ARJ Civic Association Leadership Award Winner: Kathy Duke Jackson

Kathy Duke-Jackson, principal of First Avenue School in Newark, was honored by ARJ Civic Association with a educational leadership award at the association's First Annual Leadership Awards Breakfast held on March 12, 2015 in the Crystal Room of the Robert Treat Hotel.


Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr. presents the educational leadership award to Kathy Duke-Jackson, principal of First Avenue School in Newark. Also pictured is Ramon Rivera, vice chair of the ARJ Civic Association.

A native of Newark, Ms. Duke-Jackson is has been an educator for 26 years. She began her education at Quitman Street School and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and English from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. She later received a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Ms. Duke-Jackson spent her teaching career at Newton Street School located in Newark. After teaching for eight years, she was promoted to the position of vice principal. After serving in the capacity of Vice Principal for five years, Ms. Duke-Jackson was promoted to the position of school principal at Burnet Street School. Under her leadership, Burnet Street School achieved the state benchmark, making Adequate Yearly Progress two years in a row, moving the school from a Level 5 to a Level 0.

As a result of the significant improvement in student performance, Ms. Duke-Jackson was moved to First Avenue School by previous State Superintendent Dr. Clifford B. Janey. Ms. Duke-Jackson is steeped in curriculum, instruction and assessment. She is an instructional leader who encourages all of her teachers to perform at high levels. Her combination of “pressure and support” has led First Avenue School to continue to make academic gains each school year. First Avenue School has and continues to be one of the most sought after schools for students in the city of Newark.

Ms. Duke-Jackson is an active member of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark, and the National Organization of African American Administrators where she serves as the treasurer. Ms. Duke-Jackson firmly believes that all children are capable of learning and achieving high academic standards. She works hard daily to ensure that every child that she is privileged to serve is prepared for any challenge that awaits them.

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  • Lindsley Ghee
    commented 2020-08-09 09:52:15 -0400
    As a former teacher at 1st Ave let me say this about my experience under Jackson, and the school atmosphere. The staff was not very ingratiating toward each other, and were very clichess in their attitudes! Jackson was very heavy handed, and unrealistic in what she wanted her school to be, that was one one the reasons there was such a heavy turnover in personal every year since she had become principal! There was also a incident, where a vice principal had such a disagreement with her that police had to be sent to the school! There was no give or take, or I can see your side of an issue, it was my way or the highway! Her ascendency as an administrator has more to do with connections than leadership qualities, which is how it goes in big cities as a rule!
  • Patty Mattos
    commented 2017-09-28 14:24:25 -0400
    I loved that she won the prize I love her, the day I attended the company I was treated very well, thanks for the care and dedication. #thanks #nice
  • Alexia Salgado
    commented 2016-04-04 16:26:47 -0400
    Excellent professional, deserves all the respect and admiration he has. érico rocha no futurecom 2008
  • Conswayla Delancray
    commented 2015-03-19 16:29:49 -0400
    how much money did Ms. Jackson give you
    DOES HER HUSBAND COVER YOUR SECURITY. You are a two face. what happen to you word about inspecting the water and soil at First Avenue. You are not fit to be a councilmen you are as crocked as the inmates in jail.
    There are teachers leaving left and right at First Ave. Students are being babysit and not thaught. Test scores are not going up you need to get your facts straight you need to speak to the parents first learn to get your facts straight you only doing this for your political race what kind of two face ass are you. you are a crooked dumb ass. you like to kiss ass and smell it too.