At its monthly meeting on June 5, the New Jersey State Board of Education heard updates and took actions on the following matters:

  • Officers Nominated — Kathy Goldenberg, a former local school board member from Moorestown, was nominated to be president of the State Board.

“NJSBA has had the privilege of working with Kathy Goldenberg in her role as a local school board member and board president,” said NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod. “She has distinguished herself as an advocate for public education and a supporter of local school board governance. Her commitment to children can only be described as inspiring.”

Joseph Ricca, a former chief school administrator from Morris County, was nominated as vice president. Officer elections will be held at the July meeting.

The State Board also approved its calendar of meetings for the upcoming fiscal year.

  • Appointments — The State Board appointed the following persons to positions at the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE):
    • Cary Booker, assistant commissioner, Division of Early Childhood Education. Formerly, Booker was senior education policy advisor to Gov. Phil Murphy;
    • Abdulsaleem Hasan, assistant commissioner, Division of Field Services;
    • Allen Dupree, director, Office of School Finance;
    • Shashi Yellambhatla, director, Office of Information Technology;
    • Kim Buxembaum, director, Office of Special Education;
    • Leslie Franks-McRae, director, Office of Supplemental Services.
  • Graduation Assessment Requirement Update — The commissioner updated the State Board on litigation concerning assessment.  He said that the state and the Education Law Center, which had been in litigation over assessment requirements, had jointly asked the court for an order to extend its decision to the graduating classes of 2021 and 2022.  On the afternoon of June 5, the Appellate Division of Superior Court granted the joint motion. (See related article in this edition of School Board Notes.)
  • CTE Certification — The State Board officially proposed amendments to regulations to ease the growing shortage of CTE teachers. The NJDOE proposes to amend  the regulations to provide flexibility for individuals seeking to obtain a career and technical education (CTE) endorsement to an instructional certificate and to increase the pool of CTE teacher candidates. The proposed amendments are intended to address CTE teacher shortages in in-demand industries and occupations, which affect approved CTE programs of study in comprehensive high schools, charter high schools, and county vocational school districts.
  • Newark — The State Board received an update on the Newark school district, which will gain full local control in 2020.  The district is currently finishing its three-year strategic plan and hopes to put in place a strategic plan that will span 10 years, lasting until 2030. According to the district, one of the greatest challenges facing it is attendance. Currently, the district has an attendance rate of 92 percent.  In order to increase attendance, the district is actively working with principals and school staff to employ effective strategies to assist students who face challenges getting to school on a regular basis.  The school district continues to improve academically.  However, the district faces a number of infrastructure challenges that will need to be addressed in the near future.