PATERSON, NJ- Seven aspirants will be interviewed by the current members of the Paterson Board of Education in hopes of being selected to fill the position made vacant by the resignation of Commissioner Chris Irving earlier this month. Irving’s resignation came in response to his acceptance of a position within the Department of Education in the Administration of Governor Phil Murphy.

The interviews will take place at a Special Meeting of the Board of Education set to begin at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday at the Board of Education Office, 90 Delaware Avenue. 

City education activist, and former Commissioner, Corey L. Teague, has been perhaps the most active campaigner for the position, making his letter of intent available for publication to TAPinto Paterson, as well as indicating his desire to run for seat in the 2018 election through a letter to the editor, also to TAPinto Paterson. Teague previously served on the Board for three years before being defeated in 2015.

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Another former Board member, Alonzo Moody, is also among those to be interviewed. Moody is a long-time local activist and formerly headed Paterson’s Youth Services Program. In 2017 Moody was among several honorees recognized during “Black History Month” by the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholder for their “outstanding achievements and contributions” to the community. 

Stacey Coleman, the only female to put her name forward, previously ran for a seat on the Board of Education, placing fourth among seven candidates, and losing out to Chris Irving, as well as current Commissioners Emanuel Capers and Flavio Rivera whom she will appear before on Wednesday. Coleman also serves as an Alternate Member of the Paterson Planning Board.

Vincent Arrington is a local photographer while Rodney De Vore, according to a profile posted on LinkedIn, serves as Discipline Coordinator and Dean at Passaic County Technical Institute.

The remaining candidates are Mosleh Uddin, a 2016 graduate of the William Paterson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Allan Gamarra. 

The appointment comes at a time when the Paterson Schools find themselves at a crossroads as they continue to seek full local control, something made possible, Acting Superintended Eileen Shafer said at the body’s January 3rd meeting, by surpassing the 80% threshold in each category on the latest state review, known as the Quality Single Accountability Continuum, or QSAC

In the coming months the Board will also be tasked with selecting Paterson’s permanent superintendent.

Recognizing the “critical importance” of these two issues, Rosie Grant, Executive Director, Paterson Education Fund (PEF), expressed the need that the new member “understands this role and is guided by the needs of our children.” Grant went on to say that she hopes the new board member will “embrace” the PEF’s vision, developed with the community, to build a school system “that offers our children a high quality education from pre-K through 12th grade, in an environment that is safe and conducive to 21st Century learning,” and “includes  schools that have the resources to be competitive and offer the same opportunities as charter schools and suburban schools along with teachers and administrators that honor and embrace our diversity.”

John McEntee, President of the Paterson Education Association (PEA), who expressed his hope that in his new role Irving’s  “experience will allow the Commissioner of Education to focus more on urban school districts in the State of New Jersey,” said, considering the seven candidates, that the union “will work collaboratively with whomever fills the vacant seat.”