Dr. Jonathan Hodges of New Jersey’s Paterson Board of Education has been honored by the National School Boards Association with the 2023 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award, according to a news release.

The recognition honors the legacy of the late Morehouse College president, scholar, minister, civil rights adviser and member of the Atlanta Board of Education.

Hodges, a retired physician and nearly 21-year member of the Paterson Public Schools Board of Education, first joined the board while working as an emergency room physician. In witnessing the struggles of young people in the ER, including those who experienced violence, he recognized that students with significant medical needs also often had significant educational needs.

As a board member, Hodges became a leader in addressing financial misappropriations and landmark court battles to reform funding for education and infrastructure. He continues to fight for the high-quality education that Paterson’s children deserve.

“NJSBA congratulates Dr. Hodges, who has worked tirelessly to advance the education of Paterson’s students,” said Dr. Timothy Purnell, executive director and CEO of the New Jersey School Boards Association. “As someone who grew up from humble beginnings and has achieved incredible success as a medical doctor, he understands how important education is to live a meaningful, rewarding life. He has taken that education and given back – and we are so thankful for his contributions to NJSBA and the children of New Jersey.”

Hodges has lived in Paterson for more than 35 years and has served as president of his board on multiple occasions. He has been a delegate to the NJSBA’s Urban Boards committee, which he chaired for six years. He has also served on NJSBA’s board of directors and has been a representative at NJSBA”s Delegate Assembly. He has been a board member of and participated in  numerous community groups.

Hodges will be featured in depth in a future issue of the American School Board Journal, which is published by the NSBA.

You can read an article that the Paterson Press published highlighting Hodges and the award here.