Board of Governors
Former Senior Fellow, International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), a division of learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
MaryEllen is the former New York State Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York (USNY). In this role, she oversaw the work of more than 700 school districts with 3.2 million students; 7,000 libraries; 900 museums; and more than 50 professions encompassing nearly 900,000 licensees. A native New Yorker, Ms. Elia has nearly 50 years of experience as an educator and was New York’s first female Education Commissioner. Her vast experience in innovation and community schools will continue to benefit schools across the country.
Prior to her appointment in New York, Ms. Elia served for ten years as superintendent of schools in Hillsborough County, Florida. In Hillsborough, which includes Tampa and is the nation’s eighth largest school district. She successfully implemented higher learning standards, partnered with teachers to develop a comprehensive evaluation system, and earned national recognition for gains in student achievement. Ms. Elia has been honored for her work, both in Florida and on a national stage. In 2015, she was named Florida’s Superintendent of the Year, received the AASA Women in School Leadership Award from the School Superintendents Association, and was one of four finalists for the National Superintendent of the Year award.
MaryEllen’s experience as a highly-successful senior school administrator, which was built on 19 years of classroom teaching, coupled with her deep personal commitment to make every student all they are capable of being, enables her to now provide great advice and leadership to school districts throughout the country.