By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey education commissioner Chris Cerf is leaving his post at the end of the month to take a job in the private sector.

Cerf came in early in Gov. Chris Christie’s first term, after Bret Schundler was abruptly fired by the governor over policy disagreements.   At that time, Cerf promised to stay through the governor’s term and the subsequent election.

Cerf’s greatest achievement, in his estimation, was reforming the state’s teacher tenure rules.

“We negotiated a new law which now says, to acquire tenure it takes four years and you must have been found to be effective,” Cerf notes.

And, according to the law, tenure can be lost if a teacher is found to be ineffective.

Cerf says he is also proud of changes made in urban school districts such as Camden.

Cerf’s advice to his successor?  Keep your priorities straight.

And while he realizes education can be a heated topic within government, he wishes all sides would turn it down a notch.

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