Newark Has Its Own Schools Chief for First Time in 22 Years

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Newark, N.J.

New Jersey's largest city has picked its own schools chief for the first time in 22 years.

The Newark Board of Education unanimously chose longtime district administrator Roger Leon to be the new superintendent on Tuesday, though contract negotiations are ongoing. Leon beat out three other finalists, including interim Superintendent Robert Gregory.

Newark formally regained control of its schools earlier this year. The state had taken them over in the mid-1990s after years of mismanagement and academic underperformance.

The state's board of education voted last September to return local control to Newark, citing the district's improved performance.

New Jersey became the first state in the country to approve the takeover of local school districts in the late 1980s, and eventually took control of school districts in Jersey City, Paterson and Camden in addition to Newark.

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