Honorary Chair

GSFF is proud to announce Dr. David Stout as the 2019 Honorary Chair. 

Dr. David Stout currently serves as President of Brookdale Community College.  Prior to his selection as the College’s 7th President, David served in various roles at Brookdale over 21 years, including Vice President for Student Success, Dean of Enrollment Development and Student Affairs, Dean of the Freehold Campus, Department Chair and Professor of Psychology and Human Services, Student Development Specialist, and Learning Assistant.  

As President, Dr. Stout has enacted strategies to predict and influence enrollment trends, address facility needs, analyze and control expenditures, update major institutional strategic plans, build financial reserves, and develop programs that address the needs of Monmouth County residents. 

President, Brookdale Community College

2019 Rising Star Award Winner

Actress and singer Allison Strong can be seen starring alongside Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in the Netflix original feature THE WEEK OF, released on April 27th, 2018. She is currently recurring as Talia Goldstein in Season Two of the Emmy-winning Amazon Series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  Strong’s television credits also include NBC’s THE BLACKLIST and Nickelodeon’s DORA AND FRIENDS. As a teenager, Strong made her Broadway debut as an ensemble cast member of BYE BYE BIRDIE. She has since gone on to perform in the Broadway cast of MAMMA MIA, while simultaneously completing her studies as a Musical Theater Major and honors student at Montclair State University. She also starred as Ado Annie in Daniel Fish’s OKLAHOMA! at Bard Summerscape. Ben Brantley of the New York Times called her performance “captivating.” Strong’s theater aspirations began at age 9, when she became a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children’s chorus and appeared in productions of CARMEN and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Strong is an alumna of the prestigious Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project and ASCAP’s Pop Songwriter’s Project. In 2014, she released her debut album MARCH TOWARDS THE SUN and was featured in Diego Luna’s Fusion Network documentary series BACK HOME, filmed in her family’s native Colombia. She continues to record original music in English and Spanish, and will be releasing a new single in early 2019. Strong celebrates her Colombian heritage and was born and raised in Hudson County, New Jersey.

Actress and singer


Director, producer, actress and long time GSFF supporter and friend, Kim Waltrip started her career as a model in New York City. Her projects have premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival and Palm Springs Film Festival. She has been the catalyst to bring GSFF some of its favorite films as well as VIPs. Congratulations, Kim for all you have accomplished and thank you for your continued support of GSFF.

Broader Vision Award Winner

The John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers® has been selected as the Garden State Film Festival Broader Vision Award!

The John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preventing drunk driving deaths and injuries by promoting the use of responsible designated drivers. The HERO Campaign was established by the family of Navy Ensign John R. Elliott of Egg Harbor Township, NJ, who was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver in July, 2000, two months after graduating from the United States Naval Academy.

The Campaign is saving lives throughout New Jersey and surrounding states in partnership with law enforcement; schools and colleges; federal and state highway safety organizations; the licensed beverage industry; and professional sports teams including the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Football Giants, the New England Patriots, and Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky.

Since 2000, the HERO Campaign, has grown into a major movement, receiving numerous state and national awards. A Stockton University poll in southern New Jersey found that over 40 percent of those polled said they had served as designated drivers due to the campaign, which has contributed to a 20 percent reduction in alcohol-related fatalities and incidents in the state over the past decade.

Educators of the Year

Erin Gomez has over 20 years teaching experience within the state of NJ.  After receiving her BA in Education from East Stroudsburg University, PA, she started her  career as a Kindergarten teacher at St. Jerome School in West Long Branch, NJ. Five years later she began working in the Keansburg School District as a 5th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher.  During this time period, Erin earned her MA in Education with a Reading Specialist Certification from Georgian Court University. For the last 15 years, Erin has been instructing the Gifted and Talented Program.  She enjoys working with the G&T students in grades 2-8 and providing enrichment to the first grade students of the district. She is an active member and Secretary of the Shore Consortium for the Gifted and Talented, an organization dedicated to providing curriculum-driven enriching opportunities to Gifted Students in some of Monmouth County’s smaller school districts.

Linda Krebs has over 20 years of experience in public education in New Jersey. Starting out as a teacher for the Gifted & Talented, Linda went on to teach middle school language arts and then became a school library media specialist, taking on additional roles as enrichment coordinator, technology coach, and returning to her roots as a teacher of the gifted and talented. Currently Linda is the school library media specialist at HW Mountz School in Spring Lake, a position she loves. She has experience in the public school environment working with students from preschool through grade 8. Linda received her BA in American Studies from Drew University; an MA in American Studies from the University of Wyoming; completed graduate education courses through Kean University, and holds a Master of Library & Information Science from Rutgers University. Linda is an active member of the Shore Consortium for the Gifted & Talented, an organization dedicated to providing curriculum-driven enriching opportunities to smaller school districts.      


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