NJ.COM: “Jersey City’s PS 16 stays true to Cornelia Bradford’s legacy”


Cornelia Foster Bradford

Cornelia Foster Bradford lived in Jersey City over a hundred years ago, at a time when it was simultaneously experiencing an urban development boom and an overwhelming immigrant population growth. It was a time when children of the poor immigrants had few opportunities other than joining the industrial workforce.

A deeply conscientious and compassionate person, Cornelia F. Bradford dedicated herself to improving the lives of these children. One of her many initiatives included being instrumental in having an elementary school built in Downtown Jersey City, the school we now know as Public School No. 16 or “Cornelia F. Bradford School”.

Miss Bradford continuously sought to create opportunities for children of poor immigrants and to give them access to high quality education. She founded the “Whittier House” social settlement where volunteer teachers provided kindergarten care and various after-school and after-work clubs, such as cooking, needlework, dancing, athletics, the “newsboys club” and many others. Cornelia. Bradford’s tireless efforts, which included establishing the first free kindergarten in Jersey City, led her to become the first woman to serve on Jersey City Board of Education. Continue reading “NJ.COM: “Jersey City’s PS 16 stays true to Cornelia Bradford’s legacy””


Thank you for your Support!

Dear Friends,

I want to THANK every single one of YOU for trusting me with your votes! I went into this campaign with eyes wide open, armed with a few faithful friends, a tiny war chest and a great deal of experience in serving our public schools. Considering the forces (and finances) that were involved in this BOE election, being an independent candidate gave me a minimal chance of success.

And YET, even with no endorsements and no financial and political backing, your votes have given me 1/3 of the winning ticket! (5,389 independent voices!) I am extremely thankful and humbled by this.

It goes to show that, given the opportunity, the people of Jersey City are powerful to break through expected political establishments and campaign machines.

I am so GRATEFUL to EVERYONE who lent me their support by donating to my campaign, volunteering to distribute my literature and spreading my message through the city!
YOU are my HEROES, and it’s thanks to you that I have been heard on such a wide spectrum!
Below are the votes YOU gave me (source: Hudson County Clerk):
Ward A – 978 votes
Ward B – 726 votes
Ward C – 761votes
Ward D – 751votes
Ward E – 1299 votes
Ward F – 845 votes

I am very humbled to know that, in every part of Jersey City, people were willing to put their trust in me. Even though I did not win this election, I am glad to have captured your attention and your hearts . I congratulate the winning candidates –
– Mr. Sudhan Thomas 
– Mr. Angel Valentin
– Rev. Lipe Fernandez
and I hope that they will help govern our schools with wisdom and empathy for every child and teacher.
This election may be over, but we still have children to raise and our city (and country!) to take care of.
I resume my work in serving our children, at PS16 and beyond. A parent leader & volunteer can accomplish a great deal of good, which I hope to show you.

Thank you again and again!


Vote wisely, Jersey City!

My name is Natalia Ioffe, and I am greeting you from the rooftop of my home, which stands on Center St., near the very trestle on Grand St. & Barbara Pl. that has been said to divide the “two cities” that we have seemingly become.

In a way it is very fitting that our Jersey City is constantly juxtaposed to one of Charles Dickens’ most well known novels. He was a great social critic of his time and devoted some of his best writings to highlighting the effects of poverty and violence in lives of people, particularly children.

We have so many children today that struggle with poverty and violence. So many that struggle with stress and anxiety beyond their years, trying their best to survive and to succeed in school. Every single one of them deserves a chance at a bright future.

We have the responsibility to help them get there.

One of the ways we can ensure this is to create an atmosphere and culture in every school where children will be happy and healthy, safe and strong. We must care for our schools as if they are extensions of our families, because for our students school should be a safe haven and a home away from home. In every decision we make regarding our schools, the first question we must ask ourselves – how will it affect the children, is it conducive to the uncovering of their potential, their health, their growth, their future?

A 100 years ago, one of Jersey City’s pioneers in Early Childhood education, Cornelia F. Bradford believed that children of the poor can have high aspirations for the future. She spent her entire life making sure that could be true for the children of poor immigrants in this city.

And I know that there are people among us today who believe the same thing, the helpers and visionaries who work to bring the best resources and opportunities to all our students, to make sure they have the best educational experience possible.

If we look for these helpers, we will transcend this dividing trestle, and we will discover a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising [ ], in the struggle to be truly free, in triumphs and defeats, [ ], and together we can build a better future for our children.

To keep paraphrasing Charles Dickens from “A Tale of Two Cities”:

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times, it is the age of wisdom, it is the age of foolishness, it is the epoch of belief, it is the epoch of incredulity, it is the season of Light, it is the season of Darkness,[ ]  we have everything before us, we have nothing before us…  

So  Let it be a far, far better thing that we do, than we have ever done in taking a stand for our city’s children and choosing what is ultimately best FOR THEM.

Cast your votes wisely, Jersey City, and God bless us, everyone!