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Two West Orange School District Educators Named Fulbright Scholars

WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange High School English teacher Christina Biddle and Edison Middle School English teacher Maheen Ahmad have been named Fulbright Scholars for 2022-2023.

According to the State Department, "The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program. For over 75 years, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 participants - chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential - with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns."

Christina Biddle – Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Research

Biddle is honored to have taught in the high school English department for the past 10 years. Prior to coming to West Orange, she taught English, humanities, and documentary filmmaking for several years in New York City.  She is especially grateful to all of her colleagues  – for sharing their brilliant ideas and creativity over the years - as well as to her supervisor, Ms. Veneziano for her support, wisdom and guidance.   She also would like to thank Mr. Moore and Ms. Towson for all their support and encouragement over the years.  

“My award is the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Research Program,” began Biddle.

“I believe I am one of 20 teachers selected from around the country (going to 11 different countries). I will be living in Helsinki, Finland for six months, conducting an inquiry project on Finland's unique approach to phenomenon-based learning and how it might lead to a greater understanding of the interconnectedness of life, as well as feelings of joy, purpose, agency, and hope. I also plan to investigate how phenomenon-based learning might engage students in reading great literature, producing authentic writing and designing meaningful projects which may have a community and global impact. I will be assigned to an advisor at the University of Helsinki and will be travelling to schools throughout the country to observe and speak with students and teachers. I look forward to sharing my findings with the community upon my return,” she explained.

In particular, Ms. Biddle hopes to understand how phenomenon-based learning might be used to provide purpose and joy to the students and specifically, how it  might be used to transform the 12th grade learning experience into an even more invigorating one – a sort of bridge experience to college.   


WOHS Principal Hayden Moore, Christina Biddle, K-12 ELA Supervisor Liz Veneziano

Maheen Ahmad -  Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program award.

Ahmad has taught at EMS since graduating from college in 2013. "I never imagined where it would take me, “she noted.

:I'm enormously grateful for all the support and encouragement I've received over the years, and especially from administrators like Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Melendez, and Ms. Veneziano,” she stated.

Over the past several years, Ahmad has continued to evolve as a teacher, pursued a Master's in Instructional Technology and Media at Teachers College, had the opportunity to present many workshops in the district, helped Edison Middle School receive the School to Watch and Future Ready awards, and is a PhD candidate in Teacher Education at Montclair State University.

I'm ecstatic about the opportunity to join the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program,” Ahmad went on to say, "and learning the education systems of different countries has always been a dream of mine.” 

In addition to conferences and training, Ahmad will spend two weeks in a select country learning about their education systems, and spending two weeks in a select country learning about their education systems. Participating countries include Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, South Korea, and more.

“This school district has been and continues to be a fantastic district in which to grow and develop. I wouldn't be who I am today without West Orange, and I'm grateful beyond words for that.” Ahmad concluded.


Maheen Ahmad

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit or contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Press Office by e-mail    


Cynthia Cumming
Sept. 29, 2022