According to sources who will remain anonymous, Gov. Phil Murphy has decided to fire his Commissioner of Education Angelica Allen-McMillan.
This is a developing story.
Allen-McMillan, chief of the New Jersey Education Department, has come under fire for a host of reasons, many reported here: lackadaisical oversight during the Covid-19 pandemic and its attendant school closures and their pivot to remote learning; failure to produce adequate guidance when schools reopened; the DOE’s inability to either quantify or lessen the digital divide between richer districts and poorer districts; Allen-McMillan’s warped focus on gender identity and other hot cultural issues instead of math and reading proficiency; her inability to fully staff the Department (there are currently 147 vacancies) and retain leaders with institutional knowledge; the extraordinary delay in releasing last spring’s student proficiency scores.
That last reason—NJ was one of only two states that hadn’t released test scores when the DOE did so in December-–is the one that apparently pushed Murphy over the edge. The word is that he’s selected Eric Crespo, Superintendent of Weehawken School DIstrict.
Allen-McMillan was confirmed as Commissioner in October 2020, shortly after her predecessor, Lamont Repollet, left for the presidency of Kean University. She inherited many of the problems engendered by Repollet, who chased out competent staffers and began his campaign of lowering academic standards. Previously she served as an assistant principal and principal in the South Orange-Maplewood School District, as an assistant superintendent in both Irvington Public Schools and Newark Public Schools, and was the Interim Executive County Superintendent for Morris County.
NJ Ed Report has contacted the Education Department for comment. If we hear a reply we’ll amend this story.
UPDATE: According to the Governor’s Office, Commissioner Allen-McMillan is not leaving and rumors to the contrary are “absolutely false.” However, an additional source has now verified the story.