Paulo Freire Charter High School in New Jersey.
Deborah currently works at JH Brensinger School in Jersey City. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Binghamton University and a Master of Arts from Teachers College at Columbia University. She is an active member of several committees and associations. She served as a local graduate chapter Committee Chair for the National Commission for Arts and Letters as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is a member of the National Council for History Education, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education,The National Council for Teachers of English and New Jersey Education Association.