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Contact: Richard Vespucci
For Release: February 21, 2001

State Board of Education Welcomes Dr. Vito A. Gagliardi
As Next Commissioner of Education

The New Jersey State Board of Education today welcomed Dr. Vito A. Gagliardi as the next Commissioner of Education. Dr. Gagliardi officially assumed the role of Acting Commissioner today.

Last week, Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco nominated Dr. Gagliardi to succeed David C. Hespe. When his nomination is confirmed by the state Senate, Dr. Gagliardi will become New Jersey’s 26th Commissioner of Education.

"Vito Gagliardi’s career is marked by his service and dedication to improving educational opportunities for the young people of New Jersey," said Maud Dahme, president of the State Board of Education. "I join my colleagues on the state board in welcoming him to lead the state’s education community in improving the quality and quantity of our teachers, and raising student performance through implementation of our Core Curriculum Content Standards."

"I am both humbled and honored to have the great privilege to serve the children of New Jersey," Gagliardi said.

"I am eager to work with the State Board of Education to implement its five-year strategic plan and improve education for students in every school district," Dr. Gagliardi said. "As Commissioner, I pledge to work with all advocates for children so that, together, we can ask ourselves: ‘What have we done for the children of New Jersey today?’ and be proud of the answer."

Dr. Gagliardi, of Scotch Plains, has had a 37-year distinguished career in New Jersey education. He has served as a classroom teacher, school principal and superintendent.

He began his career in the Westfield Public Schools as a teacher of mathematics, language arts literacy, social studies and a summer preschool program for minority children. From there, he became principal of the Sharon Elementary School in Washington Township Mercer County. Three years later, he was appointed the district’s superintendent of schools, a position he held for 11 years.

He joined the Department of Education in 1981 as director of the School Executive Academy, which was created by the New Jersey Department of Education to offer professional development opportunities to educators. From 1982 to 1983, he served as an acting assistant deputy commissioner of education. From 1983 until 1991, he was the Union County superintendent of Schools. From there, he served as superintendent of Union County Vocational-Technical Schools until 1994.

From 1994 to 1997, Dr. Gagliardi was an education policy advisor to President of the New Jersey Senate and now Acting Governor DiFrancesco. From 1997-2000, he was a special assistant to the Commissioner of Education, charged with leading a special task force that examined the finances, governance and operation of New Jersey’s special needs (Abbott) districts. During this period, the task force concentrated its efforts on the schools in Asbury Park and Camden.

Gagliardi holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in administration from Kean University. He earned a doctorate in educational administration and supervision from Rutgers University.

His professional associations include president of the New Jersey School Development Council and membership on the executive committee of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators. He also has been a member of the American Association of School Administrators, Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, State Youth Services Commission, State Board of Examiners, Union County Vocational-Technical Board of Education, Union County College Board of Trustees and Union County Educational Services Commission.

Dr. Gagliardi, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, resides in Scotch Plains with his wife Marie.