NJEA Hires Cornavaca as Director of Government Relations


The New Jersey Education Association today announced the hiring of Deborah Cornavaca as Director of Government Relations – Politics and Policy.

Cornavaca currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff for Gov. Phil Murphy with responsibilities that include working with labor unions and advocacy organizations, along with a wide portfolio of policy issues. She previously worked at NJEA as a lobbyist and member organizer.  She will begin her new position on June 1.

NJEA Executive Director Steve Swetsky highlighted Cornavaca’s unique qualifications for the position. “Deborah brings a deep knowledge of both state government and of the full range of policy issues that are most important to New Jersey’s public school employees,” said Swetsky. “Her proven ability to build effective policy-based coalitions, combined with her understanding of NJEA’s mission, makes her uniquely qualified to take on this challenge.”

Cornavaca expressed her excitement at the new opportunity. “I’m honored to have the chance once again to work alongside New Jersey’s public school employees,” said Cornavaca. “I look forward to supporting NJEA’s effort to build and sustain public schools that meet the needs of every New Jersey student and family. I thank Governor Murphy for the trust he placed in me to represent the administration in communities across New Jersey. I look forward to advocating for the same values in this new role.”

Gov. Murphy thanked Cornavaca for her service to his administration. “For the past four years, Deb Cornavaca has served as an integral member of my senior team, leading our outreach efforts to houses of worship, unions, advocacy groups, and community leaders, among others,” said Murphy. “The relationships she helped forge, especially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, were instrumental in advancing our agenda for a stronger and fairer New Jersey. Although I’m sad to see her leave, I know she will continue doing impactful work advocating for our students, teachers, and educational support professionals at the New Jersey Education Association.”

Previously, Cornavaca has worked in organizing, policy and lobbying roles for other advocacy organizations, including the New Jersey Working Families Alliance and Save Our Schools – New Jersey.

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