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David C. Hespe, Esq.

Of Counsel

David C. Hespe, who served twice as New Jersey’s Commissioner of Education and is an authority on public education in the state and nationally, advises school districts, charter schools, private schools, and public and private higher education institutions. His clients are in New Jersey and New York.

David is an accomplished leader with decades of public service in New Jersey at all levels of education administration and policy.

He handles a broad range of education law matters: litigation and petitions involving school policy, personnel, finance, school facilities, student discipline, bullying, student athletics and special-needs students, among others.

David also guides clients on strategic planning and governance, directs training and professional development for administrators and boards of education, and keeps clients up to date on legislation, statutes, rules and regulations.

He provides proactive counsel to education leaders – including boards of education, boards of trustees, college presidents, superintendents and senior staff –
to help them understand the legal and practical implications of their decisions, avoid the expenses of litigation and resolve disputes quickly.

David served as the state’s education Commissioner in 1999-2001 and 2014-2016, overseeing 600 school districts.

He also served as President of Burlington County College, Interim Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of the Willingboro School District, Co-Executive Director of Liberty Science Center, First Assistant Attorney General for the State of New Jersey, and a tenured Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Rowan University and Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership.

He is a frequent speaker and writer on education policy, school reform and school financing/funding, among other topics.


  • Rutgers University School of Law, Newark, J.D. 1985
  • Rutgers College, B.A. 1982
  • New Jersey School Administrator Certificate, 2010

Bar Admissions:

  • New Jersey, 1985
  • New York, 1989

Selected Publications, Presentations and Research:

  • “Helping Your Child Succeed,” Keynote Address, N.J. P.T.A. Annual Legislative Conference, Plainsboro, N.J., 2016.
  • “Education Policy and Advocacy: What’s in the Best Interest of Children,” Keynote address, New Jersey School Boards Association and PTA, Trenton, N.J., 2015.
  • “A Plan for New Jersey: Where Do We Go From Here,” Keynote address, annual conference of the New Jersey Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Monroe, N.J., 2015.
  • “Education: Our Mission and Challenge,” Keynote address, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association Annual Conference, Monroe, N.J., 2015.
  • “Partnering Together To Improve Education in New Jersey,” Invited address, New Jersey Education Association Annual Convention, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 2015.
  • “The State of Education in New Jersey,” Keynote address, annual New Jersey School Boards Association, Superintendents Association and Principals and Supervisors Association Workshop, Atlantic City, N.J., 2014.
  • “A New Vision for Workforce Development,” Panel discussion at the annual conference of the New Jersey Utilities Association, Galloway, N.J., 2013.
  • “School Reform Jersey Style,” Presentation at the National Superintendents’ Roundtable Forum, Pemberton, N.J., 2012.
  • “Education Reform in New Jersey: What, How, Where, When?” Invited address and Panel Participant, Garden State Coalition of Schools Fall Forum, New Brunswick, N.J., 2011.
  • “Efficiency and School Funding,” Invited Presentation and Panel Participant, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton, N.J., 2009.
  • “Conflict Between Personal and Professional Ethics: Putting Theory Into Practice,” Paper presentation at Twelfth Annual Values and Leadership Conference, College Park, Pa., 2008.
  • “Opportunities in Education,” Workshop panelist for the Fattah Conference on Higher Education, Philadelphia, Pa., 2008.
  • “Education,” Book chapter in The Atlas Project, Mapping New Jersey: An Evolving Landscape, Rutgers University Press, Piscataway, N.J., (Accepted for publication May 2007).
  • “School Finance and Facilities,” Invited address at Commissioners’ Forum, New Jersey Council of Education, Bridgewater, N.J., 2007.
  • “Legal Issues for Superintendents,” Presentation for future superintendents sponsored by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, Glassboro, N.J., 2007.
  • “Issues in School Law Today,” Presentation at the 8th Annual Principals Institute, Rowan University, N.J., 2006.
  • “Advocacy and Lobbying,” Presentation at the annual retreat for the College Bound Association, Atlantic City, N.J., 2004.
  • “Valuing School Diversity,” Paper presentation at the Annual Conference of A.E.R.A., Chicago, Ill., 2002.
  • “Parents, Teachers, Business Must Prepare Students for Workplace Challenges,” Article published in New Jersey Business, The Magazine of the New Jersey Business and Industry Associations, Vol. 46, No. 5 at 16, May 2000.
  • “Education Issues Facing the Latino Community,” Invited address, Second Annual Latino Education Conference, Atlantic City, N.J., 2000.
  • “Urban Education Reform,” Invited address, National School Boards Association Annual Legislative Conference, Washington, D.C., 1993.
Whippany Office
100 South Jefferson Road, Suite 200, Whippany, New Jersey 07981
Tel: 973.301.0001 | Fax: 973.993.3152