Incumbents win reelection in Newark Public Schools election

Incumbents Dawn Haynes, Asia Norton, Vereliz Santana and Daniel Gonzalez won in the Newark, New Jersey school board election on April 20, 2021. Haynes, Norton, and Santana, all incumbents, defeated challengers Nadirah Brown, Yolanda Johnson, and Philip Wilson in the regular election with 29.9%, 28.2%, and 27.1% of the vote, respectively, and will serve three-year terms on the board. No other candidate received over 6%.

Gonzalez, meanwhile, won a special election for an open fourth seat against Sheila Montague, 65.6% to 34.4%. The special election was called after board member Tave Padilla died on November 25, 2020. On January 28, 2021, the board appointed Santana to fill Padilla’s seat until the April election. Padilla took office in 2016 and won reelection to another three-year term on April 16, 2019. Gonzalez will serve the remainder of the term, which will end after the next election in 2022.

Haynes, Santana, Norton, and Gonzalez ran on the Moving Newark Schools Forward ticket, a candidate slate backed by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr. Haynes and Norton previously ran on the slate in 2018 when they were both first elected to the board.

Newark Public Schools is overseen by a nine-member board, all of whom are elected at large to three-year terms. All registered voters can vote for seats on the ballot in an at-large election as opposed to a by district election, in which only the registered voters of a particular geographic area may vote for a particular seat up for election.

The district was the largest school district in the state in the 2019-2020 school year and served 36,676 students. From 1995 to 2017, the New Jersey state government oversaw the school district. Local control was returned to the district on September 13, 2017.

Additional reading: