Latoya Jackson was born and raised in Newark, NJ and still lives in her hometown today. Latoya has always been an advocate for education and her community all of her life. In 1990, she participated in Former Mayor of Newark Sharpe James recycling initiative as a “recycling ranger”. In addition, she was student council president and vice president at Miller Street School in 1992. While holding these position she helped changed the lunch program and helped implement uniforms for the students. These initiatives help children focus on their education rather than their financial situation.
Latoya wears many hats such as a proud single mother of two young men, a determined business owner, a former PTSA member, and a star member of her local community. Her journey in life started off rough as she fought against stereotypes and the temptations of a “life in the streets.” However, she has always wanted to “change the narrative” of what is expected from a young woman surviving in an urban community. After many humbling attempts to get through school, she graduated from Joy’s School of Hair Design in East Orange in 2006 with a cosmetology license. Her hair salon, L. Jackson Salon, has been standing strong in Newark for almost 5 years now and is very popular with the local crowd. Her salon is more than just a place for getting a “fresh hair-do”, it is Latoya’s space for holding community service events. Every year she hold an annual Book Bag Drive, supported by a diverse group of contributors, to help the youth of Newark who struggle with obtaining school supplies.
Latoya is not only vigilant in her community service work but she has also made history in her hometown by being the first black female business owner with a float in the 2019 Newark’s Heritage Parade. Her float inspired other local business owners to market themselves as supporters of the community and the unity that Newark stands for. Currently, LaToya has been an advocate for Newark Public Schools children, especially the young women and men that are incarcerated under the New Jersey Department of Correction.
2023 Candidate Q&A
Q1: Why are you running for a seat on the Newark Board of Education?
Greetings. My name is Latoya and I am excited to share with you the reasons why I am running for school board. As a lifelong resident of Newark and a product of its educational system, I have a deep love for this city. However, I have noticed that Newark has changed significantly since my childhood. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult to watch my own children grow up here. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of sufficient education our children are receiving. Our school has not grown with our city.
Q2: What is your vision for the public education sector in Newark, NJ, over the next three years?
It is my belief that children deserve a quality education, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many of our children in Newark. As a member of the school board, I will work tirelessly to ensure that our children receive the education they deserve. I will advocate for more resources to be allocated towards our schools, and I will work to ensure that our teachers are equipped with the tools they need to provide a quality education.
Q3: What are you planning to accomplish as a member of the board of education?
- I am an advocate of traditional public schools and understand the importance of a good education from our schools.
- Trust that our traditional public schools have great teachers, principals and other school staff who are concerned with and work hard every day to ensure the educational needs and social emotional
needs of our children
- I’m also passionate about education and want to ensure that our parents understand their rights when it comes to students who currently have Individual Education Plans or are going through the IEP process
- It is important to me that there is a parent and school connection so that our children are supported at home and in school so that they become productive members of our community.
- I am very interested in looking at the resources we have to ensure change especially with our children who need us most.
- All children should have the opportunity to attend safe schools. I always ask the question of how we can also collaborate as parents, school and the community to ensure safe schools. I believe if
we work together and further the conversation on ensuring our systems and partnerships focus on keeping schools safe, we will have the best outcomes for our children.
- Parent involvement is the key and crucial for our children’s success and I know that parents want their children to be successful in school. Therefore, I would like to engage in solutions to keep
learning going from school to home.
I want to work in collaboration with our community and build positive relationships that support moving student achievement for our most vulnerable children in addition to ensuring our schools
are safe and their parents’ voices are heard.
Q4: How will you define success as a board member after one year? Two years? Three years?
In my first year, I would like to accomplish a better understanding of exactly what our scholars need their education to look like to them by holding forums for students to express their needs. I would also like to see a 50% increase with parental and community engagement. It is necessary that our children understand they are loved and supported. Also that their opinions count. As a parent, I understand that they are little people that will grow to be become big people; we need each other to survive. In my second year, I want to see the progress of my first year. In addition, I would like to support my fellow members of the board if I can. I would like to implement a pilot program that will engage families to begin to under they are not alone. By utilizing the school spaces, we already have, I would like to provide a safe spaces to express their creativity while understanding we are, all connect through education. In my third year, I would like to see positive results from my pilot program. I would like for to continue as a board member so that I can help the community more. At the end of my term, I would like to foster and maintain a strong relationship between students, parents, and schools. Which would lead to our scholars getting the education that they want and need. So that they can transition to their next level smoothly.