MaryEllen Elia to step down as education commissioner

Elia served as state's top educator for four years

July 15, 2019 - 3:50 pm

Albany, NY (WBEN/AP) 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.  The move surprised Regents as did Tim Kremer of the NYS School Boards Association. "I know she probably is at a point where she feels she's done an awful lot. She probably thinks it's time to move on," says Kremer. Kremer praised Elia's willingness to listen. "We always had candid, open conversattions. She was honest with me, I was honest with her. I'm going to miss the relationship we had with each other," adds Kremer.

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.  

The New York State United Teachers union issued a statement. "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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