Meet the Candidates: Here’s Who’s Running for the Newark Public Schools Board of Education | #Education

NEWARK, NJ  — When residents cast their votes on April 20 for the Newark Public Schools Board of Education election, they will be tasked with choosing which candidates will fill four vacancies on the board. 

Six candidates will be running for three vacant seats for 3-year terms on the board, and two candidates will be running for one vacant seat for a 1-year term. 

The candidates on the 3-year term ballot are: Dawn Haynes; Vereliz Santana; Asia Norton; Phillip Wilson; Nadirah Brown; and Yolanda Johnson.

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The candidates on the 1-year term ballot are: Sheila Montague and Daniel Gonzalez. Four candidates running together on the Moving Newark Schools Forward Ticket and include: Haynes, Santana, Norton and Gonzalez.

Here Are Key Takeaways for Voters to Know About Each Candidate (Listed Alphabetically):

3-Year Term Candidates

Nadirah Brown: Brown currently resides in the South Ward with her daughter. She has worked for the city of Newark for the Department of Public Welfare and the Division of Family Assistance and Benefits, where she has been for the past 15 years. She is a member with her current union, Communications Workers of America Local 1081, where she has served as shop steward, on the scholarship committee and on three bargaining committees for employee contracts. 

Dawn Haynes: Born in Newark, Haynes attended several schools and graduated from William H. Brown Academy and later Malcolm X Shabazz High school in the year 2001. During her time in high school, she was introduced to the ROTC program and later joined the US Air Force. After her time in the Air Force, she enrolled and later graduated from Lincoln Technical Institute, as a certified electronic systems technician.

Yolanda Johnson: A lifelong Newark resident who was educated in the Newark Public School District, Johnson has spent over 20 years volunteering in the city’s public schools. Aimed to increase parent engagement, she founded Parents Educating Parents, Inc. in 2015 where she is the chief executive officer.

Asia Norton: Born at Newark Beth Israel Hospital, Norton was a student in Newark schools including Maple Avenue and Calvary Christian. After graduating from college, she returned to the South Ward and was an educator for seven years in Newark at North Star Academy, KIPP NJ, and Marion P. Thomas Charter School, then transitioned into coaching teachers in literacy at Elizabeth Public Schools with the Children’s Literacy Initiative. 

Vereliz Santana: Born in Newark, Santana attended Stockton University where she earned a bachelor’s degree English and later obtained a master’s degree in English literature and linguistics at the University of Granada. After serving in Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s administration as a senior aide, she eventually joined the office of Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, the chair of the Senate Education Committee. 

Phillip Wilson: Born in Newark, Wilson attended Newark Public Schools and attended Essex County Schools of Technology. He comes from a career technical education background with over 20 years as an auto collision tech and over 17 years as an auto collision instructor.

1-Year Term Candidates

Daniel Gonzalez: Born in Newark, Gonzalez attended Newark Public Schools, including Elliott Street School and Lafayette Street School. He graduated from East Side High School in 1989. In 2002, he was recruited to work in the administration of then Newark Mayor Sharpe James as the chief financial officer and director of finance for the city. In that position, he also served as treasurer of Newark Public Schools.

Sheila Montague: A lifelong Newark resident, Montague is currently a professor at Essex County College and a veteran teacher of 20 years in the Newark Public Schools system. She is an active founding member of Parents United for Local School Education, an active member of People’s Organization for Progress, a member of The National NAACP and a certified notary public of New Jersey.



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