The New Jersey Commissioner of Education and a Kean alumnus, Lamont Repollet will become the 18th president of Kean University, the board of trustees announced on Monday following a unanimous vote. He will succeed President Dawood Farahi who will step down at the end of June after 17 years.
“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. “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 currently oversees the top-ranked public school system in the nation. He 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. 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.
“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. Phil 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.