Graff Policastro appointed deputy executive director

The NJEA Executive Committee named Denise Graff Policastro the association’s newest deputy executive director. She is the first woman to hold this position. Graff Policastro has served as director of the Research and Economic Services Division since 2020. 

Graff Policastro has served in many roles during her time as an NJEA member and staff member. She joined full-time NJEA staff in July 2013 as a UniServ field representative in the Region 21 office in Essex County. She had been an NJEA UniServ consultant since 2008.  

In February 2017, Graff Policastro transferred to the Research Division specializing in negotiations assistance. In addition, she served as a mentor for the NJEA Bolivar L. Graham Practicing Apprentice Program, which is designed to foster the inclusion of women and ethnic-minorities in association leadership and staff positions.  

During her time as director of the Research Division, Graff Policastro was instrumental in developing the Career Pathways Program for NJEA associate staff, as well as partnering with the staff union, the United Staff Association, to help finalize the associate staff mentoring program. 

“I have known Denise for almost 10 years, and I could not ask for a better partner as we begin our new roles together,” NJEA Executive Director Kevin Kelleher said. Kelleher, who was recently named executive director after having served as deputy for four years, had previously worked with Graff Policastro as a colleague in the Research Division.  

From 1998 to 2013, Graff Policastro was a mathematics teacher in the Bernards Township School District, where she was co-president of the Bernards Township Education Association. She also served BTEA as negotiations chair and held other leadership positions in the association. Graff Policastro had been recording secretary of the Somerset County Education Association, a member of the NJEA Budget and Elections committees, and a representative to the NJEA Delegate Assembly.