Educator Profile    Educators

Theresa Licitra (NJ '02)

Director of Curriculum

Jackson Township School District
Jackson, NJ

At the time of the Award, Theresa Licitra was:

Reading Specialist
Crawford-Rodriguez Elementary School
Jackson, NJ

Subject(s) taught: Reading, English/Language, Social Studies
Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4

Biographical Information

Theresa Licitra is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction ~ K-12 in the Jackson Township School District in Jackson, NJ. Mrs. Licitra leads the district in a cohesive, cross disciplinary instructional model in which balanced literacy is the critical component. Mrs. Licitra infuses a growth mindset philosophy of education and implements data driven instructional models in all facets of curriculum planning and implementation.  Embracing the rigor of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, standardized assessments such as NJSLA, and social emotional learning models, Mrs. Licitra assists the Jackson School District in educating the whole child:  preparing learners for career and college readiness, global citizenship, and media technology. In 2017, Mrs. Licitra implemented the Jackson School District's newest learning academy, the Jackson Academy of the Arts with strands in Studio/Graphic Art, Instrument/Vocal Music and Theatre.  A Dance strand was presented in the 2018-2019 school year.  The JAA Academy is one of four academy offerings for learners in the Jackson Schools; the district also offers academies in STEM, Business and Digital Media.  As Director of Curriculum, Mrs. Licitra worked with the district, surveying the community and researching both demographics and need, which resulted in the implementation of a full day kindergarten program in 2014.  Community survey data and student interest data also provided the impetus for adding Italian as a language choice in the Jackson School District high school World Language program.  Prior to her appointment as Director, Mrs. Licitra served as the Principal of the Elms Elementary School in Jackson Township, NJ in the 2012 - 2013 school year. Her tenure also includes her role as principal of the Lucy N. Holman Elementary School in Jackson Township, from 2007 to 2012. Mrs. Licitra also served as the assistant principal of the Elms Elementary School in Jackson, beginning in 2003. Before her tenure as assistant principal, she was the Reading Specialist at the Crawford-Rodriguez School, also in Jackson Township. It was here that she was honored by the Milken Award Foundation in 2002. Mrs. Licitra serves on the County Curriculum Committee and the Jackson School District's Teacher Leadership and Evaluation Committee; the charge - strengthening pedagogical practice results in demonstrated student success. Data growth models are the cornerstone of this educational framework. In all six of our elementary schools, teachers and learners have embraced a Reader's and Writer's Workshop Model, as it is embedded in the literacy curriculum and aligns directly to our NGSS and Social Studies curriculum.  This framework immerses learners in literacy and motivates their love of reading and writing. In 2007, at the Holman Elementary School, Mrs. Licitra pioneered the Six Plus One Writing Trait Model in Grades K through 5. Mrs. Licitra has also served on the New Jersey Department of Education's Quality Teaching and Learning Task Force, charged with implementing standards for recognizing and rewarding outstanding teachers. As assistant director of the Reading Center at Georgian Court University, Mrs. Licitra supervised a community-based service program that offered intervention to students in the areas of literacy and math. Some of her initiatives are featured in the book The Literacy Principal. Mrs. Licitra also worked with the Jackson Township School District's Grant Office, and co-authored and received the New Jersey Reading First grant for Jackson Township in 2003. Reading First was part of the federal government's No Child Left Behind initiative. Along with members of the New Jersey Milken Educator Network, Mrs. Licitra implemented NJMUSST (New Jersey and Milken Unite Seniors, Students and Teachers), through which she and Elms fifth graders engaged in a Milken Festival For Youth project meeting with local seniors to share intergenerational experiences. Today, this program continues at Elms through PTA funding. Mrs. Licitra is a board member of the International Reading Association's Family Literacy Committee and serves on a National Reading Advisory Board. She also served on the board of the Jackson Educational Foundation (JEF), a voluntary community-based organization.  Currently, Mrs. Licitra oversees the district's Community School program, serves on the Jackson School District DEAC Committee, the Middle School and High School Scheduling Committees, the Ocean County College Dual Credit College Partnership Committee, and the IDE Problem Based Learning Committee.  Mrs. Licitra is also the Milken Educator Network NJ Liaison. 

Personal Message

Collaborating with other Milken Educators across the country and within the state of New Jersey provides me with opportunities to implement exemplary practices and share common interests. Receiving a grant from Milken's Festival For Youth enabled several NJ Milken Recipients to formulate a vision and put those ideas into practice. Together we established NJMUSST (New Jersey and Milken Unite Seniors, Students and Teachers.) This intergenerational project utilizes literacy as the common thread that links students and seniors within our community. This program continues for the 2009 school year, with its funding provided by the Parent Teacher Network. Also, along with fellow educators in NJ and other Milken Award Recipients from our state, we serve on the Governor's Advisory Board. I am fortunate to have serve on the NJ Commissioner of Education's Quality Teaching and Learning Task Force. Through these state directed initiatives, work with fellow educators targets both professional and personal interests. I welcome any reflections or comments, especially in the area of teacher evaluation, student achievement recognition, professional development and empowerment, and/or differentiated instructional models.

Additional Information


MA, Educational Administration - Kean University;, NJ; MS, Reading - Adelphi University, NY; BS, Psychology/Art History - CUNY @ Brooklyn College, NY;


"The Literacy Principal" a focus on writing - contribution by Theresa Licitra, 2007.