Newark Unity Slate dominates school board race; 3 new faces to join the board

By Karen Yi | NJ Advance Media for
on April 25, 2017


(L to R): Reginald Bledsoe, Flohisa Johnson and Josephine Garcia.


NEWARK -- Three new faces, backed by an alliance of political and charter school heavyweights, will officially join the Newark School Advisory Board.

The Newark Unity Slate, endorsed by political leaders, charter school groups and Mayor Ras Baraka swept Tuesday's elections, earning nearly half of the votes among the 15-candidate field, according to preliminary results from the Essex County Clerk's Office

Reginald Bledsoe, Flohisha Johnson and Josephine Garcia will join the board as it readies to take back control of the 35,000-student district from the state.

Bledsoe, 26, the legislative aide to Councilman Eddie Osborne, won 3,382 votes, or about 17 percent with 107 of 108 precincts reporting. 

Johnson, 39, who works for Local 108 as a project coordinator in Maplewood, earned 2,717 votes, or about 13 percent with 107 of 108 precincts reporting.

"I ran a clean campaign. I'm proud of myself and I'm proud of my team," Johnson told NJ Advance Media. "Now, it's time to get the real work done."

Garcia, 40, a parent of three and the legislative aide to Councilman Carlos Gonzalez, won 3,566 votes, or about 18 percent with 107 of 108 precincts reporting.

The trio of candidates edged out incumbent board member Philip Seelinger, who won 1,177 votes.

They also faced off against former interim superintendent Deborah Terrell, who received 1,486 votes. Charles Love, who has worked in both traditional and charter public schools, received the next highest amount of votes after the Unity Slate candidates, earning 1,558 votes.

Seelinger was part of another slate called the Community Team, which also included Denise Cole and Ryan Talmadge.

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