“Education is all a matter of building bridges.” – Ralph Ellison 

BUILDING BRIDGES means Connecting & Empowering, which has always been my mission as a 7 +year parent volunteer in the Jersey City Public School District.  My GOALS are to:

  • Provide students with safe infrastructure and best tools to learn and grow in post-pandemic world
  • Ensure social and emotional health support and safe school insfrastructure
  • Effectively engage city, state, and corporate partners to support public schools
  • Facilitate the work of parent council groups, equipping them to become a powerful resource for schools
  • Establish and streamline alternative sources of non-profit revenue for the school district

My EXPERIENCE  includes:

  • Advocating for school funding on city and state level
  • Increasing a school’s annual non-profit revenues from $15,000/yr in 2013 to nearly $250,000/yr in 2019
  • Applying cost-saving solutions to support classrooms and facilities
  • Empowering teachers and strengthening student-teacher relationships by employing off-duty JCPS staff in parent-run After School Clubs and Summer Camp
  • Partnering with other schools, community groups and corporations
  • Streamlining school-parent communication
  • Establishing need based and merit based scholarships
  • Training and empowering new generations of parent leaders to ensure sustainability 

BRIDGING THE FINANCIAL GAP : As state aid becomes more and more scarce, the parent volunteer team under my leadership worked to create alternative forms of financial support for our school.

  • 11351157_10204544715965027_789851722364577903_nEstablished an annual Extracurricular Scholarship, sponsoring students based on their interest and need, for a semester of an after school club.
  • Established a “Cornelia F. Bradford Award” presented annually to 6 graduating 5th Graders, honoring our school’s founder, and aimed to promote and recognize students’ character and moral integrity. This award is outlined in Issue #6 of  my newsletter “The Bradford Spirit”.
  • As a non-profit corporation, Parent Council group is able to supply the household needs of our school (anything from Air Conditioners and classroom furniture to stationary) in a cost-effective and timely fashion.


“Middle School Connection”: to help our parents and students bridge the gap between elementary and middle school and learn about the acceptance processes involved, I championed an initiative to invite principals from Jersey City public middle schools and academic program supervisors to come and speak at monthly Parent Meetings. You can read about this initiative and check out parent reviews in the Issue #9 of “The Bradford Spirit”.

PS16# Team (Principal Terry Watkins-Williams & CPA President Natalia Ioffe)  host MS#7 Team (Principal Edwin Rivera and Assistant Principal Jaimie Barnaskas, with Associate Superintendent Ellen Ruane) for the Middle School Connection


  • COMMUNICATION IS KEY : Parents need their concerns to be heard and wantunnamed-3 (1)to be fully informed about their child’s school experience. When I became Parent Council President 8 years ago I met this need by maintaining a 24/7 email helpline, as well as established a weekly “CPA Hour” during which parents come in and meet with a member of the Parent Council to voice their concern, provide feedback or ask questions, without having to wait for the monthly parent meetings.
  • We appointed Class Parents in order to more efficiently meet the needs of each homeroom teacher/ class. This promotes parent leadership and strengthens parent/teacher partnerships.

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