Robert Clark, Co-Chair

Newark Opportunity Youth Network 

With over 22 years of experience in youth development, Robert Clark is the first YouthBuild graduate to found a YouthBuild program in a major city--Newark, NJ. Since launching YBN in 2003, Mr. Clark has been instrumental in establishing its national reputation for promoting juvenile justice reform, re-entry programming for school-aged young people, and vocational training. He is also the leading visionary behind the Newark Opportunity Youth Network (NOYN), a cross-sectoral city-wide initiative launched in 2016, that manages a collective of organizations committed to supporting Opportunity Youth, Including NJ's first Alternative Charter school: LEAD. 

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Celia M. King, Co-Chair

Leadership Newark

CeliaKing.jpg“It is an honor and a privilege to be able to contribute as a board member of the Newark Trust for Education. As an independent organization, we work diligently on behalf of the students of Newark, and our focus is high student achievement and academic excellence for all students.”

Celia M. King serves as the executive director of Leadership Newark, Inc., where she is responsible for ensuring a myriad of citizens committed to the City of Newark, enhance their skills and knowledge based on numerous public policy issues affecting the community.

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The Hon. Ras J. Baraka, Ex-Officio Member

City of Newark

OfficialPic_Mayor_Baraka_CROPPED.jpgMayor Ras J. Baraka was elected Mayor of the City of Newark in May 2014, becoming Newark's 40th Chief Executive since the City's incorporation in 1836.

A native of Newark, whose family has lived in the City for more than 70 years, Mayor Baraka was educated in the Newark Public schools and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and a Master's Degree in Education Supervisions from St. Peter's University in Jersey City.

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Nancy Cantor


NancyCantor_NTE_Board_CROPPED.jpg"As an educational leader I have devoted my advocacy to making more real the promise of higher education as the road to social mobility, a context for democratic practice, and a participant in community building and public problem-solving."

Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark since January 1, 2014, is a distinguished higher education leader who is helping to forge a new understanding of the role of universities in society.

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Irene Cooper-Basch

Victoria Foundation

ICB.jpg“While reform efforts and superintendents come and go, the Trust is here for the long haul to ensure that student outcomes follow a positive, upward trajectory."

In June 2006, Irene Cooper-Basch became the third Executive Officer and Secretary of the Board for Victoria Foundation, a private grantmaking institution founded in 1924,with current assets totaling $200 million. Prior to this appointment, she served as a Program Officer at Victoria Foundation and the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey for10 years. Both foundations have a strong grantmaking focus on the city of Newark, New Jersey.

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Jacqueline Cusack, Ed.D.

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)


Dr. Cusack is Executive Director of the Center for Pre-College Programs at NJIT. Prior to her 2015 appointment, she served NJIT as a Consultant to the President, Interim Executive Manager of the Center for Pre-College Programs, and Consultant to the Vice President for Academic Support and Student Affairs.

Before NJIT, Dr. Cusack‘s career was centered in the public school arena where she served in positions ranging from classroom teacher, principal, and curriculum supervisor to acting assistant commissioner of education for the New Jersey Department of Education, assistant superintendent of schools, and superintendent of schools.

She has also taught educational administration and foundations courses at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels at Teachers College, Columbia University, Virginia Tech, New Jersey City University, and Saint Peter’s University. Dr. Cusack is the founder of My Sister’s Keeper, Inc., a non-profit organization with the mission of providing mentoring services and scholarships for girls. Established in 1986, My Sister’s Keeper, Inc. also provides emergency financial assistance to families, especially female-headed households.

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Shané Harris

Prudential Foundation

shaneharris.png“As a local education fund, The Trust works to reduce fragmentation of efforts and mobilize civic leadership.”

Shané Harris serves as the Vice President of The Prudential Foundation, where she is responsible for management of Foundation staff and program strategy and overseeing the distribution of $25 million in annual Foundation grants. Ms. Harris oversees education policy for Prudential’s Community Resources Department and advises senior management on their support of education initiatives. She also serves as Secretary of the Foundation.

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Dawn Haynes

President, Newark Board of Education

Dawn was born in Newark NJ, surrounded by a family full of colorful personalities. She was held together by love from a great-grandmother who migrated to the north from South Carolina. Dawn attended several schools and graduated from William H. Brown Academy and later Malcolm X Shabazz High school in the year 2001. During her time in high school, Dawn was introduced to the ROTC program and later joined the US Air Force. Since her grandparents were both veterans, they took pride in her career choice. After her time in the Air Force, she enrolled and later graduated from Lincoln Technical Institute, as a certified electronic systems technician. She was the first Muslim woman working as a technician for Direct TV. Hard work, dedication and fearlessness, were admirable traits for Dawn as she installed satellites.

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Victoria Hernandez

Executive Director, Ironbound Community Corporation

Victoria (Vicky) Hernandez, a native Newarker, brings more than 15 years of nonprofit leadership experience with demonstrated success in strategic and program development, senior management, and fundraising. Prior to joining Ironbound Community Corporation, Vicky excelled as Chief Program Officer at New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) in Paterson. There she led the implementation of a Strategic Plan and the Great Falls Promise Neighborhood Initiative to ensure that children reach adulthood, career and college ready. Vicky also supervised a large program staff, was an ambassador for the organization and expanded strategic partnerships, launched a data department, oversaw the development of a neighborhood needs assessment, and oversaw the development of the Strategic Plan Refresh.

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Wilhelmina Holder

Education and Parent Advocate

Wilhelmina Holder, the product of parents who modeled compassion and demanded excellence, found a natural fit as “Community Mom”.  Wilhelmina, the eldest of six, grew up in the “heart” of the Central Ward attending Newark Public Schools: Cleveland Elementary, 18th Avenue Elementary, West Kinney Jr. High, and Weequahic High School. She recognized early on that one could not realistically opportune the lives of their own children without pouring into the lives of their peers, and now her six grandchildren.  

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Fr. Edwin Leahy, O.S.B.

Saint Benedict's Preparatory School

Father Edwin D. Leahy, O.S.B., became the 23rd Headmaster of Saint Benedict's Preparatory School in 1972. Having graduated from St. Benedict's Prep in 1960, he earned a B.A. in philosophy from Seton Hall University in 1968 and a Master’s in Divinity with distinction in 1975 from the Woodstock College at Union Theological Seminary, New York. In 1966 he took his first vows as a monk of the Benedictine Abbey of Newark and was ordained to the priesthood in 1972. Fr. Edwin began his work at St. Benedict's Prep in 1967, teaching biology and religion and assisting with the wrestling and American football teams. Following the suspension of operations of St. Benedict's in 1972, Father Edwin was named to direct the efforts of monks, interested parents, alumni and friends to re-open the School as soon as was feasible. Under his direction St. Benedict's re-opened in 1974 with 89 students and 14 faculty members.

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Superintendent Roger León

Newark Public Schools

Roger León

Roger León was born in the city of Newark, grew up in the city of Newark, remains a proud product of the Newark Board of Education, dedicated 25 years of service to the children in the Newark Public Schools, and still lives in Newark.

Mr. León attended Hawkins Street School from Kindergarten to 8th grade and graduated from Science High School. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at Rutgers University and was determined to remain in Newark to teach and impact lives at both of his alma maters.

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Raymond Ocasio

La Casa de Don Pedro

Ray_Ocasio.jpg“The Trust’s only constituencies are the students and parents of Newark.”

Since 1998 and under Mr. Ocasio’s stewardship La Casa has experienced tremendous growth and consolidation of its programs and advocacy activities while adding vigor to its economic development work by employing a focused, targeted, comprehensive and integrated strategy plan.

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Barbara Reisman

Maher Charitable Foundation

Barbara_Keruv.jpg"One of our primary goals is to keep the public in public education. Transparency in decision making, access to timely information, and meaningful participation by Newark's citizens are values central to the Trust."

Barbara Reisman has been Executive Director of The Schumann Fund for New Jersey since 1997.

The Schumann Fund makes program and policy grants in New Jersey to expand access to high quality early childhood education, for environmental protection and education in urban New Jersey, and to improve public education.

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Kyle Rosenkrans

Executive Director, New Jersey Children’s Foundation

Kyle is a first-generation college graduate from New Jersey who went on to become a civil rights attorney, law professor, and public policy advocate. Kyle’s career has covered a variety of social justice initiatives in Newark: K-12 education reform, low-income housing preservation, assisting victims of foreclosure scams and related research about the impact of foreclosures on Newark communities, LGBT rights and police brutality, anti-bullying policy, and prisoner reentry. He is a successful fundraiser who spent the last two years helping KIPP New Jersey build and launch a multi-million dollar fundraising campaign–raising millions in pledges for the non-profit organization.

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Jennifer Tsukayama

Vice President, Arts Education, New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Jennifer Tsukayama is the Vice President of Arts Education at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and responsible for the overall programming and operations for the department. She is an active member of several citywide initiatives that provide equitable access to high-quality arts including membership of the Steering Committee to develop the Newark Arts and Culture Plan. Prior to NJPAC, Jennifer was the Director of Strategic Partnerships and the Director of Performing Arts for the Arizona Commission on the Arts (ACA). For the ACA, she provided statewide technical assistance to the grantees, managed the agency’s $2M grant portfolio and developed partnerships and programs across government and community sectors.

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Junius Williams, Esq.

Newark Historian

5373453952_6047062a4b_m.jpg“The community’s voice is vitally important in the conversation of education reform in Newark. As such, The Trust will augment and support the voices already engaged in education reform, providing information and access to other resources as needed. This is one way The Trust helps to align efforts.”

Junius W. Williams is a noted attorney, educator, musician and community advocate. Williams is the founder of RiseUp North Newark, an interactive website that tells stories of the Black Resistance Movement, community building and black politics. Recently, Williams has served as the chairman of Newark Celebration 350, the organization that has planned and financed more than 200 activities to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the city’s founding. Williams is also the founding Executive Director of the Abbott Leadership Institute (ALI), at Rutgers University-Newark, where he taught advocacy skills to parents and professional educators. 

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