Mary Jo was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and was raised in West Orange. After her high school graduation, she enrolled in Caldwell College, where she earned first her bachelor’s and then her master’s degrees in elementary education. She has also earned certification as a learning disabilities teacher consultant from Seton Hall University.
Once her husband took office, Mary Jo taught part time. Simultaneously she served as the ambassador to the Governor’s Book Club, which encouraged reading and literacy skills among elementary school children. This position gave her an opportunity to visit schools all over the state and read aloud to children. She also worked tirelessly to promote awareness for women’s mental health issues, particularly post-partum depression, and breast cancer.
After her husband left office, Mary Jo accepted a teaching position at a private elementary school in West Orange, New Jersey.