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Dr. Renee Richardson (NJ '08)


Althea Gibson Early Childhood Education Academy
East Orange, NJ

Grade(s): Pre-K, K

At the time of the Award, Dr. Renee Richardson was:

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Academy
East Orange, NJ

Subject(s) taught: General Elementary
Grade(s): 4

Biographical Information

Dr. Renee Richardson currently serves as principal at Althea Gibson Early Childhood Education Academy, in East Orange, New Jersey, where she recently led her school district's youngest learners in a yearlong problem oriented learning experience focused on SDG 15, "Life on Land," one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At the time of her Milken Award notification, Dr. Richardson was a fourth-grade teacher at Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Academy, also in East Orange. She nearly doubled the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards in language arts to 92 percent in 2007. That same year, 100 percent of the school's fourth graders scored proficient in math. Working with students individually, in small groups and in large-class settings, Richardson provided engaging, standards-based lessons and research-based strategies in a warm, inviting, colorful, child-centered classroom atmosphere. She constantly analyzed and interpreted student assessment data, evaluated her own teaching strategies and modified them to reach all students. After observing Richardson teach a fourth-grade math lesson, an assistant superintendent was so impressed that she arranged to have every principal in the district observe her teaching, and had a video made of her lesson to share as a model for other teachers districtwide. As the school's Student Council advisor, Richardson helped plan various student activities that supported the positive development of students' character and leadership skills. As a principal intern at Cochran in 2005-06, she worked with the principal on a number of school-related issues, including the creation of a Parent Academy that provided parents with information and workshops to help improve their lives socially and economically. Richardson has mentored first-year teachers, presented best practices at staff meetings and district-level events, and has participated in designing and evaluating programs for professional development.

Related Connections

Article: How We Learn: Tackling Global Issues in Early Childhood Classrooms

Additional Information


The Role of Secondary Education in Promoting Sustainable Development in the Caribbean and Latin America


B.A. - University of South Florida; M.A. - Seton Hall University; Ed.D. - Seton Hall University

School Leadership and Curriculum Development