Yakima Johnson is a proud product of Newark, NJ, where she attended Newark Public Schools in her former years. Ms. Johnson received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from New Jersey City University. After receiving her degree, Ms. Johnson worked as a Special Education and Resource Teacher for the most and least restrictive environment.
Ms. Johnson is currently entering her 21st year as an educator with the Newark Board of Education. She began her career in 2000 as a teacher’s aide, substitute teacher, teacher, and vice-principal. It was during this tenure that Ms. Johnson saw the incredible impact she was making across the district in a variety of schools. As a result, Ms. Johnson decided that she wanted to become an instructional leader.
After receiving a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership in 2009, Ms. Johnson became the Vice Principal at Dr. E. Alma Flagg Elementary School and then later transitioned to West Side High School and then Malcolm X Shabazz High School where she served in that capacity for the last 8 years. During her tenure, Ms. Johnson was able to ensure 97% IEP compliance, increase student attendance, and ensure 90% of students were successfully enrolled.
Over the years, Ms. Johnson has been involved in writing and awarding grants through Newark Trust, Newark 350 and the Victoria’s Foundation earning an abundance of funds for the students and staff of Newark Public Schools.
Tonisha E. Bacon
Tonisha Bacon was born and raised in the great city of Newark, NJ. She attended So. 17th St. School and graduated from Arts High School as Drama major. Ms. Bacon went on to obtain her Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University and her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Kean University.
Ms. Bacon has served as an educator for over twenty-five years. Ms. Bacon started her educational journey as a Per-Diem Teacher which lead to her becoming a Permanent Teacher at G. W. Carver/Bruce St. School.
Ms. Bacon taught primary and middle school grades. Ms. Bacon’s ability to serve as an instructional leader and source of support for her peers and the school community, afforded her the opportunity to be promoted to leadership during her time at G.W. Carver/Bruce St. School. In addition to G.W. Carver/Bruce St. School, Ms. Bacon has served as Vice Principal at Mount Vernon Elementary School and currently at Cleveland Elementary School.
Over the years, Ms. Bacon has assumed the following administrative roles: Primary, Intermediate and Middle School Vice Principal, School Testing Coordinator, and SST/I&RS Lead just. Ms. Bacon has also been actively involved with the Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County. She has been trained to teach ESL adults how to read and provides student-centered tutoring and literacy programs for adults so that they may function more effectively in their daily lives.
Ms. Brenda R. Lee
Brenda R. Lee, educator and transformative leader has dedicated over twenty-five years to public
education. Over the last twenty-five years, Ms. Lee has served within the Newark Public Schools in the
following roles: middle school teacher, elementary school vice principal, elementary summer school
principal, elementary summer schools lead principal, special assistant, executive director of operations,
high school vice principal and early childhood school administrator. Currently, Ms. Lee serves as
scheduling and middle school vice principal and school testing coordinator at Cleveland Elementary
Ms. Lee is also active in her civic community. She serves on the board of the New Jersey Black Issues
Convention (NJBIC) as corresponding secretary, lead on education policies and co-chair of the Religious
Affairs Committee. Ms. Lee is president of the Greater Newark Alliance of Black School Educators, Inc.
(GNABSE). Commissioner Lee was appointed by Governor Phil Murphy to serve on the New Jersey
Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission and is chair of the scholarship committee.
Furthermore, Ms. Lee is a proud member of the Interfaith Action Movement (I AM).