Principal For A Day Initiative in Newark Public Schools Leaves Lasting Impact Across the District

Newark NJ – The Newark Board of Education proudly announces the successful completion of Principal For A Day (PFAD) across the District on Wednesday, May 29, 2024.  Distinguished individuals from various sectors, including elected and government officials, attorneys, community leaders, CEOs, producers, and artists, all recommended by principals, actively participated in this enriching experience.

Participants were provided with an orientation with invaluable insights from Superintendent León. His perspectives illuminated the significant impact of this initiative on student learning, demonstrating its seamless alignment with The Next Decade: 2020-30 Strategic Plan.

All participants eagerly embraced the opportunity to contribute to this distinctive experience, recognizing its potential to not only benefit schools within Newark but to also positively impact their respective organizations, and the entire state of New Jersey.

During PFAD, participants fostered stronger relationships between schools and the community, gained firsthand experience in school leadership responsibilities and teaching methods tailored to diverse student needs, and interacted with faculty and students while assisting with administrative duties. Responsibilities included observing school procedures, leading announcements, visiting classrooms, attending meetings, participating in activities, and delivering a career-focused lesson. The initiative aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the principal's role while adapting to the dynamic school environment. The PFAD initiative offered a genuine and immersive experience for all involved.

Students had the incredible opportunity to engage and interact with PFAD participants, creating a memorable experience at their school. The Honorable Mayor Ras J. Baraka was PFAD at Park Elementary. Mayor Baraka, during his lesson on his career, expressed his gratitude for his time as a principal, stating, "All the things I have to do as a mayor, I've learned from being a Principal."

Chef Jesse Jones, a proud Newark native, participated as a PFAD at Newark Vocational High School shared, “This is an emotional day for me because I’m from Newark. As a Black American Chef, I had to persevere to get to where I am. I’m honored to be the Principal For A Day and proud to see the potential in these young culinary students; POW- Passionate, Opportunity, Work!”

Councilman Dupré Kelly of the West Ward committed to Mount Vernon for PFAD. He reflected on the community's collective voice and the purpose driving his work, “The 8th graders here at Mount Vernon reminded me about the voice of the entire community and my why in the work that I do. This was an amazing experience and I am so grateful for it.”

"It was truly rewarding to step into the role of Principal For A Day at George Washington Carver, the very school where I completed my 8th grade education. This experience has given me a deeper appreciation for the role of the principals and their tireless efforts to keep our students and staff motivated and engaged," expressed Board President Council. "I am incredibly pleased that this is one of the programs reinstated by Superintendent León."

Principals concluded the day by awarding PFAD participants with certificates and school pride swag. The Principal For A Day event for this year was described as a successful, creative, purposeful, and joyful experience across the District.

Click here  for a list of all PAFDs by school.

About Newark Public Schools

The Newark Public Schools is the largest school district in New Jersey and dates back to 1676.  The District currently enrolls over 39,000 students in 63 schools.  After more than two decades of state operation and upon return to local control in 2018, the District has opened 9 new schools under Superintendent León’s leadership with an additional portfolio of new options to be announced in the coming months and years. The Newark Board of Education serves as a beacon of educational excellence, dedicated to nurturing the potential of every student. With a commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and fostering a love for learning, the District continues to shape future generations and make a positive impact within the community.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Nancy J. Deering, Acting Communications Director