Asia J. Norton was born at Newark Beth Israel Hospital to Geriylnn Talmadge, Walter Norton, and a big family of Newark educators. As a Newark student in schools including Maple Avenue and Calvary Christian, Asia was a struggling learner. However, her family’s emphasis on the importance and power of an education, guided her to become a successful graduate of Simmons College in Boston.
Shortly after graduating from college, Asia returned to the Southward of Newark and was blessed to become a mother to a baby boy who is now nine years old. Being a single parent motivated Asia to follow in the footsteps of her foremothers and she became a third generation Newark teacher. She was an educator for seven years in Newark at North Star Academy, KIPP NJ, and Marion P. Thomas Charter School--a time during which she received her master’s degree from Columbia University, Teachers College in Sociology and Education. Asia then transitioned into coaching teachers in literacy at Elizabeth Public Schools with the Children’s Literacy Initiative. She is now a candidate for her juris doctorate at Rutgers Law School, Newark campus--a decision fueled by witnessing educational inequities and social injustices throughout the community.
As a public servant, Asia is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, a Board Member for Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey and a current member of the Newark Board of Education. She served as Chair of the Finance and Budget Committee for two years and is currently serving as Chair of the Legal Committee and Vice Chair of the Programs and Instructions Committee. As a Board Member, Asia has proudly facilitated partnerships that have enhanced Newark students educational experiences with the New York Federal Reserve, BridgeYear and other organizations. She has advocated for the creation of an equity officer position within the district to build programs and supporting policies that create a more equitable education system for all students. Asia has worked with a community organization, NEED, to increase community input when school budgets are created. She has also worked with her fellow board colleagues and community members to improve the representation of Black and Brown people in the district’s curriculum.
Asia continues to be committed in advocating and building relationships with students, parents, teachers, and community members so that all Newark children have their individual needs met for them to be successful.