Gov. Phil Murphy, First Lady Tammy Murphy, and the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) today announced the establishment of the first-in-the-nation Office of Climate Change Education within the NJDOE’s Office of Innovation. The office has been established to further climate literacy and environmental awareness among students and educators and to prepare students for the jobs expected to be created by the green economy. In addition, the NJDOE announced the hiring of Sarah Sterling-Laldee as senior climate change education advisor to lead the office.
The Office of Climate Change Education will support schools in implementing the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) for Climate Change Education, which present interdisciplinary opportunities to address climate change during instruction. Through collaboration with educators and additional stakeholders across the state, this team is expected to leverage feedback and insights to inform professional development opportunities, technical assistance, as well as guidance and resources to facilitate innovative learning opportunities for students.
“In the midst of some of the worst climate related events that our country has ever faced, New Jersey is taking a proactive stance in combating climate change, and education is the foundation of our efforts,” said Murphy. “Through this initiative, we are not only fostering environmental consciousness, but also preparing our youth to innovate, lead, and shape effective solutions for a greener world.”
As the senior climate change education advisor, Sterling-Laldee will lead a team of Climate Awareness Innovation Specialists that will oversee New Jersey’s climate change education work to ensure the state continues to serve as a model for the rest of the nation. Sterling-Laldee will provide support to school districts and educators implementing climate change standards, including the coordination of our climate change education grant program.
She joins the NJDOE after 21 years of service in the Paterson and New Brunswick Public Schools, where she served in the role of middle school science teacher, supervisor of science, and director of STEAM education. An alumnus of NYU’s Environmental Conservation Education program, she has focused on place based, interdisciplinary learning to promote climate resiliency, community improvement, equity, and student agency in classrooms and out of school time programs for youth and their families.
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