LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Juli-Anne Benjamin

Position: Vice Principal/Instructional Coach, English 6-8
School: Marion P. Thomas Charter School
School District: Marion P. Thomas Charter School
City, State: Newark , NJ

Support Juli-Anne

Juli-Anne Benjamin was nominated by a family member, Mark Benjamin.

Ms. Benjamin is a veteran educator who has dedicated her life in the service of children, both nationally and internationally. She has taught in South Africa and recently in New Delhi, India at Delhi Public Schools. Her unwavering commitment to education, teacher edification, community service and her global pursuit of literacy is what makes her a LifeChanger.

Ms. Benjamin is a highly qualified, lifelong learner trained by Columbia University's Teachers College Instructional Coaching cycles in workshop methodologies and small-group instruction. She loves to read and is devoutly committed to building culturally relevant and sustainable classroom libraries. She deeply believes that literacy is the foolproof mechanism that can be used in schools and communities to not only eradicate and propel children out of poverty and marginal existences, but amplify women and girls.

Ms. Benjamin champions read-alouds in literacy lessons and grounds her instructional practice in building and curating sound relationships with teachers and students. Based on the scholarly research of Dr. Rudine Sims-Bishop, Ms. Benjamin culturally aligns books for students that serve as windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors into the diverse experiences and worlds of children. She holds several Master's degrees in English Education and School Leadership, has been featured in Who's Who Among America's Teachers, and has proudly served NYC Schools as an English teacher, reading specialist, mentor, and instructional coach.

As Founder of @EdCampBROOKLYN and @EdCampNewark(NJ), Ms. Benjamin has married her love of classroom teaching with the lens of teacher leadership to usher teachers into open spaces of personalized professional learning networks. She is deeply committed to amplifying teachers as leaders in advocacy and agency of effective professional development, arming teachers with the most innovative, collaborative, and practical pedagogical tools that have a rich impact on student learning.

Ms. Benjamin has been pursuing her Doctorate degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Leadership while tangentially studying at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has participated in modules within the Professional Studies programs. She works tirelessly within social justice and equity frameworks to include students and teachers of color into emerging professional learning spaces. Ms. Benjamin also works towards equity in classroom technology for historically underserved students. Finally, she was nominated for and was recently elected to serve a three year term as a Member of the Board of Directors for The International Literacy Association (ILA), where she works on task forces to write scholarly briefs on Children's Right To Read and Children's Excellent Literacy Instruction. 

"I am honored and humbled to know Juli-Anne and nominate her for this award," said Mr. Benjamin.



Comments (20)


Jill Mills Posted 2 months ago

Upon first meeting Juli-Anne, I was awed by her energy and passion. Juli-Anne brings perspective, authenticity, and dedication to learning and growing, for students and teachers, alike. I am so fortunate to work with Juli-Anne through the NJ Literacy Assocation Board.

Janet A Higgins Posted 2 months ago

Juli-Anne is a leader and teacher who embraces these roles with conviction. She shares her expertise with such excitement and generosity. Her breadth of knowledge inspires others to "Be Better." Juli-Anne is an outstanding candidate for this recognition!

Carmen Posted 2 months ago

I met Juli-Anne through the New Jersey Literacy Association where we both serve as board members. I attended one of her presentations on culturally relevant pedagogy and picture books. She is so knowledgeable and presented with such passion! She inspires her fellow educators to make change so that all students can see themselves in books and the curriculum. She is so deserving of this LifeChanger of the Year award. I congratulate her on being nominated!

Susan Dougherty Posted 2 months ago

I am so pleased to have met Juli-Anne through the New Jersey Literacy Association. It is so heartening to know that Juli-Anne is "out there" leading teachers and schools in a genuine effort to ensure that all students get the kind of education that will propel them forward to the lives they imagine. She is so deserving of this award.

Julia Reynolds Posted 2 months ago

I am fortunate to work with Juli-Anne Benjamin on the Board of Directors of the International Literacy Association. She is an advocate for students, teachers, and families. She inspires us with her passion for equity and books. We are all better for knowing her. I support this nomination and strongly believe that she deserves this recognition.

Dr. Ken Kunz Posted 2 months ago

Juli-Anne has changed my perspective entirely on what it means to have a professional learning network. She is determined, refreshingly honest, and student-centered and "teacher-celebrating" when it comes to the worthwhile work ahead of us. I met Juli-Anne when we both joined the Board of the International Literacy Association, and I am thrilled that we were able to convince her to spread this energy to the NJ Literacy Association. Juli-Anne is a spark of energy and a breath of fresh air when it comes to literacy initiatives and advocated for students and teachers. Her work with EdCampNewark is inspirational, and, if you haven't experienced that energy yet: you need to. I couldn't think of anyone more deserving of this award.

Susan Paasch Posted 2 months ago

I haven't known Juli-Anne for long, but in that brief amount of time, I have been impressed by her dedication to Literacy and Equity and have learned so much from her. I look forward to learning more from her. She is very knowledgeable and deserving of this award.

Maureen Posted 2 months ago

I met Juli-Anne in her role as a new ILA Board member, and was immediately delighted. Juli-Anne is clearly an educator who has global vision, but what I am learning about her as a Board member of the NJLA is that she puts her vision to work. While she never overpowers a meeting, I find that I am always eager to listen to what she has to contribute. Juli-Anne has something to say; she makes powerful statements about social justice, about children and education in general, and about New Jersey's children in particular. Her work with EdCamp alone makes her worthy of this honor, but she is also a wonderful educator. At a recent conference I attended her presentation, and could have listened to her logical and progressive thoughts all day long. I'm thrilled to know such a strong and capable educator, and so happy that she has been nominated as a change-maker, which she is!

Nancy Gannon Posted 2 months ago

Juli-Anne gets more done in a day than many people do in a week, and all in the service of young people. I'm proud to know her and to learn from her. It's no surprise that she was nominated for this award.

Kathy Headley Posted 2 months ago

Well deserved! So proud of/for you!

Beverley Harris Posted 2 months ago

I am very fortunate to have met Juli-Anne with her positive energy. I am proud of her work and I am motivated by the passion she has for teacher professional development.She will be an excellent choice for the Life Changer of the Year Award.!

Rita Spaulding Posted 2 months ago

It is a fortunate experience to work with Julie-Ann on the Board of the New Jersey Literacy Association. Juli-Ann brings fresh insight and ideas, to the Professional Development Committee of the Board, which target what teachers need and desire to add to their "toolbox of instruction". It is inspiring to work with a colleague with such remarkable credentials, as well.

Dr. Jennifer Williams Posted 2 months ago

Juli-Anne is not only an experienced and knowledgeable thought leader, she is also a deeply committed educator dedicated to supporting every student, every teacher, and every classroom --- everywhere! She embodies the term "global educator" and speaks to both the head and the heart of education. In her work with TeachSDGs, ILA, and Edcamp, she works for equitable and accessible learning for students and teachers. For me professionally and personally, Juli-Anne is a rock -- always there to support, jump in, say "how can I help?" and "count me in." She is an inspiration to many and is making a beautiful mark on our world!

Mariel Buque Posted 3 months ago

Juli-Anne is such beam of light. She is so intentional about bringing together people for the greater good of the next generation. Her work is powerful and authentic. So happy to see her nominated. She is well deserving of this award!

Gena Cooley Posted 3 months ago

As a fellow educator, I could not be more proud of the work Juli-Ann stands by. She challenges each of us to do better culturally by knowing better.

KEYANNA JONES Posted 3 months ago

Juli-Anne is not only a phenomenal educator of children; but she is an extraordinary educator of her peers. Having had the opportunity to attend numerous EdCamps with Juli-Anne, her ability to connect with other educators is clearly seen and quite beneficial to others. Because of her passion to see educators properly supported with professional development, Juli-Anne founded two EdCamps: EdCamp Brooklyn and EdCamp Newark. She goes to great lengths to ensure that her EdCamps are filled with the best and brightest leaders to offer valuable content to those in attendance. Her goal is always to ensure that educators leave with an arsenal information and strategies to implement in their schools. Her fearlessness in addressing issues of diversity and social justice in education, make her one of the most well-rounded and essentially equipped educators that I have come into contact with. What makes Juli-Anne so phenomenal is her humble spirit. Whether speaking to one of her superiors, a parent or a student, she treats everyone with the same respect; and never makes anyone feel inferior. To know Juli-Anne is not only to love her; but to admire her strength, perseverance and unfailing commitment to equity in education.

Sarah Gross Posted 3 months ago

Juli-Anne is so deserving of this award! Along with everything listed above she also recently came on board as an organizer for #nerdcampNJ, a literacy-focused edcamp designed to bring together educators and authors. I don't know how she does it all, but she does!

Elaine Posted 3 months ago

Juli-Anne is an amazing educator. She’s dedicated, caring, and loyal to ALL students. She’s an excellent choice for Life Changer of the Year.

Roger Jones Posted 3 months ago

As I began to submit a comment in this box I immediately thought you can't describe Juli-Anne's life changing impact on education, educators, and students within a box. She continuously changes the shape of the box by educating herself and equipping all stakeholders who are involved with children. She possesses the ability to have forward thinking in this 21st century. She's a true educator... what she learns she teaches and what she teaches, others will surely learn. However, when you read her bio she is by no means limited to a classroom (her first love), a district, or state. Her efforts and commitment to education are exactly what the award is- "life changing" for the world to benefit. As a educator. I am truly thankful to Juli-Anne for being an educational trailblazer.

Stacey-Ann Jones Posted 3 months ago

Amazing nomination for an amazing person and educator! Juli-Anne is so deserving of this award. She's dedicated countless years and effort to improving the lives of hundreds of children through literacy! Bravo Juli-Anne!