Christopher Cerf

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Christopher Cerf
Chris Cerf.jpg
New Jersey Commissioner of Education
Former officeholder
In office
January 18, 2011 - February 27, 2014
PredecessorRochelle Hendricks
Base salary$141,000
Elections and appointments
AppointedDecember 10, 2010
Appointed byGov. Chris Christie (R)
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sAmherst College (1977)
J.D.Columbia Law School
OtherBroad Urban Superintendents Academy (2004)
Place of birthMontclair, New Jersey
Christopher Cerf is a former New Jersey Commissioner of Education. He served in this position from January 18, 2011, to February 27, 2014, after being appointed by Gov. Chris Christie in December 2010.[1]


Cerf began his career as a history teacher at Cincinnati Country Day School in Cincinnati, Ohio. After earning his law degree, Cerf went on to serve as a clerk in the U.S. Appellate and U.S. Supreme Courts, followed by private law practice. He also served as Associate Counsel to the President in the Clinton Administration from 1994-1996.[2]


  • Graduate, Broad Urban Superintendents Academy, 2004
  • J.D., Columbia Law School
  • Graduate, Amherst College, 1977

Political career

New Jersey Commissioner of Education (2011-2014)

Cerf served as New Jersey Commissioner of Education from January 18, 2011, to February 27, 2014.[3]

Cerf finally became certified as commissioner on July 26, 2012 - some 18 months after his nomination by the governor. His appointment was held up when state Sen. Ron Rice (D) blocked Cerf without providing a reason, a practice which is known as senatorial courtesy. In response, Christie refused to appoint any new judges in Essex County until the Senate Judiciary Committee considered Cerf's appointment.[4]

Cerf's hearing was further delayed after he said in an interview that he lived in "Montclair," then corrected himself to say "Montgomery." While he owned a home in Montclair, he had moved to an apartment in Montgomery and the confusion upset the committee. Although he finally did win unanimous approval from the Senate committee on July 26, 2012, it was not before hours of Cerf listing his ambitions for the department and being grilled by Democrats.[5]

Deputy Chancellor, New York City Department of Education (2004-2009)

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Cerf was appointed as New Jersey Commissioner of Education by Governor Chris Christie (R) on December 20, 2010.

Christie stated, “I am thankful that Chris Cerf is bringing to New Jersey his passion for education and experienced leadership to help enact the bold and innovative education measures we need to finally bring a quality education to every child in our state. Mr. Cerf's innovative leadership will be invaluable as we address the civil rights issue of our time."[2]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Rochelle Hendricks
New Jersey Commissioner of Education
Succeeded by
David Hespe