ALBANY – The New York State Board of Regents today voted to appoint MaryEllen Elia as the next Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York (USNY). A native of Western New York with 45 years of experience as an educator, she is the first woman to hold the permanent post.
Elia served as superintendent in Hillsborough County, Florida since 2005, where she is credited with successfully raising standards, partnering with teachers to develop a comprehensive evaluation system, and raising student achievement. Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, is the nation’s eighth largest school district with 206,000 students, 30,000 employees, and a $2.9 billion budget.
"It's clear that our new Commissioner has a significant amount of experience as an educator, including many years of service as a teacher in New York,” said James Dexter, district superintendent of the Washington Saratoga Warren Hamilton Essex BOCES. “I feel strongly that her vast experience, both in the classroom and as an educational leader will position her to move New York's educational system forward in the best interest of the children and communities we serve."
Elia began her career in education in 1970 as a social studies teacher in Buffalo’s Sweet Home Central School District and taught for 19 years before moving on to administrative positions. Elia’s appointment comes after a nearly five-month search by the Board of Regents to replace former Commissioner John King, who left the Department at the end of 2014 to take a job with the U.S. Department of Education. Elia will start her new position on July 6.