Community mourns passing of beloved Eastside High School principal

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Dr. Gerald Glisson (Facebook photo)
By Bradford Mason

The Paterson, NJ community is remembering Eastside High School principal Dr. Gerald Glisson, who recently passed away from coronavirus (COVID-19) complications. Glisson had served as principal of the high school since 2017. He was 46.

Reports indicate that Glisson passed away in a city hospital Monday night. He served as principal to the nearly 750 students who make up Eastside High School.

“Words cannot describe the magnitude of this loss. Dr. Glisson will long be remembered for his strong integrity and steadfast character. Please keep his family in your prayers at this most difficult time,” said Paterson Public Schools Superintendent Eileen F. Shafer

Referred to by those who knew him as a "gentle giant," Glisson was a 1996 graduate of the historically Black Delaware State University (DSU) where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and played football. He would go on to earn a Master's degree in Special Education and Teaching and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration. 

Before serving as principal of Eastside High, Glisson worked in special education and had leadership roles as an athletic director for Paterson Public Schools and the Neptune Township Board of Education. He previously served as principal of Great Falls Academy in Paterson was the executive director of Junies Johnson Community Development Inc.

Glisson was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. being initiated at the Psi Epsilon Chapter at DSU and an active member of the Lambda Upsilon Chapter in Paterson.

Gov. Phil Murphy highlighted Glisson's life and career during the state's daily coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday.

"Too many students and countless others across Patterson, he was a beloved, respected presence, not to mention a role model," Murphy said.

Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry was Glisson's half-brother and called Glisson his idol.

"If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be where I am today," Curry said on social media. "Because of you, I got to live my dream of playing college division 1 football. Words can’t describe how thankful I am for you. Because of you, I learned family values and how to never stop believing in yourself. I am lost, I am torn, I feel like my heart has been ripped right out of my chest."

Glisson leaves behind his wife of over 20 years, Michelle, and their two daughters.

The Lambda Upsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, Inc. in Paterson has started a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Glisson's family.

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