Leah Owens has dedicated her life to fighting for educational justice. As an educator, activist, and organizer, Leah has a deep commitment to ensuring equal education for all children. According to her educational philosophy, equity plus justice equals equality.
In 2004, Leah was hired by the Newark Public Schools District through Teach for America to teach high school students in the subject of English. She taught beyond the program’s two-year commitment and became immersed in the Newark community. As a teacher in the district, Leah took on many leadership roles, including writing culturally-relevant curriculum, producing a school-wide Black History month assembly, and presenting at district-wide professional development meetings. Leah is also very proud to have been chosen to be a participant in the first Amistad Summer Institute, which was a program that came about due to the enactment of New Jersey’s Amistad Act.
Currently, Leah works as an adjunct professor at Essex County College and New Jersey City University. She has also taught at both Rutgers-Newark in its Urban Teacher Education Program and Rutgers-New Brunswick in the Graduate School of Education.
Leah is a member of many social, community, and political organizations, including the Newark Branch of the NAACP. She is a founding member of the Newark Education Workers Caucus, the social justice caucus within the Newark Teachers Union. Abbott Leadership Institute recognized her advocacy for Newark’s children with an Advocacy in Teaching Award, and she also received the Woman of Strength, Honor, and Service Award for her service in the Newark community.
Leah is a doctoral candidate in the Urban Systems PhD program at Rutgers-Newark. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Duke University, holds a master’s degree in public administration, with an emphasis on educational policy, and is certified to be a public school principal.
- Doctoral Candidate, Urban Education Policy, Rutgers-Newark
- Newark High School and University Educator
- Community and Education Activist and Organizer
- B.A. Duke University, M.P.A. Rutgers University, NJ Principal Certification
- Member Newark NAACP
- Member Abbott Leadership Institute
- Member Newark Circle of Sisters