Kean University Supera Spanish-Speaking Program Named National Finalist for ‘Excelencia in Education’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, August 22, 2022

Kean University Supera Spanish-Speaking Program Named National Finalist for ‘Excelencia in Education’

UNION, N.J. — Kean University’s Supera Spanish-Speaking Program has been named a national finalist for 2022 Examples of Excelencia by a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to accelerating Latino student success in higher education.

The Kean program, which allows students to advance in their University careers while acquiring knowledge of English through ESL (English as a Second Language), is one of only 20 programs in the country recognized by the group Excelencia in Education for its work serving Latino students.

A total of 93 programs were submitted for consideration for the honor, representing 17 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. On September 29, four of the 20 finalists will be announced as the 2022 Examples of Excelencia. Kean was recognized at the baccalaureate level.

“Kean University is extremely proud of our commitment to Latino and first-generation students,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “Supera is an important way that we support English language learners on their path toward earning a college degree. We are honored and thrilled to be recognized as a national finalist for Excelencia.”

There are approximately 455 Kean students enrolled in the program this fall, said Rosa Paulino, acting director of Supera. The program provides structured study for students designed to integrate them into University life and classes in Spanish for students in their first years at Kean.

The program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, said Barbara Harmon-Francis, vice-president for Kean’s Division of Student Success and Retention. Graduates include teachers, nurses, dentists, newscasters and more.

“For 50 years, we have been leading the way for other institutions to follow a model program that empowers English language learners,” Harmon-Francis said. “When recruiting in most high schools, you will always find English language learners who stop to ask for information with a friend who speaks English. When they learn about Supera, their whole attitude brightens. They know that they not only have an opportunity to earn a college degree; they can do it while mastering the English language.”

Kean Deputy Chief of Staff Katherine Gallagher called Supera “a unique academic pathway for students.”

“We will leverage this national recognition to continue growing the program and expanding access to higher education for Spanish-speaking students,” Gallagher said.

Excelencia in Education, which was created in 2005, is the nation’s premier authority on efforts to accelerate Latino student success in higher education. Organization Co-founder and CEO Deborah Santiago said the work is “answering the national call to identify and invest in evidence-based practices that improve college completion.”

“These 20 programs are evidence-based exemplars led by practitioners working directly with students and community that go beyond enrollment to intentionally serve students on their journey to degree completion,” Santiago said.


Kean University’s Supera Spanish-Speaking Program has been named a national finalist for 2022 Examples of Excelencia, one of only 20 programs recognized nationally by the Washington, D.C.-based organization Excelencia in Education. (Photo Credit: Kean University)



Founded in 1855, Kean University is one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving more than 16,000 students. The University’s six undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers seven doctoral degree programs and more than 70 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union, Toms River, Jefferson and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit

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