JERSEY CITY - Parents and other members of the community were slated to have an opportunity Friday night to meet two candidates selected as finalists for superintendent of the Jersey City Public Schools. A forum was scheduled at Martin Luther King Jr. School (PS 11).
On June 1, the Board of Education announced that two finalists - Dr. Debra Brathwaite and Dr. Marcia Lyles - had been selected from a national pool of applicants. After several rounds of interviews with two search firms and members of the board, Lyles and Brathwaite were selected from the total applicant pool of 48 candidates.
According to bios supplied by the school board, Braithwaite is currently serving as deputy superintendent of the Richland County School District in South Carolina, a position she has held for the last four years. The K-12 district has 23,000 students, according to Richland County.
Braithwaite, according to her bio, previously served five years as deputy superintendent of the Dayton, Ohio, school district, a system that had about 16,000 students, and was also an assistant superintendent in Cleveland for two years. She also worked in the New York City public school system for 26 years, where she taught at the sixth and seventh grade level and was an elementary school principal. While in New York, Braithwaite also worked as a deputy superintendent for curricular development.
Lyles, the second finalist, was the school superintendent for the Christina School District in Delaware, which has about 17,000 students. Lyles resigned this post in December of last year.
Like Braithwaite, Lyles also has experience in the New York City school system, where she worked for 37 years. While in New York, Lyles worked as a deputy chancellor for teaching and learning, and was a regional superintendent, and a community superintendent of a K-8 district. She was also a high school principal and taught English at the high school level for a decade.
Braithwaite and Lyles were among 14 candidates who were interviewed by two consulting firms - West Hudson Associates and Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates - that were hired by the school board to assist with the superintendent search. The names of eight semi-finalists were then passed on to the Board of Education.
Last month, school board members invited six of the eight semi-finalists to Jersey City for interviews, after which the number of candidates was cut down to three people. These candidates went through another round of interviews with the board before Braithwaite and Lyles emerged as the two possibilities. - E. Assata Wright