Superintendent León Convenes the High School Redesign Strategy Fall Partners Meeting


[Newark, NJ] On Thursday, October 19, 2023, Superintendent León convened the Fall gathering of the High School Redesign Strategy Partners, including comprehensive high school principals, their magnet high school counterparts, post-secondary education institutions, and industry partners. All stakeholders met in a concerted effort to sustain the success of the District’s high school redesign strategy by enriching educational opportunities and fortifying collaborative relationships.

Superintendent León opened the meeting by delivering a comprehensive overview of The Next Decade: 2020-30 Strategic Plan with an emphasis on the high school redesign strategy and examples of its successful implementation, "This strategic roadmap outlines critical priorities and strategies designed to elevate the learning environment, stimulate innovation, and prepare students for the rapidly changing world.” Superintendent León underscored the paramount significance of teamwork and the integral role of partners in realizing the successful execution of these plans. Assistant Superintendent of High Schools, Dr. Maria Ortiz, and Director of Career and Technical Education, Sandra Marques, work in tandem to nurture these partner relationships and bring the high school redesign strategy to life.

The Partner gathering brought together an impressive array of participants, including Board President Hasani K. Council, Ambassador Attallah Shabazz, Dr. Jamila Davis, Newark Beth Israel President Darrell K. Terry, Sr., President of Montclair State University Dr. Jonathan Koppell, radio host Nilda Rosario, Tiffany Aliche "The Budgetnista," renowned 2X NBA All-Star and New York Knicks legend Allan Houston, and numerous other partners and industry leaders. Several post-secondary institutions were also present, recognizing their role not only in equipping high school students with skills and knowledge through Dual-Enrollment opportunities, but also through their integral presence as higher education partners in the high school redesign strategy.

Houston, a youth mentor and founder of the Allan Houston Legacy Foundation, shared, “I'm extremely excited to be a part of this wonderful partnership with the Newark Public Schools. Our FISLL (Faith, Integrity, Sacrifice, Leadership, and Legacy) goals are to make the FISLL values aspirational and tangible in the lives of young people and provide them with the systems that does that.” He shared insights from his journey as a professional athlete and discussed the valuable work undertaken by the Legacy Foundation and his commitment to Newark Public School students.

United Airlines is a valued partner not only in the City of Newark, but with the Newark Public Schools as well. Monica Slater Stokes, Managing Director of Corporate and Government Affairs at United Airlines was present at the gathering and shared, “Our commitment to fostering young talent in the field of aviation is steadfast, exemplified by our partnership with Newark Vocational High School’s Hospitability and Tourism Program. Every day, we think about innovative strategies to create a pathway to careers in aviation – this partnership bolsters those efforts. We look forward to doing more.”

Susanne Newmark of commercial real estate firm Newmark Associates affirmed her unwavering commitment to supporting the District in reaching its objectives. She conveyed enthusiasm for contributing resources, expertise, and networks. Jerry Wonda, the Grammy Award-winning music producer, radiated genuine excitement about collaborating with students and teachers, as well as working with schools to strengthen programs and students. Integrating industry-standard opportunities for students is a pivotal aspect of our educational partnerships. He stated, “this partnership with the Newark Board of Education is so important – it’s how we connect teams together and channel that energy to students and teachers. We are operating like a band and together, we are going to change the way music is in the system.”

The Newark Board of Education looks forward to future collaborations and initiatives that will further enhance the educational landscape of the Newark Public Schools and empower the next generation of leaders.

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