Gov. Phil Murphy recently named 23 individuals who will serve on the Task Force on Public School Staff Shortages in New Jersey, including Dr. Timothy Purnell, executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association.

The task force, established by Executive Order No. 309, will provide recommendations to address the challenges facing New Jersey’s educational workforce and develop short and long-term recommendations to increase the quantity of K-12 school staff – including teachers and support staff – in the state.

“Educators play an invaluable role in shaping the lives of their students and ultimately molding our country’s future,” Murphy said. “As we emerge from the pandemic, we must recognize the impact that teacher shortages in our state and across the nation will have on our economy, the arts and our civil society. My administration remains steadfast in our commitment to identifying solutions to address this shortage, and I am confident that this task force will offer the unique perspectives and experience that this moment requires.”

NJSBA is keenly aware of the challenges that school districts face in finding qualified teachers to teach our children, Purnell said. “Districts are also struggling to find enough bus drivers, paraprofessionals and support staff who are critical in creating an environment where every student can succeed,” he said. “I’ll draw on insights from board members throughout the state to share ideas with the task force – and I’m eager to hear what other members bring to the table, as well.”

The task force will explore best practices and innovative ways to recruit and retain school staff. It will also identify best practices and resources to increase the pipeline of teachers and educational support candidates.

The task force will be chaired by Dennis Zeveloff, chief policy adviser to the governor, and will include Christopher Huber, the designee for the New Jersey Department of Education.

The members of the task force represent a diverse pool of individuals appointed upon the recommendation of legislative leaders. In addition to Purnell, the task force includes:

  • Dr. David Aderhold
  • Gisela Adorno
  • Karen Bingert
  • Madeline Boehning
  • Jackie Burke
  • Dr. Janet Fike
  • Dr. Adam Fried
  • Henry Goodhue
  • Trina Jenkins
  • Debra Jennings
  • Margaret Kinsell
  • Dr. Amy Kline
  • Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt
  • Harry Lee
  • Dr. Stacey Leftwich
  • Sandra Montaez-Diodonet
  • Ikechukwu Onyema
  • Patricia Paradiso
  • Silvia Pereira
  • Sean Spiller
  • Dr. Richard Tomko
  • Michael Vrancik

The Task Force on Public School Staff Shortages in New Jersey will have until Jan. 31, 2023, to provide initial recommendations to the governor.