SUMMIT, NJ - Dr. Patricia Fontan has been named Science Research Liaison and Hispanic Community Liaison, two new, part-time positions within the Summit Public School System.  The Summit Education Foundation (SEF) funds the Science Research Liaison role for the current school year.

“It is remarkable that we found one person, highly qualified for both of our most recent liaison positions,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nathan Parker.  “Dr. Fontan has a tremendous academic background in the field of science research and is fluent in Spanish, having been an active member of the Summit community for many years."

As Science Liaison, Dr. Fontan, a Summit resident, will facilitate relationships between science research students at Summit High School and professional science research organizations, with the goal of creating a program offering students real-life experience in the area of scientific research.  She reports to Summit High School’s Principal, Paul Sears, and works directly with Dr. Benjamin Greene and Ms. Cynthia Vitale, who oversee science research at the high school.

 "I will be identifying laboratories that wish to host high school student internships," said Dr. Fontan.  Adding, "These programs will provide real-world, hands-on project work in the lab, which will allow our students who are interested in science a chance to determine if they want to pursue it in college and beyond."

The job of Hispanic Community Liaison was established with the purpose of enhancing success of non-or limited English speaking students through active outreach and engagement within the Hispanic community at the elementary school level.  The responsibilities of this role include: creating educational opportunities for families, increasing parental involvement in students' educational programs and related activities, facilitating positive parent, school, and student relationships, and providing verbal or written translations of exchanges that support the work of the liaison.  This position reports to Felix Gil, Principal of the Primary Centers.

"I will work to bridge any communication challenges that exist, bringing the families to school to learn the culture of our schools and the expectations from each side," said Dr. Fontan.

Dr. Fontan has a Ph.D. and a Master’s in Biology from the School of Exact and Natural Sciences at the National University of Buenos Aires in Argentina.  Her most recent academic position was Assistant Professor at the Department of Microbiology at the Public Health Research Institute at UMDJ-Rutgers.  She has published a number of original articles published in scientific journals.

Since 2008, Dr. Fontan has been actively involved as a parent in both Washington School and in the Summit community as a whole.   She lectured on science topics at Washington’s enrichment after school program, is currently a member of CHAT, is the chair of the Latin-American Families Group, Amigos, at Washington, is co-chair of the Hispanic Parent Association at Summit High School and is the Third Vice President for Washington’s PTO.

“Dr. Fontan has been an asset to the Washington School community for several years,” said Principal Mrs. Lauren Banker.  “It’s an honor to now share her with the entire Summit district so all students and families can benefit from her knowledge and communication skills.”