Managing Editor

Laura Waters


Derrell Bradford is an advocate with a long history in New Jersey education policy. He has served as the executive director at Better Education for Kids, Excellent Education for Everyone (E3) and on several boards dedicated to putting the needs of students and families first, including Success Academy Charter Schools, EdBuild, and the PIE Network. Derrell is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Janellen Duffy is the founding executive director of JerseyCAN and served in that role for five years.  She continues to support the organization as a senior advisor.  She has also served as Governor Corzine’s education policy advisor and later his director of policy.  She also has served at the Newark Charter School Fund working to improve the number of high-quality public school options for all of Newark’s students and foster collaboration between charter schools and the district.

Oscar James, II – is a son of Newark, has remained in the city his whole life, and a father of three children who attend Newark Public Schools. Oscar was the youngest elected municipal council member in the history of the City of Newark. He is a real estate developer focused on providing affordable housing in Newark; a community activist whose passions include three core areas – faith, education, and equity for all; and writes his own blog called Newark Neighborhood View.

Mike Lilley – is the CEO and Founder of the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey (SPCNJ), a non-profit think tank that looks to shine a light on New Jersey’s most powerful interest group, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). In addition to running the Policy Center, Mike also writes his own regular blog at for SPCNJ.

Patrick Riccards is the CEO for the Princeton-based Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement and serves as the executive director of Best in the World Teachers and USA Reads. The former chief of staff to the National Reading Panel and executive director of the Pennsylvania STEM Initiative, Pat began his career on Capitol Hill, including as an aide to U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley. The father of two children in the WW-P Public Schools, Pat is an award-winning author and former public school board chairman. He writes under the pen name of Eduflack.

As a teacher, school founder, nonprofit board member, and senior education executive, Paula’s work has had a transformative impact on thousands of children and families. She has been featured across various media including CBS news, NPR, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal providing a strong policy perspective on education issues. She served as the Chief Turnaround Officer for the New Jersey Department of Education, where she framed and led school improvement strategy and support for over 200 schools statewide. She currently leads a teacher advocacy organization, but her most treasured role is the one she holds as the mother to her sons, 2 of whom attended New Jersey’s public schools.

NJEducationAid is a data-driven research blog originally focused on exposing on the disparities in the distribution of state aid in New Jersey, but which has branched out to state economic, fiscal, and demographic issues that are undercovered in the state media. The author of NJEducationAid works with the NJ Education Report to showcase content to the largest possible audience.

Presented By

NJ Education Report is a platform of brightbeam, a network of education activists demanding a better education and a brighter future for every child.

Brightbeam Staff

These members of the brightbeam team provide support to NJ Education Report.


Ikhlas Saleem
Director of Digital Content & Platforms

Rob Samuelson

Digital Media Manager

Josh Stewart

Digital Media Manager

J. Gordon Wright

Chief of Digital Content & Platforms