Superintendent Johnson Serves as Keynote Speaker at Annual Breakfast
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Seated at the breakfast were from left: Davida Lindsay-Harewood, Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson, Superintendent Johnson, St. Mark’s new pastor, Rev. Leslie Houseworth-Fields, breakfast committee members Gregory Harewood and Esther Canty-Barnes, Esq.
Dr. Kendra V. Johnson was the keynote speaker at the 35th Annual St. Mark's Church and Community Breakfast on Sunday, September 9. This year's theme was Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: God's Mission and Ours.
Montclair High School teacher and head of the parish staff relations committee, Dr. Davida Lindsay Harewood introduced Dr. Johnson telling the crowd of her “rich and dynamic experience in both education and law, serving in many roles from teacher through administrator and pro-bono attorney.”
Superintendent Johnson served as the keynote speaker.
Principals and Assistant Principals from the district, Board of Education President Laura Hertzog and members Latifah Jannah and Jessica de Koninck, Johnson's executive assistant Nina DeRosa and Jasmine Malloy, secretary at Montclair High School attended the breakfast along with community townspeople including Councilors Sean Spiller and Renee Baskerville, past President of the Montclair Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and First Vice President of the State Conferences of NAACP branches, James Harris, Montclair Fire Chief John Herrmann, Police Chief Todd Conforti, and Montclair Police Lieutenant Tyrone Williams, Jr.
Principals, vice-principals and other administrators joined in the celebration.
In her address, Dr. Johnson shared a story from her school days of her experience running for high school president. In her campaign speech to the student body, she referenced a quote by Malcolm X which the administration thought was too controversial and hence, despite her landslide victory, the administration would not allow her to hold the position. From this experience she learned and carries with her to this day: “Humans are flawed; Diversity doesn't just mean race or religion; diversity is thought and ideas; When you understand what matters you know when to fight and when to grow; Speaking truth will help you realize your dreams; This game called life is better played as chess rather than checkers.”
She closed her remarks with some advice to the crowd on how to promote diversity, inclusion and equity in their personal lives. “Start a conversation with someone you don’t know. Be fearless. Embrace the urgency of now. Change your environment. Leave your assumptions at the door. Refuse to let your fire be dampened. Tell the truth. Have integrity and be honest. That is revolutionary today."