The NJEA Bolivar L. Graham Intern Foundation Practicing Apprentice Program provides minorities and women with the opportunities, knowledge and skills needed for association governance roles and potential NJEA staff employment.

The program was created in honor of Bolivar Louis Graham, an NJEA leader and staff member from Willingboro. Graham was instrumental in establishing the NJEA Minority Involvement Committee (now the Minority Leadership and Recruitment Committee). He traveled the state recruiting minorities in local and county associations. He served on the NJEA Delegate Assembly and was an active member of several NEA committees and caucuses.

Apprentices spend two years working closely with NJEA staff mentors, attending weekend core training programs and NJEA conferences and meetings. The weekend sessions provide intensive training in communications, leadership, human relations, team building, organizational structure and other skills.

Heidi Brache is a math interventionist at Freehold Intermediate School in Freehold Borough School District. She is the president and negotiations chair of the Freehold Borough Education Association and is a member of the Monmouth County Education Association Executive Committee. Brache serves on the NJEA Certification, Evaluation and Tenure Committee and is an NJEA Delegate Assembly alternate. She has served in her current positions for multiple years, but has also been local vice president, association representative, Pension Activism chair, Legislative Action Team chair, and Constitution/Bylaw chair. Brache will be apprenticing with UniServ Field Representative Ron Villano in the Central Zone.

Janene Onyango is a fourth-grade educator at Twin Hills Elementary School in Willingboro and an active member of WEA. Her commitment to educating, inspiring and uplifting students spans over 20 years. In 2018, she was honored with the NJEA Judith Owens Spirt Award, in 2016 she was named the Burlington County Teacher of the Year and a 2016 Mulroney Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 2015 received an NJEA Hipp Foundation grant recipient. Onyango is enrolled in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, studying reading, writing and literacy. Her research interests include critical studies, educational equity, intergenerational reading practices, digital storytelling, technology in education and social justice. She has also written articles for the NJEA Review. Janene will be apprenticing with Matt Stagliano of the Communications Division in the Southern Zone.

Jennifer Resil-Johnson is an English teacher in the Piscataway Students Seeking Success (PS3) program at Piscataway High School. She served two years as an NJEA summer fellow and is an NJEA Delegate Assembly member representing Middlesex County. Resil-Johnson is an executive board member of the Piscataway Township Education Association. She is apprenticing in the Northeast Zone in the Organizational Development Division, and Jaime Valente is her mentor.



Lori Lalama earned a Master of Science in Educational Technology from Ramapo College and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a minor in English as a Second Language (ESL) from Montclair State University. At Christopher Columbus Middle School in Clifton, Lalama specializes in Spanish, ESL and computers. She advises the Tech Wizards and is a co-advisor of Columbus Columns, the student newspaper. Lalama was Clifton’s Teacher of the Year in 2015 and received the Excellence in Education award in 2009. Lalama is active in the union. She serves as the Clifton Education Association Legislative Action Team and PRIDE Chairperson. She represents Passaic County on the NJEA Delegate Assembly and the NJEA Technology Committee. Nationally, she has served as a delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly. Lalama is passionately dedicated to her career in public education. She is apprenticing with Gabe Tanglao of the Professional Development and Instructional Issues Division in the Northwest Zone.

Shan Byrd holds a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Information and a Master of Science in Special Education. She has taught students with disabilities in New Brunswick Public Schools for the past 15 years. She actively serves the union at the local, county, and state levels. Compelled by God’s love, Byrd is a fierce defender of human rights. She is currently working on infusing Restorative Justice Practices within the school culture. She considers it one of her greatest accomplishments to be the mother of her three magnificent children—her baby “Byrds.” She is also a true music enthusiast with an eclectic taste of rhythms—from classical to gospel to house music. Her zest for life is incredibly contagious—affecting everyone around her in the most positive way. Byrd will be apprenticing with Amanda Adams of the Professional Development and Instructional Issues Division in the Central Zone.

Stacey Williams is a middle school science teacher in Pemberton Township School District in Burlington County. She is the head association representative in her building and a Grievance Apprentice. She is also a member to the Pemberton Township Education Association Evaluation Committee and Member Engagement Committee (Action Team). She is apprenticing with Jim Boice of the Southern Zone.



Tara M. Temprano holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a Master of Science in Educational Technology. She was a paraprofessional for one year working with a student with autism, a basic skills instructor at the K-5 level for five years and has been a fifth-grade teacher for 11 years at Washington Elementary School in Hawthorne. Temprano serves on the district’s Title I Committee, provides professional development to her colleagues and is a teacher mentor. In government, she worked as a legislative aide to State Sen, John A. Girgenti and Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia. For the Hawthorne Teachers Association, she has been an association representative, a Negotiations Committee member, and 2nd Vice President. She has represented Passaic County on the NJEA Delegate Assembly and has attended three NEA Representative Assemblies. Temprano has served two summers in the NJEA Summer Fellowship Program. She will be apprenticing with Anna Hanzes of the Government Relations Division in the Northwest Zone.

Tonya Scott-Cole is an educational support professional (ESP) in Roselle, Union County. She is a member of the NJEA Convention and Professional Development committees. She serves as the Legislative Action Team (LAT) contact for the Roselle Education Association and is a member of the NJEA choir. She is apprenticing with UniServ Representative Dominick Giordano in the Northeast zone. 

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