State task force to address public school staff shortages  

With support from NJEA, Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 309 on Nov. 11 to establish the Task Force to Address Public School Staff Shortages across New Jersey. The 25-member task force is charged with making recommendations to increase the quantity of K-12 staff across the state and look in detail at issues of retention and recruitment. 

NJEA members are well represented on the task force by a strong and diverse team that has already demonstrated the expertise NJEA members bring to this work:  

  •    NJEA President Sean M. Spiller 
  •    Trina Jenkins, NJEA ESP of the Year and Pleasantville Education Association vice president and paraprofessional 
  •    Henry Goodhue, Hillsborough Education Association president and sixth-grade special education teacher 
  •    Ikechukwu Onyema, East Orange High School chemistry teacher 

“Educators play an invaluable role in shaping the lives of their students and ultimately molding our country’s future,” Murphy said. “As we emerge from the pandemic, we must recognize the impact that teacher shortages in our state and across the nation will have on our economy, the arts and our civil society. My administration remains steadfast in our commitment to identifying solutions to address this shortage, and I am confident that this task force will offer the unique perspectives and experience that this moment requires.”  

Initial recommendations were due Jan. 31 as the governor intends to include necessary budgetary requests to support recommendations in his February budget address. To meet the deadline, the task force met multiple times in December and January. 

In addition to the four NJEA members task force, NJEA Vice President Steve Beatty is leading an association working group to provide feedback to the task force and to analyze and discuss the recommendations that come from the task force meetings.