Born in the Central ward of Newark, Patricia J. Seller-Bradford attended and graduated from Newark’s public schools. Ms. Bradford went on to graduate from Wilfred Beauty Academy and Micro-Tech Computer School in Newark.
Understanding the importance of getting a college education, Patricia majored in teaching Beauty Culture and later began business studies at New Jersey City University.
After marriage Ms. Bradford became a parent to three wonderful children who migrated from Jamaica West Indies. She realized that they were chronically deficient educationally and became determined to help them. Pat worked diligently to learn all she could about elementary and secondary education and techniques to assist her children through the teachers, administrators, PTA and Title I/Chapter I.
After being elected president in related organizations, her focus shifted to structured leadership for all children and parents throughout Newark. Ms. Bradford also worked with UMDNJ and Chestnuts St. School to implement a prenatal clinic to help increase the attendance rate of pregnant students. She also chaired the Education Committee of Newark Branch NAACP.
Ms. Bradford later returned to full-time employment at the Newark Board of Education working under the Superintendent in the Office of Public/Community Relations, until the state of New Jersey seized the NPS district. She was eventually invited to serve as Chief of Staff for Councilman Charles A. Bell of the Central Ward at Newark City Hall, and has since held different positions with the City of Newark.
Ms. Bradford currently works for the Public Safety Department, Fire Division in their Community Relations Office. In the position of Program Development Specialist she still gets the opportunity to teach fire safety and prevention to children, parents, the elderly and the community at-large.
Fiduciary Responsibilities (Budget, Potential Deficit, Contracts, etc.)
I believe it is the Board’s responsibility individually and collectively to ensure that we have a realistic budget, address any deficits, review all current contracts and lay out to the community the best plan and why before moving forward to adopt and implement based on the district and children’s needs. The state must supply the district with adequate funding. Employees contractually receive pay raises and the cost of living continues to increase. Flat funding the school district is not providing sufficient dollars to cover the cost of education and supplying our children’s’ needs. I do, however, propose that the district hire’s more people that possess expertise in grant writing. Too often the district has missed out on receiving additional funding from the state and federal government because of incomplete proposals, untimely submissions and not submitting documents at all. It is imperative that we step up doing more research to find where the money is and bring it home to better serve our children.
Ability to review and adopt Effective Educational Policy (One Newark, Required Assessments, etc.)
While I understand, and intend to adopt and review effective education policies, I believe that we must be sensitive to how they affect our students and look at ways to ensure that we can successfully implement. One Newark Policy to give parents choice of which school for their children to attend has proven to be detrimental to all involved. Small children and caretakers are made to travel across town to attend schools. Families with two or more children are made to attend different schools simultaneously causing more hardship on all involved. This is burdensome to parents and caregivers. They spend more than two hours daily traveling to and from locations. Student attendance has sharply declined. Thus, this situation causes children to perform poorly on assessments that are required. Additionally, I am majorly concerned about the district’s resistance to Newark’s students taking the PARCC Assessment. Once the state implements a test, then we must comply. Just as with SAT and any other tests, I would like to see the district take on a firmer proactive role to teach the teachers what they need to know so they will implement the test more effectively.
Ability to review and adopt Effective Curriculum and Programs (Culturally Relevant Curriculum, Literacy Development, Math, etc.)
I understand, and intend to review and adopt effective curriculum and programs that will ready our students for success. More importantly we must ensure that we have curriculums that go beyond teaching to a test, wrap around services and nontraditional programs and have up-to-date tools and equipment.
Accountability and Autonomy (Superintendent, Principals, etc.)
I believe that the Superintendent and principals are accountable beyond the Boards hierarchy; they are accountable to our parents, students and broader community. We must understand that our schools and educational institutions are a child’s primary learning and preparation tool for the future and we are what we create, implement, relegate, etc. Our student’s failures are our failures. Further I understand that principals are the individuals that are designated to train the teachers. They must focus more on going into the classrooms to review lessons, as well as what and how the teachers are presenting information to the children. By not doing so, teachers are left vulnerable and not enabled to teach more effectively. I’ve noted that too often principals spend too much time in a disciplinary mode of children of which vice-principals in most cases can handle.