We Raise New Jersey, a coalition of education, business and civic organizations that advocates for high-quality education, has named veteran state official Gregg Edwards as their new executive director.
A respected education policy expert, Edwards most recently served as deputy secretary of Higher Education and worked on education policy in the governor’s office and at the New Jersey Department of Education. He is a former executive director of the Senate Majority Office and served as chief of staff to a congressman from New Jersey. He was also elected to two terms on the Hamilton Township Board of Education.
“Gregg’s expansive career spans every level of government – school district, state, and federal – and he brings a keen perspective on the challenges and opportunities across those levels of our education system,” said Patricia Morgan, coalition member and executive director of JerseyCAN. “We are excited to continue our forward momentum under his leadership.”
The coalition includes the New Jersey PTA, JerseyCAN, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, New Jersey Council of County Colleges, New Jersey Business & Industry Association, and the New Jersey Charter Schools Association.
“We are excited to have a new executive director who is committed to helping parents and students better understand and utilize the data and other resources available to them,” said Rose Acerra, the president of the New Jersey PTA. “It’s important that these resources be used to improve and enhance every student’s education experience.”
Edwards will act as We Raise NJ’s program director and spokesperson, guiding advocacy efforts to elevate the coalition’s six pillars of readiness for college, career, and citizenship: High standards; Committed and supported school staff; Family engagement; Quality instruction; Information on student progress; and Career exploration. He is also expected to lead efforts to engage new individuals and organizations as coalition members, advisors, and partners.
“Gregg has been an active member of We Raise NJ for many years and he brings a wealth of legislative and education policy experience to the table,” said New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation president Donna Custard. “I look forward to working with Gregg as we strive to prepare every New Jersey student for success in college, career, and community.”
Under Edwards’ leadership, We Raise NJ says they will develop and promote initiatives and policies that look to the future, such as supporting educators and parents in understanding the many forms of educational data available to them; promoting advanced curricular offerings for high-achieving students like college-level courses and credit-earning; and highlighting experiences that prepare students for the work world.
“I am excited by the opportunity to build on the coalition’s success in supporting our high-quality NJ Learning Standards and promoting measures that allow students, parents, educators, and taxpayers to see the degree to which those standards are being achieved,” Edwards said. “Recently, We Raise NJ advocated to the State Board of Education to critically examine and revise the Murphy Administration’s proposed changes to the statewide assessment regulations. We believe that the revisions recognized the success of the NJ Learning Standards and the value of statewide assessments. With that issue behind us, I’m eager for We Raise NJ to promote policies and programs that will make college and career readiness a reality for all New Jersey students.”