NEWARK, NJ – September 24, 2012 – Seasoned school leader Semone Morant has been selected as Newark Leadership Academy’s (NLA) newest Principal, bringing with him a vision for a transformative 2012-2013 school year.

new principal at nla

Throughout his tenure as a classroom educator and leader in the Newark Public Schools (NPS) district, Morant amassed extensive experience in implementing strategic approaches to rigorous academic curricula, developing technology-based approaches to literacy and numeracy education, and training and coaching on data-driven instruction, all of which are cornerstones of NLA’s alternative education approach. He will play an integral role in fostering a school culture of high expectations and greater student success.

YouthBuild Newark (YBN) Board President Leonard Murray reflects on Mr. Morant’s addition. “Semone Morant is a visionary educator who will bring high standards, academic rigor, innovative new programs and an enthusiastic spirit to NLA to help our student body of future leaders achieve their full potential.”

Mr. Morant is recognized as a collaborative educator whose emphasis on pooling resources and working with staff across departments has resulted in improvements in student achievement. He also possesses the added skills of working in diverse schools and communities with mixed populations, and reading and speaking Spanish and French.

“It is my goal and belief that students at NLA by the end of the year will not only have the opportunity to recover credits needed to graduate at a pace established by themselves, but will also learn essentially that they are not failures and can achieve ultimately whatever they want to achieve despite any setbacks previously faced in their lives,” said Morant.

Based upon YBN’s proven model for at-risk, high-risk and out-of-school youth achievement, NLA provides a comprehensive approach to education by engaging students in a rigorous academic curriculum and innovative evidence-based methods for secondary education and workforce development. To make learning more tangible, the Academy links Mathematics, Language Arts and other subjects to a vocational curriculum supplied by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). NLA also provides extensive support services that include in-depth case management, community-building and leadership development.

NLA had enrolled 119 students during the 2011 – 2012 school year. The Academy will systematically serve additional students each year until a maximum of 300 is reached. Several graduates of the inaugural senior class transitioned to post-secondary institutions such as Essex County College and Lincoln Technical Institute. In September 2012, NLA’s first Valedictorian, Nelson Pryce, joined YBN graduates at the 2012 Opportunity Nation Summit in Washington, D.C. At this Summit, more than 1,200 thought leaders gathered to discuss and support an eight-point plan combining public and private sector efforts to create new pathways for young adults to succeed in high school, post-secondary education and careers.

NLA’s new school leader, Mr. Morant, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Public Administration at New Jersey City University and earned his Master in Education with a concentration in leadership of educational organizations from American Intercontinental University. He secured his Bachelors degree from Rutgers University-Newark where he majored in Urban Education and History with a concentration in American History. Mr. Morant was also recently inducted into the Emerging Leaders Program at New Leaders™, which trains teachers, leaders, coaches, assistant principals and other leaders in instructional roles to develop and expand their leadership skills. New Leaders is a national nonprofit that develops transformational school leaders and designs effective leadership policies and practices for school systems across the country.

YouthBuild Newark is the partner agency to Newark Leadership Academy, and enables low-income youth to complete their secondary educational goals and lead productive, self-sufficient lives. YBN is based in Newark and has a programmatic impact in four (4) other high-need cities throughout the State of New Jersey. YouthBuild Newark’s program is based upon the national YouthBuild model, which has received bi-partisan political support since its inception.