[Newark, New Jersey – August 4, 2020] University Heights Charter School (UHCS) announced today that its Board of Trustees has formally appointed Dr. Christy Oliver-Hawley as Head of Schools.  In this position, she will oversee all aspects of each of its PreK, Elementary and Middle School programs and classrooms.  Dr. Oliver-Hawley brings decades of experience leading and directing New Jersey public education, including district and school-level operations, fiscal management, and developing and driving programmatic innovations.  Today’s announcement is a culmination of a national search to replace Executive Director Ms. Tamara Cooper, the public charter school’s previously long-held school leader who departed UHCS at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

“Bringing a known and tested North Jersey school leader like Dr. Oliver-Hawley to UHCS and will be a tremendous addition to our community and the UHCS Board could not be more pleased that we were able to recruit her to serve as our new school leader,” stated UHCS Board President Nicole Butler.  “Dr. Oliver-Hawley has been a long-time advocate of the City of Newark, a school leader that has brought innovation to classrooms around Northern Jersey, and a passionate leader who has a long history of fighting and advocating for children around the state.  Addressing the inequity of New Jersey’s education system has been Dr. Oliver-Hawley’s life’s work, and we are so proud she accepted our offer to join our community and bring her depth of experience to the children of Newark.”

Dr. Oliver-Hawley most recently served as the Affirmative Action Office for the Jersey City School District.  In that role she served as the district’s chief architect and strategists in addressing equity, diversity, and opportunity issues and led all developmental tactics, guidelines, and planning for its staff and teachers. Prior, she had served as Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Hillside’s school district, where she led the strategic planning and instructional programming.  She has also served as Director of Government Programs for the Irvington Public School System, leading its Title I services and directing all fiscal and operational facets of government-funded programs for the district.  She has also served as Principal of the Jefferson and Clinton Schools in the Plainfield School District and Assistant Principal for the East Orange School District.

“Since the beginning of my career, working in Newark has been a hope and a dream,” stated Dr. Oliver-Hawley.  “I have lived in Newark, volunteered in Newark, worshipped in Newark, and now having the opportunity to serve this community means more than words can express.  I deeply admire Mayor Baraka, look forward to working with Superintendent Leon and have a deep respect for the important work they have done fighting for Newark’s families and battling decades of inequity.  I hope to be an asset in supporting their city-wide vision and will help fight every day to ensure that opportunity and equity are provided to our families and students.

Dr. Oliver-Hawley continued, “I am truly honored to join the UHCS.  The teachers, scholars, parents, and the school leaders before me have built an extraordinary community.  Right now, we are all living during a unique moment in our history, where we have all seen life get much tougher for all of us.  Our families need help and support.  Almost overnight, our concerns, our questions, even our prayers have changed – and the strain and responsibilities of our daily life have asked far more of us in recent days. As Head of Schools for UHCS and I will do everything in my power and use all my experience to ensure Newark’s children receive the exceptional education that they deserve.”

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