Montclair Mayor Jackson Announces New Appointments to Board of Education

 New Appointments to Board of Education

Mayor Robert Jackson announced today the following new members appointed to the Montclair Board of Education.

  • Rev. Jevon Caldwell-Gross: Pastor, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
  • Joe Kavesh, Esq: Partner, Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak, LLP (NYC); Montclair Civil Rights Commission Chair
  • Franklin Turner, Ph.D: Lecturer, Kean University School of Psychology

“These extremely accomplished gentlemen will make an invaluable contribution to our public schools,” said Mayor Jackson.

“My heartfelt gratitude goes out to Mr. Cummings, Mr. Deutsch, and Ms. Kulwin for their years of service to our community and particularly the Montclair Public Schools. Whether due to career commitments, changed family circumstances, or a desire to see new faces, all three thought that the time was right to move on. I honor their decisions and look forward to benefitting from their counsel in the future,” he said.

Rev. Caldwell-Gross, Mr. Kavesh and Dr. Turner will be sworn into office at the May 16 Board of Education reorganization meeting.

“I am eager to work with the Board as we fashion the finest public school system imaginable,” said Mayor Jackson.”



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  1. While I do not know Rev. Jevon Caldwell-Gross, he certainly has an impressive professional and educational background. However, It is puzzling to me that no one here in liberal Montclair has expressed concern that a member of the clergy will be helping to set public school policy.

    Is there any precedence for this?

  2. Peter Zorich you are right. This is both religious discrimination and reverse racism.

    Where is the appointment of a white Episcopalian or Presbyterian Protestant Minister to represent Montclair’s blue blood residents with long ties to the town’s elitist past? Where is a white Rabbi for Montclair’s growing Jewish population. What about a Chinese Monk for the increased Asian population with many kids now seen at Northeast? Shouldn’t we fully support multi-multiculturalism here?

    Shame on Mayor Jackson for being so insensitive to Montclair’s other religious denominations — for only appointing one black religious leader who can clearly only consider the needs of Montclair African-American, church-going community.

    Thank you for your keen insight here Peter Zorich and concerns to help bond our community.

  3. For clarification I meant to write ‘precedent’ not ‘precedence’ in the above post.

    therealworld: I suspect Mayor Jackson appointed the Reverend to represent all of the district’s students, not just the kids from the church going African American community.

    Despite what you may think, The Reverend’s race and denomination are not the issue. The question I raise is whether it is appropriate for a secular public school system to have a member of the clergy on the Board of Eductaion. In my opinion, there is a serious potential conflict of interest and clash of values.

    And yes this conflict would exist with the appointment of a Rabbi, Protestant Minister or any other religious figure.

  4. An even more thoughtful approach Mr. Zorich. Following your line of thinking, anyone appointed should now pass a litmus test requiring them to be an atheist. Otherwise then cannot now serve on the Board of Education for fear the person will impose their individual religious dogma.

    Perhaps we need a form that each applicant under consideration must now fill out. To weed out those who just might use biblical morality and apply it to BOE decisions, every board member should swear they will never apply say the 10 commandments to their decisions.

    Let’s protect our citizenry and ensure positions like “thou shall not steal”…and “thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor”…are never part of a person’s basis for school board member review.

  5. It’s not easy being being a cool suburb. A bow tie wearing wearing, trimmed bearded pastor on the BOE is the definition of cool!! I am sure the Rev is a great guy and hopefully very smart and level headed. Perhaps he can bring some civility to the proceedings…at least for a little while. When some members of the community and school system don’t get their way…..well, good luck buddy and God Bless. I am rooting for you.

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