Dr. Gemar Mills Executive Director

Gemar Mills, Executive DirectorDr. Mills, born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey, always possessed a fervent affection for providing urban youth with an alternative perspective on life. As a high school student, he quickly acknowledged the significance of becoming an educated African-American male in his community. He sought empowerment through education, discovering its significance to personal and societal development.

After earning a B.S. degree in Math Education from Montclair State University, Dr. Mills began teaching math at East Side High School in Newark, New Jersey. While working full-time, he earned a Master’s of Educational Leadership at American Intercontinental University and later a doctoral degree in administration, policy, and curriculum from Seton Hall University. Later, at Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, Dr. Mills served for two years as Math Department Chairperson and one year as Vice-Principal. At the age of 27, Dr. Mills was made Principal of this school, one of the most troubled in the Newark Public Schools District. With a history of low-test scores, MXS was threatened with the possibility of closure. Dr. Mills formulated a strategy of education reform, using his strengths as an accessible and relatable leader to recreate a safe school atmosphere where students and staff believed again in themselves, their school, and in education. Under his leadership, test scores drastically improved. School pride and a sports culture were also restored. The school’s turnaround has been featured in the Sports Illustrated award-winning series “Underdogs,” NBC’s “Positively Black,” an Emmy award-winning documentary “Saving Shabazz” produced by NJ.com, and articles by The Atlantic, Fortune, and Crain business magazine.

Dr. Mills not only serves as Executive Director of CAPS Paterson but also leads Academics across the CAPS network.

Mr. Henry D. McNair Principal / Head of School

Henry McNair, PrincipalBorn in Newark, New Jersey, and educated in the Irvington Public Schools system, Mr. McNair styled himself a scholar and an activist from an early age, vowing to make an impact upon people of communities like his own. After co-founding the Positive Youth Today program in 1988, he earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Social Science from Stockton University in Pomona, New Jersey in 1995, and a Master’s of Arts in Education from Saint Peter’s University a few years later.

An early position in juvenile justice teaching gave Mr. McNair unique insight into how one enthusiastic person can make a dramatic impact upon the lives of young people. After six years of teaching and mentoring, Mr. McNair was promoted to his first administrative position. Over the course of the next six years, he grew as a teacher-coach, peer observer, and capacity builder. In 2008, his role expanded to include professional development, discipline, and student activities. Seeing how societal factors directly impact student achievement, he increasingly called on service providers, social agencies, local clergy, and non-profit organizations to invest time, energy, and resources in the students of his school.

Mr. McNair believes that leaders should not be judged by their personal successes, but by the successes of those they impact. His career is full of examples. In one notable case, a small grade 7-12 magnet school that Mr. McNair led a decade ago rose to 49th in the state in a ranking by New Jersey Patch in 2012; this success was the culmination of a school culture transformation to one of high expectations and critical thinking and the hard work of the students and staff. In later leadership roles at alternative schools and charter organizations, Mr. McNair uas continued to assure that under-served student populations benefit from community collaboration, increased social awareness, and inspiring leaders, and he brings acumen in these areas and others in his current role as Principal for all grades at CAPS Paterson.

Ms. Sharon Cook Director of Operations

Ms. Sharon Cook, Director of Operations at CAPS PatersonSince a young age, Ms. Cook has possessed a love for education. She long aspired to play a vital role in the successful operation of an educational institution and now leads operations at CAPS Paterson.

Ms. Cook earned her Bachelor’s Degree from William Paterson College and her Master’s Degree from Montclair State University. She began her career in education in 2001 as a Substance Awareness Coordinator for elementary students within Newark Public Schools (NPS). After 16 years of service with NPS, Ms. Cook joined the College Achieve Paterson staff as one of the founding members of the administrative team.

Ms. Cook prides herself in her work. She says the most rewarding part of her job is knowing that her day-to-day work contributes to quality education for today’s youth. In her free time, Ms. Cook enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren and being outdoors.

Mr. Denard Director of Teaching and Learning

Dr. Phillips Director of Elementary Education

Mr. Roberts Director of Special Services/LDTC

Mr. Collado Math Department Chair

Ms. Fortney Supervisor of K-3 Education

Ms. Maxwell History Department Chair

Ms. Robinson ELA Department Chair

Ms. Gregory Supervisor of K-3 Education

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