By AMANDA LaBOY
April showers bring May graduates at Cumberland County College once again! After hours of late night studying, ten page papers, twenty coffee runs, and a few PowerPoint presentations, the class of 2012 is ready to bid adieu to CCC. This year CCC has the honor of having Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks speak at the commencement ceremony. New Jersey’s first Secretary of Higher Education, Rochelle Hendricks, has more than 20 years of experience working on bettering education in the Garden State. Secretary Hendricks began her career as a teacher in the Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School District before joining the Department of Education in 1987.
She was appointed to the Cabinet-level post by Governor Chris Christie in May 2011. Hendricks had previously served as acting commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Education in August 2010.
Prior to that assignment, Hendricks served in the Department of Education as assistant commissioner for the Division of School Effectiveness and Choice, overseeing key reform initiatives and areas, including the offices of Board Development, Small Learning Communities and School Culture, District Schools, Turnaround Partnerships, Inter-District Choice and Opportunity Scholarships, Charter Schools, Careers and Technical Education, and Online Education.
Gov. Christie said Hendricks was also instrumental in helping craft his education reform plans including the creation and appointment of the Educator Effectiveness Task Force and superintendent pay cap implementation.
Many have nothing but good things to say when speaking of Secretary Hendricks. Governor Christie states in an online article by New Jersey Newsroom, “Rochelle Hendricks is an extraordinary, reform-minded [individual] who has provided tremendous leadership and a sincere commitment to taking on the vital education challenges facing New Jersey’s students for more than 20 years. Most recently, Rochelle provided indispensable leadership in the Newark public schools while a new superintendent was selected and on key education reform initiatives for the state.”
Hendricks served in the Department of Education in various other capacities including director of the office of vocational-technical, career and innovative programs. Prior to joining the staff of the department of Education, she worked for over 15 years at Princeton University in numerous capacities, including assistant dean of students, director of the educational opportunities program, and interim director of the Women’s program.
Hendricks is extremely humbled by the opportunities presented to her. “I am deeply honored and grateful for this opportunity,” Hendricks said. “Education is empowerment and I look forward to working with Governor Christie to improve and transform our institutions of higher learning while fostering an environment of excellence that enhances opportunities for our students and strengthens our economy through a well-prepared and qualified workforce.”
Along with secretary Hendricks, Cumberland County College graduates will enjoy the Alumni Welcome given by Paula Ring, President of CCC’s Alumni Association. This day will be a filled with smiles, laughter, and tears as students talk their last walk here at CCC. Students should understand that graduation is not the end; it’s only the beginning!
Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks.
PHOTO COURTESY OF http://www.state.nj.us