State Education Commissioner stepping down in August

Legislative Gazette file photo
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia meets with public school students in Albany in 2015 shortly after she was hired. Elia unexpectedly announced her resignation on July 15, 2019.

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia is resigning her position, effective August 31, for a new job where she will help to improve struggling public schools.

The announcement was made Monday at the Board of Regents meeting in Albany.

“We thank Commissioner Elia for her tireless and unwavering service to New York state’s children,” said Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa. “Over the past four years, the Board and Commissioner Elia have made much progress to improve education for New York’s citizens. Together we have placed an emphasis on educating the whole child and worked to achieve equity in education for all. Commissioner Elia has been steadfast in her commitment to placing the interests of students first. We wish Commissioner Elia the best in her future endeavors.”

The New York State United Teachers released a statement Monday, saying the union hopes the next commissioner will have a “deep background” in public school classrooms.

“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,” the NYSUT statement reads. “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.”

Elia came to New York from Florida in 2015 after serving as superintendent of the Hillsborough County Public School district in and around Tampa.