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Board of Regents appoints Dr. Betty A. Rosa as interim commissioner of education

Tue, Aug 11th 2020 02:25 pm

Vice Chancellor Brown to act as presiding officer with duties and powers of chancellor

The Board of Regents on Tuesday appointed Dr. Betty A. Rosa as interim commissioner of education and president of the University of the State of New York, the State Education Department announced. The interim commissioner will lead the department and assist the Board of Regents and department in carrying out its mission to raise the knowledge, skill and opportunity of all the people in New York. Rosa, who will resign her position as chancellor of the Board of Regents, will assume this position with the department on Aug. 14.

“This has been an incredibly difficult decision, as I love my work on the Board of Regents, but I’m confident that it is the right one to ensure the stability that we need for our students during this unprecedented time,” Rosa said. “Districts and schools are about to begin an instructional year like no other in our history. It is imperative that the department continues its important work without interruption, and I am dedicated to providing that constancy as interim commissioner. I want to thank Shannon Tahoe for her leadership and steady hand through one of our most challenging times. The department is well positioned to move forward with the board’s priorities and to ensure that our students and educators can resume teaching and learning safely and effectively.”

“Dr. Betty Rosa is uniquely positioned to step in as interim commissioner of education and president of the University of the State of New York and to provide extraordinary continued leadership within the department,” Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown said. “Throughout her remarkable and innovative career as an educator, she has been a champion for equity and valiant defender of students and educators. This made her a natural leader for the Board of Regents, and it is what makes my fellow board members and me sure that she is the exact right person to lead the education department at this time. I look forward to working alongside Dr. Rosa in this new capacity, while continuing our important work for the students and adults of New York.”

Rosa has tendered her resignation as a member of and chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents effective at the close of business Aug. 13. Her appointment as interim commissioner of education is effective Aug. 14. Brown shall act as the presiding officer and shall perform all the duties and have all the powers of the chancellor by operation of Education Law §203 and Regents Rule 3.1(a).

Rosa was elected by her Board of Regents colleagues as chancellor in March 2016 and reelected for a second term in 2019. She was first elected to the Board of Regents for a five-year term in 2008, as the Regent for the Twelfth Judicial District (Bronx County), then reelected for a second term in 2013 and a third term in 2018.

She is a nationally recognized education leader and received an Ed. M. and Ed. D. in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University. She also holds two other Master of Science in Education degrees, one in administration and supervision and the other in bilingual education from the City College of New York and Lehman College, respectively, and a B.A. in psychology from the City College of New York. She has more than 30 years of instructional and administrative experience with an expertise in inclusive education, cooperative teaching models, student achievement and policy implementation.

Rosa began her career in the NYC Department of Education as a bilingual paraprofessional, teacher and reading coordinator, served as an assistant principal and principal in special education, introduced an integrated linguistic model in developing a multilingual and multicultural school for general and special education populations, was principal of I.S. 218, a full-service community school in partnership with the Children’s Aid Society in District 6, and developed and implemented the Office of Conflict Resolution for the NYC Division of Special Education. In 1998, Rosa was appointed to the position of superintendent of Community School District 8 in the Bronx and later appointed to serve as the senior superintendent of the Bronx.

One of the schools Rosa founded as superintendent, M.S. 101 (Maritime Academy for Science and Technology), became the top-ranked middle school in the City of New York based on New York state examination results. She has taught graduate level education courses including education of culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional children, due process: law and the handicapped, and applied and action research for doctoral students, has served on dissertation committees, and is an executive coach for doctoral students.

The Regents Item detailing this decision by the Board of Regents is available online.

Recognizing the amount of time the search has already taken, and the paramount tasks ahead for the board, the search for the next permanent commissioner of education and president of the University of the State of New York has been extended. AGB Search has reposted the position and applications should be received by Oct. 1.

New York State United Teachers congratulated Rosa on being named interim state education commissioner, and Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown on his elevation to the chancellor’s role.

“Chancellor Rosa has been a fierce advocate for our schools, students and educators during her tenure on the board, and we can’t think of anyone more suited to step in as interim commissioner during this time,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “We look forward to continuing our collaborative work on behalf of our members and students.”

“Chancellor Rosa doesn’t back down from a challenge, and that’s exactly the kind of leader SED needs right now,” NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango said. “We congratulate her and Vice Chancellor Brown and are ready to get to work with both in their new roles as we advocate for our students, our members and school communities across New York.” 

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Robert Schneider said, “We congratulate Betty Rosa on her appointment as interim commissioner of education by the Board of Regents.

“We appreciate Dr. Rosa’s willingness to serve during this turbulent and difficult time. Her hands-on involvement in developing guidance for school reopening plans means she is familiar with the urgent educational challenges facing New York schools right now and can easily hit the ground running.

“In addition, Dr. Rosa will provide an important element of stability as the Board of Regents’ national search for a permanent commissioner continues and as a global pandemic disrupts our usual operating procedures. Dr. Rosa has developed an excellent working relationship with stakeholders – particularly school board members – and has participated in several roundtables with school board members from around the state.

“We also wish to thank Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown for his leadership and dedication to the students and educators of New York as he serves as presiding officer of the Regents during Dr. Rosa’s interim appointment.

“Finally, we wish outgoing Interim Commissioner Shannon Tahoe well and thank her for her service, steering the department so capably during her time in the post.

“We stand ready to work with Interim Commissioner Rosa, the Regents and the entire State Education Department staff to help bring New York’s schools through the current crisis.”

The New York State School Boards Association represents more than 670 school boards and more than 5,200 school board members in New York. NYSSBA provides advocacy, training and information to school boards in support of their mission to govern the state's public schools.

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