The Educational Leadership Foundation of New Jersey has announced the appointment of David C. Hespe as the organization’s executive director.

“We are delighted that an educational leader of Dave Hespe’s caliber will be heading ELFNJ,” said Dr. Timothy J. Purnell, executive director and CEO of the New Jersey School Boards Association, who also serves as CEO of ELFNJ.  “He brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the organization, and we look forward to him playing a pivotal role in the continued growth and success of ELFNJ.”

Over the course of his long career, Hespe has served in a variety of roles, including twice as the New Jersey commissioner of education, from March 2014 to September 2016, and from March 1999 to March 2001. An attorney, he formerly served as first assistant attorney general for the state, as well as assistant counsel to Gov. Christie Todd Whitman.

Hespe’s educational experience also includes serving as assistant superintendent and then interim superintendent for the Willingboro school district, president of Burlington County College, and chair and associate professor of the Educational Leadership department at Rowan University’s College of Education.

He also served as chairman of the board of trustees of ELFNJ from 2009 to 2011.  

“I worked with the board of ELFNJ back when it was originally founded, and it was one of the more meaningful experiences of my life,”  Hespe said. “I am thrilled to come back not only to continue its mission but to expand it.”  Hespe officially assumes the role of executive director Feb. 1, 2024.

ELFNJ is a 501(c)(3) organization formed to advance the governance of New Jersey’s public schools through training and research. The organization assists the New Jersey School Boards Association in fulfilling its mission by securing resources to support the professional development of school board members. Training programs funded by ELFNJ, in partnership with the NJSBA, work to advance student achievement and improve school board governance.

Founded in 2008, ELFNJ, is governed by a board of trustees comprised of members who represent education, government, business and the nonprofit community.