In 2017, Judge Gary Stein spoke to the Annual Conference Session about the need for diversity in our schools and the issues facing New Jersey because of school districts that are segregated racially and economically. Since that time, Bishop Schol has joined the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools,the non profit organization led by Justice Stein to represent United MEthodists in this crucial issue facing our students and communities.


The New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools, Inc. (NJCDIS) is a non‐profit corporation organized under New Jersey law whose members are dedicated to redressing the intense racial and economic segregation in New Jersey public schools. New Jersey has among the most segregated public schools in the entire county. The Trustees of our Coalition are guided by the following principles:

  • Children have better educational experiences when they learn in an inclusive environment alongside students from different racial, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds.
  • New Jersey’s highly segregated schools violate the New Jersey Constitution, which prohibits racial segregation in education, regardless of the reasons for or the causes of that segregation.
  • We seek to achieve integrated education in New Jersey by adopting an evidence‐based plan that emphasizes the creation of high‐performing magnet schools, expands public school options, and strengthens our existing public schools.
  • We are building on New Jersey’s proud legacy as a civil rights leader. Integrating our public schools will strengthen our democracy and our economy and will help us build a workforce that competes in the global economy.
  • Our integration plan is supported by a broad‐based group of community, civil rights, political, education and faith leaders who are all committed to making New Jersey a stronger state that provides educational opportunities for all children.

Extensive research shows that students who attend high‐poverty schools tend to be educationally disadvantaged because of the significant practical difficulties of educating groups of students in the same classroom who have complex social and learning needs. These students, who tend to be segregated by both class and race (and also by language), often have a significantly higher likelihood of dropping out and have lower college attendance rates and much lower test scores than students from similar backgrounds who attend more diverse schools. School segregation is damaging not only for these populations of students, but also for white students who attend racially isolated schools. We are all diminished by segregation because it erodes social bonds, diminishes trust, and is corrosive to our democracy. In addition to its academic challenges, segregation leaves all children ill‐prepared to function in our increasingly diverse society.

NCDIS Board of Directors

  • Deborah Poritz, formerly Chief Justice of New Jersey Supreme Court (Retired)
  • Elise Boddie, Professor, Rutgers University School of Law (formerly Director of Litigation, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.)
  • Paul Tractenberg, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University of Law (Retired)
  • Douglas Eakeley, Founder/Co‐Director Rutgers Center for Corporate Law & Governance
  • Larry Lustberg, Partner, Gibbons, P.C.
  • Michael S. Stein, Managing Partner, Pashman Stein Walder Hayden
  • Gary S. Stein, Associate Justice, New Jersey Supreme Court (Retired)
  • Bishop John Schol, United Methodist Church
  • Richard Smith, President, NAACP, NJ
  • Christian Estevez, President, Latino Action Network
  • Frank Argote‐Freyre, Chair of Latino Action Network Foundation and Director of
  • Latino Coalition of New Jersey
  • Kevin Walsh, Executive Director, Fair Share Housing Center
  • David Sciarra, Executive Director, Education Law Center
  • Debra Jennings, Executive Co‐Director, Statewide Parent Advocacy Network
  • Ryan Haygood, President & CEO, NJ Institute for Social Justice
  • Richard Roper, Consultant
  • John Harmon, Executive Director, African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Rev. Charles Boyer, Bethel AME Church, Woodbury
  • Cecilia Zalkind, Executive Director, Advocates for Children of NJ
  • Rev. Darrell Armstrong, Shiloh Baptist Church, Trenton
  • Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President, Educational Testing Service
  • Elsa Candelario, Executive Director, Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey, Inc.
  • Mary Bennett, Educational Consultant, Academy for Urban Transformation, Seton Hall University