Meet the Teachers

ALL Teachers have been trained on the unique social and emotional needs of gifted students! It is our goal to create an enriching environment that is sensitive to their learning preferences!

Michelle Tucci: Owner and Director  – Michelle is a gifted education specialist at the elementary and middle school level.  She has 19 years of experience teaching at every grade level from second through eighth, and holds degrees in Elementary Education, Biological Sciences and School Leadership. Camp IDEA is her “brain child” and she hopes to bring to your child an enriching and exciting experience that they can remember and return to year after year! Her favorite part of camp is seeing familiar faces return each year, and watching her teachers bring their ideas to life!

Jenna Rentzel: Co-Director/Registration – Jenna is a National Board Certified Teacher who has had experience teaching at third, fourth and sixth grades as well as in a gifted setting. In her past twenty-two years of teaching she has assisted with curriculum writing, and worked to support teachers seeking NBCT certification. Jenna is also an aspiring children’s author as well as a huge Doctor Who and Sherlock fan!

Jenny Christmas: Social Media and Event Planning  – Jenny is currently a fifth grade teacher with eleven years of experience. She has taught in 4th grade and assisted in almost all grades at the elementary level. Jenny has been with Camp IDEA since its inception, five years ago. Her interests include: dressing in costumes, planning and going on awesome adventures, reading biographies, and The Walking Dead!  If you dream of a class, she’s willing to teach it! Her favorite part of Camp IDEA: Watching kids come find their people!  She also loves camp activities that involve the ALL of the campers! (Mr. Shown’s Battle Bots, Homie G’s performances, or of course The Hunger Games!)

Dominique Mobley – Supply Management and Artistic Direction – Dominique is currently a fifth grade teacher and has previously taught third grade. She moonlights as a superhero on weekends, and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in elementary education. Dominique is an original Camp IDEA staffer and a certified yoga instructor!!

Valerie Groninger -Valerie has a BA in Elementary Education, holds a Reading Specialist certificate and has a BA in Theatre Arts/Acting.  She has worked with gifted children for the past nineteen years and has been a drama teacher in Mt. Laurel School District for the past eleven years. Affectionately known as “Homie G” by her students, Valerie has been bringing charisma and a flair for the dramatic to Camp IDEA for the past five summers.

Thomas Shown – Tom is currently a sixth grade mathematics teacher, and has previously taught computer skills. He is a technology consultant for many school districts in the area, and is the founder of Teach Smart NJ. Tom is our resident technology expert and you can find him battling robots and making Mrs. Tucci do crazy and embarrassing virtual reality explorations whenever he has time.

Jenna Passaro –  Jenna is back for her fourth year at Camp IDEA! She has fifteen years of teaching experience in Pre-K, First and Third grades. She holds a Preschool-Grade 3 Certificate and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. We are excited to have her back again, and can’t wait to see her in action!

Melissa Iocona –  Melissa is a 1st grade teacher who has also taught at the 2nd grade level. This is her third year with Camp IDEA.  She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education.

Mark & Demi Jaep – Mark and Demi work at Alloway Township School and have been teaching for a combined total of 15 years. Mark has a Masters degree and currently teaches Physical Education grades Pre-K – 8th and Demi has a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Elementary Education and currently teaches Third Grade. They are a high energy and enthusiastic couple who enjoy creating fun and engaging classes. This will be their third summer working with Camp IDEA staff, and they are beyond excited about another fun experience!

Dana Rupert – Dana has spent 22 years as a classroom teacher, 18 of which have been as a language arts teacher. She is certified to teach elementary education from Kindergarten to fifth grade, and is a highly qualified middle school teacher in science, social studies, math and language arts. In addition, she is certified in special education for ages 3-21 and a reading specialist! We are happy to have Dana on staff for her second summer at Camp IDEA.

Desiree Togno – Desiree is back for her second year at Camp IDEA! Desiree has a Master’s Degree in elementary education, holds a K-6 certification, and middle school language arts and middle school history. Her enthusiasm will be a great addition to the camp! 

Jennifer Cuesta – Jenn is a veteran teacher who is joining us for her first summer at Camp IDEA! She is currently a seventh and eighth grade English teacher, but also has experience as K-8 Visual and Performing Arts teacher. She brings her history expertise to us this summer from her minor in Cultural Anthropology from Rowan University. Jenn was also a volunteer at the UPenn Museum for Archaeology and Anthropology where she assisted with artifact processing, and helped to host archaeological digs for children at Barclay Farms in Cherry Hill. We are so excited to have Jenn join us this summer!

Michael J. Brodzik – Mike is a new addition to Camp IDEA this summer and brings his art expertise with him. Mike is a certified Math teacher currently working at the middle school level, but is also an up and coming artist that is bringing his talent to our campers. In addition to teaching, Mike creates original art, designs clothing lines, logos, websites and fonts. We are lucky to have him! Please visit his website at  for more information.

Brian Cross – Brian is another new addition to the Camp IDEA staff! He is currently an 8th grade science teacher and is also certified to teach Math. He is super creative, enthusiastic and Philly sports superfan.

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