PATERSON, NJ- The Paterson Board of Education is expected to make their pick for a new permanent Superintendent of Schools on Wednesday, but not before parents and residents have a chance to meet and question the final three candidates for the position.

“This is the most major decision that has been made in Paterson in a long time,” Commissioner Nakima Redmon told TAPinto Paterson.  Referring to the control the State of New Jersey has had of the Paterson Schools since Redmon was herself an eighth grade student she continued, “it’s been 26 years since the parents of Paterson have had a say in who serves as Superintendent.”

Also a member of the Superintendent Search Committee that was formed in August, 2017, Redmon believes that Tuesday’s forum, which she told TAPinto Paterson she has advocated strongly for “from day one” will be a “positive experience.” All parents, Redmon urged, should attend the event armed with questions.

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While the names of the final three candidates have not been made public, it is widely speculated that current Acting Superintendent Eileen Shafer is among them. Earlier this month the NAACP’s Paterson chapter announced that they believed the final choice should hold a Doctorate, which Shafer doesn’t, leading Paterson Education Associate President John McEntee to publish a letter to the editor expressing his belief that “leadership is not defined by a degree.

Telling TAPinto Paterson that we are in a "season of alignment" and that Paterson's children would be best served by "sticking with something and letting it grow," Pastor Michael D McDuffie, citing her more than 20 years of local experience, reiterated his support for Shafer to fill the role permanently. Shafer has, McDuffie said before rattling off several initiatives including supporting new training programs, working closely with the faith-based community, and opening local schools as community centers, "shown her ability to lead and build relationships."

"The candidate who has shown that she brings people to the table, that's who I want," said McDuffie while also offering a reminder that his endorsement is not his alone but also that of 40 members of the Paterson Pastors Workshop Clergy On Fire, an organization he heads up.

Robert Guarasci, Founder and CEO of New Jersey Development Corporation (NJCDC), and also a member of the search committee, said that he was pleased that the Board of Education agreed with their recommendation to hold the public forum. “It’s important for the Board to get the input of Paterson residents prior to making such a hugely important decision.”

The forum, which will be hosted by the Superintendent Search Committee and Rey and Associates, the firm hired by the Board of Education to conduct the nationwide search for candidates, will be held Tuesday, February 13, at the John F Kennedy Educational Complex and will begin at 5:30 p.m.