Meet the For the Love of Literacy Team
Dr. Kenneth Kunz, Founder/Director
literacy leader & changemaker, talented curriculum & instruction designer
Dr. Kenneth Kunz received his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and English from Kean University and holds a master’s degree in Reading Specialization and a doctorate in Teacher Leadership from Rutgers University. He received recognition as an outstanding teacher through the New Jersey Governor’s Teacher Recognition Program and was a recipient of the Edward Fry Endowed Fellowship in Literacy at Rutgers University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Literacy Association as President. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the NJ Literacy Association. He has presented professional development centered on literacy instruction in classrooms across New Jersey and at both state and national conferences and is co-author of Breaking Through the Language Arts Block: Organizing and Managing an Exemplary Literacy Day and Literacy Changemakers: Bringing the Joy of Reading and Writing Into Focus for Students and Teachers. Dr. Kunz actively contributes to initiatives around inclusive curriculum as evidenced by his creation of “Bienvenidos Book Club,” a K-3 literacy program for immigrant students and their families, and his work to develop NJ’s first LGBTQ+ inclusive set of curriculum resources for ELA. He lives in Mountainside, NJ, and enjoys reading, spending time with his partner and Maltese, gardening, and literacy research and writing.
Donna Ngai, Ed.M.
literacy guide, reading teacher, & C&I coach
Donna Ngai received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Early Childhood Education/Elementary Education and her master's degree in Elementary Education/Literacy from Rutgers University. She holds a Reading Specialist certification from Rutgers University. She worked as an elementary teacher in Bernards Township for 21 years. She then began her career as a literacy coach and tutor for Rutgers University, carrying out many projects aligned with the exemplary literacy day as well as other areas in the scope of balanced and comprehensive literacy instruction, sharing her talents with teachers and students in multiple districts in New Jersey. Donna also coordinated with other coaches to oversee the Rutgers Book Club that many districts throughout New Jersey adopted.
Maria Sparacio, M.Ed.
Professional developer, literacy and instruction coach, & early childhood advocate
Maria has more than 15 years of educational experience as a teacher, professional developer, and literacy coach. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at St. Joseph’s College. She also earned a master’s degree at Brooklyn College as well as a special education extension from birth through the age of 2 and ages 1-6. She taught in an elementary school in New York for eight years while receiving a full year of training from a team of experts in balanced literacy. Maria has also been trained in The Wilson Reading Program for students with dyslexia. She has worked as a literacy coach with The Children’s Literacy Initiative. She presented several workshops on the latest advances of balanced literacy and evidence-based practices for various urban school districts in New Jersey. Maria also worked with Rutgers University’s Center for Literacy Development to guide teachers in implementing reading and writing strategies, scaffolding and differentiating instruction, and creating effective lesson plans for an exemplary literacy day.
Program & Planning Contributors
For the Love of Literacy is proud to partner with talented reading specialists and literacy advocates in the NJ/NY metropolitan area. Our special projects are ongoing. Want to partner with us?
Shalonda Archibald, M.Ed.
literacy advocate, expert & after-school/on-demand and "Pop-Up PD" extraordinaire
Shalonda Archibald holds master's degrees in education from New Jersey City University: Reading and Educational Leadership; and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Jersey City State College. She is a certified school leader, reading specialist, supervisor, and elementary teacher. Shalonda is a former middle and secondary grades literacy teacher, Academic Director of Humanities, literacy coach, and intervention teacher. Shalonda has been recognized as the New Jersey Literacy Association’s teacher of the year, NJ Governor’s Educator of the Year, Plainfield Public Schools Educator of the Year, and is a Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders resolution recipient. She currently serves as a New Jersey Literacy Association Board member as well as a member of the Kean, Plainfield, Scotch Plains Teacher Leader Network. Shalonda enjoys spending time with her family, reading, learning new things, traveling and empowering others to care for their emotional health.
Brian Benavides, M.Ed.
Literacy teacher, curriculum developer & after-school/on-demand and "Pop-Up PD" extraordinaire
Brian Benavides is a curriculum specialist and has taught in different academic environments in NJ. His work focuses on literacy learning for ELL learners and second language acquisition. His program aims at providing ELLs with literacy instruction in order to facilitate their second language learning. Brian enjoys reading, traveling and trying out new restaurants throughout New Jersey on the weekends.
Additional coaches are available by request based on the scope and expertise required for the literacy project.
For the Love of Literacy Proudly Sponsors NJ Literacy Association
In addition, For the Love of Literacy proudly supports the non-profit NJ Literacy Association (NJLA) network. These affiliates volunteer their time and resources to enhance the work of literacy in the State of New Jersey.