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Gerald Lyons

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Gerald Lyons
Gerald Lyons.jpg
Board Member, Jersey City School Board, At-large
Term ends
Years in position 1
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 4, 2014
Next general2017
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Board Member, Jersey City School Board, At-large
September 2012 - November 2013
Associate'sHudson County Community College
Bachelor'sThomas Edison State College
Master'sNew Jersey City University
Office website
Campaign website
Gerald Lyons campaign logo
Gerald M. Lyons is an at-large representative on the Jersey City School Board in New Jersey. Lyons previously served on the board when he was appointed to the chamber in 2012. He lost his election bid on November 5, 2013. He won a new term in the general election on November 4, 2014. Lyons was part of The Children First Team slate with Gina Verdibello and Lorenzo Richardson.


Gerald Lyons resides in Jersey City, New Jersey. Lyons earned an associate's degree from Hudson County Community College, a B.A. from Thomas Edison State College and a master's degree in educational technology from New Jersey City University.[1] He has spent more than 26 years as an educator in New Jersey, and he currently serves as the supervisor of instruction at the Hudson County Schools of Technology.[2]



See also: Jersey City Public Schools elections (2014)


Three seats on the Jersey City Board of Education were up for election on November 4, 2014. Incumbents Carol Harrison-Arnold and Bertram C. Okpokwasili sought re-election. Fellow incumbents Vidya Gangadin and Angel Valentin's terms also expired at the end of the year, but they did not file to run in the election. Harrison-Arnold and Okpokwasili were joined on the ballot by former school board member Gerald Lyons and 2013 candidates Lorenzo Richardson and Gina Verdibello. Newcomer candidates included Dominique D. Lee, Monica Kress, Michael Reilly and Joel Torres.[3] Harrison-Arnold, Okpokwasili and Kress ran as a slate under the committee called Parents for Excellence, while Richardson, Verdibello and Lyons ran as a slate under the committee The Children First Team.


Jersey City Public Schools, At-large General Election, 3-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngLorenzo Richardson 22.1% 12,472
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJoel Torres 19.2% 10,854
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngGerald Lyons 16.9% 9,568
     Nonpartisan Monica Kress 11.3% 6,383
     Nonpartisan Carol Harrison-Arnold Incumbent 10.9% 6,133
     Nonpartisan Bertram C. Okpokwasili Incumbent 10.7% 6,034
     Nonpartisan Gina Verdibello 5.3% 2,999
     Nonpartisan Michael Reilly 3.5% 1,988
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.2% 88
Total Votes 56,519
Source: Hudson County Clerk, "General Election November 4, 2014, Official Results," November 17, 2014


Lyons ran as part of The Children First Team. The committee reported no contributions or expenditures to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission as of October 15, 2014.[4]


Lyons was endorsed by the Jersey City Education Association and its president, Ron Greco.[5]


See also: Jersey City Public Schools elections (2013)


Lyons was the only incumbent competing for one of three at-large seats with three-year terms in the general election on November 5, 2013. He faced a total of 11 challengers for the seats. Lyons was a member of the "Children First" slate of candidates, which included Lorenzo Richardson and Gina Verdibello for the three-year term seats and Angel Valentin for the one-year term seat. A separate slate of candidates endorsed by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop was campaigning under the name "Candidates for Excellence," which included Micheline Amy, Jessica Daye and Ellen Simon for the three-year term seats and Carol Lester for the one-year term seat.[6]


Jersey City Public Schools, At-large General Election, 3-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJessica Daye 21.1% 9,351
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMicheline Amy 17.7% 7,879
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngEllen Simon 10.6% 4,702
     Nonpartisan Lorenzo Richardson 10.2% 4,511
     Nonpartisan Gerald Lyons Incumbent 8.9% 3,950
     Nonpartisan Gina Verdibello 7.6% 3,383
     Nonpartisan Kevaan G. Walton 6.2% 2,770
     Nonpartisan Denise Davis 4.8% 2,137
     Nonpartisan DeJon Morris 4.3% 1,914
     Nonpartisan Carol L. Gabriel 2.7% 1,214
     Nonpartisan Josephine Paige 2.2% 982
     Nonpartisan Susan Harbace 2.2% 961
     Nonpartisan Telissa E. Dowling 1.4% 608
     Nonpartisan Personal choice 0.1% 44
Total Votes 44,406
Source: Hudson County Clerk, "Official Election Results," November 14, 2013


Lyons reported $16,910.00 in contributions and $16,466.00 in expenditures to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, which left his campaign with $444.00 on hand.[7]


Lyons did not receive any official endorsements for his campaign.


Jersey City Public Schools, At-large General Election, 3-year term, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMarilyn Roman 20.5% 4,501
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngVidya Gangadin 19.2% 4,220
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSangeeta Ranade 17.1% 3,762
     Nonpartisan Gerald M. Lyons 13.5% 2,968
     Nonpartisan Frank Lorenzo 11.3% 2,490
     Nonpartisan Amanda Khan 10.8% 2,370
     Nonpartisan DeJon Morris 5.6% 1,233
     Nonpartisan Jayson H. Burg 1.9% 415
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.1% 20
Total Votes 21,979
Source: Hudson County, New Jersey, "2012 School Board Election," accessed October 28, 2013

Campaign themes


Hudson County View, "JCBOE Candidate Gerald Lyons talks vocational programs, union endorsement," October 6, 2014


Lyons' campaign website listed the following campaign themes for 2013:

Identify successes and replicate them

Too often, the only news we hear about our schools relates to what is going wrong with them. There are many success stories related to entire schools, individual programs, teachers and students. We need to showcase the positive and get others excited to join in their success.

Embrace and engage the entire community

The problems within the Jersey City school district are multi-faceted and deep-rooted. The best chance that we have at identifying areas of need and developing corrective procedures is to address those problems from all angles. We need to embrace all elements of the community and get everyone to work together with the goal of every student finding success in our schools.[8]

—Gerald Lyon's campaign website, (2013), [9]

What was at stake?


With two incumbents, one former board member and six other candidates running for the three seats up for election in 2014, the Jersey City Board of Education was not guaranteed any brand new board members or returning incumbents. Meanwhile, six of the district's high schools dropped in a statewide comparative ranking from 2012 to 2014, security at one district elementary school came under criticism after a student with autism went missing and low-cost high-speed internet for students came to the district through a nonprofit organization.

Issues in the district

William L. Dickinson 302 304
James J. Ferris 270 299
Liberty 186 268
Lincoln 294 328
Dr. Ronald McNair 2 62
Henry Snyder 279 319
NJM ranking

The magazine New Jersey Monthly ranked 339 New Jersey high schools in 2012 and 2014. The analysis for the report was conducted by the research company Leflein Associates. The report weighted school environment at 1, student performance at 1.5 and student outcomes at 2.1.[10] All six of Jersey City's high schools included in the comparison ranked lower in 2014 than they did in 2012. The chart on the right illustrates the 2012 and 2014 ranks of each high school in covered by the report.[11]

Security lapse

On September 23, 2014, an eight year-old autistic child who attends Public School 27 went missing during dismissal at the school. He was later found at a bus stop in Union City. According to spokeswoman for the district Maryann Dickar, "Security is always tasked with making sure that kids don't wander out of the school; however, the incident occurred at dismissal time, when many people are going in and out of the building."[12]

Internet access

JerseyOn, a nonprofit organization, launched its program to provide high-speed internet access to students at home. The organization provides a mobile hot spot device with one gigabyte of data per month for up to three electronic devices for a one-time fee of $40, as well as options for unlimited internet access for $10 per month and refurbished laptops and tablets. To be eligible for the program, students must qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program. According to school officials, 80 percent of students at one Jersey City Public school, Lincoln High School, did not have high-speed internet in their homes prior to the program.[13]


There were four seats on the school board up for election on November 5, 2013. Incumbents Carol Lester and Angel Valentin filed to run against one another for the single at-large seat with an unexpired one-year term, while fellow incumbent Gerald Lyons competed against 11 challengers for three at-large seats with three-year terms. Incumbent Sterling Waterman did not file for re-election. Josephine Paige, Peter A. Basso and Jay Cordero initially announced runs for the three-year term seats, but all three withdrew from the race before November.[14]

Issues in the district

Alleged board meeting incivility

During a candidate forum held on October 24, Ellen Simon criticized Lorenzo Richardson for comments he made during a school board meeting in July, 2012 shortly after the hiring of district superintendent Marcia V. Lyles. Richardson had denounced the controversial hiring decision and told the board, "My advice to all of you board members: Whoever has a gun to your head, let them pull the trigger. At least you will die with respect. OK? Cause if I was in that position, I’d tell them to pull the trigger." Simon argued that this was symbolic of the degree of incivility common at Jersey City school board meetings and that Richardson had spoken inappropriately. She added that, "This rhetoric has no place in a board of education. [...]And this kind of incivility is what has torn the board apart." Richardson defended his comments, insisting that he meant the board should ignore pressure from the New Jersey state government to hire Lyles, not that he meant they should commit suicide for their decision.[15]

About the district

Jersey City Public Schools is located in Hudson County, New Jersey
See also: Jersey City Public Schools, New Jersey

Jersey City Public Schools is located in Hudson County, New Jersey. The county seat of Hudson County is Jersey City. In 2013, Hudson County was home to approximately 660,282 residents according to estimates by the United States Census Bureau.[16] In 2011-2012 school year, Jersey City Public Schools was the second-largest school district by enrollment in New Jersey and served 27,397 students.


Hudson County performed similarly to the rest of New Jersey in terms of education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 35.9 percent of Hudson 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 for Hudson County was $58,722 compared to the state average of $71,637. The unemployment rate in the county was 15.7 percent while it was 9.9 percent statewide.[16]

Racial Demographics, 2013[16]
Race Hudson County (%) New Jersey (%)
White 66.1 73.4
Black or African American 15.1 14.7
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.2 0.6
Asian 15.0 9.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.2 0.1
Two or More Races 2.5 2.0
Hispanic or Latino 42.9 18.9

Presidential Voting Pattern, Hudson County[17]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 153,108 42,369
2008 154,140 55,360
2004 127,447 60,646
2000 118,206 43,804

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. 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.[18] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

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See also

External links

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  1. Jersey City Independent, "Meet the School Board Candidates: Gerald Lyons and June Mulqueen," April 2, 2010
  2. Gerald Lyons - Jersey City Board of Education, "Home," accessed October 31, 2013
  3. Hudson County Clerk's Office, "Official Master List General Election School Board Candidates," accessed September 9, 2014
  4. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "View a Candidate or Election Related Committee Report," accessed October 15, 2014
  5. Hudson County View, "Jersey City Education Association endorses three for board of education," September 17, 2014
  6. The Jersey Journal, "Fans, critics of Jersey City schools chief to face off in school board race," October 30, 2013
  7. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "Standard Search," accessed December 20, 2013
  8. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  9. Gerald Lyons - Jersey City Board of Education, "About Gerald," accessed November 1, 2013
  10. New Jersey Monthly, "Top Schools 2014: Methodology," September 2, 2014
  11. New Jersey Monthly, "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014," September 2, 2014
  12. The Jersey Journal, "Jersey City school official says 8-year-old autistic boy wandered off during dismissal," September 24, 2014
  13. The Jersey Journal, "Jersey City nonprofit says kids in low-income families need high-speed Internet," September 23, 2014
  14. The Jersey Journal, "Shake-ups in Jersey City school board race; three hopefuls drop out," October 15, 2013
  15. The Jersey Journal, "Testy exchanges dominate Jersey City school board candidate forum," October 25, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 United States Census Bureau, "Hudson County, New Jersey," accessed September 9, 2014
  17. New Jersey Department of State, "NJ Election Information and Results Archive," accessed September 8, 2014
  18. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014