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  • Keynote Speakers

Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan headshot

Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan

Acting Commissioner

On October 20, 2020, Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan was nominated by Governor Phil Murphy to serve as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education. 

Acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan is a proud product of a New Jersey public school education. She is also a passionate educator and an inspirational public speaker. “I understand and value the importance of strong relationships between people as a path to learning,” said Acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan, “and I am deeply committed to the wellbeing of children both inside and outside of the classroom.” 

Acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan plans to utilize the lessons learned through her 25-year career in public education to lead a Department of Education that is quick to listen, precise in its execution, and ready to advance access to a high-quality education for all students. She began her career in education as a substitute teacher in Essex County and taught in East Orange Public Schools before she launched the Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark. She served as an assistant principal and principal in the South Orange-Maplewood School District, and as an assistant superintendent in both Irvington Public Schools and Newark Public Schools. Most recently, Acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan served the New Jersey Department of Education as the Interim Executive County Superintendent for Morris County. She welcomes the opportunity to join an organization with the goal of strengthening teaching, leading, and learning in order to increase educational equity for New Jersey’s 1.4 million students. 

A parent of three, Acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan has also served on the Montclair Board of Education, where she focused her expertise in the area of special education. She also volunteered as a PTA Executive Board member while her children were in elementary school, coordinating fundraising efforts and promoting parental involvement in all facets of school. 

Acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University, and she earned a master’s in educational administration, as well as a doctorate in education, leadership, management and policy, from Seton Hall University. 

She has served as trustee for the County College of Morris and as a board of education member of the Morris County School of Technology. She has received numerous awards and has been featured in many publications ranging from local news outlets to U.S. News & World Report. She continues to be involved with her alma mater, such as assisting with alumni relations and serving on the Cornell University Library Advisory Council. One of her greatest joys professionally was serving as a mentor for aspiring administrators through New Jersey Leaders to Leaders, the state-approved comprehensive mentoring and induction program for new school administrators. 

She will serve as Acting Commissioner pending confirmation by the State Senate. 

lauren knopp headshot

Lauren Knopp

Student Representative

Lauren is a rising senior at Ocean City High School in Ocean City. She is passionate about serving on the student council, coding, and performing in musicals and plays with Ocean City’s drama guild. Lauren has also been awarded the National Cyber Scholarship which spurred her interest in promoting computer science education in her community. After a few difficult years with COVID-19, she hopes to promote better mental health and higher student morale in her local school district.

Since 1976, NJASC has elected the Student Representative to the New Jersey State Board of Education, who also serves as one of the State Board of Education’s nine State Officers. The term of office for the Student Representative, as defined by the State Board of Education, is from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.

Each month, the Student Representative reports to the State Board of Education on a topic of interest to students and also offers feedback to other State Board members on a variety of issues that affect students throughout the Garden State.