Dr. Timothy J. Purnell, executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association, today issued a statement following the death of Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver:
“NJSBA mourns the passing of Sheila Oliver, a trailblazer and a dedicated public servant, who had a deep commitment to our schools and the needs of New Jersey’s students. Early in her career, she served as a local board of education member, where she worked tirelessly for her community’s schools. During her service in the Assembly and as lieutenant governor, she continued to advocate on behalf of children. Sheila Oliver was a friend to the Association, attending county school boards association meetings and other NJSBA events, taking the time to hear the concerns of local board of education members.
We extend our sincere condolences to her family and colleagues on her passing.”
Oliver, the state’s lieutenant governor and the state’s Commissioner of Community Affairs since 2018, had a long career in public service.
She served as a member of the East Orange Board of Education, including as the board’s vice president and president, and was on the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
In 2003, she was elected to serve the 34th Legislative District in the New Jersey General Assembly. In 2010, she made New Jersey history when she became the first African-American woman to serve as Assembly Speaker, and just the second in the nation’s history to lead a state legislative house.