New Jersey will now have a decided state official overseeing higher education. According to an article by Tom Hester at New Jersey Newsroom:

Rochelle Hendricks, a state education official for 24 years under seven governors, Thursday was named the first state secretary of higher education by Gov. Chris Christie.

“Rochelle Hendricks is an extraordinary, reform-minded professional 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,” Christie said. “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.

One legislator found the Hendricks’ appointment promising. “I… hope that newly nominated Secretary Hendricks gets the resources and support of the administration to follow the statutory mandate of increased oversight outlined in the law signed, but not implemented, nearly a year and a half ago,” said state senator Raymond Lesniak, a Democrat.

She’s been a higher education official under seven governors. Great. Last year Christie’s proposed a $173 million budget cut to Garden State public colleges.

In response, public colleges hiked tuition and fees by as much as five percent this year. How’s she planning to fix that “vital education challenge”?

Hendricks will earn $141,000 a year in her new position. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer