Governor Phil Murphy has announced his pick for the new commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education: Kevin Dehmer, a seasoned veteran with 15 years of experience at the department. Dehmer will replace Angelica Allen-McMillan, who is leaving her post as acting commissioner after a tumultuous three-year tenure.
Dehmer brings a wealth of experience to athe table, having served as executive director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University and as an assistant commissioner and chief financial officer at the Department of Education. He has also served as interim commissioner twice, in 2018 and 2020.
Allen-McMillan’s departure marks the end of a controversial tenure marked by disputes over education curriculum and gender identification policies, as well as a rocky relationship with the New Jersey Education Association. Despite her “acting” title, Allen-McMillan wielded significant authority during her three-year tenure.
Dehmer’s appointment is seen as a fresh start for the department, and he is expected to prioritize bridging the state’s literacy-rate crisis and supporting teachers, children, and parents. His confirmation hearing is expected to be smooth sailing, following praise from both Murphy and Ruiz.