Middle School Principal Jamaal Bowman has announced that he will challenge incumbent Congressman Elliot Engel.

The New York Times reported:

WASHINGTON — Jamaal Bowman, a middle school principal from the Bronx, announced on Tuesday his plans to challenge Representative Eliot L. Engel, the New York Democrat who leads the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, in the 2020 race.

The contest could serve as a key test of whether liberal insurgent groups can convert a surge of energy on the left into successful challenges of members of the Democratic Party establishment.

Mr. Bowman becomes the second liberal challenger to Mr. Engel this year, but the first New York primary candidate to be endorsed by Justice Democrats, the grass-roots group that helped fuel Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning defeat last year of Joseph Crowley of New York, the No. 4 Democrat in the House at the time.

“I’m inspired by all of the new lifestyles injected into Congress and the new ideas,” said Mr. Bowman, who will run against Mr. Engel, a 16-term incumbent who serves New York’s 16th Congressional District, and Andom Ghebreghiorgis, a teacher who, like Mr. Bowman, has vowed to pursue progressive policies, including “Medicare for all,” the Green New Deal and changes to public education.

The campaign announced:


The Founder of the innovative Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, Bowman has been a leader in the opt-out movement
NEW YORK, NY — Middle school principal, education advocate, and former teacher ​Jamaal Bowman​ launched his campaign for Congress in New York’s 16th district today with a spirited launch video discussing his family, professional background, and his case for taking on his opponent: 30-year incumbent Eliot Engel. Bowman is running to better represent the communities of The Bronx and Westchester with a focus on taking on racial and economic injustice.


“It’s time for a Democrat who will fight for schools and education, not bombs and incarceration,”
reads Bowman’s website.

Bowman was born and raised in New York City by a single mother and spent time in public housing and rent-controlled apartments. He and his wife live in Yonkers with their three kids and are both educators. Bowman founded a public middle school, ​the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action (CASA)​ in the Baychester neighborhood of The Bronx in 2009 and serves as its first principal.

Bowman has been an educator and advocate for public schools for over 20 years, including participating in community organizing and activism to support fully funding New York’s public schools, the movement to opt-out of standardized testing, and ​racial justice​. Bowman was a school teacher at PS 90 in The Bronx and Martin Luther King High School in Manhattan.
Despite the fact that Bowman’s middle school ranked first in New York City for improved test score average in 2015, Bowman has consistently been ​one of the most vocal critics​ in New York City and New York state to support the opt-out movement and speak out against the weaponization of standardized tests in public schools.

Bowman also implemented ​a restorative justice model at his middle school in order to combat the school-to-prison pipeline​. Within six years, the school had cut suspensions by two-thirds. Bowman’s school does not use suspensions for insubordination, which is particularly important because nationally, “willful defiance” is ​often found as a racially disproportionate cause​ for suspension.

June 17, 2019
Contact: ​waleedshahid@justicedemocrats.com
Bowman’s work as an educator was featured in ​Amsterdam News​, one of the oldest African American newspapers in the country in 2016. He was also featured in ​The Huffington Post​, ​The Washington Post,​ ​New York Daily News​, ​NY1​, and ​TedTalks​.


Driven by a desire to bring people together and create a better future for the young people in his community, Bowman has fought on behalf of the working families of the Bronx to ensure their children have the best education. He envisions a future where all students have an equal shot at a fulfilling life, career, and future, regardless of where they grow up.

Bowman was born and raised in New York City. He spent his early years with his grandmother in public housing at the East River Houses until he was 8 and later moved into rent-controlled apartments

Bowman didn’t have much growing up but his mother provided him all that he needed: love, a stable family, and a sense of community. Her guidance led him toward becoming a teacher, school principal, and community leader.

After finishing high school in New Jersey, Bowman earned a BA in Sports Management from the University of New Haven in 1999 — and immediately became a public school teacher back home in The Bronx. Bowman went on to earn a Masters Degree in Guidance Counseling from Mercy College and an Ed.D. with a specialization in Community Leadership from Manhattanville College.

Bowman’s crowning achievement was in founding a public middle school, the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action (CASA) and serving as its first principal. Located in the Baychester neighborhood of The Bronx, CASA is an innovative public school with a strong emphasis on student voice, holistic education, cultural awareness and love. He has also led efforts to educate elected officials on the impact of toxic stress on health and education outcomes.