LaShanda Gillam, Principal

LaShanda Gilliam Headshot
LaShanda Gillam
Michelle Obama Elementary School

Ms. LaShanda Gilliam is a proud product of Newark, NJ. She attended Newark Public Schools in her former years and graduated from West Side High School. Ms. Gilliam is in her 14th year of educational leadership. Graduating from Montclair State University in 1995, she began her career as a first grade teacher at Benjamin Franklin School in Newark, NJ.

Shortly after, Ms. Gilliam received a Master’s degree in Reading from Montclair State University. After becoming a licensed Reading Specialist, Ms. Gilliam worked as a Resource Teacher Coordinator for the Office of Language Arts Literacy. It was during this tenure that Ms. Gilliam began to see the incredible impact she was making across the district in a variety of schools. As a result of this revelation, Ms. Gilliam decided she wanted to become an instructional leader.

After receiving a second Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership in 2005, she became the Vice Principal of Vailsburg Middle School. Ms. Gilliam later transferred to Thirteenth Avenue School where she has worked for the past ten years. Her tenure there has provided a solid foundation of quality leadership in academic achievement and a positive climate and culture. It has also been during this time that she has been able to accelerate Thirteenth Avenue School to an increase in teacher retention and student achievement.

Ms. Gilliam’s educational philosophy is based on her uncompromising belief that all students can learn. When students are given a positive learning environment, and strong knowledgeable leadership, she believes they undoubtedly thrive.

Ms. Gilliam is blessed to be the mother of two awesome young men, Stiles and Chase.

Ms. Gilliam is committed to affording every student an opportunity to excel and become whoever they want to be, remembering always to dream big and make the greatest impact on their community and the world.