In the past few weeks, Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf lost three key staff members, while welcoming a new director of educator evaluation.
David Hespe will step down the New Jersey Department of Education's chief of staff, a position he held since July 2011, to become president of Burlington County College. Hespe served as state education commissioner and education counsel during the administration of Gov. Christie Whitman. In addition, Hespe has served as co-executive director of the STEM Education for the Liberty Science Center. He is a former chairman of the board of trustees of the Education Leadership Foundation of New Jersey, an NJSBA affiliate, and chaired Gov. Chris Christie’s Education Transformation Task Force.
The New Jersey School Boards Association issued congratulations to Hespe on his appointment as president of Burlington County Community College. “Dave Hespe has been an outstanding leader for elementary and secondary public education,” said Marie S. Bilik, NJSBA executive director. “We have always appreciated his understanding of the role and responsibilities of local boards of education and believe he will make an outstanding contribution to New Jersey students in his new position in higher education.”
Andrew Smarick will step down from his position as deputy commissioner of education to return to Washington, D.C. According to news reports, he cited personal reasons for leaving, and will work for Bellweather Education Partners, a non-profit organization that aims to increase academic achievement in urban areas. Smarick came from the D.C. area, having previously worked as an education aide in the White House, as deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, and a fellow at the Fordham Institute. While serving as New Jersey Department of Education's second in command, he led reform efforts that included changes to charter schools and a new system of teacher evaluations.
Penny MacCormack, assistant commissioner/chief academic officer for the New Jersey Department of Education since October 2011, will become the new superintendent of the Montclair School District in November. The Montclair Board of Education announced the appointment on Monday. Before coming to the state Department of Education, she had served as chief academic officer for Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut. She previously worked as an assistant superintendent, principal and science teacher.
Meanwhile, the department announced on July 30 that it is welcoming Timothy Matheney as director of educator evaluation. Matheney worked as principal for eight years at South Brunswick High School, and previously worked as an assistant principal and teacher in Minnesota. He served on the 2011-2012 state Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee ( EPAC), alongside NJSBA executive director Marie Bilik.