Robert (Rob) S. Daniel
Robert S. Daniel

Education Policy


Work Position
Program Officer, New Jersey Schools Development Authority

Date passed dissertation defense
September 10, 2013


Rob Daniel brings has nearly thirty years experience in urban management, project predevelopment and project planning in the United States and overseas. With a Masters of Urban Planning from Princeton University, Rob has a varied background in school construction, urban redevelopment, project management and the construction of public infrastructure. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

He began his professional career working at the county level subsequently moving overseas in the early 1980’s. Progressing through a series of positions in municipal public works management, Rob moved on to the private sector and worked on major transportation projects. In 1995, he opened his own consulting firm that specializes in assisting government agencies with planning, land use and environmental processes as the basis for constructing civil works.

Upon returning to the United States in 2001, he began working with the URS Corporation on light rail projects in Newark, Tampa and Norfolk. Early in 2003, he transferred to the school construction team to work on New Jersey’s burgeoning program. In 2009 he transitioned to the New Jersey Schools Development Authority as a Project Manager.

Title of the Dissertation

Other People’s Schools: The Challenge of Building New Schools in New Jersey’s Urban Districts: 2000 – 2010.

Dissertation Abstract

This dissertation captures the 10-year contemporary history of implementing the facilities element of New Jersey’s historic Abbott V decision. New Jersey’s Legislature and Governor took this Supreme Court decision and created legislation responding to multiple constituencies and lobbyists while shaping a school construction program to be deposited within a government agency for implementation. While not the largest in nominal dollar value, New Jersey’s program was possibly the widest in geographic scope and most detailed in ambition in the United States. Aspects of program implementation are described and linked to their sources in the political sphere and their implications for the school facilities.

New Jersey’s program built 63 new school buildings within 31 of New Jersey’s lowest-wealth school districts across the state in a fully centralized, highly controlled, and prescriptive manner. There is a political aspect of any public works program, and New Jersey’s played against a background of six Governors, beginning with Republican Christine Whitman and ending with Republican Chris Christie over the 10-year period July 2000 to July 2010. This program was a tool of Governors to be accelerated or dampened as needed through Executive Orders or more subtle controls.

There is importance to this study as New Jersey is once again a national leader among the 50 states in addressing its most difficult school facility issues on a statewide basis. New Jersey’s program is a prototype and its experience, successes, and failures provide insight to other states that undoubtedly will be confronting these same problems as their school buildings age.


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