The State Board of Education has approved Dr. Charles T. Epps, Jr. as the new State District Superintendent for the Jersey City Public Schools. Epps, who has served as the districts Associate Superintendent for Community and Support Services since 1998, was recommended to the board by Commissioner David Hespe. The current superintendent, Dr. Richard A. DiPatri, is leaving Jersey City to become Superintendent of Schools for Brevard County in Florida.
Epps has dedicated his entire education career to the Jersey City School District. Since joining the district as a teacher of grades six and seven at the Whitney M. Young School in 1967, Epps has worked his way up through the ranks of the district as a teacher, supervisor, principal of adult evening programs, and director of funded programs.
"I am very proud to recommend to the Board that Dr. Charles Epps, Jr. lead the Jersey City School District at this critical time," said Commissioner Hespe. "Dr. Epps is not only an outstanding educator, but a man who has spent over three decades energizing the community to improve both programs and student outcomes in the district."
Hespe commended the new Superintendent for his leadership in implementing numerous outstanding programs over the past several years.
"Many of Jersey Citys record nine Best Practices awards received from the Department of Education in the past two years have recognized programs overseen or founded by Dr. Epps," said Hespe.
"Additionally, he has taken a leadership role in the districts efforts to reduce the drop-out rate, which has fallen from a high of 14.6 percent to three straight years at 10 percent or lower," he added.
Hespe noted that Epps is also highly regarded in his role as Chairman of the Hudson County Community College Board of Trustees.
"As chairman, Dr. Epps helped establish the Opportunity Knocks scholarship program allowing graduating seniors in Jersey City to attend Hudson County Community College tuition free," said the commissioner.
Epps has long been active in the community and serves on several advisory boards, including the National Conference on Community and Justice, the Hudson Cradle advisory board, the Hudson County Schools of Technology advisory board, and the Jersey City welfare board. Last year, he was recognized by both the NAACP (Outstanding Educator award) and the Urban League (A Man for All Men award) for his contributions to Jersey City and its public school system.
Epps education includes a B.A. in Education at Bishop College in Dallas, Texas, followed by a Masters degree in Education from Seton Hall University and a doctorate in education from Rutgers University.
Hespe stressed that Epps will provide strong leadership and stability as the Jersey City School system continues its transition from being a state-run district to local control.
"The department will continue to work closely with Dr. Epps, the Jersey City Board of Education and the Jersey City schools to ensure that progress continues on the strategic plan," added Hespe.
"I am very pleased that the Commissioner and the State Board of Education are giving me this opportunity," said Epps. "I will seek to be a role model for students, a source of renewed commitment for the staff, and a catalyst for bringing all stakeholders into the educational process. Through it all, I will provide an administration which leads the district in effectuating a smooth and successful return to local control."