• November main header 2019
  • Executive View
  • NJASA 4 EQUITY – Supporting Women Leaders      


    NJASA 4 EQUITY is an initiative based on four beliefs:

    1. EQUITY FOR STUDENTS: We believe in equitable access to programs, services, and resources for all students.
    2. EQUITY FOR COMMUNITIES: We believe in equitable access to funding for all school districts.
    3. EQUITY FOR LEADERS: We believe in equitable access to professional development for all school leaders.
    4. EQUITY FOR MEMBERS: We believe in equitable access to career opportunities and fair compensation for all association members. 


    A significant and expanded focus of NJASA’s work under the pillar of Equity for Members is the recruitment and professional development of women leaders. New Jersey’s percentage of female superintendents has been higher than the national average at approximately one-third of the Chief Education Officer positions in our state. This percentage is a far cry however from the representation of women in certificated roles where they occupy nearly 82% of the state’s professional positions. The gap analysis is easy to calculate!


    NJASA expanding Women in Leadership Committee is working diligently to meet its stated goals:

    • to develop a network among women in or aspiring to positions in educational leadership;
    • to sponsor seminars which provide opportunities for skill building and competency in educational leadership;
    • to build capacity of women in leadership positions;
    • to encourage and support women leaders; and
    • to promote gender, race and ethnic equity within educational systems.


    The committee’s work is guided by:

    Dr. Carol Birnbohm, Chairwoman

    Chief Education Officer

    Lenape Regional High School District


    Dr. Margaret Dolan, NJASA Officer Liaison

    Chief Education Officer

    Westfield Public Schools 


    This year’s development activities began with a leadership program for female superintendents conducted with Seton Hall University. Soon after, NJASA joined with the Education Department of Monmouth University to host New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy as the keynote speaker. Mrs. Murphy discussed her journey as a female executive and the importance of networking. The keynote address was followed by a panel presentation of school and business executives addressing ways they support aspiring women leaders. The NJASA Women’s Leadership program at the October Fall Workshop in Atlantic City featured Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Pamela Lampitt discussing her role as Deputy Speaker of the Assembly and university administrator.


    NJASA County Affiliate associations are rapidly expanding programs in their regions. For example, Bergen County leaders conducted two networking gatherings for women and a third is occurring this week. Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Gloucester, Ocean, Sussex, and Union county affiliate leaders are grasping the reins to organize similar events in their counties. 


    NJASA leaders have scheduled additional events this academic year which address the NJASA 4 Equity pillars. They include:


    • 2nd Annual NJASA Equity Conference on November 21, 2019 at The Palace at Somerset Park. Dr. Fay Brown, Yale University is the keynote;Regional Women’s Leadership Breakfast on November 22, 2019 at the Westwood in Garwood;
    • Third Annual Regional Women’s Forum on February 28, 2020 at the Westwood in Garwood;
    • NJASA/AASA/NJPSA Annual Women’s Leadership Conference on March 26-27, 2020 at The Palace at Somerset Park; and
    • Spring Leadership at Caesar’s Atlantic City Conference Center on May 13-15, 2020.


    I encourage you to participate in these programs or to support district staff members to attend them. 


    NJASA joins the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and the National Excellence in School Leadership Institute (NESLI) for the first time to offer the Women’s Advanced Leadership Training Program this academic year. Another offering gaining interest is designed to help schools create a professional climate which is conducive to the optimal health and well-being of all staff.  


    Focusing deeper on the theme of equity for members, NJASA this year established a new Leadership Diversity Committee with goals for minority educators that parallel those of the Women in Leadership Committee. The committee’s initial meeting was conducted in September and their first event this year took place at the Fall Workshop in Atlantic City. The keynote speaker, New Jersey Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet, committed to support the Association’s initiatives to recruit, train and support minority leaders. 


    Mrs. Judith Rattner, former NJ Superintendent of the Year and a Past NJASA President, is the NJASA Director of Special Projects leading these efforts. Mrs. Rattner was solicited as a mentor in the AASA Women in School Leadership Consortium supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The AASA National Women’s Leadership Consortium was established to identify and address barriers women face when aspiring to the top leadership positions in K-12 education. We are fortunate to have Mrs. Rattner in the leadership role for NJASA. 


    We invite you to join and support these initiatives as NJASA members. You can contact Mrs. Rattner at: jrattner@njasa.net or (609) 599-2900 X 122 for additional information.