Lamont Repollet, Ed.D., was selected as the 18th leader of Kean University by the Kean Board of Trustees on May 11, 2020 following a comprehensive national search. Learn more about his visionary leadership and record of educational innovation below.
Lamont Repollet, Ed.D., the New Jersey Commissioner of Education and a Kean alumnus, will become the 18th leader of Kean University.
The Board of Trustees announced the appointment on Monday, May 11, following a unanimous vote in support of the thoughtful and charismatic educator.
“Dr. Repollet will step into the presidency with confidence and experience, and with the strength needed to lead Kean forward on its path of access and excellence,” said Board Chair Ada Morell ’97. “At such a critical time in the University and the state’s history, he brings both stability and ingenuity. He knows our mission. He lives our mission, and he is committed to ensuring that Kean provides the world-class education and experiences that students demand.”
Repollet, who currently oversees the top-ranked public school system in the nation, this summer will succeed President Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., who steps down from the position at the end of June after 17 years of transformative leadership.
“I am both humbled and energized by this appointment, and by the faith the Board of Trustees is placing in me to continue Kean University’s progress as one of the best institutions of higher education in New Jersey,” Repollet said after the vote. “I have important work to finish with the state, but I am grateful Governor Murphy supports this next step in my career, and I look forward to working with him in this new role.”
Repollet says he supports Gov. Murphy’s student-centered vision for higher education with the goal of making New Jersey the hub for American innovation and economic opportunity. Included in the vision is a Student Bill of Rights to encourage students to pursue higher education through college preparatory programs, reduce college costs, support a timely path to graduation, create a welcoming learning environment, and cultivate research, innovation and talent.
Repollet has served as the state’s education commissioner since 2018. During his time as commissioner, New Jersey was ranked best in the nation in the Education Week Quality Counts 2019 report. He and his team have worked to expand early childhood education; promote a school culture that embraces social and emotional learning; and strengthen STEM opportunities for students. He has made outreach to stakeholders across the state’s public education system a key component of his leadership style. Most recently, he has worked closely with Gov. Murphy as New Jersey’s public school children shifted to remote education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
From 2014 to 2018, Repollet served as superintendent of the Asbury Park School District, where he implemented a number of programs that helped increase the graduation rate by 30 percent. Earlier in his career, he served as a high school principal and teacher.
Repollet graduated from Kean with a master’s degree in educational administration in 2000 and served on the Kean Board of Trustees from 2011 to 2018 before assuming his role as commissioner.
President Farahi announced his plans to step down from the presidency at the start of the academic year. The University worked with the search firm of Storbeck Search & Associates to conduct the national search along with a search committee that included faculty, students, alumni and members of the Board of Trustees.
Steve Fastook H’06, a member of the Board of Trustees who chaired the committee, noted the group considered more than 80 candidates during the months of the search, and Repollet kept making his way to the top.
“Lamont really impressed the search committee from day one,” Fastook said. “Some of us knew him from his days on the Board, some did not, but all of us were impressed with his depth of knowledge of the academic and economic challenges ahead. He has a strategic vision for moving students past the K-12 pipeline into a K-Bachelors pipeline that will define our future.”
Claire Mulry, OTD, a faculty member who served on the search committee, said each member of the committee brought a unique perspective to the selection process and worked collaboratively to find the candidate best suited to handle multiple initiatives and objectives.
“From an academic standpoint, it was really important to me that we select a candidate who respects the faculty role in the curricular process while keeping innovation of academic programs as a priority,” Mulry said. “As a faculty member, I’m really excited to work with Dr. Repollet.”
Repollet will take the helm of a University with more than 16,000 students in Union, Toms River, Manahawkin, and Jefferson, New Jersey as well as online and at Wenzhou-Kean University in Wenzhou, China.
“Being on the Presidential Search Committee, I saw how Kean puts students first in all decisions,” said De'shawn Reed, a Kean football player from Jersey City who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physical education/exercise science this year. “That’s why Dr. Repollet is the best choice. I know that Kean’s students are in good hands with him as president.”
In addition to his Kean master's degree, Repollet received his Bachelor of Arts in communication from The College of New Jersey and a Doctorate in Education from Nova Southeastern University.
Dear Kean Community,
I am tremendously proud and excited to assume the role of president of Kean University, an institution whose mission has been close to my heart for more than 20 years.
As a Kean graduate, I know firsthand how a world-class education can change your life — no matter where you come from, what you look like or how much money you have. Kean offers equal access and the promise of social mobility, two things to which I have dedicated my professional life as an educator. I look forward to making sure that mission continues to thrive and pledge to work tirelessly for the good of the students and the entire campus community.
As you may know, I am currently serving as commissioner of the Department of Education under Gov. Phil Murphy. At Kean, I expect to further Gov. Murphy’s student-centered vision for higher education outlined in the state’s Student Bill of Rights, which focuses on student success, affordability and accessibility to make New Jersey the hub for American innovation and economic opportunity.
I am grateful to the Board of Trustees for the confidence that they have shown in me with this appointment and appreciative of the tremendous work that the Search Committee members put into this process. The faculty, students and alumni on the committee asked tough questions that clearly showed their devotion to Kean for which I am thankful.
I also want to thank Dr. Farahi for his tremendous leadership over the past 17 years. Through his vision, Kean has expanded its geographical footprint across New Jersey and internationally, and the University’s reputation for world-class academics and student services has soared. He left big shoes to fill, but I look forward to taking on the challenge and earning the trust of the campus community along the way.
Every one of us knows all too well that these are challenging times. I’m writing this letter while practicing social distancing, a phrase most of us never heard of before 2020. My heart goes out to students and others in the Kean community who have suffered from COVID-19. Although the fight is far from over, I have great faith that there are brighter days ahead sooner rather than later. We will have tough decisions to make as we move this University forward amid the health and economic upheaval caused by COVID-19, but I know we can do so together with great success.
In my current role as commissioner, I have committed to working with public schools in New Jersey to establish plans for the Fall that ensure all our students, especially those in underserved communities, get back on track.
With the governor’s support, I will begin transitioning to my role at Kean as my K-12 work is complete and look forward to meeting with many of you — virtually and in person — in the process.
I am excited to get started. Be well and see you soon.
Lamont Repollet, Ed.D.
“Dr. Repollet was one of the first Cabinet appointments I announced, and he quickly distinguished himself as a strong and capable educational leader. For the past nearly 30 months, as Commissioner, he has provided sound oversight and counsel to more than 600 diverse local education agencies across our state.
“During his tenure, he managed the expansion of pre-K across New Jersey, grew STEM opportunities for thousands of students, and facilitated changes to our statewide testing regime. He helped ensure the equitable distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars in new school aid. And, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he has helped our educators and students navigate the challenges of transitioning to remote learning and worked diligently to ensure that our school communities continue to receive the supports they need.
“When I sought this office, I said my Commissioner of Education would fully understand the challenges students and educators face in their classrooms, because I would choose someone who came from the classroom. Dr. Repollet has provided that leadership. While he will be missed, I have full confidence that the team at DOE will continue to build on his track record of success.
“I wish Lamont and his family nothing but the best in his next endeavor, and know Kean University is in good hands with him at the helm.”
- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy
Lamont Repollet, Ed.D., was selected as the 18th leader of Kean University by the Kean Board of Trustees on May 11, 2020 following a comprehensive national search. He will succeed Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., who has served in the role since 2003.
A Kean alumnus and former member of the Board of Trustees, Repollet comes to the presidency after serving as the Commissioner of Education under New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for the past two years.
During his time as commissioner, he and his team have worked to expand early childhood education; promote a school culture that embraces social and emotional learning; and strengthen STEM opportunities for students. During his tenure, New Jersey's public schools were ranked number one in the nation in the Education Week “Quality Counts 2019” report, which captures key data to assess a state's educational performances.
Most recently, Repollet has worked closely with Gov. Murphy as New Jersey’s public school children shifted to remote education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
From 2014 to 2018, Repollet served as superintendent of the Asbury Park School District. In his early days on the job, he carried a white hard hat to send a message that together with staff and students, they would rebuild the schools. He implemented new instructional and organizational approaches in the district, including a pre-K to grade 12 Literacy Intervention and Leadership Development initiative. This, along with other programs, helped increase the graduation rate by 30 percent.
Previously, he served as principal of Carteret High School, where his leadership garnered national recognition, earning him a reputation for decreasing the achievement gap.
Repollet has long ties to Kean, having earned his master’s degree in educational administration from the University in 2000. He served on the Kean Board of Trustees from 2011 until 2018, assuming the role of secretary as well as chair of the Academic Policy and Programs Committee. While on the board, he visited Wenzhou, China in 2012 when Wenzhou-Kean University first opened and returned again to speak at WKU’s second commencement in 2017.
Repollet has earned honors and recognition from numerous organizations. In 2018, he was honored as an Outstanding Human Rights Educator by Kean’s Human Rights Institute. Most recently he received the 2019 Medal of Excellence for Distinguished Service from The College of Education at Rowan University, the 2019 Trailblazer Award from the Innovation for Equity Summit and the 2019 Conclave Image Award from Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
In addition to his Kean master's degree, Repollet received his Bachelor of Arts in communication from The College of New Jersey and a Doctorate in Education from Nova Southeastern University. He lives in Somerset with his wife Darlene and their daughters Lauryn and Taylor.