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NYSUT Responds To The ‘Surprising Resignation’ Of NYS’s Education Commissioner: Selecting A New Commissioner With A ‘Deep Background’ In Public School Classrooms ‘Will Go A Long Way’ Toward Achieving A Number Of Critical Goals

Published Thursday, July 18, 2019
by Chalktalk & WNYLaborToday.com Staff
NYSUT Responds To The ‘Surprising Resignation’ Of NYS’s Education Commissioner: Selecting A New Commissioner With A ‘Deep Background’ In Public School Classrooms ‘Will Go A Long Way’ Toward Achieving A Number Of Critical Goals

(ALBANY, NEW YORK) - New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia is resigning next month - just months after two top deputies also left their posts for high-profile jobs in other states.  Elia is stepping down to join a national firm that specializes in helping districts with school turnaround plans, but she declined to name the group ahead of the firm’s own announcement.  Elia had not informed the board of her decision before making it public Monday (July 15th) afternoon.  She will serve through August.

The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) - a Statewide Union with more than 600,000 Members in Education, Human Services and Health Care, responded to Elia’s surprising resignation, issuing a statement that read: 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.

Elia said she did not yet know who would serve as the interim Commissioner or what the timeline would be for hiring her permanent replacement.  Her resignation comes at what she described as a critical time for policymaking for the Board of Regents.  “I really thank you for this opportunity and I thank you for the support and the work we have done,” Elia told the Regents, who appeared to be shocked at the news.

During the meeting, Chancellor Betty Rosa said the announcement “obviously caught us all off guard,” but declined to comment further before walking into back-to-back board trainings, which are closed to the public and are a typical July agenda item for the Regents.

Regent James E. Cottrell said the news came as a “total shock” and upset him.  He said he thought the Board had made positive strides under Elia’s four-year leadership. 

Elia oversaw the board during a time of rapid change.

A long-time Educator and former School Superintendent in Hillsborough County, Florida, she was chosen as New York’s Education Chief in 2015.

Since then, the State has grappled with responding to an overhaul in Federal Education Law, school improvement, Teacher evaluations and graduation requirements.

Elia has also advocated for the State and its students in meetings with National Education Leaders, including U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

To Continue Reading This Labor News Report & To Read Commissioner Elia’s Resignation Letter, Go To: www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2019/07/15/in-a-surprising-move-maryellen-elia-new-yorks-top-education-official-will-step-down/

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