Gina Verdibello

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Gina Verdibello
Gina Verdibello.jpg
Former candidate for
Board Member, Jersey City School Board, At-large
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sRutgers University
OtherFashion Institute of Technology
Campaign website
Gina Verdibello campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Gina Verdibello was a candidate for an at-large seat on the Jersey City School Board in New Jersey. She ran in the general election on November 4, 2014. Verdibello was part of The Children First Team slate with Lorenzo Richardson and Gerald Lyons. Gina Verdibello lost the general election on November 4, 2014.

Verdibello previously lost an election bid for the board on November 5, 2013.


Verdibello resides in Jersey City, New Jersey. Verdibello briefly attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1994 before earning her bachelor's degree in art history from Rutgers University. She began her career as a development assistant at the Folk Art Museum from 2000, until she left to serve as a grant administrator with the Picower Foundation from 2002 to 2006. Verdibello joined her current employer, Century 21 Action Plus Realty, in 2006 as a realtor.[1]



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.[2] 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


Verdibello 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.[3]


Verdibello had not received any official endorsements as of October 15, 2014.


See also: Jersey City Public Schools elections (2013)


Verdibello and ten other candidates challenged incumbent Gerald Lyons for one of three at-large seats with three-year terms in the general election on November 5, 2013. Verdibello was a member of the "Children First" slate of candidates, which included Lyons and Lorenzo Richardson 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 is 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.[4]


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 Write-in votes 0.1% 44
Total Votes 44,406
Source: Hudson County Clerk, "Official Election Results," November 14, 2013


Verdibello reported $9,200.00 in contributions and $9,644.31 in expenditures to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Office, which left her campaign with $444.31 in debt.[5]


Verdibello did not receive any official endorsements for her campaign.

Campaign themes


Verdibello posted the following videos on her campaign website:

Hudson County View, "JCBOE candidate Gina Verdibello talks facilities, union contracts, charter schools," September 22, 2014

Verdibello speaking at the September 18, 2014, board meeting.

Verdibello speaking at the April 24, 2014, board meeting.

Verdibello speaking at the March 20, 2014, board meeting.

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.[6] 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.[7]

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."[8]

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.[9]


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.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12] 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.[12]

Racial Demographics, 2013[12]
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[13]
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: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[14]

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