Deeply concerned about the impact of violent crime on children, and attempting to “change the lens” in her home city, educator and West Ward District Leader Sheila Montague wants to serve as the next mayor of Newark.
“People who have a certain moral and ethical standard about themselves, there must be a belief system in your life that you live by, that is your foundation for being a good person,” Montague said in a Facebook forum, reflecting on the occasion of eight shootings in the city. “It’s important that we show up as adults, with a level of discipline. I’m not sure we’re doing that en masse. That’s something I want our community to consider.”
She has a background similar to incumbent Mayor Ras Baraka, who also served as an educator in the Newark Public School System.
A professor at Essex County College, and a veteran teacher of 20 years in the Newark Public School system, Montague is a graduate of Kean University with a major in secondary education and a minor in African American studies. She has experience working with Newark Public Schools students on an elementary level as well as high school, with numerous local and national honors, which include, but is not limited to, The National Honor Roll of Outstanding American Teachers. Montague’s teaching experience includes a decorated record as a debate and basketball coach that encompasses a decade of championships, debate tournament victories and numerous awards.
Like Baraka, Montague is a poet and community organizer.
She founded the community based organization CTLT (Changing The Lens Together), an active founding member of PULSE (Parents United for Local School Education), an active member of POP (People’s Organization for Progress), a member of The National NAACP (National Association for The Advancement of Colored People) and a certified notary public of New Jersey.
Montague formally launched her 2022 campaign for mayor last month.
Political observers in Brick City generally view her as a longshot for the job.
First elected against the machine with grassroots support in 2014, Baraka wants a third term as mayor. In 2018, the Democratic Party establishment did not bother putting anyone up against him, instead embracing his reelection, and intends to follow the same political game plan this time as the formidable incumbent pursues reelection.
The ward races – especially in the East, West and Central have already begun to command more interest than the citywide mayoral tilt. That said, Montague is running for the job.