State education chief outlines state budget request

New York State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia testifies during a joint legislative budget hearing on education in Albany in 2016.

MaryEllen Elia, the New York State Education Department commissioner, announced her resignation on Monday, which will be effective on Aug. 31.

State education officials say she is leaving to "pursue another professional opportunity."

Elia wrote a letter to Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa and the members of the Board of Regents announcing her resignation.

"It has been my great pleasure and honor to serve the students and teachers of New York over the last four years as we work to advance equity and excellence in our system," Elia wrote.

Elia used the letter to outline some of the achievements she argues her department and its collaborators have achieved during her tenure.

"Together with the Governor, State Legislature and distinguished Board of Regents, I am proud of our department's work to reform school accountability and improvement programs; offer improved professional development for our dedicated team of educators; and building an inclusive and responsive education system that is reflective of our diverse and vibrant student population," she wrote.

She argues her department has helped boast educational equity with the implementation of a Every Student Succeeds State Plan in January 2018. Another accomplishment she lists is New York state becoming the first state to accept the My Brother's Keeper initiative into law, in an effort to ensure all boys and young men of color are on a track for success.

Her department has made an effort to address the individual needs of vulnerable student populations and to identify the most challenging schools and districts in an effort to create case by case solutions, she added.

Elia, a former Lewiston resident, graduated from Stella Niagara. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Daeman College in Buffalo, a Master of Education from the University of Buffalo, and a Master of Professional Studies from SUNY Buffalo.

She began her career in education as a social studies teacher in the Sweet Home School District in 1970. She taught there for 19 years before moving on to various administrative positions.

No spokespersons for the governor's office were available to comment.