Statement of the Rev. Dr. Anthony P. Johnson
Candidate for election to a one year, eight-month term
on the Board of Education of the City of Orange Township, New Jersey
February 20, 2017
The children of the City of Orange deserve the best possible education from the public schools. A board of education elected by the City’s citizens will be more responsive to children’s needs than an appointed board. I am running because I can help make the elected board strong and effective.
Our schools are better than their reputation, but not as good as they need to be. Some parents choose to send their children to private schools. Others just aren’t getting their kids to school. Our schools can and should be so good that all parents can be proud to send their children to our schools and know that children and parents get the services they deserve.
I have spent enough time in the schools since first coming to Orange 21 years ago that I have seen the dedication of teachers, administrators and parents. I have seen the limitations of inadequate facilities and funding. I have worked with teachers and administrators to provide after-school opportunities. I visit the schools to read to children.
I came up through a racially and economically diverse urban school district. The Danbury, Connecticut schools did well by my siblings and me, children whose father was an immigrant and whose mother’s parents were immigrants.
I built on that fine public school education to attend college on a scholarship and to go on to earn two master’s degrees (one in divinity, the other in management) and a doctorate.
I have developed after school programs and affordable housing. As chief executive of a nonprofit community organization, I have obtained charitable and corporate grants and government contracts for youth programs, tenant organizing, senior and youth centers, and the construction of housing for homeless families. I am an advocate for education justice and effective curricula. I am a grant maker, chairing a panel to disburse funds for community social service and social action programs in the U.S. and Canada. I have taught in several colleges and graduate schools.
I will bring my skills and experience to the work of the Board of Education.
Finally, I have no interest in the schools except the well being of our city’s children. At my age (67), I am not launching a political career. Rather, I am giving back to the city where my wife and I have long made our home.
Going forward, I encourage my neighbors in Orange to vote in the special election on March 14, 2017 and for them encourage each other to vote.
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Cell phone: 646-515-4729
Rev. Tony Johnson is a Minister of Religion, in Fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association. He was ordainedin 1977 by the Unitarian Fellowship of Burbank, California and holds Certificates of Final Fellowship in both Parish and Community Ministry and is an Accredited Interim Minister. As a Parish Minister he serves congregations in transition for one-to-two-year periods. As a Community Minister, he works with community organizations and serves individuals without congregational affiliations.
Whatever the setting, his ministry is defined by the Gospel of Solidarity, the teachings that human beings deserve equitable treatment and justice and that people are at their best and strongest when they stand in solidarity with each other.