Dr. M. Jerry Weiss, Distinguished Service Professor of Communications Emeritus at New Jersey City University, has had an important influence on literacy in New Jersey, as well as the larger United States. A nationally recognized expert in the field of children's and adolescent literature and a pioneer in the area of Whole Language, Dr. Weiss taught at New Jersey City University for 33 years before retiring in 1994. For many years Dr. Weiss coordinated the "Adolescent in Literature‚ series, a highly-regarded program he established. This series featured guest speakers composed of distinguished authors of novels for young adult and adolescent readers and was housed on the campus of New Jersey City University (formerly Jersey City State College and Jersey City Teachers College).
Dr. Weiss completed his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina and earned his Master of Arts and Doctor of Education degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University. He has taught English, language arts, and reading in secondary schools and colleges in Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and New Jersey. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Toledo, University of Missouri in Kansas City, University of Rhode Island, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, University of Utah, and Western Washington State University. He has been a consultant to school districts in Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and California. He has conducted workshops throughout the United States, in London, Canada, Dublin, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Scotland.
Dr. Weiss is the author and editor of countless books and articles, most recently writing with his wife, Helen. He has been an advisor and editor for many publishers and on a variety of reading series. He has also held numerous state and national professional offices including serving as president of the New Jersey Reading Association. He has also held leadership positions in the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association.
Dr. Weiss was the first New Jersey resident to receive the International Reading Association's Arbuthnot Award and was also awarded the International Reading Association's prestigious Special Service Award. The College Reading Association, New Jersey Reading Association, and Assembly of Children's Literature (NCTE) each awarded Dr. Weiss a Distinguished Service Award for their respective organizations. In 2008, the editorial board of the New Jersey Reading Association's New Jersey Journal of Literacy bestowed the honor of Distinguished Educator in the state of New Jersey to Dr. Weiss.
The New Jersey Reading Association also presents an annual "M. Jerry Weiss Book Award,‚ affectionately known as "The Jerry.‚ The award, established in his honor in 1993, is given to a children's, juvenile, or young adult author selected by students throughout the state of New Jersey.
The honors bestowed on Dr. Weiss only begin to recognize the accomplishments of this amazing scholar, teacher, and friend of young (and old) readers.
Dr. Weiss resides in Montclair, New Jersey.