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 and fourth grades as well as in a gifted setting. In her past twenty-one 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 ten 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!  I also love 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 eighteen years and has been a drama teacher in Mt. Laurel School District for the past ten 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.

Genise Cox – Genise is currently a full-time music teacher and part-time Minecraft genius. She holds a BA in music as well as a standard K-5 certificate with a grade 5-8 specialization in mathematics. Genise has been with Camp IDEA since 2014.

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 third year at Camp IDEA! She has 14 years of teaching experience from Pre-K, First and Third grades. She is 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 21 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 first summer at Camp IDEA.

Desiree Togno – Desiree is new to Camp IDEA this summer, and is bringing an awesome class — The Amazing Race! 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! 

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