Darleen L. Gearhart
Darleen L. Gearhart has worked for Newark Public Schools for over twenty-eight years. She began working to improve the lives of inner-city children as a high school mathematics teacher at Weequahic High School in Newark, New Jersey. In 1997 she sought to impact a larger scale of students in mathematics by serving as the district’s Mathematics Supervisor where she developed and provided professional development for classroom and resource teachers, coaches, and principals in mathematics content, pedagogy, pedagogical content knowledge, and assessment. In that role, she co-authored, implemented, and served as Project Director for the Local Systemic Change Project, NPSSIM, a five year, $6.5 million NSF-funded project to reform mathematics in grades K through 8. In 2011 she was selected to support schools in turnaround efforts by serving as the Director of School Improvement Grants and subsequently in 2012, she was selected to serve Newark’s children as the Principal of Sussex Avenue School. In that role she dramatically turned Sussex Avenue School from a failing urban school to a thriving community. In August 2019 she was again selected as the Director of Mathematics for Newark Public Schools. In that role she served as Newark’s leader and expert in the area of Mathematics, developing a comprehensive instructional program in mathematics. Currently she supports mathematics at the district level and serves as the Principal of Science Park High School. In January 2014 she received the Leadership Matters Award from the Newark Trust for Education, the Stretching Minds Award from the Newark Yoga Movement in September 2014, the Ercell Watson Memorial Award for Distinguished Service from Montclair State University in April 2015, the My Principal Matters Award in June 2016, the Outstanding Leadership Award in June 2017, the Academic Achievement Award for Highest SGP in Mathematics in November 2017, the Attendance Innovation Award in April 2018, and the Educator of the Year Award in June 2018. Principal Gearhart holds a Bachelor in Pure Mathematics from Lock Haven University, a Masters in Education from Saint Peter’s College, a Masters in Applied Mathematics from NJIT, and ABD in a PhD program at Rutgers University.
Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Isabel Colon attended Newark Public Schools and graduated from University High School in 1992. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in English Literature from Ramapo College and then later earned her Master of Arts degree in Administration and Supervision in Education from Seton Hall University.
Isabel Colon began her career in Newark Public Schools as a 4th grade Language Arts teacher at Sussex Avenue School. As a first year teacher, her students demonstrated an increased proficiency of 40% in Language Arts on the state assessment, one of the highest increases in the city. Over the next 7 years, Isabel successfully taught at the middle and high school levels, ultimately taking on the position of Literacy Coach. In 2012, Isabel accepted her first leadership position as the English Department Chairperson at Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark. Her leadership experience then led her to the Orange Public School District as an Assistant Principal for 8 years before being invited to return to her hometown to serve as Vice Principal of Instruction at the most prestigious school in Newark, Science Park High School.
Within her role as a school leader, Isabel has developed positive behavior management systems that focus on restorative practices, mindfulness and fair accountability which reduced suspension rates significantly. She has also developed processes, through collaborative efforts between the community and school, that would ultimately decrease absenteeism and tardiness. Her work as a leader included curriculum development and assessment practices that successfully supported the learning of all students while building teacher capacity. She has led educator teams to improve academic performance, teacher effectiveness, and organizational culture to affect positive change within the educational system.
Her extensive journey within the educational system has been an intentional one, acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to be a strong educator and a leader.
A native of Newark, NJ, Naseed Gifted graduated from Science High School. The same school where he is currently a Vice Principal and is now known as Science Park High School; the top ranking high school in Newark, N.J. Naseed is dedicated to inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community. Skills and lessons he learned while attending New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) where he earned a degree in Electrical Engineering. After working for a few corporate organizations Naseed found himself in the classroom again for Newark Public Schools teaching Mathematics and coaching Robotics. He later went on to earn a Masters degree in Education from St. Peter’s University.
Inspired by his son Naseed created a comic book series so his son can see superheroes that looked like him. What was once a childhood hobby catapulted into a passion to change the face of comics. His mission in his graphic expression is to encompass a distinct balance between unprecedented storytelling and exceptional artwork. Published works include self-published AfroFuturism / sci-fi comic book series. P.B.Soldier: “The Awakening” & Jazen: “The Rose that Grew from the Concrete,” along with short stories: “Occupy Renaissance City” and “Terrorist Act of 2011.” Naseed is also Director/Writer of the short film & animated short P.B.Soldier: “The Awakening.” In 2015, Naseed founded “Khem Fest,” an annual celebration of Black Animation, Gaming and Comic Book Creators and the Khem Animation Film Festival (KAFF). He is a two-time Glyph Comic Awards Nominee, Urban Action Showcase Nominee, 2020 Pioneer/LifeTime Achievement Award recipient, 2021 I CAN STEM NJ inductee and 2020 Outstanding Alumni Award from NJIT. Naseed regularly travels across the country speaking about diversity and using comics to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - S.T.E.M .
All of these ventures fall under PBS Media (Phocused Black Star Media) an innovative graphic media company Naseed also founded that partners with the community to raise awareness and social consciousness through creative projects. Along with the development of the ongoing afrofuturism graphic novel series P.B.Soldier, the organization provides animation, app development, apparel, and motion comics from its offices located in Newark, NJ. We serve as a bridge to address the gap in the community.
Niaz Uddin grew up in Newark and is a proud graduate of the Newark school system. He attended Mount Vernon School, Science Park High School as a 9th grader, and then completed graduation from Arts High School.
He held various corporate positions working in retail and media industries, doing business consulting and media research with companies such as NBC Universal. In 2009, Niaz transitioned to the classroom as a 3rd grade teacher at South 17th Street School through The New Teacher Project teaching fellowship. Since then, he has held numerous positions in the district, including the role of vice principal at his alma mater, Mount Vernon School, for five years. Niaz is keen on forming meaningful partnerships with external organizations that can provide life-long learning opportunities for students. At Mount Vernon, he implemented a food and nutrition program in collaboration with FoodCorps and helped to establish a garden that serves as an outdoor classroom for students. Most recently, he was a Special Assistant with the High School Leadership Team supporting principals and administrative teams.
Niaz completed his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a dual-major in finance and international business from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and Master of Arts from The New School University. He is also a former Fulbright Scholar to India where he researched and studied the Bollywood film industry.