Valerie Merritt is a Newark, New Jersey native currently residing in the township of Irvington, NJ. She received her early education in the Newark Public Schools and went on to graduate from Clifford J. Scott High School in East Orange. Valerie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Organizational Management—both from Centenary University (formerly Centenary College) in Parsippany. She is also a graduate of Leadership Newark (LN’08), a two-year public policy fellowship program that selects emerging leaders and professionals committed to the improvement of the greater Newark community.
Valerie developed a love of communications and public relations early in her career while with New Jersey Transit, the nation’s third largest transportation agency. After 14 years with the transit agency, she went on to spend eight years with the Newark Public Schools District (2006-2014), where she served on leadership teams for four different Superintendents while the district was under state control.
During her time away from the district, Valerie consulted with local non-profits to help them build their communication and media strategies. Valerie also served as the Chief of Staff at the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA), a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the life outcomes of Black men and boys. CBMA announced that it was sunsetting its operations at the end of 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
After being gone from the education space for several years, the Newark Board of Education unanimously voted to approve the hire and return of Valerie to serve as Director of Communications. In her new role, Valerie is tasked with communicating the needs of the district as the country continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Valerie is a woman of character and substance with an innate ability to connect people and cultivate relationships that improve communications and strengthen communities. She lives by one core creed—“service above self” and aims to leave an environment, no matter how challenging, better than she found it.
Valerie is both Dare to Lead and Momentum Education trained and a proud member of the National Black MBA Association.