ORANGE, NJ — Orange Board of Education’s reorganization meeting will be Monday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m., at the Orange School District’s headquarters at 451 Lincoln Ave., according to Essex County clerk Chris Durkin and Orange Board of Education secretary and business administrator Adekunle James.
This meeting will also serve as the official swearing-in ceremony for newly elected members Derrick Henry and Brenda Daughtry, as well as incumbent board member Siaka Sherif. The trio won with 2,413, 2,445 and 2,779 votes, respectively.
Henry said he is looking forward to being sworn in as a new board member, after the legal battles he has faced. He added he is grateful to the Orange voters who came out last year and cast ballots to right the wrong he and current board member Tyrone Tarver suffered, after they won the city’s first Board of Education election on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, only to have the results voided in court.
“Thank you, Orange,” said Henry on Wednesday, Jan. 2. “This is an ongoing effort to better empower the citizens of Orange, other than certain or preferred interests. I look forward to continuing my pursuit for transparent, responsive and accountable governance in Orange.”
Henry, Daughty and Sherif defeated incumbent Rhoda Irodia and challengers Hamza Agwedicham and Jarteu Israel, who lost with 731, 415 and 311 votes, respectively.
In the special election on Tuesday, March 13, Sherif defeated Al-Nesha Jones-Holiday to win a board seat with eight months remaining, and Tarver defeated Antoine Hall and Stephen Folsom to win a board seat with two years and eight months remaining. Tarver’s seat will expire in 2020.
Although Henry didn’t run in the second Board of Education election held after Vena had voided the first one, he said it’s as though history has righted itself since he won one of the three full-term seats in the November election.
“They sued me out and the first election results were thrown out, because of the lawsuit from the Orange Board of Education’s special attorney, and we had no other recourse but the people, so the people stepped in and won more than was anticipated and that’s what got us to where we are today,” said Henry on Wednesday, Nov. 7. “Blood, sweat and tears, and namely the money out my pocket. Nobody supported it. They didn’t think it would happen. You know, I hear God makes the impossible possible.”
Henry said he is focused on his future as a BOE member and helping chart the school district’s direction, although he has had time to reflect on his improbable victory.
“In the first election, there were 22 candidates, if anybody remembers that. It was like a big circus and then, when it got to the serious answers and the fact that you’re going to be accountable for three years and then the fact that you’re going to have to make coherent and cognizant decisions regarding roughly anywhere from $100 to $150 million, that’s going to separate the cream from the milk,” said Henry.
“History has been righted. What I intend to do is improve transparency between the board and the people, because I am tired of questions being glazed over, forgotten or just justified on ‘I said so.’ When we’re elected and we’re answering to our constituency, the people deserve an answer and they deserve supporting documentation and I intend, in any way, shape or form possible, to the best of my ability to give that.”