Executive Management

Heather AlongeSince 1990, Heather has been working to enhance ECLC's programs by nurturing relationships with individuals, corporations and foundations who give so generously. Heather joined ECLC in 1990, serving as the assistant to the executive director and the development director.  In 1996, as ECLC was in the home stretch of a $4 million capital campaign, Heather was promoted to the development director position. Prior to ECLC, Heather attended New York University and worked in IT for the university's food service company.

Alison ChernelaAlison has been with Community Personnel Services, Inc., (CPS) for 13 years, starting as an employment specialist and being named director in 2007. She earned a B.S. degree in special education from Ohio University and her M.A. in special education from Kean University.  Alison started her career as a special education teacher, working at various school districts in Northern New Jersey. Alison's last teaching position was as a resource room teacher in the East Newark Public Schools. During her tenure at CPS, the agency has grown and evolved, and Alison credits the "dedicated staff, who care deeply about the students and consumers they serve."

Amalia DuarteAmalia joined ECLC in 2009 to manage internal communications and public relations. She is a seasoned communications professional with experience in both senior corporate communications roles and as a reporter, editor and writer. Most recently, she was the Communications Director for Citigroup's Operations & Technology unit, a global organization of more than 22,000 staff. She was responsible for speech writing; media relations; e-newsletters; internal Websites; videos; large, employee meetings; and more. She earned a B.A. at New York University in journalism and political science and began her career as a newspaper reporter at the "Los Angeles Times" and later joined "The Record" in Northern New Jersey. She was an editor at "Meetings & Conventions" and reporter at "People" magazine. She has written for the "New York Times" and other national publications. Amalia serves on the Board of the Alliance of Private Special Needs Schools of North Jersey. Amalia is on the Executive Board of ASAH, the umbrella organization for schools and agencies serving people with disabilities. She is also Chair of ASAH's Public Relations Committee.

Jean EarleJean has been ECLC's business manager and administrator since 1998. She received a B.A. degree from Cornell University, Master's degree in Education from the College of William and Mary, and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to joining ECLC, Jean worked in healthcare management roles. Family experience with special needs led to her devotion to serving the ECLC mission of empowering and enabling individuals to achieve their maximum potential and enhance their quality of life. She is the recipient of awards in the field, including the Diana Cuthbertson Award from the New Jersey Statewide Parent Advocacy Network. She also is a volunteer with Canine Companions for Independence, and volunteers with clients in the P.R.I.D.E. program, helping them with puppy-training activities.

Diane GagliardiDiane has been with ECLC since 1988 and served as principal of the Chatham school since 1991. After graduating from Newark State College (Kean University) with a degree in special education, she began teaching in the Essex County Vocational Schools and continued with her education, earning an M.A. in Administration from Rutgers University. Upon starting a family, she elected to stay home and raise her two sons. In 1988, Diane returned to special education as ECLC's SKIL (Seeking Knowledge for Independent Living) teacher. The following year, she was promoted to assistant principal and soon-after, principal. During her tenure in Chatham, many extra-curricular programs have been created to enrich the educational experience of students, including sports clinics, respite (sleepovers), evening activities for adult alumni, a cheerleading club, various Scout troops, activities with local private school students, and much more. Diane is on the advisory board for the College of St. Elizabeth, a member of Kappa Delta Pi (a National Honor Society in Education) and serves as treasurer for the N.J. Council of Administrators of Special Education.

Dot LibmanDot has been with ECLC since 2008 and served as the director of P.R.I.D.E. since September 2009. After graduating from Lesley University with a degree in special education, she taught in the East Orange and Stanhope school districts. Upon starting a family, she transitioned into volunteer work. For many years, she volunteered with the National Council of Jewish Women's Center for Women. There, she answered client calls to the center's self-help hotline. She also volunteered extensively with St. Barnabas Hospital, where she aided victims of domestic violence and created a program to educate high school students about date rape and violence. She worked directly with clients at St. Barnabas, helping emergency room professionals with intake for rape victims. Libman returned to substitute teaching in 2003. She serves on the N.J. Department of Human Services’ Medical Assistance Advisory Council.

Vicki Lindorff Vicki Lindorff has been with ECLC of New Jersey almost since the beginning. After earning her B.A. and M.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Montclair State College, she joined ECLC as a teacher in 1977. As ECLC expanded its services, Vicki moved into different roles with increasing responsibility. She obtained a certification as a principal/supervisor and was eventually named principal of the Bergen County school in 1982. Over the years, Vicki has introduced many innovative programs, such as the creation of apartment-like classrooms to foster independent living skills, the SCERTS program, therapeutic horseback riding and most recently, the addition of a full-time service dog, Patrina. Vicki's philosophy is that, "as an educator our responsibility is to be creative and resourceful in providing the proper supports to maximize each child's strengths and encourage success and self-confidence in every way!"

Bruce LitingerBruce Litinger has been the executive director of ECLC of New Jersey since 1997. He took over leadership of the non-profit as a second chapter in his long career in special education/social services. Bruce earned his B.A. degree at Newark State College and an M.A. at Kean University. During his career, he obtained certifications as an elementary school teacher, special education teacher, school social worker, guidance counselor, director of pupil personnel services, supervisor/principal and chief school administrator. Prior to coming to ECLC, Bruce served as the district-wide director of special education for the Woodbridge Township Public Schools. Bruce believes ECLC of New Jersey "empowers and enables the individuals we serve to achieve their maximum potential and enhance their quality of life."