David C. Hespe
David Hespe was appointed Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education on March 20, 2014, returning for what is now his fourth time working at the Department.
Mr. Hespe is an accomplished leader with decades of public service in New Jersey. His prior service at the Department included working as the Education Commissioner from 1999 through 2001; Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Executive Services from 1997 to 1998; and Chief of Staff during the first term of the Christie Administration.
Acting Commissioner Hespe returned to service in the Department of Education because he believes we all share a very simple goal – to help the nearly 1.4 million students in New Jersey's schools grow and excel so they can be adequately prepared for college and careers. He will oversee the continued implementation of the Common Core State Standards, the new teacher and principal evaluation system, the transition to online testing as developed by the PARCC consortium, and building innovative models of education that meet 21st century requirements.
In addition to his experience at the Department of Education, Acting Commissioner Hespe most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Burlington County College, overseeing an enrollment of more than 10,000 students across four campuses. He also served as an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Rowan University's College of Education, where he was Department Chair for five years. As the former Assistant Superintendent and later Interim Superintendant of Schools for the Willingboro School District, he oversaw the administration of all activities of the district and the development and implementation of its programs and goals.
Mr. Hespe also developed and implemented STEM-based educational programs, activities and content for Liberty Science Center during his tenure there as Co-Executive Director and Vice President of STEM Education. His invaluable knowledge and experience in STEM-based programs and activities helped to increase interest and awareness of the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula and programs – all of which are crucial components to ensuring that New Jersey's students are ready to compete in a global economy.
Acting Commissioner Hespe holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Rutgers University and a Law Degree from the University of Rutgers-Newark. He began his career as a law clerk at the Mercer County Superior Court and then joined a private law firm before entering public service in 1989 as Associate Counsel at the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services. Mr. Hespe went on to serve as Assistant Counsel in Governor Whitman's Office and later served as First Assistant Attorney General.
He and his wife Cindy have a son in college.