NJ Education Commissioner David Hespe will step down at the end of September and Kimberley Harrington, the Department’s Assistant Commissioner/Chief Academic Officer, will become Acting Commissioner. Hespe will begin exploring new career opportunities in teaching and learning, according to the Christie administration.
“For over two years, David Hespe has been working for the betterment of New Jersey’s students, educators, and schools,” said Governor Christie. “Unquestionably, New Jersey’s students are more college and career ready and in better position to succeed thanks to the tireless efforts of Education Commissioner David Hespe.”
“On behalf of NJBIA, it has been a pleasure working with Commissioner Hespe,” explained Melanie Willoughby, Chief Government Affairs Officer for NJBIA. “He has been a true educator and one that understood the importance of the business community’s critical role in education.”
This past year, NJBIA worked closely with the Commissioner on improving state education standards and incorporating career readiness into the classroom. In fact, it was during his service New Jersey implemented the County Vocational-Technical School Grant Program to spur the creation of new career programs with the NJ Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools as well established career readiness indicators on New Jersey School Performance Reports.
Kimberley Harrington has also worked closely with NJBIA through New Jersey’s New Skills for Youth grant and the National Governors Association Policy Academy on Workforce Development.
“Assistant Commissioner Harrington will be an excellent leader for the department,” explained Tyler Seville. “She has been very visual, open to listening to all sides and has shown deep passion for preparing students for college and careers.”
“New Jersey has made tremendous progress in advancing our education system over the last six years and Kimberley Harrington’s extensive experience as a classroom teacher and effective administrator will ensure that we continue the progress” said Christie. “New Jersey’s educators know Kimberley very well, and she knows them – they have been meeting and talking for years. And those relationships are important to support our students, teachers and parents moving forward.”
According to the Governor’s Office, Harrington has been a classroom teacher for 16 years before serving three years as Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the local level in New Jersey. Then in 2012, Harrington came to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) as the Director of Academic Standards and led the Department’s outreach to teachers and school leaders on how to align their local curriculum with New Jersey’s academic standards. She served as Chief Academic Officer and Assistant Commissioner for the last two years.