Education Commissioner David C. Hespe will step down at the end of September, announced Governor Chris Christie, who has named Kimberley Harrington, the Department’s Assistant Commissioner/Chief Academic Officer, as Acting Education Commissioner.
Hespe didn’t last long.
“For over two years, David Hespe has been working for the betterment of New Jersey’s students, educators, and schools,” said Governor Christie. “Under his leadership, the Department has implemented multiple initiatives that have expanded the educational opportunities for children in struggling urban districts, improved the professional supports available for educators, delivered relief from burdensome regulations weighing on districts, and has successfully entrenched New Jersey as a national leader in the use of technology in the classroom. 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.”
Following the completion of his tenure as Commissioner, Hespe will begin exploring new career opportunities in teaching and learning, according to the Christie administration.
“I would like to thank Governor Christie for his educational vision and leadership, and for his support and confidence in the Department as we implemented a number of very difficult but extremely impactful initiatives that continue to improve the education for our children, empower educators, and make our schools more effective,” Hespe said.
A classroom teacher for 16 years, Harrington served three years as Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the local level in New Jersey.
“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, 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. In that role, she oversaw the NJDOE’s Division of Teaching and Learning that has the responsibilities of the Division of Early Childhood Education, the offices of Primary Education, Intermediate and Secondary Education, Teaching and Learning Support, Academic Initiatives and Fiscal Accountability, Career Readiness, Educational Technology, and School Innovation, as well as the Amistad and Italian and Italian American Heritage Commissions. She has also been in charge of implementing New Jersey’s Student Learning Standards with the ultimate goal of providing a path for students to become college- and career-ready as they graduate.
“Throughout my career as a classroom teacher and district administrator, I have always maintained a focus on the importance of the cycle of teaching and learning and its impact on improved outcomes for students,” said Harrington. “I have always placed a strong emphasis on building a strong climate and culture as a means of providing a solid foundation for sustainable progress. I look forward to working with Governor Christie to enhance education in New Jersey as well as strengthening current relationships and building new ones for the Department. Together we will continue to make a difference in children’s lives.”