Yolanda Johnson is a lifelong Newark resident who was educated in Newark Public School District and is currently studying for her bachelor’s degree in social and criminal justice with Ashford University. She is the mother of 6 children who spent over 20 years volunteering in Newark Public Schools. Yolanda believes that parental engagement and involvement plays an intricate part in a child’s educational experience and therefore the child is more likely to succeed.
In 2014, Yolanda noticed that parent presence was zero to none at her child’s school, so she started a parent group named Eagles Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), based in George Washington Carver and Bruce Street School for the Deaf under the umbrella of the National Parent Teacher Association where she was the President. As a result of membership, volunteering and engagement, two parents were hired by the district as teacher aides.
Yolanda was chosen as the parent representative to join Mayor Baraka’s Education Steering Committee on tours to several Community Schools in other states and the results birthed the Southward Community School Initiative. As Yolanda brain stormed ways in which to increase parent engagement, she and another parent created a parent survey which was extremely instrumental in getting parents involved.In 2015, Yolanda took a deeper dive into increasing parent engagement and founded a parent organization named Parents Educating Parents, Inc. (PEP,Inc.) where she is the Chief Executive Officer. Parents and caregivers can reach out to PEP, Inc to be linked to resources and learn ways in which to navigate through the educational system.
Yolanda has worked with a community member to advocate for Pre-K 3 and 4 enrollment slots and was successful at filling 500 slots within 30 days. Because of the urgency of preschool enrollment, they both have negotiated expansion of Pre-K 3 and 4 inside George Washington Carver and Bruce Street School for the Deaf for the 2018-2019 school year.
Yolanda’s #1 priority if elected to Newark Public School Board, is to increase parent involvement and community engagement.