Meet JAG New Jersey Specialists

Working Closely With Students to Ensure the Successful Completion of High School

JAG NJ Specialists are certified classroom teachers who receive specialized training, support and technical assistance to implement the program.

These dedicated men and women help with the selection of students to participate in JAG NJ, engage with employers, implement trauma-informed instruction and project-based learning, work closely with students to ensure the successful completion of high school, and support participants for an additional 12 months after graduation.

JAG New Jersey Specialists

Rebecca Baker

Carteret High School

Elizabeth Clark

Weequahic High School
Cohort #1

As one of the first JAG Specialists in the state, Ms. Clark has served Newark Public Schools first at Barringer High School and currently at Weequahic High School. She received her Bachelor of Science in Management Sciences from Kean University and her Master of Arts in Teaching at Marygrove College. Ms. Clark is a certified K-12 special education teacher, holds supervisor certification, and has taught and served as a basketball coach for over 20 years. Ms. Clark has won several state and national awards from JAG since 2014, the most recent being the coveted 5 of 5 performance outcome award in 2019.

Valaida Doyle-Smith

West Side High School

Juan Izaguirre

Passaic High School

Mr. Izaguirre is a JAG Specialist at Passaic High School and has been employed by the Passaic School District since 2002. He joined the JAG NJ team in 2020. He received his bachelor’s degree in History Education from William Paterson University.

Jovonne Jacobs

Leaders for Life Alternative High School

Jovonne Jacobs is a JAG Out-of-School Specialist for Leaders for Life Alternative High School in Newark, NJ. Her educational background is in Business Administration. She earned her Associates Degree from Essex County College, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Berkeley College Newark. She is now pursuing her Masters in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. Before becoming a JAG Specialist, she spent 14 years working for the Newark Public School District’s Financial Services Division where she gained hands-on experience in accounting and finance. Some of her accomplishments are being a founding member of the Berkeley College Entrepreneurship Club and being voted in for the Student Representative seat in the Student Government for Berkeley College. She is a proud mother of 4 boys and a mentor for many. She enjoys spending time with her friends and family and educating her sons.

Joseph Kriete

New Brunswick C.A.R.E.S. Adult Learning Center

Mr. Kriete joined the JAG NJ team in 2016 at the New Brunswick C.A.R.E.S./ Adult Learning Center. He has been teaching for 13 year and has experience working in the private sector and as a small business owner. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Rutgers University and NJIT. In addition to earning the district Teacher of the Year Award and JAG NJ Specialist of the Year in 2019, Mr. Kriete has received national recognition from JAG including the coveted 5 of 5 performance award.

Hillary Lawton

Carteret High School

Hillary Lawton is excited to be welcomed into the JAG family as a new specialist for Carteret High School. Mrs. Lawton has spent most of her time studying musical theater and performance arts. She received her Associates Degree in Theater from Raritan Valley Community College and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Education from Emerson College. Before she found her role at Carteret High School (CHS), she worked as a paraprofessional in Montgomery School District alongside students with disabilities. After one year in Montgomery, she found her home as the Theater Teacher at Carteret High School. At CHS, Mrs. Lawton is very involved. She is an advisor for the drama club, directing a fall play and a spring musical, as well as the Class of 2023 advisor. She is looking forward to this new opportunity to work as a JAG specialist!

Maureen Neuner

Pinelands Regional High School

Mrs. Neuner started as a JAG Specialist in 2018 and joined the JAG NJ team in 2019 at Pinelands Regional High School in Little Egg Harbor Township. She is a certified teacher with 16 years of service. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Montclair University and a Comprehensive Business Teaching Certification. Mrs. Neuner has also completed all the courses to be certified as a Cooperative Education Coordinator.

Stacey Ragin

Central High School

Bob Rush

Vineland High School

Mr. Rush has been employed by Vineland School District since 2006 and joined the JAG NJ team in 2015. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration / accounting from Thomas Edison State College and his master’s degree in special education from Rowan University. Mr. Rush is also a business owner and entrepreneur. He received JAG national recognition in 2019 by receiving the coveted 5 of 5 performance outcome award.

Rafeeza Shahabudeen

Malcolm X Shabazz High School