The Newark Board of Education Appoints New Principals for the 2024-25 School Year

Newark, NJ – Superintendent León proudly introduced the new principals for the 2024-25 school year, stating, "With their passion and perseverance, these principals exemplify how leadership and learning are inseparable."

Superintendent León met with the new cohort of principals, reiterating the importance of effective leadership, such as how informed decision-making impacts student achievement, excellent organizational skills, active community involvement, and leveraging personal experiences to develop meaningful connections with students.

Board President Council emphasized, "All these appointees were promoted internally after going through a rigorous interview process, affirming their suitability for their new roles."

Arts High School - Regina Sharpe 
Regina Sharpe earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Rutgers University and a Master’s of Arts in Administration & Supervision at Saint Peter’s College.  She was a teacher at Dr. William H. Horton and most recently the Vice Principal at Arts High School.

Belmont Runyon School - Robin L. Williams
Robin L. Williams completed her K-12 education at the Newark Board of Education and earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from New Jersey City University and a Master’s of Science in Education: Leadership and Administration from Capella University. She taught Social Studies at Malcolm X Shabazz High School, where she later became the department chairperson and eventually the Vice Principal of Curriculum and Instruction. Most recently, she served as Vice Principal of Peshine Avenue School for grades 3-5.

Branch Brook School - Cristina Pennetti
Cristina Pennetti earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the College of Saint Elizabeth, followed by a Master’s of Arts in Teacher of the Handicapped High Incidence Disabilities from Kean University. She also obtained certifications as a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant and Supervisor from Kean University. She further earned her Principal License through NJEXCEL, and served as a Supervisor for the Office of Special Education.

First Avenue School - Neysa Miranda
Neysa Miranda earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education from Drew University and a Master’s of Arts in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University.  With over 23 years of experience in education, she has held various roles, including a teacher at McKinley Elementary School, a Literacy Coach at Chancellor Avenue School, and most recently as a Vice Principal at First Avenue School.

Franklin School – Robert Spat
Robert Spat earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a Master’s of Arts in Educational Administration from Montclair State University. He served as a teacher of English Language Arts for approximately ten years and was Vice Principal at Rafael Hernández Elementary School.

Mount Vernon School - Serenia Farrell
Serenia Farrell holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with a Minor in African American Studies from Ramapo College of New Jersey and a Teacher Certification from Kean University. She also earned a Master’s of Arts in Educational Leadership from the Collage of St. Elizabeth. With over 20 years of experience, her career has included teacher, teacher aide, substitute teacher, and Vice Principal at Louise A. Spencer School.

Park Elementary School - Amy Panitch
Amy Panitch earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s of Arts in Teaching at Montclair State University. Her first teaching assignment was at Franklin School in Newark where she taught third and fourth grades and also served as a teacher coach. She earned a second master’s degree from Montclair State University in Educational Leadership and was promoted to Vice Principal at Franklin School, then appointed principal of Franklin School.

Salomé Ureña Elementary School – Liana Rodriguez
Liana Rodriguez earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, continued her education and received her Early Childhood certification. She holds a Master’s of Arts in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University. She began her career at the North Ward Center, Inc., followed by the NBOE Office of Early Childhood before transitioning to Vice Principal at Roberto Clemente Elementary 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 nine 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.

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