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Latifah Jannah is a mother, grandmother, and long-time resident of Montclair. She attended Nishuane Elementary School, long before magnet schools and bussing, and holds memories of a tight knit South End community of families, shops, ice cream, Police Officer Page, Nishuane and Glenfield Parks.
At the age of 10, her father, Arthur Chapin, union organizer, national labor and civil rights activist, received a Presidential appointment as Assistant Secretary of Labor, and the family moved to Washington, D.C. There, she finished her public school education, graduating from Western (now Duke Ellington School of the Arts) High School. From there she attended Boston University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She remained in Boston, teaching in alternative schools, beginning a career in Family Intervention and Counseling, and, after marriage and moving to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, started a family and raised her children.
Latifah’s immediate family moved back to Montclair, and it was here she returned with her children, all of whom attended and graduated from Montclair Public Schools.
She has been involved in the Montclair School District since 1984, beginning as PTA Co-President at Edgemont School, Home School Liaison at Glenfield Middle School, and Student Assistance Counselor at Montclair High School, Edgemont School, and Buzz Aldrin (Mt. Hebron Middle School). Along the way, she was a Teacher/Advisor at Essex County College, and a Drug/Alcohol Counselor at Mountainside and East Orange General Hospitals.
Latifah holds a Masters Degree in Counseling from Montclair State University, and Certifications in Elementary Education and Student Assistance Counselor. She is currently a Program Director for Sister to Sister Mentoring Group, Inc., a member of the Juvenile Conference Committee for the Township, and a member of the NAACP Education Committee.
Montclair is a unique community, offering many opportunities and resources for students and families. Latifah believes a quality education for all students starts with families who have equal access to resources, and equity within our schools and classrooms, using best practices focused on student learning and achievement.