MaryEllen Elia

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The State Department of Education has responded favorably to the Rochester City School District’s plan to improve itself, after more than a year of intense scrutiny on district leadership.

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia abruptly resigned Monday, taking members of the state Board of Regents by surprise. She said she will take a new job at the end of August at an unnamed national firm. 

Elia, who is the first female commissioner in the history of the State Education Department, said she decided now is the right time to leave the post, and has agreed to accept a job with a national firm that works to turn around struggling public schools.

Karen DeWitt

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia is leaving that job at the end of August.

Elia, who was appointed to the post in 2015, released a letter to the NYS Board of Regents on Monday saying that 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 education system.”

Elia says she will be leaving for a position with a national firm, supporting districts in their efforts to turn around schools.

James Brown WXXI

Incoming Rochester City School Superintendent Terry Dade was back in Rochester this week for the first time since he was hired.

District spokesperson Carlos Garcia said Dade flew into the city on Tuesday and had back-to-back meetings with district leaders and other local groups since then. He’s expected to do the same on Thursday.

Alex Crichton/WXXI News

State education officials have drafted a plan to replace the Rochester Board of Education with a state-appointed board for at least five years, according to documents that CITY Newspaper has obtained. At the end of the five years, the district’s governance would return to an elected board. 

The plan is a result of ongoing concerns about the state of the Rochester City School District, primarily its governance.