Two graduates of the Dance program in the School of the Arts at East Brunswick Magnet School have found success in New York City
Eileen Salvato, Class of 2019, is a dancer for the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA and the New York Liberty of the WNBA. She also has been a guest artist in the Magnet Schools Dance program for this school year.
Another guest artist this year, Spencer Grossman, Class of 2014, is in the cast of Off-Broadway’s “Sleep No More,” an interactive show that is a “film noir” take on “Macbeth.”
Salvato, from Edison, said she “couldn’t have chosen a better school for myself,” praising dance teacher Cleo Mack and others at East Brunswick Magnet School. She said she has enjoyed returning to East Brunswick Magnet School as a guest artist.
“It’s exciting to see how things have evolved,” she said, adding that Ms. Mack “is probably the most diligent and hard-working person I know.” “She is absolutely amazing – she wants to see all her students succeed.”
In addition to dancing for the professional basketball teams, she is a dance teacher and has performed with such hip-hop and R&B artists as Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Lil’ Kim and Lola Brooke. In August she is going to Abu Dhabi to perform at the USA Basketball Showcase in advance of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Grossman, from East Brunswick, credits Ms. Mack with being “really integral in preparing me for college” and introducing him to his current show, “Sleep No More,” as a student.
“She organized a trip to the show, otherwise I might not even have known about it,” he said. Grossman said Ms. Mack was “awesome” as a teacher. “She solidified my thought” about dancing and college, he added. Both are graduates of Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick.
Please stay tuned for further alumni relations events and updates in the future!
Welcome alumni and friends!
Do you know an alumnus or upcoming graduate who would love to stay connected with their classmates?
In our schools, we believe in the power of lifelong connections and providing students with opportunities to benefit them throughout life. The bonds formed within our schools can continue to grow after graduation day, and we’re unveiling a new platform that will further strengthen those connections.
Our alumni website is a dedicated online platform designed exclusively for graduates who have passed through our halls in East Brunswick, Edison, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, and Woodbridge. This digital hub will be a centralized place for networking, mentorship, career development, and more.
Whether you were a Vo-Tech student years ago or are a recent Magnet Schools graduate, with the alumni portal, you'll be able to:
Connect with fellow alumni
Reconnect with old friends and make new connections within our growing alumni network. Find classmates, join affinity groups based on graduation years, and expand your professional network.
Explore career opportunities
Discover job openings, internships, and mentorship programs tailored to our career and technical education community. Perhaps you’d like to seek career advice from other graduates – or post a new job opportunity? This platform will be your go-to resource.
Receive the latest news, events, and announcements from the Magnet Schools and throughout Middlesex County. Stay informed about reunions, alumni gatherings, and other opportunities to engage with your alma mater.
Join us today on the Middlesex County Magnet Schools Alumni Website to connect, and help recent graduates continue to unleash their passion.
This is our district's private, online community created exclusively for Middlesex alumni. It is a secure, password-protected environment established by the Middlesex County Magnet Schools Department of External Affairs.
Become a member of our alumni community to:
Update information on your profile
Subscribe to and read Alumni Spotlights
Submit a class note
Find classmates through the Alumni Directory
Register for events and reunions
Discover ways to support your alma mater
Reconnect with teachers and former classmates
Search for friends and make new connections with the online community! When you are ready, all you need to do to take advantage of all the community offers is to proceed through the registration process to establish an account.
ALUMNI NEWS: Alex Day
Welding is in Alex Day’s DNA.
His grandfather, father, brother and uncle all were in the profession. It definitely wasn’t a surprise when last June he was the first student at the Middlesex County Magnet Schools Piscataway Campus to graduate with all three certifications necessary to become a professional welder.
He has now been accepted into Boilermakers Local 13 as an apprentice and is about to begin work at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
“You couldn’t ask for a better student,” said Piscataway Magnet School Welding Technology teacher Glen Foli. “He was focused and determined, and he came from a great background.”
“I wish every student was like him.” Alex is also full of praise for his teacher.
“He’s taught me everything that I know,” he said. “He’s given me so many opportunities to explore and learn.”
Alex says he finds welding “very relaxing.”
“To me, welding feels like when you sit by a fire and are just fascinated by it.” Alex will be commuting to Philadelphia from his home in North Brunswick to excel in his welding career.
ALUMNI NEWS: Christian Rios
The seed for a future teaching career was planted when Christian Rios was a culinary student at Perth Amboy Magnet School.
He said he was asked by his teacher, Chef Stephen Moir, what he wanted to do with his culinary studies. Inspirerd by his experience with a number of special-needs people in his life, he began to think about teaching.
A 2009 graduate of Perth Amboy Magnet School from Carteret, he graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Providence and launched a career as a chef. He worked for nine years as a sous chef at a country club in Manalapan before becoming a culinary arts teacher at Piscataway Magnet School a year ago in December.
He said he was surprised to learn from college classmates that they had not had a good experience during their high school culinary classes.
“I wanted to change that, I wanted my students to feel, ‘I’m good at this; I can do this,’” Chef Rios said. “I’m grateful to be able to accomplish the dream that I had.”
He said he finds that his students are engaged and eager to learn.
“It’s a life-changing experience for me,” he said. “It almost doesn’t feel like a job.”
Chef Rios’ background is in Latin cuisine, but he also has experience in Indian, Mediterranean, Asian and Caribbean foods.
ALUMNI NEWS: Isaiah Gomez
Isaiah Gomez, a 2019 East Brunswick Magnet School digital film graduate, has returned to the district as part of the new External Affairs Department and is in charge of video and still photography and film editing.
“I’ve always wanted to work in marketing and do visual media,” he said. “It’s exciting to be back and to have a job where I’m doing something I like to do.”
Isaiah is working part time while attending Montclair State University as a film and television major.
A Perth Amboy resident, he has experience photographing dance and theater performances, and some of his short films have been chosen for screening at prestigious film festivals.
He credits instructor Louis Libitz with bringing an artistic sensibility as well as technical knowledge to the East Brunswick Magnet School digital film program.
“I think he took the program to another level,” he said.
Mr. Libitz also helped Isaiah get his first freelance job, coaching him to obtain his license as a drone pilot. Isaiah has taken pictures of Magnet Schools graduations from aloft for the last three years.
ALUMNI NEWS: Jennifer Obrizan
A 2018 graduate of the Agriscience program at the East Brunswick Magnet School has returned as a student teacher eager to continue as an educator.
Jennifer Obrizan of Carteret graduated from Rutgers University with a double major in agriculture/food systems and plant biology. She will receive a master’s degree in science education from Rutgers in May.
“I’m also getting an endorsement to teach students with special needs,” she said.
She has been working with Agriscience teacher Kylie Naylor in the program’s new lab on the East Brunswick campus.
“I’m really enjoying it,” she said. “All the students are really great. They’ve been really receptive to my teaching.”
“Since I graduated from here, I feel it’s really easy to relate to the students and help them decide what they want to do after graduation.
“I was always thinking I wanted to work in the field of science. Agriculture appealed to me when I started to think about teaching. There is a national shortage of agriculture educators.”
Jennifer had been “tagged to teach agriculture” by her agriculture teacher at the East Brunswick Magnet School, Lisa Ann Moschera, who has since retired. Three current students have been similarly tagged, Jennifer said.
While in high school, Jennifer was a member of the National Technical Honor Society and salutatorian of her class.
ALUMNI NEWS: Joshua Houskeeper
Joshua Houskeeper, a 2019 graduate of the East Brunswick Magnet School with a career major in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration, is putting his knowledge and skills to work in the Marine Corps.
After service on a tank crew, Houskeeper is now a corporal and a refrigeration specialist. He visited his alma mater while in New Jersey to assist the Marines in recruiting efforts.
“We’re proud of all our graduates and appreciate them when they stay in touch,” said Magnet Schools Board of Education President Keith Jones II.
“We thank Josh for his service to the country and for carrying the banner of the Middlesex County Magnet Schools with such distinction.”
“The Magnet Schools have a lot of success stories, and Joshua’s is certainly one of them,” said Superintendent of Schools Jorge E. Diaz. “We’re very proud of him.”
“On the skills side, the one thing I got that most 17- or 18-year-olds don’t usually get was coaching and counseling. I realize now how important those life skills really are,” said Joshua.
“Joshua was an earnest student who made the most of his time in our school to become a strong leader,” said Thomas Leibering, East Brunswick Magnet School mathematics teacher.
Leibering said Houskeeper joined the school’s SkillsUSA chapter as a sophomore hesitantly after being talked into it by a classmate.
“Once he was in though, he started running and didn’t stop,” Leibering said. “He became chapter treasurer his junior year, running meetings, organizing fundraisers, and earning a silver in his shop contest as well as a bronze medal in state banner design when he volunteered to fill in for a competitor who could not make the presentation.
Houskeeper became a state SkillsUSA officer as a senior and traveled across the state as a representative of both the school and the SkillsUSA organization while also maintaining his position as chapter president and attending regular Marine recruitment events.
“He was such a quick study and understood the material so well that I hired him to work at my HVAC company, where he thrived and broadened his HVAC knowledge,” HVACR teacher Francis Wass said. “I knew from the start that Josh had the ability to excel on whatever path he chose in life.”
Houskeeper, who just re-enlisted for another four years in the Marines, is stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
ALUMNI NEWS: Priyanka Sabnani
Priyanka Sabnani’s study of civil and mechanical engineering at the Middlesex County Edison Academy Magnet School has led her to a career in enabling people to do their best work.
A 2012 graduate of the Edison Academy, she credits her time there with opening her eyes to the world around her. She now is director of people and organizational performance at Public.com, a platform that allows investors to buy stocks and a myriad of other investments, including bonds, funds and collectibles, in one place.
“What was really special about the academy was the diversity of the curriculum,” she said. “It was a stark change from the traditional learning methods that students are used to up until high school … it really took you out of your comfort zone.”
“I think many of my classmates can agree that we went from being top performers in our public schools to this very rigorous environment full of excellent people all around, which made it really competitive but also exciting and motivating,” she said. Sabnani said the academy encouraged students to “respect the process.”
She majored in industrial and systems engineering at Rutgers and began her career at Goldman Sachs in Manhattan, working in the compliance and consumer banking divisions before landing a role in the office of the chairman and CEO. She moved to Public as chief of staff, reporting to the co-CEOs, before taking on her current role.
“I feel like this is a role that has been inevitable,” she said, “to be a connector of people, to drive our organizational strategy, and ultimately to help our members be better investors.”
“Our mission is to make the public markets work for all people,” she said. “By providing access to any fractional asset – and introducing new asset classes – we’re increasing opportunities for diversification among our members.”
She grew up in Woodbridge and Edison, and her younger brother, Shubham, also attended the Edison Academy. She was married last year and now lives in Jersey City.
ALUMNI NEWS: Shawn LaTourette
State Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette says attending a Middlesex County Magnet School changed his life.
“I’m not sure I’d be here today without it,” he said. “It opened my eyes to all of the different possibilities. The whole experience just changed my life.”
“Middlesex County Magnet Schools, formerly known as Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools, have been providing exceptional, specialized education for over 100 years to Middlesex County students,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios.
“State Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette is a testament to the exceptional education provided by our county’s Magnet Schools, and inspires us to continue our mission of delivering high-quality education to all students”
Commissioner LaTourette, 42, attended middle school in Woodbridge and is a 1998 graduate of what was then Woodbridge Vo-Tech. It had been the girls’ vocational and technical school and still had a five-to-one ratio of girls to boys when he started. The offerings on the campus, which now houses the Woodbridge Academy Magnet School, specializing in bio-medical and health careers, was still heavily geared toward what were considered careers for women, such as fashion design and cosmetology. He chose automated office technology – an update of the old secretarial career major – and in his junior year was offered an internship with a small law firm in Perth Amboy.
“I thought my best option was to get some skills and get a job after I graduated,” he said. “I tend to be sort of a very hands-on type of person.”
I learn by doing. Being at Vo-Tech, it spoke more to my learning style than a traditional high school would have. And because of that, a lot of doors opened that might not have otherwise.
“The real benefit was in the doing. If you come from a family like mine, the value and the dignity that that gives you where you’re contributing and you’re being productive, I was able to feel the benefits of that more directly at Vo-Tech.
“I was able to go into an office and demonstrate a skill and be rewarded for that skill. The point is to have these multiple options that speak to the needs of different students. I’m not sure I’d be here right now today without it.”
After the internship, he became a secretary’s assistant, then a paralegal, then a business administrator of a small law firm.
“When I went to Vo-Tech it was not what it is now,” he said. “It was the place you went when maybe college wasn’t your next step. I grew up in a family where no one went to college.”
“In my shop there were no men other than me,” LaTourette said.
“All of the girls jokingly called me Secretary Shawn, which I would answer to today. I was inducted into the New Jersey Equity Hall of Fame for being the only male in a female area of study.
“I did my undergraduate study at night while I worked full time, first at Middlesex County College, then Rutgers,” he said. “It was exhausting.”
He “took a break” and went to law school full time at Rutgers in Camden, graduating second in his class. He then worked for large law firms in New York City and Newark. He became a community organizer, advocating for victims of environmental pollution, and did that for 10 years.
Although he wasn’t involved in state politics – even though he was a class officer in high school and at Rutgers – he was chosen for the role of chief counsel under Catherine McCabe, Governor Phil Murphy’s first commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), whose experience was in the federal government.
“She wanted a New Jersey environmental lawyer as chief counsel,” he said. “I moved up into another role and then another role. It turns out I love government – who knew?”
“I have a deep love for the work that I’m doing here because of the way it can improve the lives of other people,” he said. “I imagine that my next step is to continue doing that work in some way.”
Commissioner LaTourette also is an advocate for gay rights and has been chairman of the LGBTQ Section of the New Jersey Bar Association.
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