Office of the Commissioner

David C. Hespe David C. Hespe
Acting Commissioner
New Jersey Department of Education

100 River View Plaza
P.O. Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625
Telephone (609) 292-4450
Fax (609) 777-4099

The Commissioner of Education is the chief executive school officer of New Jersey and supervises all public schools. He or she is also a member of the Governor's cabinet, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the New Jersey Senate. As education leader of the state, the Commissioner recommends legislative initiatives and changes, suggests rules and regulations for state board consideration, produces educational research, conducts initiatives to meet the state's educational needs, and serves as liaison between the local school districts and the federal government.

State law grants the Commissioner a broad range of powers and responsibilities, such as deciding legal controversies and disputes that arise under school law or state board regulations. The Commissioner's decisions have the force of law.

The Commissioner also has the following responsibilities:

  • serves as secretary to the State Board of Education;
  • develops code proposals for state board discussion and consideration;
  • apportions state aid to local districts;
  • administers regulations for classifying students with disabilities;
  • ensures that local districts adhere to all legal and state board requirements relating to school district operation; and
  • conducts statewide tests.

The Commissioner appoints members to and serves as chairman of the New Jersey State Board of Examiners, a 14-member group of educators that issues, suspends or revokes state certificates of elementary and secondary teachers and other professionals. The board also determines whether alternative experiences meet course of study requirements for certification and recommends certification standards and requirements to the State Board of Education.