Indian-American appointed NJ schools head

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New York, Nov 9 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh-born Kris Kolluri, who once was the acting Governor of neighbouring New Jersey for one day, will next month assume the position of Chief Executive Officer of the state's School Development Authority (SDA).

His appointment immediately drew praise from New Jersey state assembly member Upendra Chivukula, the first first-generation Indian-American lawmaker in a US state.

According to an announcement made by Governor Jon S Corzine, Mr Kolluri's appointment to the four billion dollar state agency would be effective on December 1.

''Mr Kris Kolluri has been an outstanding commissioner of transportation,'' Mr Corzine said in the official announcement.

''Through his unique grasp of the many complex issues facing our vast infrastructure network, he has been able to create a seamless statewide transportation. I fully expect that he will use these same skills to effectively and successfully lead the SDA through its next phase of school development,'' he said.

Mr Kolluri, who is currently the commissioner of the state's Department of Transportation, has been in the post since March 13, 2006.

''I look forward to investing in school infrastructure in order to create jobs, improve local quality of life and create positive learning environments for New Jersey's children,'' Mr Kolluri said.

In 1998, he was tapped to be special adviser to Congressman Richard Gephardt on India and Indian-American affairs. Before that, he was legislative director of Congressman Robert E Andrews and his principal staffer on the International Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

Mr Chivukula, who is also a native of Andhra Pradesh, said, ''I have known Mr Kolluri since he was 19. He is an individual with exemplary leadership qualities and a longstanding commitment to public service.'' He added, ''Mr Kolluri effectively steered New Jersey's Department of Transportation and advanced public safety and congestion relief projects, now putting him in a strong position to head the state's SDA.'' Mr Kolluri has a bachelor's degree in Management and Marketing from Rutgers University and a master's degree in International Business from Johns Hopkins University. He is 39 and lives in the town of West Windsor with his wife and two daughters.

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