Interview with Dr. Lamont Repollet


Blot photo by Catie Procyk

Repollet speaking at CHS’s blue ribbon assembly.

Katherine Lombardi

Dr. Lamont Repollet is the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education, under Governor Phil Murphy, since 2018. He previously served as the superintendent of the Asbury Park School District. This December, Repollet visited CHS for the school’s Blue Ribbon award ceremony and paused for a brief interview with the Inkblot amid his tour of the campus.

What do you hope to take away from your visit to CHS? 

I’ve heard a lot about this high school, as well as the vocational schools in general. I’m definitely familiar with the Superintendent [McCorkell] and Assistant Superintendent [Ford], but it’s my first time seeing exactly what goes on. I always like to talk about putting eyes in places and see it in action, and today I can tell you I’m impressed. The fact that I was a Communication major in college and always wanted to be a director, so to come into this school and see students working in the radio studio, television production, and doing different skits. When you take experts and learning opportunities with the academic theory, you’re going to get a…learner that’s engaged. I think that’s what I’m seeing today, and I’m excited to be here.

How do you feel New Jersey schools, and vocational schools like CHS in particular, can continue to improve in our education?

Well, we are the…number one school system in the country, so we have a strong foundation. Second, we are committed, Governor Murphy talks about the state of innovation, he talks about the economy. We’re also putting a talent pipeline and vocational schools, and career technical education, that’s where we actually start growing individuals. I think this fosters the learning of vocational schools, and not just the plumbing aspect of it or the labor trades, but more so the high-tech industries and stuff like that. 

So I think we will continue to also work and ensure our curriculum [and that] we have a certified staff and we get a diverse staff, by getting all different individuals from the field and making sure that they remove those barriers so they can actually come here and give that knowledge and history to our students so it can be engaging for them as well. So we’re excited about the direction in which the Department of Education is going by looking at career technical education as being the future of what we’re looking at when it comes to educating our students. 

It must be great to be named number one under your tenure, right? 

That’s an awesome question. Yes it is, but it’s also indicative of talented individuals like yourself and wonderful students that come in every day and really put in a hard day’s work. More so, our faculty and staff and educators are dedicated to what they’re doing. As you look around here [CHS], you’re learning a lot of things from these professionals. To me, I’m just the steward of this amazing ship and we’re continuing to guide it towards a better education for our students.