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Paula White, former NJ Education Official, Is First African-American to Run JerseyCAN Advocacy Group


White, who founded a charter school in Newark that has since merged with another school, says recovering learning lost to the pandemic is her top priority.

An education advocacy group in New Jersey has its first African-American executive director.

Paula White will run JerseyCAN. She is a former teacher, founded a charter school in Newark that has since merged with another school, and was the chief turnaround officer at the New Jersey Department of Education.

White said she has no doubt what job one is right now for New Jersey students.

“The main conversation has been around learning recovery because we all know that we have just gone through a two-year pandemic and we’re on the tail end of that, so learning recovery has to be front and center,” said White.

White said she is also a big believer in what she called high-dosage tutoring.

“High dosage tutoring means that you are working one on one, or two on one, or three on one, sort of a very small student to tutor ratio where you’re working on either literacy or math,” she said.

White says it’s also critical that as we recover from the pandemic, students have enough time to learn, whether that means a longer school day or even school year.

“That does get into issues around teacher contracts and length of the school day, and all of those kinds of things,” she said. “And so, you know, it does get messy, but we have to be willing to think about those kinds of things because of where we are right now with kids.”

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.