New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has finished forming her leadership team, tapping a former Las Vegas education official and a former head of New York City’s office for English language learners to join her in Albany.
The Board of Regents unanimously approved five appointments on Wednesday in Albany, ending an extended period of transition at the department that began when Elia’s predecessor, John King, departed at the end of 2014.
After the departures of several high-level deputies earlier this year, the new slate clears the way for Elia’s work to accelerate. Four of the five new hires are also women — notable in a department that has been dominated by men for decades.
- Jhone Ebert, who has wide-ranging experience in education, will be the department’s senior deputy commissioner. She comes from Las Vegas, where she was Clark County’s “chief innovation and productivity officer.”
- Cheryl Atkinson is moving from Syracuse to become assistant commissioner for the department’s Office of Innovation and School Reform, which will be in charge of implementing the state’s new “receivership” rules for struggling schools, among other initiatives. In addition to working as a teacher, principal, and superintendent in other states, she also worked for Success for All, the nonprofit curriculum program that was briefly in vogue in the 1990s.
- Angelica Infante-Green will be deputy commissioner with a focus on instruction. She had been serving as an associate commissioner and headed New York City’s office of English language learners under Chancellor Joel Klein.
- Lissette Colon-Collins, who also began her career in New York City schools, is becoming assistant commissioner for bilingual and language education. She previously was a “research fellow” employed by the Regents through a program that brought researchers to Albany outside of the regular civil service.
- Charles Szuberla, who has worked at the department since 1986, will head a new division that aims to increase support to local school districts. “Across the state he is considered a problem solver,” Elia said.