On Friday, Sept. 2, Gov. Chris Christie announced the resignation of New Jersey Commissioner of Education David Hespe.
“We are entering another school year, which represents a time of transition for thousands of students,” said Hespe in a statement. “Just as they will be embarking on a new stage of life, I have decided that the time is right for me to do the same.”
Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association, issued a statement in response to the announcement. “Dave Hespe’s concern for the welfare of New Jersey’s schoolchildren is outstanding and sincere,” said Feinsod. “As our state’s chief education officer, he has been extremely accessible, has always given time to listen to the concerns of local boards of education, and has worked collaboratively on many issues.
“Whether you agreed with him on a particular issue, or not, Dave has always had the respect of his colleagues because of his genuine interest and concern for our state’s public schools.
“Commissioner Hespe is honest and ethical and has represented himself, the New Jersey Department of Education and our state’s public schools in the highest professional manner. He will certainly be missed.”
Hespe, a longtime education professional who has served as education commissioner since February 2014, held the same position during Gov. Christie Todd Whitman’s administration. He was also chief of staff at the New Jersey Department of Education from 2011 to 2012; president of Burlington County College; and former assistant superintendent and later interim superintendent in the Willingboro school district.
From 2009 to 2011, Hespe was chairman of the board of trustees of the Education Leadership Foundation of New Jersey (ELFNJ), a nonprofit that works with NJSBA to advance public education governance through training, research and attaining grants to further professional development.
Harrington is Acting Commissioner Gov. Chris Christie also announced the appointment of Kimberley Harrington, the current assistant commissioner/chief academic officer, as acting commissioner of education.
“The New Jersey School Boards Association has enjoyed an excellent relationship with Kimberley Harrington,” said Feinsod. “We look forward to continue working with her toward our mutual goal of advancing the achievement of all of our state’s public school students.”
Hespe’s resignation will be effective at the end of September.