NJASL is thrilled to announce that Newark Board of Education's Superintendent, Roger León, is the 2020 recipient of the Administrator of the Year award. The award is presented to a New Jersey school, library or district administrator or supervisor who has developed an exemplary school library media program and made an outstanding and sustained contribution toward advancing the role of the school library media center as an agency for the improvement of education.
Mr. León was born and raised in the city of Newark, attended Newark’s public schools, taught, coached, and was a principal in this same city. As a life-long Newark resident, he remains a proud product of the Newark Board of Education, where he has dedicated 25 years of service to the children in the Newark Schools district.
Mr. León has received this annual award from NJASL in recognition of his support for school libraries in Newark. Margaret Adjoga-Otu, one of many Newark School Library Media Specialists who nominated Mr. León, wrote: “Under State Control, Roger León fought cuts to School Libraries and was able to convince the various school principals to retain their media specialists. Since León’s tenure, there has been a tremendous retention of SLMSs. Not one SMLS or School Library Program has been cut in the last 3 years.” Upon receiving this award, Mr. León reflected on his experience as a Newark Public Schools student and then as a principal and stated “I learned and, now as Superintendent, I bring with me this clear understanding that it is about learning to read and reading to learn” and in light of inevitable impacts COVID-19 will have on education that "We know that the way we will answer this digital divide is with our librarians in school."
Prior to being named Superintendent in 2018, Mr. León served as the Assistant Superintendent in the Newark Board of Education for ten years. Prior to that, he served as a K-8 teacher, principal, and as the Deputy Chief Academic Officer in charge of Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Support Services.
As a resident, student, teacher, principal, and Assistant Superintendent in Newark, Mr. León has taught thousands and mentored hundreds. He has witnessed generational progress and has inspired outstanding leaders, doctors, social activists, teachers, principals, attorneys, scientists, authors, professors, innovators, business owners, artists, and countless others who he has encouraged to remain in Newark, like he has.
Mr. León is passionate about education, passionate about Newark, and passionate about progress. This passion is what drives his support for strong school library programs in New Jersey’s largest school district.
The New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) is the only statewide organization for school librarians in New Jersey. NJASL believes that every student in every New Jersey school deserves to be taught by a State certified full-time School Library Media Specialist supported by a resource-rich school library program. School librarians are essential partners in curriculum delivery and college and career readiness. They are leaders in the integration of technology, information and digital literacies, and the professional development for school staff.