At the annual Jersey City Board of Education reorganization meeting, Trustee Mussab Ali became the new board president, the youngest in school district history at 23 years old, with Trustee Lekendrick Shaw named vice president, as HCV predicted prior to the vote.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
Trustee Gerald Lyons nominated Ali, while outgoing Board Vice President Gina Verdibello nominated Lorenzo Richardson for a second term to lead the board.
Richardson received four votes to Ali’s five.
Trustees Marilyn Roman, Gerald Lyons, Alexander Hamilton, Ali, and Shaw voted for Ali, while Trustees Joan Terrell-Paige, Noemi Velazquez, Richardson, and Verdibello voted for Richardson.
Shaw was then named vice president in a three-way race with Verdibello and Velazquez also throwing their names in the mix. Shaw came out on top after being the only candidate to receive at least four votes.
Board Secretary Regina Robinson noted that Lorenzo Richardson, Gina Verdibello, and Lekendrick Shaw won re-election in November. Board Counsel Michael Gross then administered their oaths of office.
“I’d like to congratulate Mussab Ali as President of the board and Lekendrick Shaw as vice president of the board,” Jersey City Superintendent Franklin Walker noted.
“I just want to congratulate President Ali and Vice President Shaw on your election,” said Richardson, who was gracious in defeat. He then thanked Verdibello as well as Walker for their support.
“It’s been a very difficult year. God saw us through it. I continue to pray that we’ll move this district forward,” he added.
Shaw thanked Verdibello and Richardson, whom he ran with.
“Congratulations, Board President Ali. I hope to continue to work with my colleagues in a manner that’s productive and earn their trust if I don’t have it now,” Shaw noted.
Additionally, Lyons said that Richardson and Verdibello did a great job in 2020 and that a leadership change shouldn’t negate that, a sentiment that was echoed by Hamilton.
“We’ve all been given a tremendous opportunity. Yeah, maybe leadership did change. That doesn’t say anything negative about Lorenzo Richardson at all. We don’t always get along. But that’s ok. I’m looking forward to being in this blessed position,” Hamilton said.
Additionally, Walker said that the school year has been “marked by historical events. The pandemic forced the district to find new ways to deliver quality education to Jersey City students. Our staff rose to the occasion.”
He noted Jersey City is among the 339 school districts in the state that are operating completely remotely.
“We will remain with all remote learning through the third marking period, which ends in April,” Walker said.
“I would like to to thank this time to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication … Stay safe and let us beat the pandemic.”