Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christie Taps New Education Chief

HUGE news from New Jersey!  Chris Cerf is an ed reform WARRIOR and the combination of him and Gov. Christie (and, as it relates to Newark, Mayor Booker) will be very powerful:

·         December 16, 2010, 8:03 PM ET

Christie Taps New Education Chief


By Lisa Fleisher

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has selected former New York City schools official Christopher Cerf to be his next commissioner of education, two sources close to the administration said.

Cerf will be nominated to lead a department that has been adrift since the sacking of its former commissioner, Bret Schundler, in the wake of the state's loss in a federal education grant. A spokeswoman for the governor would not confirm the selection.

Christie has spent the past year cutting school funding, tangling with teachers and superintendents, and trying to make New Jersey's schools do more with less. He has pointed to Newark and other cities as examples of school systems where more money has not led to education gains, leaving children "trapped" in failing schools.

Joel Klein, the outgoing chancellor of New York City schools, where Cerf served as a deputy chancellor until 2009, called Cerf "a man of enormous intellect, talent and deep understanding of K-12 education and would be a terrific leader."

Klein, who recruited the former Supreme Court law clerk to the New York City Department of Education, credits Cerf with moving the system of 1,600 schools and 1.1 million children toward greater accountability from school leaders and teachers. During his time, Cerf helped push principals to scrutinize the work of teachers that were up for tenure and to deny or delay tenure if teachers weren't up to snuff, he said.

Cerf, of Montclair, N.J., was also a senior campaign adviser on education to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to information from the website of Sangari Global Education, where he is chief executive.

If confirmed by the state Senate, Cerf would be tasked with implementing Christie's schools policy, which has included a push toward merit pay for teachers, the promotion of charter schools and increased school choice for parents.

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