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Governor Phil Murphy

Governor Murphy Announces Nominations to the New Jersey State Board of Education


TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today announced his nominations of Mary Bennett, Dr. Kwanghee Jung, and Dr. Claudine Keenan to the New Jersey State Board of Education. Their nominations will be sent to Senate for confirmation. 

“I am proud to announce my nominations to the State Board of Education today as I am confident that Mary, Kwanghee, and Claudine will be integral assets to New Jersey’s students,” said Governor Murphy. “Each of the nominees brings to the table unique insight that will be invaluable as we continue on our mission to maintain New Jersey’s place as the best state for public education in the nation. Not only do these nominees reflect the great diversity of our state, but their extensive experience and dedication to bettering the lives of students make them extremely qualified to serve on the Board.”

If confirmed, the nominees will join The New Jersey State Board of Education which consists of 13 members in total. These members serve for six-year terms. 

The State Board adopts the education administrative code, establishing regulations to implement state education law. These regulations cover the supervision and governance of the state’s 2,500 public schools, which serve nearly 1.4 million students. In addition, the State Board advises on educational policies proposed by the Commissioner and confirms Department of Education staff appointments made by the Commissioner.

“The State Board of Education plays a critical role in shaping the lives of the nearly 1.4 million students across our state,” said Senator Vin Gopal, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “In New Jersey, we will continue to strive for a public education system that expands opportunity, allowing every student to reach their full potential. I commend the Governor for nominating individuals who have demonstrated, throughout their accomplished careers, a steadfast commitment to public education and New Jersey’s students.” 

“We are pleased that Governor Murphy has nominated three highly qualified public education advocates to serve on the NJSBOE,” said NJEA President Sean M. Spiller. “They bring a wealth and diversity of experience that will benefit New Jersey’s students and their families. We look forward to working with each of them, and the rest of the NJSBOE, to address the challenges facing our public schools and to ensure that they remain the very best in the nation.”

"I am sincerely honored by Governor Murphy's nomination of me to serve on the New Jersey State Board of Education,” said Mary Bennett. “I thank everyone who advocated and supported my nomination. I am a lifelong learner; and my years of ongoing study and training, decades of experience in varied educational roles supporting quality education for students, their families and all school personnel, demonstrate my qualifications. This is an incredible responsibility. I look forward to serving on behalf of the 2500+ public schools and the 1.4 million students in the schools throughout New Jersey."

“I would like to thank Governor Murphy for nominating me to become a member of the State Board of Education,” said Dr. Kwanghee Jung. “I am very thrilled and honored. I have spent more than 20 years researching the impact of high quality early education, and I am ready to use that experience to help keep New Jersey's public education system the best in the nation. Students in our State represent a deep diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, and I hope to make a difference for every one of them in this position.”

“I’m honored to be nominated, and I look forward to serving alongside fellow members who share my passion for continuous improvement in education,” said Dr. Claudine Keenan. “I’m grateful to Governor Murphy for this opportunity to engage more broadly in our state’s outstanding educational system.”

Mary Bennett has served as an Educational Consultant for the Seton Hall University Academy for Urban Transformation since 2007. In her capacity as an Educational Consultant, Bennett works to further the mission of the Academy by sharing expertise and experience to serve the urban school community. Bennett also serves as a University Instructor and Education Mentor at Montclair State University since 2005, where she designs curricula for pre-service teachers progressing from learning theory to fieldwork observation through the completion of student teaching. As an Education Mentor, she provides guidance on classroom pedagogy, classroom management, school community engagement, and professional education conduct. Bennett also led Project GRAD as Executive Director from 2001-2013. Bennett has experience as a High School Principal, Program Director for the Newark Board of Education, High School Vice Principal, and English Language Arts Teacher. Bennett earned her B.A. from Douglass College and M.A. in Curriculum Development from Rutgers University. Bennett also attended Seton Hall University for Administrative Credentialing. Bennett resides in Irvington, New Jersey. 

Dr. Kwanghee Jung is the Associate Director for Data Management and Statistics at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, a role she has held since 2011. She has been an Assistant Research Professor at NIEER since 2004. Dr. Jung leads the Data Management and Statistics team at NIEER and has designed and conducted large-scale, quasi-experimental designs focusing on early education and childcare policy issues. Her research and expertise have been instrumental in securing many federal, state, and foundation grants. Dr. Jung earned her B.S. from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Child and Family Studies from Syracuse University. Dr. Jung resides in Teaneck, New Jersey. 

Dr. Claudine Keenan has served as the Dean of Education for Stockton University for over 10 years where she oversees bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs for more than 1000 students. Prior to her role as Dean of Education, Dr. Keenan worked as the Chief Planning and Budget Officer for Stockton University where she was responsible for the supervision of institutional research and institutional assessment and accreditation. Previously, she was the Director of Academic Programs for Marlboro College Graduate School in Brattleboro, Vermont where she designed and directed programs in leading and teaching with internet technologies. Dr. Keenan received her B.A. in English and Secondary Education from Adelphi University, her M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition from California State University, and her Ed.D in Educational Leadership from the University of Massachusetts. She resides in Galloway, New Jersey.

For a picture of Mary Bennett, click here

For a picture of Dr. Kwanghee Jung, click here

For a picture of Dr. Claudine Keenan, click here.