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Friday, December 19, 2014

New Jersey education commissioner confirmed

Written by Adam Clark

TRENTON — For the second time, David Hespe is officially New Jersey's education commissioner.

Hespe, who served former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman from 1999 to 2001, was confirmed by the state Senate today after nine months as acting commissioner.

"I am thankful that the Senate confirmed me today to once again serve as Education Commissioner," Hespe said. "I’m grateful for Gov. Christie’s confidence that we can continue to improve public schools for children throughout the state.

Hespe has had a varied career in education, holding positions as an interim school superintendent and a college professor, among others.

He most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Burlington County College and previously was vice president of the Liberty Science Center, where he worked on the development of the STEM program.

His appointment was well-received among the state's professional education organizations, including the New Jersey Education Association. Though the NJEA said it disagrees with Hespe on certain policy issues, it believes he's committed to working with teachers.

His confirmation was approved unanimously, both by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate.

"We still have plenty of hard work ahead if we are to close the achievement gaps and make certain that students leave high school ready for college or career," Hespe said. "Still, I believe that the excellent educators across New Jersey will meet those goals."

Three residents testified against Hespe during his confirmation hearing, saying they had concerns about his support of Common Core standards.

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