Booker Brother Takes Leading Role in New Jersey Education


Credit: NJSBA
Cary Booker is the new Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Early Childhood Education

The Murphy administration continues to emphasize its commitment to the expansion of the nursery school. He did so yesterday with the appointment of Cary Booker, the older brother of US Senator Cory Booker, as Assistant Commissioner of Education for Early Childhood Education.

The appointment was one of six leadership positions approved by the State Board of Education yesterday at its monthly meeting. Several of the posts were to fill long vacant seats under the leadership of the state education commissioner, Lamont Repollet.

The new appointments are:

  • Abdulsaleem Hasan, Deputy Commissioner, External Services Division;
  • Cary Booker, Assistant Commissioner, Early Childhood Education Division;
  • Allen Dupree, Director, School Finance Office;
  • Shashi Yellambhatla, Director, Office of Information Technology;
  • Kim Buxembaum, Director, Office of Special Education;
  • Leslie Franks-McRae, Director, Office of Additional Services.
  • Booker’s appointment, effective July 1, was the culmination of an administration that places preschool emphasis at the heart of its education program.

    Two years older than U.S. Senator and former Professor Rutgers, Cary Booker worked in Governor Phil Murphy’s political office, focusing on education.

    Cary Booker has always kept a much lower profile than his famous brother, and he was not available for comment after the reunion. The administration has also not commented on his appointment.

    Murphy has a major preschool announcement scheduled for today in North Brunswick.

    This is the first time in nearly a decade that early childhood has been placed at the level of deputy commissioner in the Department of Education, a move that seeks to affirm Murphy and Repollet’s emphasis on preschool expansion. .

    Murphy proposed $ 68 million in additional funding for preschool in the most needy districts in FY2020, to $ 806 million. This is in addition to the $ 50 million in additional aid this year. If the latter is approved for next year, the increases would add a total of 12,000 state-funded preschool places over two years.

    First developed for districts falling under the Abbott v. Burke, publicly funded programs include two years of full-time preschool; class size does not exceed 15 students; they employ certified teachers and use research-based programs.


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