Josephine C. Garcia is a community and educational leader in the City of Newark who has spent much of her professional career serving the city’s residents as an aide to numerous elected officials. In 2017, she recently answered the call to serve in public office by running successfully for an elected position on the Newark Board of Education.
Ms. Garcia launched her career as a legal secretary before joining the administration of former Mayor Sharpe James in 1998. She held several positions in the James administration, including serving as the assistant supervisor of the mayor’s administrative staff. Since 2006, Ms. Garcia has worked as a legislative aide for Newark Councilman-at-Large Carlos M. Gonzalez. She works closely with the councilman to provide up-to-date research on various municipal issues and serves as his official representative at conferences and engagements.
Ms. Garcia has long been interested in education, serving as a volunteer for the parent-teacher associations for Science Park High School, Robert Treat Academy, and Technology High School, where her three children attended.
In April 2017, she was elected to the Newark Board of Education, garnering the most votes in a crowded field. She was immediately elected President of the Newark Board of Education, which she held from 2018 to 2021. In addition, she served on the following Newark Board of Education Standing Committees: Governance, Legal, Parent Engagement & Student Life, Operations, Personnel, and Finance.
Ms. Garcia holds the following New Jersey School Boards Association Board Member Academy Individual Certifications: New Board Member Boardsmanship Certification (NBM), and a Certified Board Member (CBM). After five years serving on the Newark Board of Education, Ms. Garcia is a newly minted expert on school governance, including general boardsmanship, governance, school law, labor relations, policy, and leadership.
Ms. Garcia is one of two members with the most extended service on the Newark Board of Education. After more than 20 plus years of state takeover of Newark schools, Ms. Garcia was instrumental in the successful return to local control, which resulted in the successful search for a new and appointed Superintendent of Schools. When the Newark Board of Education reorganized under local control in April 2020, she made history, becoming the first Newark Board of Education President after 25 years of state operations.
Ms. Garcia has served as Vice President and subsequently as the President of the Essex County New Jersey School Board Association since May 2019. In the same year, she was also elected vice president, eventually reaching the ranks as President of the Puerto Rican Day Parade of Newark, NJ, a non-profit organization that celebrates Puerto Rican culture and the contributions of Puerto Ricans to the City of Newark.
Ms. Garcia takes great pride in being the mother of her three children, Donavin, Brandon, and Michael, who are now young men. Donavin graduated from Technology High School and is now a United States Marine, Brandon is a Science Park High School graduate and a recent college graduate of William Paterson University with a double major in Biology and Psychology, and Michael is a graduate from St. Peter’s Preparatory School and is now attending the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) majoring in engineering.
Ms. Garcia is a proud resident of the North Ward of Newark, where she currently resides with her family. She is a graduate of Barringer High School and attended Essex County College.