Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson

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Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson
Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson.jpg
Board member, Newark Board of Education, At-large
Term ends
Years in position 4
Advisory Board Chairperson
2012 - present
Elections and appointments
Last electionApril 23, 2014
First electedApril 27, 2011
Next generalApril 2017
Term limitsN/A
High schoolWeequahic High School
Bachelor'sMontclair State University
ProfessionRetired educator
Office website
Campaign website
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson is an at-large member of the Newark school board in New Jersey. She won re-election in a general election on April 23, 2014. She was first elected to the board on April 27, 2011.


Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson is a resident of Newark, New Jersey. Baskerville-Richardson graduated from Weequahic High School in Newark before earning her bachelor's degree from Montclair State University.[1] She spent more than three decades as an educator, beginning as a teacher at Barringer High School in Newark. During her time as a theater teacher, she won the New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education. She also served as a small learning community coordinator in the district and as both a legislative representative and vice president of the Newark Teachers Union.[2] From 2008 to her retirement in 2010, Baskerville-Richardson served as the coordinator of the Marion A. Bolden Student Center in Newark.[3] After her retirement from full-time employment, she took a part-time position as the project director of Newark's after-school program, "Stand and Deliver."[4]



See also: Newark Public Schools elections (2014)


Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson, fellow incumbent Philip C. Seelinger Jr. and challenger Donald G. Jackson Jr. won the three at-large seats against five other challengers in the general election on April 23, 2014. Baskerville-Richardson, Seelinger and newcomer Reginald Bledsoe campaigned as the "Children First" slate endorsed by Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka. Bledsoe was the only member of the slate not to win a seat.[5]


Newark Public Schools, At-Large General Election, 3-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngPhilip C. Seelinger Jr. Incumbent 20.1% 2,894
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngAntoinette Baskerville-Richardson Incumbent 19% 2,734
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDonald G. Jackson Jr. 16.8% 2,421
     Nonpartisan Reginald Bledsoe 16.4% 2,352
     Nonpartisan Crystal Fonseca 12.1% 1,743
     Nonpartisan Rachelle Moss 8.3% 1,198
     Nonpartisan Shakima K. Thomas 4% 575
     Nonpartisan Ronnie Kellam 2.8% 405
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.3% 48
Total Votes 14,370
Source: Essex County, New Jersey, "2014 School Board Election," accessed June 11, 2014


Baskerville-Richardson, Philip C. Seelinger Jr. and Reginald Bledsoe, who ran as the "Children First" slate, received a total of $12,923.00 and spent a total of $1,888.00 as of the second campaign finance filing deadline on April 14, 2014, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.[6]


Baskerville-Richardson received an endorsement for her campaign from Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka.[5]


Newark Public Schools, At-Large General Election, 3-year term, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngEliana Pintor Marin Incumbent 15.4% 5,111
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngAlturrick Kenney 14.4% 4,806
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngAntoinette Baskerville-Richardson 13.7% 4,550
     Nonpartisan Tave Padilla 13.6% 4,508
     Nonpartisan DeNiqua Matia 13.4% 4,459
     Nonpartisan Chris T. Pernell 12.9% 4,298
     Nonpartisan Ariagna Perello 6% 1,981
     Nonpartisan Philip C. Seelinger Jr. 5.3% 1,774
     Nonpartisan Donald G. Jackson Jr. 3.4% 1,133
     Nonpartisan Willard Andrews 1% 346
     Nonpartisan Alfred McIntyre 0.8% 254
Total Votes 33,260
Source: Essex County, New Jersey, "2011 School Board Election," accessed March 24, 2014

Campaign themes


Baskerville-Richardson shared a campaign website with Alturrick Kenney and DeNiqua Matias where they listed themes for their "Children First" slate in 2011:

Provide a safe, engaging learning environment that encourages creativity and student achievement.

Increase graduation rates and academic success.

Prepare students for college and 21st century careers.

Ensure that more resources reach the students.

Create a more welcoming environment to increase parental involvement.[7]

—"Children First" slate campaign website, (2011)[8]

What was at stake?

Three seats on the advisory board were up for election on April 23, 2014. The board has served in a strictly advisory capacity since the state government took over administration of the district in 1995.[9] Despite this lack of legal authority, recent Newark school board elections featured competitive elections and endorsements from significant politicians such as then-Mayor Cory Booker. Local political operative Anthony Salters referred to the annual school board elections as a "blood sport."[10] Star-Ledger journalist David Giambusso argued that the board's composition "reflects Newark’s political leanings and can drastically affect how reform efforts [...] are received in the city."[11] Board Chairperson Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson won re-election, despite initially announcing her intention to run for a seat on the Newark City Council instead.[4][12][13]

Issues in the election

Replacing Superintendent Cami Anderson

Six of the eight candidates who ran for the Newark Advisory Board participated in a candidate forum hosted by the Newark Trust for Education on April 8, 2014. Neither Rachelle Moss nor Shakima K. Thomas attended. All six participants broadly agreed that the state should relinquish control of Newark Public Schools and that Cami Anderson should be removed as superintendent. They also agreed that Superintendent Anderson's "One Newark" reform plan is flawed and that the district's central administration does not reach out to the community enough. Significant differences in opinion arose only when the candidates discussed how to find Superintendent Anderson's replacement. Crystal Fonseca, Ronnie Kellam and Donald G. Jackson Jr. argued that the district should hire an internal replacement who is already familiar with the Newark school system. Reginald Bledsoe, who was the only member of the "Children First" slate to weigh in on the topic, suggested that the district should conduct a statewide search for a new superintendent and added that experience in urban education should be a primary qualification.[14]

Issues in the district

Superintendent Cami Anderson

Local control and reform proposals

Since 1995, the New Jersey state government has exercised control over Newark Public Schools. In 2013, the Newark Students Union led two mass boycotts against state control of the district in April and November, with the April walkout reportedly drawing about 1,000 students.[15][16] Superintendent Cami Anderson, who was appointed by Governor Chris Christie, put forward a controversial district reform plan labeled "One Newark" that includes school closures, teacher layoffs, Teach for America hirings and changes to the district's enrollment system for both traditional and charter schools.[17] American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten sent a letter to Governor Christie criticizing Superintendent Anderson's plan to use teacher performance evaluations instead of seniority in deciding which teachers to layoff. She concluded the letter by arguing that the state should relinquish control of the school district.[18][19]

On March 27, 2014, Newark residents staged a rally in Trenton, New Jersey to protest the Superintendent Anderson's "One Newark" reform plan. Attendees in the state capital included Baskerville-Richardson, Newark mayoral candidate and City Councilman Ras Baraka, State Senator Ronald Rice and New Jersey Education Association President Wendell Steinhauer. Journalist Mark Bonamo estimated that more than 200 Newark residents joined the protest in opposition to state control of the district and the superintendent. During his speech to the crowd, Baraka argued, "We have the right to govern our own lives. We have the right to govern our own school system. We have a right to keep our school buildings open. [...] No one wants this One Newark plan, and no one wants Cami Anderson. One of the first steps that we make sure happens is that she gets the first ticket on the first train out of town. We've had enough."[20] Newark Students Union President Kristin Towcaniuk added, "The momentum to take back control of our public schools is growing and cannot be underestimated. [...] Chris Christie's appointed puppets are trying their hardest to privatize our schools and layoff experienced teachers, all while ignoring the law that requires the state to properly fund Newark schools."[21] On April 3, 2014, more than 500 students joined a walkout to demand more funding for Newark Public Schools and to rebuke Superintendent Anderson's "One Newark" plan.[22]

Advisory Board relations

Superintendent Anderson's relationship with the Newark Advisory Board had also grown increasingly contentious. During a January 2014 board meeting with hundreds of parents, residents and district educators in attendance, Superintendent Anderson was heckled continuously by the crowd. AFT President Randi Weingarten also attended to denounce Superintendent Anderson's reform proposals, encouraging the opposition in the crowd by pledging AFT's support and stating, "the nation is watching Newark."[23] Superintendent Anderson and her staff left the meeting after community activist Natasha Allen allegedly referred to the superintendent's biracial child by asking, "Do you not want for our brown babies what you want for your brown baby?"[24] In February 2014, Superintendent Anderson announced that she would no longer attend board meetings on the basis that they "are no longer focused on achieving educational outcomes for children."[25]

Principal suspensions

On January 17, 2014, five Newark principals were suspended indefinitely by the district administration. The district refused requests to explain the exact cause for the suspensions, stating that it was "confidential" but acknowledging that it was due to an investigation "launched regarding an incident that occurred on or about Jan. 15, 2014."[26] Four of the suspended principals spoke in opposition to Superintendent Anderson's "One Newark" reform proposal on January 15 at a community meeting. Newark Councilman Ras Baraka denounced the suspensions and demanded Superintendent Anderson's ouster, arguing that the principals "have a constitutional right to speak out" and adding that, "The Newark school district is not a military dictatorship, and Ms. Anderson is neither an army general nor a police chief."[26] The five principals and a local parent who was banned from the premises of a district school for vocally protesting Superintendent Anderson's reforms have filed a federal lawsuit against the superintendent. In the lawsuit, they argue that she violated their constitutional right to free speech and claim that the district administration was engaged in a "concerted effort to undermine, intimidate and coerce" both the community and district employees. The day after the lawsuit was filed, three of the principals were reinstated to their schools and the other two were reassigned to different schools in the district.[27]

About the district

See also: Newark Public Schools, New Jersey
Newark Public Schools is located in Essex County, New Jersey
Newark Public Schools is located in Essex County, New Jersey. The county seat of Essex County is Newark. Essex County is home to 787,744 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[28] Newark is the largest school district in New Jersey, serving 35,543 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[29]


Essex County underperformed in comparison to the rest of New Jersey in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 31.8 percent of Essex County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 35.4 percent for New Jersey as a whole. The median household income in Essex County was $55,027 compared to $71,637 for the state of New Jersey. The poverty rate in Essex County was 16.1 percent compared to 9.9 percent for the entire state.[28]

Racial Demographics, 2012[28]
Race Essex County (%) New Jersey (%)
White 50.0 73.8
Black or African American 42.1 14.7
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.7 0.6
Asian 5.0 9.0
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.1 1.9
Hispanic or Latino 21.3 18.5

2013 Party Affiliation, Essex County[30]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Democratic 229,181 46.58
Republican 45,808 9.31
Libertarian 143 0.03
Green 76 0.01
Other 51 0.01
Unaffiliated 216,799 44.06

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[31][32]

Recent news

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Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Children First Team, "About Us," accessed March 24, 2014
  2. Newark Trust for Education, "Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson, Ex-Officio Member," accessed March 24, 2014 (dead link)
  3. Newark Public Schools, "Ms. Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson, Advisory Board Chairperson," accessed March 24, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 NJ Spotlight, "Profile: She's the Point Person In Battle Over State Control of Newark Schools," February 12, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 Politicker NJ, "Baraka's School Board Slate Set," March 6, 2014
  6. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "View a Candidate or Election Related Committee Report," accessed April 17, 2014
  7. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  8. Children First Team, "Home," accessed March 24, 2014
  9. The New York Times, "Judge Orders a State Takeover Of the Newark School District," April 14, 1995
  10. The Star-Ledger, "Newark school board election creates entangled alliances," April 15, 2012
  11. The Star-Ledger, "School closing plan dominates Newark board election," April 1, 2012
  12. Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson for Newark City Council, "Home," accessed March 24, 2014 (dead link)
  13. Facebook, "Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson," accessed March 24, 2014
  14. Newark Trust for Education, "At Forum, Newark School Advisory Board Candidates Show More Consensus than Contrast," April 16, 2014
  15. Al Jazeera, "Newark students walkout over cut backs," April 10, 2013
  16. Teacher Under Construction, "Newark Students Organize Boycott, Demand Local Control of Schools," November 1, 2013
  17. The Washington Post, "Gov. Christie’s new crisis: Protests grow over state control of Newark schools," February 27, 2014
  18. American Federation of Teachers, "Letter from Randi Weingarten to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the school crisis in Newark," February 26, 2014
  19. The Star-Ledger, "Newark schools chief warns of massive teacher layoffs; wants pink slips tied to performance," February 25, 2014
  20. Politicker NJ, "Crowd calls for Cami Anderson's removal as Newark school super at Statehouse rally," March 27, 2014
  21. The Star-Ledger, "Newark's fight against school reorganizaton plan moves to Trenton today with noon rally," March 27, 2014
  22. Politicker NJ, "Newark student protest calls for return of local control," April 3, 2014
  23. NJ Spotlight, "Raucous Newark Crowd Drives Superintendent From School Board Meeting," January 29, 2014
  24. The Huffington Post, "Newark School Chief Cami Anderson Ditches Rowdy Meeting After Remarks About Her ‘Brown Baby'," January 30, 2014
  25. The Star-Ledger, "Cami Anderson, Newark schools superintendent, at loggerheads with school board," February 27, 2014
  26. 26.0 26.1 The Star-Ledger, "5 Newark principals suspended indefinitely, allegedly for opposing One Newark plan," January 20, 2014
  27. POLITICO, "Chris Christie faces new uproar in state’s largest city," January 27, 2014
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 United States Census Bureau, "Essex County, New Jersey," accessed February 18, 2014
  29. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed April 22, 2014
  30. State of New Jersey - Department of State, "Statewide Voter Registration Summary," September 24, 2013
  31. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  32. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.