Newark Public Schools

Newark Public Schools

Newark Board of Education is a comprehensive community public school district that serves the entire city of Newark in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. The state took over the district in 1995 and returned control in 2018, after 22 years. The district is one of 31 former Abbott districts statewide, which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.

As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprising 64 schools, had an enrollment of 40,448 students and 2,794.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 14.5:1.

The total school enrollment in Newark city was 75,000 in 2003. Pre-primary school enrollment was 12,000 and elementary or high school enrollment was 46,000 children. College enrollment was 16,000. As of 2003, 64% of people 25 years and over had at least graduated from high school and 11% had a bachelor's degree or higher. Among people 16 to 19 years old, 10 percent were dropouts; they were not enrolled in school and had not graduated from high school.

The district is classified by the New Jersey Department of Education as being in District Factor Group "A", the lowest of eight groupings. District Factor Groups organize districts statewide to allow comparison by common socioeconomic characteristics of the local districts. From lowest socioeconomic status to highest, the categories are A, B, CD, DE, FG, GH, I and J.


The district is one of three districts in New Jersey (along with Jersey City Public Schools and Paterson Public Schools) that has historically been under "state intervention", which authorizes the state Commissioner of Education to intervene in governance of a local public school district (and to intervene in the areas of instruction and program, operations, personnel, and fiscal management). Chris Cerf was the state appointed superintendent of Newark. Cerf said he would resign on February 1, 2018, the day local control was be returned to the district.

Roger Leon, a life long Newark resident and educator was elected by the local school board to replace Cerf by a unanimous 9-0 vote and took office July 1, 2018.

In a referendum held as part of the November 2018 general election, voters chose by a 3-1 margin to have the district function as Type II district, in which the board of education is elected by the residents of the city.

Turnbull & Asser


Core members of the district's administration are:

  • Roger Leon, District Superintendent of Schools
  • Nicole T. Johnson, Deputy Superintendent
  • Havier Nazario, Chief of Staff
  • Brenda C. Liss, Esq., General Counsel
  • Valerie Wilson, School Business Administrator
  • Kathy Duke-Jackson, Assistant Superintendent (East/Central Ward Schools)
  • José Fuentes, Assistant Superintendent (North Ward Schools)
  • Dr. Shakirah Harrington, Assistant Superintendent (South/West Ward Schools)
  • Dr. Mario Santos, Assistant Superintendent (High Schools)
  • Dr. Yolanda Méndez, Acting Executive Director, Human Resources
  • Carolyn Granato, Executive Director, Special Education
  • Tracy Munford, Executive Director, Communications Department
  • Margarita Muñiz, Executive Director, Family and Community Engagement

Board of Education

The district's board of education, with nine members, sets policy and oversees the fiscal and educational operation of the district through its administration. As a Type II school district, the board's trustees are elected directly by voters to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with three seats up for election each year held as part of the April school election. As one of the 13 districts statewide with school elections in April, voters also decide on passage of the annual school budget.

Members of the board of education are:

  • Shayvonne Anderson (2019-2021)
  • Reginald Bledsoe (2017-2020)
  • Josephine C. Garcia (2018-2020)
  • Yambeli Gomez (2018-2021)
  • Dawn Hayes (2018-2021)
  • Flohisha Hill (2017-2020)
  • A'Dorian Murray-Thomas (2019-2021)
  • Asia J. Norton (2018-2021)
  • Tave Padilla (2019-2021)

State intervention

The district is one of three districts in New Jersey historically under "state intervention", which authorizes the Commissioner of Education to intervene in governance of a local public school district (and to intervene in the areas of instruction and program, operations, personnel, and fiscal management) if the Commissioner has determined that a school district failed or was unable to take corrective actions necessary to establish a thorough and efficient system of education.

State intervention has been criticized as undemocratic and racist. Some also have suggested that children were significantly harmed during state control. State intervention in Newark has not produced significant gains, as evidenced by the fact that NPS does not show up in the top ten of New Jersey districts (in terms of achievement, in every tested grade, for math and English) after more than two decades of state control. When viewed through the lens of student growth percentiles, which is a contested measure of growth, NPS may be higher. However, NPS may have had equally high growth before state intervention, so no comparisons are possible.

Chris Cerf and others paid by the state of New Jersey have suggested state control has been good for Newark. However, no measures of the quality of NPS's broad offerings before, during, or after state intervention have been identified. No measures of progress are available for earth science, physics, biology, chemistry, health, citizenship, world history, US history, literature, sociology, anthropology, ethnic studies, New Jersey history, gender studies, media studies, Africana studies, economics, politics, astronomy, geology, philosophy, archaeology, or performing arts. No measures of students' physical wellbeing, social wellbeing, or emotional wellbeing are available before, during, or after state control. No measures of parental wellbeing have been identified.

Local control was returned as of February 1, 2018.


The Newark Public Schools is the largest school system in New Jersey. The city's public schools had been among the lowest-performing in the state, even after the state government took over management of the city's schools from 1995-2018, which was done under the presumption that improvement would follow.

Although the school district continues to struggle with low high school graduation rates and low standardized test scores, the former mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, insisted in 2010, "Newark, New Jersey can become one of the first American cities to solve the crisis in public education." This vision for better school district is also shared by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who made a $100 million donation to Newark Public Schools in 2010. "Every child deserves a good education. Right now that's not happening," he said. The management has been criticized: while interviews with administration regarding Newark's schools were always positive, highlighting only the good aspects of the huge monetary donation, new contracts were being created, money was being hemorrhaged, and the district was going broke. According to The New Yorker, Anderson, Booker, Zuckerberg, and Christie, "despite millions of dollars spent on community engagement—have yet to hold tough, open conversations with the people of Newark about exactly how much money the district has, where it is going, and what students aren't getting as a result."

Awards, recognition and rankings

Ann Street School of Mathematics and Science was awarded the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education, the highest award an American school can receive, during the 1998-99 school year.

Branch Brook Elementary School, a Pre-Kindergarten through 4th grade school, was awarded the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence, during the 2004-05 school year.

During the 2007–08 school year, Harriet Tubman School was recognized with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education.

During the 2009-10 school year, Science Park High School was awarded the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence.

For the 2005-06 school year, the district was recognized with the "Best Practices Award" by the New Jersey Department of Education for its "A Park Study: Learning About the World Around Us" Science program at Abington Avenue School. The curriculum was written, implemented, and submitted to the State of New Jersey by Abington Avenue School kindergarten teacher, Lenore Furman.

After efforts at his dismissal as New Jersey's poet laureate, Amiri Baraka was named the school district's poet laureate in December 2002.


Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are:


  • Ann Street Annex (; PreK-K)
    • Linda J. Richardson, Principal
  • Early Childhood Center - Central (; PreK-K)
    • Jeanne Ramirez, Principal
  • Early Childhood Center - North (; PreK-K)
    • Jeanne Ramirez, Principal
  • Early Childhood Center - South (; PreK-K)
    • Jeanne Ramirez, Principal
  • Early Childhood Center - West (; PreK-K)
    • Jeanne Ramirez, Principal
  • Early Childhood Academy of Excellence (; PreK)
  • Lafayette Street Annexes
  • Wilson Street Annex

Elementary schools

  • Abington Avenue School (; PreK-8)
    • Nelson Ruiz, Principal
  • Alexander Street School (; 1-8)
  • Ann Street School (; PreK-8)
    • Linda J. Richardson, Principal
  • Avon Avenue Elementary School (; K-8)
    • Charity Haygood, Principal
  • Belmont Runyon Elementary School (; K-8)
    • Dr. Shakirah Harrington, Principal
  • Bragaw Avenue School (; K-8)
  • Branch Brook School (; PreK-4)
    • Joseph P. Cullen, Principal
  • Bruce Street School (; PreK-8)
    • Kyle Thomas, Principal
  • Camden Street Elementary School (; PreK-8)
    • Samuel Garrison, Principal
  • Roberto Clemente School (; PreK-5)
    • Dr. Claudio Barbaran, Principal
  • George Washington Carver School (; K-8)
    • Kyle Thomas, Principal
  • Chancellor Avenue School (; K-8)
    • Sakina Pitts, Principal
  • Cleveland Elementary School (; PreK-8)
    • Claire Emmanuel, Acting Principal
  • Dayton Street School at Peshine Avenue (; PreK-8)
  • East Ward Elementary School (; PreK-2)
    • Rosa Monteiro-Inacio, Principal
  • Elliott Street Elementary School (; PreK-8)
    • Karisa DeSantis, Principal
  • First Avenue School (; PreK-8)
    • Rosa Branco, Principal
  • Fourteenth Avenue School (; K-4)
    • Armando Cepero, Principal
  • Dr. E. Alma Flagg School (; K-8)
    • Ganiat Rufai, Principal
  • Benjamin Franklin School (; PreK-5)
    • Amy B. Panitch, Principal
  • Hawkins Street School (; PreK-8)
    • Alejandro Lopez, Principal
  • Hawthorne Avenue School (; K-8)
    • H. Grady James IV, Principal
  • Rafael Hernandez School (; PreK-8)
    • Natasha Pared, Principal
  • Dr. William H. Horton School (; K-8)
    • Hamlet Marte, Principal
  • Ivy Hill School (; PreK-8)
    • Dorrice Rayam-Johnson, Principal
  • Lafayette Street School (; PreK-8)
    • Maria Merlo, Principal
  • Lincoln Elementary School (; PreK-8)
    • Hillary Dow, Principal
  • Madison Avenue Elementary School (; PreK-5)
  • Maple Avenue School (; K-8)
  • Luis Muñoz Marín School (; PreK-8)
    • Kenneth Montalbano, Principal
  • McKinley Elementary School (; PreK-8)
    • Carlos Reyes, Principal
  • Miller Street School (; PreK-8)
  • Mount Vernon Place School (; PreK-8)
    • Camille Findley-Browne, Principal
  • Newton Street School (; PreK-8)
  • Oliver Street School (; PreK-8)
    • Luis Henriques, Principal
  • Park Elementary School (; PreK-8)
    • Sylvia Esteves, Principal
  • Peshine Academy (; PreK-8)
    • Malcolm X Outlaw, Principal
  • Quitman Street School (; PreK-8)
  • Ridge Street School (; K-8)
    • David DeOliveira, Principal
  • Roseville Avenue School (; K-4)
  • South Seventeenth Street School (; K-8)
    • Clarence Allen, Principal
  • South Street School (; PreK-5)
    • Sandra Cruz, Principal
  • Speedway Avenue School (; K-8)
    • Atiba Buckman, Principal
  • Louise A. Spencer School (; PreK-8)
    • Karla Venezia, Principal
  • Sussex Avenue School (; PreK-8)
    • Darleen Gearhart, Principal
  • Thirteenth Avenue School / Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School (; PreK-8)
    • Simone Rose, Principal
  • Harriet Tubman School (; PreK-6)
    • Angela Davis, Principal
  • Salomé Ureña Elementary School (; PreK-5)
    • Sandra Marques, Principal
  • Wilson Avenue School (; K-8)
    • Margarita Hernandez, Principal

High schools

High schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are:

  • Newark Arts High School (636; 7-12)
    • Ricardo Pedro, Principal
  • American History High School (505; 8-12)
    • Allison R. DeVaughn, Principal
  • Barringer High School (127 in Arts and 1,263 in S.T.E.A.M.; 9-12)
    • Dr. Jose Aviles, Principal
  • Bard High School Early College Newark (393; 9-12)
    • Dr. Carla Stephens, Prinicpal
  • Central High School (766; 9-12)
    • Dr. Sharnee Brown, Principal
  • Eagle Academy for Young Men (239; 6-9)
    • Semone Morant, Principal
  • East Side High School (2,051; 9-12)
    • Dr. Michael West, Principal
  • Fast Track Success Academy (; 6-12)
  • Malcolm X Shabazz High School (423; 9-12)
    • Naseed Gifted, Principal
  • Newark Bridges High School: A Diploma Plus School (; 9-12)
  • Newark Evening High School (; 9-12)
    • Dr. Dorothy Handfield, Principal
  • Newark Innovation Academy (23; 9-12)
  • Newark Leadership Academy (; 9-12)
  • Newark Vocational High School (; 9-12)
    • Kyle Brown, Principal
  • Science Park High School (843; 7-12)
    • Angela Mincy, Principal
  • Technology High School (614; 9-12)
    • Edwin Reyes, Principal
  • University High School (505; 7-12)
    • Genique Flournoy-Hamilton, Principal
  • Weequahic High School (406; 9-12)
    • Andre Hollis, Principal
  • West Side High School (635; 9-12)
    • Akbar Cook, Principal


  • Samuel L. Berliner School ()
  • John F. Kennedy School ()
    • Jill Summers-Phillips, Principal
  • New Jersey Regional Day School - Newark (119; K-12)
    • Jennifer Mitchell, Principal
  • Uplift Academy (97; 9-12)
    • Dr. Dorothy Handfield, Principal

School uniforms

Beginning in the 2008-2009 school year, students in elementary and middle school were required to wear school uniforms. Beginning in September 2010 high school students were required to wear uniforms.


External links

  • Newark Public Schools
  • Newark Public Schools's 2015–16 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education
  • School Data for the Newark Public Schools, National Center for Education Statistics
  • Chalkbeat Newark - Education News in Newark

Newark Public Schools

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