Office of the Superintendent of Schools

  • Laurie W. Newell, PhD
    Superintendent of Schools

    Dr. Laurie W. Newell is the Superintendent of the Paterson Public Schools. She oversees the education of New Jersey’s third-largest school district, with almost 30,000 students and 3,600 employees across 54 schools, as well as a number of collaborating preschool centers.

    Dr. Newell was most recently the Superintendent of Schools for the Essex Regional Educational Services Commission (ERESC) for seven years (2016-2023). The ERESC is a receiving school district that operates schools for Special Education, Alternative Education and At-Risk youth, as well as provides a wide range of services to students, families and communities throughout several New Jersey counties. 

    Before becoming Superintendent of Schools at the ERESC, Dr. Newell worked in Paterson Public Schools from 2010-2016,  where she first served as the Executive Director of Human Resource Services and then as the Chief Reform and Innovations Officer. In these roles, she brought increased accountability, created and streamlined processes and structures to ensure there was greater fidelity throughout the system. Data-driven decision making was a critical component of the work that the district staff used and for the various stakeholders with whom the different departments interfaced.  Under her leadership, strategic thinking and implementation were emphasized with a focus on research.

    Dr. Newell previously worked at Newark Public Schools (NPS) as the Executive Director of School Transformation within the Office of Innovation and Change. She provided strategic direction and offered technical assistance to facilitate the success of new initiatives within schools. Throughout her time at NPS, she was an integral part of K-12 school reform throughout the district, data mining and analysis, curriculum development, implementing and monitoring of the District’s Strategic Plan, reforming budget and human resource processes to ensure efficiency and accountability, working with different stakeholders, including union leadership in decision making, and offering advice to the Superintendent and members of the Superintendent’s cabinet.

    Dr. Newell’s service in public education includes developing or leading school improvement initiatives designed to improve student achievement, as well as to ensure and provide equitable access to a quality education for all students.

    Dr. Newell has an enhanced understanding of the issues faced by large urban school districts and is motivated to find innovative ways to increase the capacity for learning and development via human capital resource management and talent development.  She has led workshops demonstrating the benefits of research, including how to conduct and use the results of research to aid and inform instruction. She has also worked as an adjunct professor at Montclair State University, teaching graduate level courses in Educational Leadership.

    Dr. Newell believes that a quality education is the right of every student and that all students will learn when given a safe, healthy and supportive environment. She also believes that when faced with difficult decisions – doing the right things for students will be the only thing that matters. Excellence will be the standard and there will be high expectations for all students. This goal will be achieved with the collaboration, communication and cooperation of parents, community and educators as all stakeholders in the future of children.

    Dr. Newell has earned her MS, MBA and her PhD. While working towards her Master’s Degree, Dr. Newell was inducted into Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society for academic excellence.  She is the recipient of many awards and honors.

    In Essex County, where she served as the Superintendent of Schools from 2016-2023, she was the recipient of two highly prestigious awards. The first being honored as the 2023 Essex County Superintendent of the Year, as nominated by her peers, and the second being the 2023 Regional Superintendent of the Year for Region I, as selected by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA).