Senior Staff Biographies

David C. Hepse -- Commissioner

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.

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.