Paula White Named State Director of DFER New Jersey
September 7, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Paula White Named State Director of Democrats for Education Reform New Jersey (DFER-NJ)
Newark, NJ – Today, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) announced the hiring of Paula White as the State Director of DFER’s New Jersey chapter (DFER-NJ). Paula succeeds Kathleen Nugent Hughes, who is transitioning full-time into the role of Chief of Staff and State Operations on the national team at DFER.
Paula White brings to DFER a rich background and diverse range of experience in public education, including years as a former public school teacher, as a founder of a public charter school, and as a senior education executive. Most recently, Paula served as the Chief Turnaround Officer at the New Jersey Department of Education from 2013 to 2016.
“I am thrilled to welcome Paula into the DFER family. New Jersey, being my home state, holds a special place in my heart, and our children could not have a more committed advocate than Paula on their side,” said Shavar Jeffries, National President of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER). “Paula knows that a high-quality public education has the ability to completely transform a child’s life, and she is committed to empowering New Jersey’s students with the education they deserve to reach their fullest potential.”
New Jersey is one of nine active state chapters of DFER’s national advocacy organization. DFER works with its state chapters to support local elected officials and prospective candidates who are progressive education champions and also works to help further progressive, common-sense education reforms on the state and local levels.
“No matter the challenges we face in our state, one thing remains indisputably true – education changes lives,” said Paula White, incoming DFER New Jersey State Director. “I’m excited about coming onboard at DFER to continue to do my part to make a high-quality public education accessible to all children, regardless of their race, zip code, socio-economic status or personal circumstance.”
Paula White Biography
Paula L. White is deeply committed to the notion that an excellent education has the capacity to improve people’s lives, including those living in the most disenfranchised communities in our nation. As a teacher, school founder, and senior education executive, her work has had a transformative impact on thousands of children and families.
Most recently she served as the Chief Turnaround Officer for the New Jersey Department of Education, framing and leading the state’s school improvement strategy for over 200 Priority and Focus schools. While she was at the helm, most of the state’s Priority schools made significant academic growth, achievement gaps narrowed in many Focus schools, and suspensions and chronic absenteeism rates measurably declined. Prior to this role, Paula founded a successful public charter school in Newark’s South Ward and served on the Education Commissioner’s charter school task force to assist the state in revising key aspects of its charter school policy, in order to accelerate the growth of high-quality public charter schools in New Jersey.
Paula was one of 7 people selected from a pool of over 600 applicants to complete the yearlong Building Excellent Schools fellowship. As a Fellow, Paula visited more than 30 high-performing public charter schools nationwide, and gained insight on exemplary charter school leadership and governance.
She also served as a program director with Turnaround for Children, where she worked to improve high-poverty, low-performing public schools in New York City. As a 5th grade teacher in Atlanta, Georgia, 80% of her class, the majority of whom were living in poverty, met or exceeded state academic benchmarks.
Paula earned a B.A. in Child Development from Spelman College and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has been a HuffPost education blogger, a board member of Programs for Parents, a member of the New Jersey Council for Young Children, and she is the author of SHAPE: The 5 Keys to Parenting from Research and Real Life. Her most treasured role is the one she holds as the mother of her 3 sons.
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