Class: 1965Inducted: 2016
Phyllis has spent the past 40 years working with non-profit organizations in developing public policy and organizing strategies. After graduating from Boston University in 1969, Phyllis began a 10 year teaching career in the City of Newark. A leader in the Newark Teachers Union, she participated in two long strikes and was part of a group of 200 teachers who were arrested and eventually spent several weeks in jail - the first time in the country that teachers were jailed for participating in a job action.
As the Executive Director of New Jersey Citizen Action, the state’s largest and oldest multi-issue, membership based organization fighting for economic justice, Phyllis oversees the advocacy, lobbying and direct services empowerment programs while supervising the development and implementation of the organization’s voter engagement, education, mobilization and endorsement process.
With a long history of public service, Phyllis was appointed by Governor Brendan Byrne as trustee of the Teacher’s Pension and Annuity Fund. She served on the Transition Teams of Governor Jon Corzine and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and was appointed as a Commissioner of the NJ Public Broadcasting Authority by Governor Jim McCreevey.
Because of her strong housing and banking background Phyllis served for four years as a member of the Federal Reserve Community Advisory Council during President Obama’s Administration and was appointed to the Statewide Urban Task Force for the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance Department of Banking and Insurance. Phyllis was appointed by former New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Wilentz to serve on a special Task Force to review the special section Superior Court, Tenant/Landlord Division and appointed by Governor Thomas Kean to the state’s Housing Task Force.
Phyllis has been married to Stewart Kaplowitz, a graduate of Weequahaic High School in Newark for 40 years and has two children. Their daughter Joanna was born in 1978 and she is married to Stephen Horwitz and have 2 children - Ellie who is 6 and Lyla who is almost two. Their son Zachary was born in 1981 and he and his wife Rebecca Molnar have a daughter, Hannah, who is 8 months old.
Phyllis is so very proud to be an APHS Alumni and to join such a prestigious group of inductees, past and present in the Hall of Fame.
The quote that represents her philosophy is from Maya Angelo: "I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass".