Deborah Smith-Gregory

President, NAACP Newark NJ Branch

Deborah Smith Gregory serves as the president of the NAACP Newark NJ Branch, the  largest in the state with over 1,000 members. 

In 2020, she was re- elected as president of the Newark Branch NAACP, and is  currently serving her fourth term in office. Her focus is on educational equity and  excellence for Newark Public Schools children, civic engagement, criminal justice  reform, health care and economic development.  

Deborah was raised in the city of Newark and a product of the Newark Public Schools. A  graduate of Seton Hall University, she continued her education with postgraduate  studies at Montclair State University. She is retired from the Newark Public Schools  District where she worked for 34 years as a high school educator and a citywide activities  coordinator for the high schools.  

Deborah’s sense of civic responsibility is marked with unbounded energy and a love for  young people. As one of the founding members of the Newark NAACP’s Afro Academic Cultural Technical and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO,) Deborah has been the co-chairperson for the past 30 years. She also served as the NJ State ACT-SO  chairperson for 18 years. The ACT-SO program is a volunteer academic, cultural  enrichment mentoring program for high school students.  

Under her tenure, ACT-SO students have been consistently recognized both locally and  nationally for their achievements, in an array of categories including math, architecture,  music, art, oratory and film making.  

Deborah was a journalist and editor ofthe New Jersey Afro-American Newspaper from 1984-1989.  She was committed to giving positive publicity to the local  community while exploring topics that impacted the quality of life for African  Americans living in New Jersey.  She became the founding editor of New Jersey Perspectus News Magazine from 1989-1994, a monthly publication featuring stories about the concerns of African Americans. 

She is the proud mother of two sons and four grandchildren and embraces being the  product of an extended community village. She is also a world traveler, avid reader and  life long learner. 

Her motto:  “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”  Mahatma Gandhi