Mr. Montalbano is the proud Principal of Luis Muñoz Marin School. He began his career in education teaching 7th and 8th grade social studies at Oliver Street School in Newark. During Mr. Montalbano’s six years at Oliver Street, he formed the foundation of his pedagogical knowledge and, most importantly, learned the importance of building strong relationships with students. While teaching at Oliver St., Mr. Montalbano attended Teachers College at Columbia University and earned his Masters degree in Educational Leadership.
Mr. Montalbano then transitioned into a school leadership role, serving as Vice Principal at Luis Muñoz Marin School for the past five years. Mr. Montalbano’s time at LMM has been transformational, helping him learn the qualities of a passionate school leader. While at LMM, Mr. Montalbano has led the 6th-8th and 3rd-5th grade spans, as well as supervising the mathematics and social justice programs. Mr. Montalbano has also been fortunate to participate in field trips to Washington, D.C. meeting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and leading the LMM productions of Disney’s Musicals in Schools.Mr. Montalbano feels extremely fortunate to continue serving the Luis Muñoz Marin community through his role as Principal.
Mr. Colon grew up in Jersey City, NJ. He has been a part of the Newark Public Schools since 2006. He began as a substitute teacher and then quickly became a Physical Education teacher at Rafael Hernandez School. After three years at Rafael Hernandez, Mr. Colon moved on to Luis Muñoz Marin where he taught for five years.As a basketball coach, he has earned various honors. While the head basketball coach at Harrison High School, he was named the 2015 NJIC Coach of the year. As the head coach at Luis Muñoz Marin, he was named the 2018 NPS Elementary Coach of the year while leading the school to back to back NPS middle school championships in 2018 and 2019. As Vice Principal, Mr. Colon feels grateful to partner with incredible people to help every child at LMM ignite their personal passion and succeed.
Ms. Cooke is the proud Vice Principal at Luis Muñoz Marin. She began her career in education after graduating from William Paterson University as a second grade teacher at Mount Vernon School in Newark in 2000. While teaching, she earned her Master’s degree in Urban Education and Administration from New Jersey City University.
She has humbly served the students of Newark during her 19 year tenure in a variety of roles. Her experience includes classroom teacher, tutor, coach and master teacher for the Office of Curriculum before accepting her position at Luis Muñoz Marin as Vice Principal in 2014. Her passion for working with struggling readers is apparent in her daily interactions with students, staff and families. She relentlessly advocates for all students and supports families by continuing to be a resource to empower parents in helping their children.
In her current role, Ms. Cooke is leading the Middle School at Luis Muñoz Marin and the Math program in grades K-8. She uses her talent for organization, relationship building and coaching to create a culture of high academic and behavioral expectations, while emphasizing a joy for learning and commitment to team. Ms. Cooke works closely with teachers, parents and the school community to support the whole child.
“Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For indeed that's all who ever have. ”
― Margaret Mead
Adjoa Denchi-Smith is a proud alumni of Newark Public Schools. Graduating from Newark’s esteemed Science High, she decided to pursue her passion for education, earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Seton Hall and Kean University respectively.
While teaching First grade she developed a desire for teaching young children to read which encouraged her to gain a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist from Kean University.
After working in Newark Public Schools for eight years, Mrs. Smith decided she wanted to step into a leadership role. She enrolled in Seton Hall’s educational leadership program and earned her ED.S from Seton Hall University. As a native of Newark, Mrs. Smith realized that there was a need to support students with special needs in the city of Newark. She was given the opportunity to serve as the Vice Principal of Special Education at Luis Muñoz Marin School.
During the past five years, Mrs. Smith has developed a passion for changing the mindset of students with behavioral disabilities. She continues to oversee the Supreme Dream Chasers which consists of the district’s largest population of students with behavioral disabilities. Ms. Smith continues to yield great results of special education students transitioning back into general education settings.
This journey in Newark continues to provide Mrs. Smith enjoyment by building positive relationships and most importantly changing the lives of children.
“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it” ~Marian Wright Edelman
I am the Vice Principal for grades Pre K – 2 here at The Luis Muñoz Marin School for Social Justice. I have had the great fortune to have supervised grades Pre K – 2 at various times through-out my career as a school administrator. Each experience has allowed me to grow and build my educational repertoire in Early Childhood and Primary School Education.
My professional journey as an educator has provided me with the opportunity to teach grades 5 – 8. Early in my career I was able to place an instructional focus on Literacy Instruction. My professional journey then led me to placing an instructional focus on Mathematics. The learning experiences that I have had as a teacher of intermediate grades as well as middle school grades has provided me with great knowledge to support the Early Childhood and Primary Department of The Luis Muñoz Marin School. I have a clear vision of the educational path forward that our great scholars must take to demonstrate mastery of Common Core Standards as they work for College Readiness. I also have a clear vision of the types of learning experiences that the teachers, otherwise known as facilitators of learning, need to provide our scholars in their challenging educational endeavors.
My professional journey has allowed me to partner with distinguished Early Childhood Professionals which in-turn allowed me to expand my educational repertoire in supporting, “The Whole Child.” This partnership has also expanded my educational repertoire in partnering with parents to support children’s academic, social, and emotional needs to grow into successful and productive citizens.
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” It is with great pleasure and gratitude that I make the commitment to support the school community of The Luis Muñoz Marin School for Social Justice.