CRANFORD – At the April 25, 2017, meeting of the Union County College Board of Trustees, Dr. Karen Young-Thomas was sworn in to serve as a new Trustee. Dr. Young-Thomas, of Roselle, is the CEO of The Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, NJ. Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel welcomed Dr. Young-Thomas to the meeting and initiated her swearing in. She was appointed to the College’s Board of Trustees by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Dr. Young-Thomas was one of the founders of The Marion P. Thomas Charter School, which began in 1999 with 60 students and today services more than 1400 students in grades K-12 on four campuses in Newark. Since 2015, it has a performing arts and culinary high school located in a state of the art facility. MPTCS is the largest independent and minority-led charter school in the state and the third largest charter school statewide.

Prior to coming to MPTCS, Dr. Young-Thomas served as the marketing director of ESSENCE Magazine and for more than 20 years. Some programs she created include the ESSENCE Awards, an Emmy-award winning prime-time TV special, The ESSENCE Music Festival and the ESSENCE TV Program. 

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Dr. Young-Thomas has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. In 1991, she opened the marketing firm RK Productions with offices in New York, Newark, and Roselle. The firm serviced ESSENCE, Revlon, McDonalds, Sony, Rebook, WNBC-TV, WWRL-AM, Burrell Advertising, Showtime at the Apollo, and The Winans Family National Tour.

Dr. Young-Thomas holds a Doctorate in Urban Leadership and her Master’s in Educational Leadership with a certification as a School Business Administrator, both from Kean University. She also holds a graduate degree from New York University in special events and marketing. Her undergraduate degree is in Communications from Simmons College. She also completed the Harvard Graduate School of Education program for urban educators and holds a certification from the Schools in Transition Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. She is a fellow of the Leadership Newark Class of 2005 and a founding member of the Simmons College Leadership Council.

Union County College is a public, comprehensive community college providing quality, affordable, accessible educational programs that serve the greater Union County region. It is the first of New Jersey’s 19 Associate Degree colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The College enrolls almost 30,000 credit, non-credit, and continuing education students and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Many programs lead to the Associate in Arts, Science, and Applied Science degrees. For more information about Union County College, go to www.ucc.edu.