For Pat Schall: The Contagion of Courage

Dear NJCTE Members:

I have some sad news to report. On April 6, NJCTE leader and past-president Pat Schall passed away after her battle with colon cancer. Our organization has lost a great leader and a wonderful colleague. I know all of you who knew Pat know what a special person she was. I was lucky to have known and learned from her.

Some of you may know Pat from her wonderful writing on our NJCTE blog. Of the many pieces she wrote, this one caught blog editor Susan Chenelle’s attention (and heart), and this one offers advice very relevant to this strange and anxious time.

We hope to do more to commemorate her tenure and accomplishments with NJCTE.

In the meantime, below, find Susan Reese’s wonderful tribute to Pat.

Audrey Fisch

President, NJCTE

The Contagion of Courage

A woman of great worth has left us. There is a space in my air as I consider a world, currently consumed in great loss from COVID-19, that must suffer yet another vacancy. Patricia L. Schall, a truly courageous woman, has succumbed to colon cancer, leaving behind an army of devoted students, colleagues, friends, and family.

Pat was an educator of excellence! She taught by example; her text gave us life lessons. She was generous with her resources, unsparing with her praise, and relentless in her pursuit of achievement. She did all of this with an admirable reserve and restraint. She advanced the idea, the proposition, the goal rather than her desire to stand in the spotlight.

NJCTE became better because Pat took a leadership role. Her initiatives involved supporting and recognizing teachers who declared their quest for excellence. She designed a program to recognize two significant NJCTE contributors: Marcia Holtzman and Jerry Weiss. The NJCTE Marcia Holtzman Preservice Teacher Scholarship Award identifies and honors the commitment of those teachers entering the field. The NJCTE M. Jerry Weiss Early Career Teacher Scholarship Award recognizes those in their early teaching careers who are making a difference.

Through Pat’s desire for preservation, the NJCTE archive came into being. Consulting with Peter Wosh, an NYU archivist and historian, Pat selected important documents and in the process discovered that NJCTE had been founded the same year as NCTE. Pat arranged a centennial celebration. Peter called for reservations at a nearby restaurant to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Peter and Pat have been married for nearly 34 years.

Along with Donna Jorgensen, Pat shaped Project SPARK and handed it off to Patricia Hans in the North and Denise Weintraut in the South. Sharing Passion and Rekindling Knowledge became the plan for small groups to discuss their educational concerns.

Through Pat, NJCTE gained our banner. Her former student’s students created a dozen self-portraits that amalgamated into a banner representing the many faces of NJCTE members.

Although more tributes can be ascribed to Patricia L. Schall, perhaps the most significant one is this – “She plays well with others.” Pat has always been a team player. She joined with Joe Pizzo to assume the leadership of NJCTE after the sudden death of the president. Joe notes, “She was a mentor to us all.” Her legacy will be her encouragement, enthusiasm, and kindness.

Pat herself selected these words in an email. They seem most appropriate in this time of loss.

“There is no more liberating, no more exhilarating experience than to determine one’s position, state it bravely, and then act boldly. Action creates its courage; and courage is as contagious as fear.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

–Susan Reese

Susan Reese is a member of NJCTE and the last past president.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English
New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English



For Pat Schall: The Contagion of Courage

NJCTE Announces the Winners of Our NJCTE 2020 Teacher Awards!

The recipient of the 2020 NJCTE Educator of the Year award is Dr. Darlene Russell, who is a Fulbright Scholar and Full Professor at William Paterson University. She was nominated for this award by Dr. Kabba E. Colley, professor in the Department of Secondary and Middle School Education, who believed Dr. Russell was a worthy candidate due to her “enterprising work in the profession, indelible work as a servant leader, distinguished record of research and scholarship, teaching performance, and vision for the future of education.”  In addition, Tonya Perry, Executive Director of Secondary English Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who has worked extensively with Dr. Russell, says, “Her ability to create space for collaborative, critical dialogue and work is unparalleled, especially for marginalized peoples.” Because of the cancellation of the NJCTE Spring 2020 Conference, we hope Dr. Russell will receive her award at the NJCTE Fall Conference on October 24, 2020, at Lawrenceville Township High School.

Ms. Angela Lengner, an undergraduate at The College of New Jersey, is the recipient of the 2020 Marcia Holtzman Preservice Teacher Scholarship Award. Dr. Emily Meixner, Coordinator of the English Secondary Education program at TCNJ, nominated Angela, describing her as “an intuitive, talented, hard-working novice teacher.” What makes Angela a particularly worthy candidate is her desire to pursue professional learning as an undergraduate. At the 2018 conference, Angela participated in a session on independent reading with educators from the School District of the Chathams. She regularly attends professional workshops to inform her preservice instruction. Because of the cancellation of the NJCTE Spring 2020 Conference, we hope Ms. Lengner will receive her award at the NJCTE Fall Conference on October 24, 2020, at Lawrenceville Township High School.

We encourage English educators in New Jersey to nominate their colleagues for the Educator of the Year, the M. Jerry Weiss Early Career Teacher Award, and the Marcia Holtzman Pre-Service Teacher Award. (Click on the award name to see the Google nomination form and information.) Help us honor the excellent work of our colleagues in the field! Nominations are typically due December 31 each year.

NJCTE Announces the Winners of Our NJCTE 2020 Teacher Awards!

NJCTE Cocktails in Crisis!

Calling all ELA educators, K-16! Let’s come together virtually, with your favorite cocktail or mocktail.

Join us on April 2 and/or April 22 from 4-5pm on Zoom for a teacher social hour. We’ll share ideas, frustrations, and triumphs and be there for each other.

Time: Apr 2, 2020 04:00 PM Eastern Time

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 545 112 779

Dial by your location
+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US
Meeting ID: 545 112 779

Time: Apr 22, 2020 04:00 PM Eastern Time

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 545 112 779

Dial by your location
+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US
Meeting ID: 545 112 779

NJCTE Cocktails in Crisis!

NJCTE Spring Conference Is Cancelled

After thoughtful consideration and with an abundance of caution regarding the health of our membership and the greater community, the NJCTE Conference Chairs and Executive Board have made the decision to cancel the NJCTE Spring Conference at Pascack Valley High School on March 28, 2020. 

Despite the cancellation, we still want to offer professional learning opportunities to our members so that we can keep the positive momentum of the Spring Conference moving forward and give our wonderful presenters the opportunity to share their expertise via a recorded webinar this Spring and/or a session at the NJCTE Fall Conference.

If you have already registered for the NJCTE Spring Conference, here is some critical information.

Registration includes annual membership fees of $25 ($15 for student memberships).  In the Cancellation Form, you will find options for a partial refund of your conference registration fee (but not your 2020-2021 NJCTE membership) or for a full refund (both conference registration and membership). We are hopeful that you still wish to maintain your NJCTE membership this year and benefit from all that our organization offers to members throughout the year.

Please complete this Cancellation Form so that we may process your refund(s) AND gain valuable insight about what you’d like to see and do with NJCTE going forward!

Also, please see here our Call for Proposals–Fall Conference and submit your proposal here for the NJCTE Fall Conference Call for Proposals–Google Form.

Finally, please keep an eye on your inbox in the next few weeks for digital access to our 2020 issue of New Jersey English Journal!

Please also send good thoughts to our 2020 Spring Conference Co-chairs, Kate Baker and Valerie Mattessich, who put so much wonderful work into planning a fantastic conference for NJCTE. We are very sad that their efforts have been waylaid by the virus and so grateful for their good work.

NJCTE Spring Conference Is Cancelled

NCTE Achievement Awards In Writing

Purpose: To encourage high school juniors to write and to publicly recognize the best student writers.

  • Schools in the United States, Canada, Virgin Islands, and American Schools Abroad are eligible to nominate juniors. Nominating schools must be U.S. accredited.
  • Scroll down the page to learn about how schools can choose and enter students in the contest.
  • Participating students submit two types of writing: themed writing and best writing.
  • Electronic submissions only. Deadline February 14, 2020

2020 AAW Prompt: Why Do I Write? (#whydoiwrite)

“Why am I compelled to write? . . . Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and hunger . . . I write . . . To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy . . . Finally I write because I’m scared of writing but I’m more scared of not writing.”

― Gloria E. Anzaldúa, “Speaking in tongues: A letter to third world women writers”

Consider what writing means to Anzaldúa and what writing means to you. Create a piece of writing that responds to the question “why do I write?”

Express yourself in a form of writing that best suits your personal ideas and explorations, including (but not limited to) short story, personal essay, expository essay, poetry, or drama.

Additional information can be found hereDeadline: February 14, 2020.


NCTE Achievement Awards In Writing

NJCTE Needs Volunteers for our New NJCTE Visual Literacy Award Committee

Are you interested in participating in the selection committee for our new NJCTE Visual Literacy Award? Please email Fall Conference Committee Co-Chair Denise Weintraut,

We hope to inaugurate this award at our 2020 Fall Conference, Saturday, October 24, 2020, in Lawrence Township School District.

The selected author/illustrator:

  1. Should be one who illustrates/creates works with illustrations or visual art for children and/or teens. The work can include graphic literature or any form of visual communication that has touched young people.

  2. Should be a creator of visual work of the highest caliber with sufficient depth for multiple layers of understanding.

  3. Should reflect the best of positive ideals that inspire young people to lifelong literacy.

  4. Should have a body of work that appeals to young people.

  5. May be a rising star or well-established author.


NJCTE Needs Volunteers for our New NJCTE Visual Literacy Award Committee

NJCTE Spring Conference, Saturday, March 28, 2020 – Register Now!

NJCTE Spring 2020 Conference: SEL & ELA: Literacy for Life

According to, social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. The Spring 2020 NJCTE conference theme, “SEL & ELA: Literacy for Life,” invites educators to share their expertise in creating and sustaining social and emotional learning through the English Language Arts in their classrooms and schools.

adib khorram headshotOur Featured Speaker: 2020 Becker Award Recipient Adib Khorram
ADIB KHORRAM is the author of DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY. If he’s not writing (or at his day job as a graphic designer), you can probably find him trying to get his 100-yard Freestyle under a minute, learning to do a Lutz Jump, or steeping a cup of oolong. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where people don’t usually talk about themselves in the third person. You can find him on Twitter (@adibkhorram), Instagram (@adibkhorram), or on the web at

Registration is open!

Registration for the 2020 Spring Conference includes your 2020-2021 Membership. If you can’t make this spring’s conference, we hope you’ll still renew your membership with NJCTE now. It’s a small investment in yourself and your professional development. School district invoices are available.

NJCTE Spring Conference, Saturday, March 28, 2020 – Register Now!