Mr. A. Robert Gregory

Phone: 973-621-0060, Ext. 2013

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. A. Robert Gregory

Superintendent/CEO

 

The Marion P. Thomas Charter School (MPTCS) Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint A. Robert Gregory as its new Superintendent in November 2018. A veteran educational leader, Mr. Gregory has more than 20 years of experience as an administrator and educator for Newark Public Schools (NPS). 
 
Mr. Gregory is charged with leading MPTCS, a 20-year institution, into its next chapter. His prior experience includes serving as the Interim Superintendent of NPS, immediately following Newark Public School’s return to local control after two decades of state control.  He also worked as the Deputy Superintendent, in this role he oversaw the revision of the strategic planning process and managed the professional development of school principals and assistant superintendents while supporting the district’s successful transition to local control.  Previously, Mr. Gregory served as the Assistant Superintendent of NPS High Schools for 2 years, where the district saw an increase in graduation rates of nearly 20 points during this tenure. He also served as the Founding Principal of American History High School, the fifth magnet school in Newark and the first of its kind in New Jersey.   Under Gregory’s leadership, American History High School was ranked amongst the nation’s best high schools receiving its first Silver Medal and National Ranking in the 2015 U.S. News World Report’s Best High Schools in America.  Mr. Gregory graduated from West Chester University in Pennsylvania with a BA in Secondary Education, Social Studies and is a graduate of Seton Hall University with an MA in Educational Leadership and Management.  A third generation Newarker, he is the epitome of homegrown leadership.  Education runs in his family; his father was a teacher; vice principal and principal in Newark for 25 years.
Mr. Elijah D. Griffiths

Phone: 973-621-0060, Ext. 2013

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. Elijah D. Griffiths

Sr. Executive Assistant to the CEO/Superintendent


Mr. Elijah D. Griffiths has over 7 years of experience in the not-for-profit and education sector. He joined the Marion P Thomas Charter School Network in 2018 as the Senior Executive Assistance to the Superintendent and CEO, Mr. A. Robert Gregory. Mr. Griffiths has previously served at the Newark Board of Education as the Senior Executive Assistant to 3 Superintendents, their CEOs and other C-Level executives. Mr. Griffiths initiated, sustained, and managed the relationships of the Board of Education’s presence in the City of Newark, and on a state and national level. Mr. Griffiths has researched and identified partnership opportunities with some organizations including Audible, Rutgers-Newark, Bloomfield College, PSEG, and Panasonic just to name a few. Moreover, Mr. Griffiths has acquired philanthropic funding from various stakeholders for Newark Public Schools students. In addition to Mr. Griffiths’ role as an Executive Assistant, he also served as the Project Manager for the entire academic departments providing support in the areas of operations and procurement. One of Mr. Griffiths’ dearest accomplishments at the NBOE is reviving the Newark Board of Education Gospel Choir which is staff-based and will be competing in the 2019 McDonald’s Gospelfest at the Prudential Center.

Mr. Griffiths has a unique role in Superintendent/CEO Gregory’s office. Mr. Griffiths manages the special projects and initiatives of the Superintendent/CEO while providing executive administrative support, management of the MPTCS’ website and social media platforms, researching and identify organizations for partnerships and philanthropy, and leading Professional Development session for the district’s office managers.

Mr. Griffiths is a Professor in Sacred Music and an award-winning Gospel Choir Director, singer, and musician who founded the Montclair State University Voices of Unity Gospel Choir in 2015. As we are approaching our 20th year anniversary as a charter-school network, Mr. Griffiths will serve as the Choir Director for our staff and student-based choir for Gala to be held in May of 2019.

Ms. Randy Gooden

Phone: 973-621-0060 ext. 1019

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Ms. Randy Gooden

Supervisor of Research, Planning, and Evaluation

Randy Gooden joined MPTCS as a Data Analyst in 2014 and is currently the Supervisor of Research Planning and Evaluation. In conjunction with the Superintendent and the Academic Leadership Team, Ms. Gooden is responsible for leveraging information and systems to improve instructional decision making and the effectiveness of academic programs through the management of the MPTCS’ data and assessment programs. She has devoted 20 years of service to primary, secondary and post-secondary education in both the public/private sectors. During her career, she has successfully provided technical support and training to over 500 medical students, physicians, K-12 teachers and administrators in the city of Newark. She holds a Teacher of Elementary Schools Certification and has taught Mathematics and Built Environment/Technology and Science at Newark Public Schools and UC Teams Charter School respectively. Additionally, she performed the initial overhaul of UC TEAM’s student information system and served as the school’s Turner Construction Youth Force 2020 program liaison. As a Program Support Specialist for the UMDNJ-NJ Medical School, she was the SMART Program Coordinator; architect, co-designer and administrator of schools’ first electronic student clinical log system; and served as an evaluator on National Institutes of Health and Department of Health and Human Services research initiatives. While employed with Hartman-Cox Architects, she had the privilege working on the team that retrofit the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art and Portrait Galleries. Ms. Gooden earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies at Florida A&M University.

Dr. Melinda B. Johnson

Phone: 973-621-0060 ext. 2214

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Melinda B. Johnson

Director of Teacher and Scholar Effectiveness

Dr. Melinda B. Johnson has amassed 22 years in private, public, and charter schools. She joined MPTCS in 2014 as the Primary School Principal. Thereafter was placed on the Chief Academic Office Team as the Director of Teacher and Scholar Effectiveness. As the former Director of Instruction/Acting Principal for UC TEAMS K-12 Charter School, dual-college enrollment was offered, parent participation substantially increased through a structured volunteer program, and she oversaw the major shift to the Common Core. Her teaching positions include Basic Skills, Pre-K, Elementary, and Gifted and Talented. Other leadership roles include Lead Teacher, Supervisor of Elementary Education, Board Member, Mentor, and the Director of Instruction for Knowledge Points Learning Center. She was awarded the Outstanding Educator award in Baltimore City Public Schools and Teacher of the Year at Bethany Christian Academy in Newark. Dr. Johnson earned a BA in Elementary Education from Goucher College, MBA from University of Phoenix, and Doctorate in Education Leadership, minoring in Curriculum Development from Nova Southeastern where her applied dissertation on Cultural Competence in Urban Charter School Leadership received an approval rating in the top 3%. Her professional memberships have included National Association for Elementary School Principals, New Jersey Association for Gifted Children, Association for Supervision Curriculum and Development, and National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc Epsilon Alpha. An interesting fact, Dr. Johnson cheered for the NFL Baltimore Ravens, with first-hand witness of the victory in Super Bowl XXXVII over the NY Giants.

 On Superintendent Gregory’s Academic Leadership Team, Dr. Johnson manages Teacher Evaluation, the Provisional Teacher Mentoring Program and coordinates Professional Development (PD). She has successfully migrated the evaluation process to an Insights Platform, gaining 100% completion and more transparency. The Master PD Calendar was restructured; providing themed focused Fridays aligned to district-wide goals. The Mentoring Team is trained on the Phases of the First Year Teacher and Adult Learning Theory to prioritize new teacher support. School Improvement Panels were launched on each campus to draw collaborative insight. Dr. Johnson has a passion for urban charter schools and advocated her testimonial on Capitol Hill at the National Association for Charter School Conference.

Dr. Shavon Chambers

Phone: 973-621-0060 Ext. 2221

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Shavon Chambers

Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Shavon Chambers joined the Newark educational community in Fall 2007 as a social work intern with the Rutgers Law School child advocacy clinic. During this experience she gained a firsthand look at the impact of scholars with disabilities not receiving adequate instruction as well as the stigma placed on scholars who came from broken homes. It was imperative that she find a way to get into the classroom which lead her to becoming a Newark Teach for America Corps member at Burnet Street School in Newark. 12 years later and her work within education has included several positions such as special education teacher, middle school ELA teacher, grade level leader, first year teach mentor, instructional coach, and New Leaders Resident principal. Throughout each endeavor she has continuously collaborated with developing and unpacking ELA curriculum with an emphasis on the shift to the Common Core in 2014. Shavon comes from a family of immigrants, who instilled in her from an early age, education is the key to unlocking the door to countless opportunities! Thus, a life- long learner she received her Bachelor’s in Sociology and Television Radio Film from Syracuse University, Masters’ in Social Work from Columbia University and both her Education Specialist and Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership Management and Policy from Seton Hall University.

Currently Shavon is serving as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Marion P. Thomas Charter School and is a member of the Superintendent’s Academic Leadership Team. In her role she collaborates with the village’s school leaders and their instructional staff on unpacking the curricular resources for Mathematics and English Language Arts and creating resources to support effective instructional delivery. As of November 2018 she also serves on the New Jersey Department of Education ELA Curriculum team.

Ms. Maria Picone

Phone: 973-621-0060 Ext. 2216

Email:

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Ms. Maria Picone

Director of Early Childhood Education, PreK-Grade 2

“Within the child lies the fate of the future.” Maria Montessori

 Maria Picone is very proud to currently hold the position of Director of Early Childhood Education at Marion P. Thomas Charter School, where she supports the PreK-Grade 2 program across three campuses. Having grown up in Paterson where she attended city schools, Maria had a strong desire to return to urban education and follow in the footsteps of the exemplary educators who supported her in her youth.

 Maria is a veteran educator and started her career as a classroom teacher in Bloomingdale, and during that time, received the school level Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award. After moving into the role of school counselor/student assistance coordinator, she was recognized in 2006 by the NJ Bias Officers Association for efforts to “reduce bigotry and hate.”

 Maria moved onto University Heights Charter School, also in Newark, for 6 years, having served as principal for grades PreK-2, and then Director of Early Learning. Preceding this, Ms. Picone held the position of Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, and Testing in Prospect Park.

 Maria has completed an Advanced Graduate Program in Educational Administration and has Master’s Degree in Counseling, Human Services, and Guidance from Montclair State University, where she also completed a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program and undergraduate degree in English. Currently, she is an advisory board member for NJ School Resource Officers Association (NJASRO) and holds the position of Vice-President of Public Policy of NJAEYC (NJ Association for the Education of Young Children).

Ms. Susan Confrancisco

Phone: 973-621-0060 Ext. 5400

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Ms. Susan Confrancisco

Director of Scholar Support Services, and Special Education

Mrs. Confrancisco is the Director of the Scholar Support Services and Special Education Department. A veteran educator and leader, Mrs. Confrancisco has more than 15 years in NJ public schools. Her prior experience includes serving as a Supervisor of Special Services in Hasbrouck Heights Public Schools and ensured the district’s special education department remained certified by the State Board without further QSAC monitoring/oversight. She also worked as the School Psychologist in Oradell Public School; in this role she developed new programs including the first full inclusion class for students with disabilities, a preschool class for students on the Autism spectrum, and a program for students with neurological and chromosomal abnormalities. These programs allowed students to remain in their neighborhood school rather than attend an out of district school. Previously, she worked full time in the private sector as an industrial psychologist at a large law firm in NYC. She began her career teaching pre-k and Kindergarten in Kalamazoo, Michigan while in graduate school.

Ms. Confrancisco graduated from Montclair State College with a BA in Psychology and is a graduate of Western Michigan University with an MA in Applied Behavior Analysis and Industrial Psychology. She also holds a post-graduate national certification as a School Psychologist and received her NJ Department of Education Principal/Administration certificate after completing studies in Educational Leadership at Montclair State University in 2011. Ms. Confrancisco joined the Village as Director of Scholar Support Services and Special Education in 2015.

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