Newark Superintendent Revives Principal Selection Process for Hiring Seven New Principals

[Newark, NJ – July 25, 2018] Superintendent of Newark Public Schools Roger León yesterday received full and unanimous approval from the Newark Board of Education to hire seven new principals. In keeping with his mission to engage students, families, teachers, community members and partners, Superintendent León restored a version of the School Leadership Council principal hiring process that has been dormant for nearly a decade. 

The process, once mandatory, resulted in the creation of an interview panel represented by key stakeholders from each school to recommend new principals for hire. In total, 48 members of the community participated in the selection of these new principals; a level of public engagement unseen in the Newark Public Schools in almost a decade.

Superintendent León said, “This is an extraordinary time for students, parents, the community, and the City of Newark – we have a unique opportunity to write our collective story about what the future of education will look like in Newark.” On the heels of his appointment as Superintendent in May, Mr. León addressed the community in a public forum and promised to restore confidence in the consciousness of the community by engaging them in the most critical decisions. “The principal selection process will be no exception…empowering the community in decision-making will undoubtedly result in high levels of engagement in all matters related to education,” said León.  

The selection process begins with a central office screening and review of candidates that apply through, the district’s online application portal. The vetted candidates undergo a rigorous Selection Day process by the Human Resource Department; the same process that began a few years ago. 

“In the district’s new process, the most qualified candidates are advanced to an interview panel comprising of students, families, teachers, community members, and partners,” said Josephine Garcia, Chairperson of the Newark Board of Education. “The school-based team recommended candidates for a final interview with the Superintendent, who then ultimately recommended to the Newark Board of Education a candidate for hire,” she said.  

Superintendent León said, “One of the most important elements of this new process for me and I believe the school district, is to engage and listen to the voices of our future.”  Eduardo J. Torres-Pineda, a rising senior at East Side High School said, “I enjoyed the process because our school is very rigorous and being part of deciding who is going to become principal was great. East Side has become one of my homes!” 

“After implementing this additional and very important step to the principal hiring process, the Superintendent recommended seven extraordinary candidates,” said Reginald Bledsoe, Chairperson of the Newark Board of Education Personnel Committee.  “The Board fully supported the recommendations of the Superintendent and unanimously endorsed his candidates who were publicly introduced to the community as the new leaders of their schools after our votes,” he said.  “As the chairperson of the Personnel Committee,” Mr. Bledsoe continued, “I was proud of the process, proud of the new principals, and proud of our Superintendent.”

The seven new principals approved by the Newark Board of Education join a team of all-star principals in the Newark Public Schools.  Like Superintendent León, the new principals were born, educated, or served as educators in the Newark Public Schools.  Superintendent León proudly announced that, “It is extremely important to me to lead with superior educators and administrators, who at their core represent the best of Newark and the best in education. The community asked for it, I promised it, today we begin anew.” 

The Newark Board of Education gave León approval for principals at three elementary schools, three high schools, and one specialized school. Biographies of the seven new principals will be available on the district web site.