Newark school board chooses new leadership

By Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on April 26, 2016

Baskerville-Richardson

 

NEWARK — The city's School Advisory Board has a pair of new leaders.

Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson was a unanimous selection to serve as chair of the 9-member body, which sworn in new members Leah Owens, Tave Padilla and Kim Gaddy earlier in the evening.

A former city high school teacher, Baskerville-Richardson has been on the board since 2011, and also served as chair in 2014.

Crystal Fonseca was named vice chair, with support from 8 of the board's 9 members. Donald Jackson abstained from the vote.

An employee in the community relations and outreach department of the Jersey City Incinerator Authority, Fonseca was elected in 2015 as a member of Mayor Ras Baraka's "Children's First" slate. She is also the daughter of Pablo Fonseca, a former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker during his time as mayor.

Gaddy, Owens and Padilla — members of the so-called "Newark Unity" slate that swept the annual school board elections last week — were sworn in at Tuesday's meeting at George Washington Carver Elementary School.

The three candidates formed a successful alliance despite differing views on charter schools and other reform efforts and the backing of rival political camps by running a campaign against the often hostile rhetoric that has defined much of the debate around education in Newark.

That message seemed to resonate with the three outgoing members of the board — Chairwoman Ariagna Perello, Rashon Hasan and Khalil Sabu Rashidi.

Each was honored with a plaque prior to their exit, and encouraged their replacements to place the quality of education ahead of any ideological differences.

"Our future is very bright," said Hasan. "We shouldn't be at war....the only thing we should be fighting about or fighting for is the futures of our children."

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