The commissioner met with students, teachers and administrators in several of BOCES programs, including OakTree (for students with autism), and MOVE, which stands for mobility opportunities via education and employs an activity-based curriculum designed to teach and develop the basic motor skills that can enhance learning in other areas. She also visited classrooms in the Center for Career & Technical Excellence at BOCES, and lunched with students and staff involved with the SkillsUSA Leadership program. View gallery.
Background: Elia was appointed to the state's top educational job in May 2015. As commissioner of education and president of the University of the State of New York (USNY), Elia oversees the work of more than 700 school districts with a combined 3.2 million students. A native New Yorker, she has 45 years of experience as an educator. Prior to her appointment in New York, she served for 10 years as superintendent of schools in Hillsborough County, Fla, the nation’s eighth largest school district, where she earned national recognition for gains in student achievement. She was the 2015 Florida Superintendent of the Year, a recipient of the 2015 AASA Women in School Leadership Award from the School Superintendents Association, and was one of four finalists for the 2015 National Superintendent of the Year award.
Elia was born, raised, and attended school in Western New York. After graduating high school in Lewiston, N.Y., 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. In 1970, she began her career in education as a social studies teacher in Buffalo’s Sweet Home Central School District and taught for 19 years before moving on to administrative positions.