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									FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               Contact:       Anthony
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March 19, 2010                                                           973-621-2542

                                                                         Lauren Shears

                                                                         973-621-1590



                  ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO HOSTED

      ANNUAL ESSEX COUNTY WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION



2010 Althea Gibson Leadership Awards are Presented to:

                        Marie Strumolo Burke, Belleville Councilwoman

     Kathleen DiChiara, Founder/Executive Director of the Community FoodBank of NJ

            Rev. Maria Ortiz, Associate Minister of Christian Love Baptist Church

                 Deborah Terrell, Principal of Newark’s Harriet Tubman School




Newark, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., hosted the County’s Annual
Women’s History Month Program at the Essex County Hall of Records on Friday, March 19 th.
During the ceremony, the 2010 Essex County Althea Gibson Leadership Awards were presented
to the Honorable Marie Strumolo Burke, Belleville Councilwoman; Kathleen DiChiara,
Founder/Executive Director of the Community FoodBank of NJ in Hillside; Rev. Maria J. Ortiz,
Associate Minister at Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington; and Deborah Terrell, Principal
of the Harriet Tubman School in Newark.

“Through their personal contributions and professional activities, Councilwoman Strumolo
Burke, Kathleen DiChiara, Rev. Maria Ortiz and Principal Deborah Terrell, each in their own
unique way, have had a profound effect on the lives of our residents. They all freely give their
time and expertise to improve our community,” DiVincenzo said. “These remarkable women
have made tremendous contributions to improve quality of life and have established themselves
as influential leaders in their fields,” he added.
“Women help to sustain us because they have the ability to do everything for our community. All
that we experience today is because some woman never gave up,” said Newark Mayor Cory A.
Booker. “Thank you to the honorees and all the women who work hard to ensure that we continue
to progress,” he added.



“I am truly blessed to have been raised in a family with strong women as role models and,
because of this, the idea that there are limitations to what a woman can achieve is foreign to me,”
said NJ Department of Community Affairs Acting Commissioner Lori Grifa. “I congratulate all
the honorees today for the outstanding work they are doing in their communities,” she added.

 The Honorable Marie Strumolo Burke, long-time resident of Belleville, was elected to her first
term as First Ward Councilwoman in Belleville in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. She has been the
President and Co-Founder of the Silver Lake Civic Association for 17 years, Clerk of the
Belleville Planning Board for 20 years, Chairperson of the Belleville Democratic Committee, and
the author of “Life in Silver Lake” for The Belleville Times. Councilwoman Strumolo Burke is
the recipient of numerous awards for her civic engagement throughout the community, including
the Woman of the Year Award from the Kevin Kennedy Civic Association, the Silver Card from
the Belleville Police Department, which is the highest civilian award, the Distinguished Service
Award and many others from State and local organizations. She is a graduate of Central High
School, where she was Valedictorian of her senior class.

“I am thrilled to receive this award from the County Executive,” said Strumolo Bruke. “I truly
believe that actions speak louder than words and that’s how I live my life and serve my
constituents. I just do what has to be done as things come along,” she added.

Kathleen DiChiara, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community FoodBank of New
Jersey, began distributing food from her car trunk in 1975 with the vision of serving those in
need. In 1978, she began the Emergency Food Program for the Archdiocese of Newark and in
1980 the FoodBank. In 1982, she formed the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, a non-profit
corporation, housed in an old slaughterhouse in Newark that began with a staff of five and
distributed 75,000 pounds of food to 80 charities that year. Today, because of Ms. DiChiara’s
dedication and leadership, the FoodBank has grown to a staff of 144, over 25,000 volunteers, two
warehouses and a small fleet of trucks, and they have distributed over 33 million pounds of food
to more than 1,500 charities. The FoodBank also has a commercial-size kitchen, Kids Cafes and
Thrift Shop; offers job training and food rescue programs; and distributes children’s clothing and
school supplies out of the main warehouse in Hillside. At the FoodBank’s second warehouse in
Pleasantville, there is a community garden, an emergency pantry and several food rescue
programs are provided.

Kathleen has received numerous awards, including those from three Presidents, three NJ
Governors and the Pope. Ms. DiChiara was the recipient of the John van Hengel Fellow Award
for her vision and leadership of one of the most innovative and productive food banks in the
country. During her more than 30 years of involvement with food distribution to the needy, she
has designed and implemented programs to alleviate hunger and poverty that have been replicated
by food banks across the nation. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from SUNY-
Oneonta and seven honorary Doctorate Degrees from universities in New Jersey and New York.
“I am honored to receive this award, but I never could have done it alone. There have been so
many people who have joined together to help over 750,000 people,” said DiChiara. “I cannot
remember a time when so many people are going without such a basic need as food. We cannot
continue to have our children, elderly and working poor going without food. We need even more
people to help,” she added.

Reverend Maria J. Ortiz relocated to Newark from the Dominican Republic in 1981 and attended
the Newark Public Schools. She has worked for the Newark Public Schools for ten years and is
currently the Vice Principal of the Rafael Hernandez Elementary School in Newark and an
Associate Minister at Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington. Rev. Ortiz earned her
Bachelor’s Degree in English Writing and Teacher Certification with honors from William
Paterson University in 2001, her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Teaching with Summa Cum
Laude honors from Columbia University in 2004 and is currently pursuing her Masters of
Divinity Degree from Drew Theological Seminary. At Columbia, she was inducted into the
Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society and received several scholarships and honorariums
from the Columbia University Diversity Scholarship Organization.

Rev. Ortiz’s unyielding commitment to serve has taken her around the world. While at William
Paterson, she completed two study abroad programs in Portsmouth, England and Accra, Ghana
and she has supported and visited foreign ministries in Latin America (Honduras, Dominican
Republic, Columbia), Africa (Ghana, Liberia) and in the United States (Mississippi, Rhode
Island). Rev. Ortiz serves on the Board of Trustees for LaCasa De Don Pedro, NPO. She has
earned numerous awards and honors for her work as an educator and leader in the community,
such as the Newark Public School Superintendent Grant Award, William Paterson University-
EOF Outstanding Leadership Award, the Cambridge Award for “Who’s Who Among American
Professionals” and the NJ State Thomas Kean Outstanding Leadership Award. Rev. Ortiz is
currently resides in Newark with her family.

“My mother worked hard every day and she taught me to value opportunity, education, leadership
and love,” said Ortiz. “I am who I am today because of her and I truly thank the County
Executive for this great honor,” she added.

Deborah Terrell has been the Principal of the Harriet Tubman School for the past 10 years. As
principal, she and her staff work to exemplify the school’s motto, “Excellence by Design.” Under
Principal Terrell’s leadership, Harriet Tubman School was recognized as a 2007 National Blue
Ribbon School and received the 2008 National Excellence in Urban Education Award. Harriet
Tubman School was the only urban school in New Jersey to simultaneously receive both of these
prestigious awards. Prior to serving as Principal of Harriet Tubman, Ms. Terrell served as the
Vice Principal of Ann Street School and was a member of the administrative team that was
recognized as the District’s first National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Principal Terrell is
the only Newark Public Schools administrator to receive the National Blue Ribbon School
recognition in her respective positions as Vice Principal and Principal.

Principal Terrell is the President of the National Organization of African-American
Administrators, Co-Chair of the Newark Public School/Charter School Collaboration and serves
as an Executive Board Member of the City Association of Supervisors & Administrators. Ms.
Terrell has established herself as a dynamic leader and educator and has been recognized for her
leadership on several occasions. She was the recipient of the Benedetto Croce Educational
Society’s Distinguished Leadership Award, the Organization of African American
Administrators’ Educational Leadership Award and was recognized by the Newark Municipal
Council, the Bronze Shields, Inc. and the Greater Newark Alliance of Black School Educators,
Inc. for her leadership and commitment to educational excellence. She is a product of Newark
Public Schools, having attended Hawkins Street School and East Side High School. She earned
her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Rutgers University and her Master of Arts Degree from
Montclair State University.

“It is important that we not only plant the seeds for success in our children’s lives, but nurture
them as well. I am proud to be a woman and a principal, but most importantly a keeper of
children,” said Terrell. “I thank the County Executive for this great honor,” she added.

The entertainment was provided by Kathy Brown of the Essex County Board of Chosen
Freeholders Office, who sang the National Anthem, and the Arts High School Gospel Choir
rendered two selections, under the direction of Arts High English Teacher, Scott O. Cumberbatch.

The Annual Essex County Althea Gibson Leadership Awards are dedicated to the memory of the
late professional tennis and golf legend, who was the first African-American to win the
Wimbledon Tennis and U.S. Golf Championships. In 1957, Ms. Gibson became the first African-
American to win the All-England Championship. That same year she became the first black to be
voted by the Associated Press as its Female Athlete of the Year. The Althea Gibson Foundation
exposes children in the inner city to the game of tennis and golf, and provides recreational
activities for students during the summer.

The Women’s History Month Celebration is part of a year long cultural series created by County
Executive DiVincenzo to highlight the diversity and various ethnic groups in Essex County.
Other cultural celebrations celebrate African American Heritage, Irish Heritage, Italian Heritage,
Jewish Heritage, Latino Heritage and Portuguese Heritage.

								
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