New York education commissioner resigning after 4 years


ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — New York state’s top education official is resigning.

Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia told the Board of Regents at its meeting Monday she is resigning Aug. 31.

Elia was appointed in 2015. She says it was an honor to serve the students and teachers of New York for four years.

An education department spokesman said Elia will pursue another, unspecified professional opportunity.

She had previously served for 10 years as superintendent of schools in Hillsborough County, Florida, which includes Tampa.

Elia’s departure will leave questions for the Rochester City School District, as a possible state takeover of the district looms. Rochester residents will vote on the possibility this November. If approved by voters, the decision to intervene would ultimately go to the state. If the takeover occurs, the state would appoint a new school board. In a two part series, News 8’s Kayla Green traveled to Camden, New Jersey to see how a state takeover played out for district students, residents, and staff.

RCSD is already in a transition period as they recently introduced its new superintendent Terry Dade.

RCSD released a statement Monday regarding Elia’s resignation:

“The Rochester City School District thanks Commissioner Elia for her service to all students in the State of New York. Her commitment to ensuring students receive a high-quality education is second-to-none. We stand ready to support her during her remaining days as State Education Commissioner and will assist with the Department’s transition to continue the best possible education for all Rochester City School District children.”

New York State United Teachers released the following statement regarding the announcement:

“As Commissioner Elia’s tenure comes to a close, we wish her well in her future endeavors. We look forward to engaging with the Board of Regents as the search for the next commissioner begins and ensuring that the voices of hundreds of thousands of educators across New York State are heard throughout the process. We look forward to working closely with the next commissioner to fix the broken state testing system for children in grades 3-8 and on our mission to cultivate the next generation of highly qualified, dedicated educators. Selecting a new commissioner with a deep background in public school classrooms will go a long way toward achieving these critical goals.”

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