Diversity Council of Kean University
Mr. Frederick “Fritz” Jonach was a devoted educator at Millburn High School who passed away in 2011. Fritz taught United States History, Global Issues and Film & Society. He was also a dedicated and active member of the Diversity Council of Kean University and participated on its Executive Committee. His leadership consistently brought innovative ideas to the Council, including programs, speakers and ways to develop stronger student leaders in and out of school. Fritz taught by example. He was committed to community service and encouraged students to join him to make a difference in the world. This award is given in his honor to fellow educators who embody his passion for teaching and who also encourage their students to be global citizens.
In January 2015, Mrs. Felicia Alexander was honored by the Diversity Council of Kean University as the first recipient of the “Frederick Jonach Professional Leadership Award” in recognition of her passionate work in the area of Global Education and inspiring both her students and other teachers to become concerned citizens of the world. Like Fritz Jonach, Mrs. Alexander is also a history teacher, has been an active member of the Diversity Council’s Executive Committee and has represented the East Windsor Regional School District on the Council for a number of years.
Mrs. Alexander’s impact on her students extends beyond her classroom. In 2008, she was inspired by a challenge to teachers issued by Oprah Winfrey and completed a grant application to bring Ms. Winfrey’s O Ambassadors, a global service club, to Hightstown High School. Her application was approved by Oprah and the HHS O Ambassadors club was launched. It became an overnight success and later expanded to the Melvin H. Kreps Middle School. These clubs have grown to 150 students per year and provide students in grades 6-12 with an opportunity to learn about challenging conditions affecting their peers in developing nations. The O Ambassadors have heard many guest speakers, viewed inspiring films, attended conferences about global issues, toured the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and participated in student leadership programs at Kean University and Brookdale Community College. Last but not least, the two clubs have raised thousands of dollars to aid the global non-profit organization Free the Children in school-building and other humanitarian efforts.
This year, upon completion of a fellowship with the U.S. State Department’s Teachers for Global Classrooms program and a teaching placement in Morocco, Mrs. Alexander has given professional development workshops in her own district and at the General Meeting of the Diversity Council on the topic of Global Education. Most recently, she was awarded a new grant by USTeach/IREX to digitally connect 60 students in 3 countries: Morocco, Poland and the US. This project’s closed website is only 3 months old and already hosts over 60 teacher-vetted student videos, in which teens discuss their thoughts about their daily lives, education, aspirations and even religious traditions. Her students in the O Ambassadors are thrilled to have this opportunity to digitally meet students from countries so different from their own, and the students/teachers in Morocco and Poland feel the same way! It is hoped that this program will continue into the future and the students will maintain contact with each other.
East Windsor Regional Schools | 25A Leshin Lane, Hightstown, New Jersey 08520 | 609-443-7717