Senior Staff Biographies
Christopher Cerf – Commissioner
Chris Cerf was sworn in as New Jersey’s Commissioner of Education on July 31, 2012 after serving as acting commissioner since January 18, 2011. Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Cerf was the CEO of Sangari Global Education, which offers innovative education programming to more than 500,000 students worldwide. Between 2004 and 2009, he was Deputy Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education where he oversaw organizational strategy, innovation, labor relations and all matters pertaining to recruiting, supporting, developing and evaluating the nearly 80,000 teachers and 1,450 principals who serve the nation’s largest school district. He earlier served as Associate Counsel to President Clinton and as a partner in two Washington, D.C., law firms. Prior to attending law school, he spent four years as a high school history teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio.As Commissioner, he oversees 2,500 public schools, 1.4 million students, and 110,000 teachers in over 600 school districts. Commissioner Cerf is committed to closing New Jersey’s academic achievement gap while substantially raising the achievement level of all New Jersey students. He is working to make New Jersey’s education system, already one of the best-performing systems in the country, into one focused on accelerating student learning, expanding quality choice offerings, and preparing students for college and careers.
Peter Shulman -- Chief Talent Officer/Assistant Commissioner of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness
Peter Shulman joined the New Jersey Department of Education as the Chief Talent Officer in November 2011. Prior to joining the department, Peter led the Teacher Leader Effectiveness Unit at the Delaware Department of Education, where he oversaw the teacher and leader effectiveness initiatives that are part of Delaware's successful bid for a Race to the Top award. Peter also served in the School District of Philadelphia and the Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida, where he served as Administrative Director in Human Resources. He has experience both at large urban school districts and a state education department. His work will center on helping to strengthen policy and practice around the recruitment, evaluation, development and retention of effective teachers and school leaders. He will have a range of responsibility that includes overseeing the department’s educator effectiveness work and rollout of the new teacher evaluation system. Peter will also spearhead work with graduate schools of education to ensure that their graduates are effectively prepared to achieve the mission of preparing all students in New Jersey to graduate from high school ready for college and career. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Bari Anhalt Erlichson -- Chief Performance Officer/Assistant Commissioner of Data, Research, Evaluation and Reporting
Bari Erlichson oversees school and district performance and accountability, the development of the state’s student-level, longitudinal data system, and research and evaluation efforts. A former professor at Rutgers University, Dr. Erlichson has conducted research in many topic areas, including school reform, education policy implementation, school funding, and governance. She is a co-author of the book, Multiethnic Moments: the Politics of Urban Education Reform (Temple University Press, 2006), as well as a contributor to several edited volumes and journals. Prior to joining the department, she taught fifth grade in Plainfield, New Jersey after having been a student teacher in the Newark Public Schools. Bari holds a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University, an M.A. in Education Administration and Policy from the Stanford School of Education, and a B.A. from Dartmouth College.
David Corso – Assistant Commissioner of Administration and Finance
Dave Corso has been an employee of the Department of Education since 1992 and has served in several positions in the department. Dave was the Director of Administration and Human Resources from July 2002 until his appointment to Assistant Commissioner in July 2011. He was also the Director of Human Resources for four years and the Manager of the Bureau of Management Services for seven years. In addition, he serves as the Department’s Ethics Liaison Officer, the Employee Relations Coordinator and the Emergency Management Coordinator. Dave began his state service in 1986 as a Budget and Program Analyst with the Department of Treasury, Office of Management and Budget. He then became Chief Fiscal and Administrative Officer at the Department of Insurance in 1990. He has over 25 years of public sector experience. Dave holds a B.S. in business management from St. Francis University in Loretto, PA and a master of public administration (MPA) from Rutgers University. He has the following certificates: Certificate of Eligibility - School Business Administrator, Certified Public Manager, and Supervisory Management.
Barbara Gantwerk – Assistant Commissioner of Student and Field Services
Barbara Gantwerk joined the New Jersey Department of Education in 1979 as the state consultant for speech and language services, and in 1994 she was appointed state director of the Office of Special Education, a position she held for 11 years. In 2006, she was appointed to the position of Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Student Services. Barbara began her career as a speech pathologist in Tel Aviv Israel where she worked at a treatment center for children with disabilities and established the first citywide screening program for speech and language disorders. She also taught at the University of Tel Aviv. Upon returning to the United States, she worked as a speech pathologist with children with disabilities. Barbara holds both a BA and an MA in Speech Pathology from Brooklyn College.