Despite no major endorsements from the local Democratic party or school system, retired 44-year educator Mark Rowan is still predicting at least one upset in the Jersey City Board of Education election on November 8.
“My name is Mark Rowan: I was born on a mountain in Tennessee, I killed a bear when I was three. I can wrestle an alligator and I can ride a tornado and I can bring civility back to the Jersey City Board of Education,” Rowan joked during a private fundraiser at the Brightside Tavern on Thursday night.
“No, wait a minute: I just lied. The only thing I didn’t lie about is my name being Mark Rowan.”
Rowan, who previously said last year’s renewal of Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marcia Lyles sparked his candidacy, acknowledged that it’s a crowded field of candidates this year, but he still feels he’s the most qualified.
“My experience in Jersey City for the past 44 years, at the board of ed, is that nothing gets accomplished unless you have two things: one is central office commitment and the other part is funding. If we have the central office commitment and we don’t have the funding, nothing’s gonna happen.”
The veteran educator added that the central office needs to be more welcoming to outside, constructive criticism, as well as to recognize their weaknesses “which you can’t do with a dysfunctional board of education.”
Rowan said this aspect of the public school district may be a factor preventing the state from granting Jersey City full local control, which they haven’t had since 1989.
While he does not have some of the luxuries that the Jersey City Education Association-backed team does, Rowan said he still fully expects to win.
“I didn’t receive the Jersey City Board of Education endorsement, the JCEA. I didn’t receive Mayor Fulop’s endorsement. I didn’t receive the Hudson County Democratic endorsement. But here I am and I assure you that I’m going to win this election,” Rowan stated.
Before the conclusion of his speech, Rowan called for a moment of silence for Anthony Rios, a 17-year-old Jersey City teen who was killed by an 18-year-old friend in a horrific accident last week (h/t The Jersey Journal).
Rowan said he taught both students and knew both of their parents, stating that it hurts to know “that both guys are pretty much ruined.”
The candidate is also a former disaster response crisis counselor, as well as a student assistance coordinator at Lincoln High School.