Past President (2002-2004)
Commissioner of Education
and President of the University of the State of New York
MaryEllen Elia is the Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York. She is the former Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) in Tampa, Florida and was the district's first magnet schools supervisor. Ms. Elia, is a lifelong educator and began her career as a social studies teacher in the state of New York in 1970. In 1986, she relocated to the Tampa Bay area after accepting a position at Plant High School as a reading resource specialist. She was promoted to several key positions in the district over the next 20 years before becoming Superintendent.
As a result of the new magnet schools and programs developed and implemented during Ms. Elias’ tenure as Superintendent and Director of Magnet Schools, the number of students participating in magnet schools and programs increased significantly. During this time it was also recognized by the United States Department of Education for its commitment to diversity and high quality magnet schools. In 2007 and 2010 it was the recipient of Magnet Schools Assistance Program grants.
Ms. Elia’s advocacy for and support of magnet schools and programs at the national level has included serving on the Board of Directors of Magnet Schools of America for 15 years, including as President of MSA from 2002 to 2004, where she was instrumental to ensuring that diversity, theme-based curriculum, and professional development were at the cornerstone of MSA's national conferences. In 2010 Hillsborough County Public Schools hosted MSA’s National Conference and in 2013 MSA’s Summer Institute and Leadership Academy.
In addition to her support of magnet schools and programs while with HCPS, Ms. Elia received numerous awards for her leadership of the district, including being named the 2015 Florida State Superintendent of the Year and as one of four finalists for the 2015 American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year. She has also been honored as the Just Read! Florida Superintendent of the Year, as well as the Tampa Bay Business Journal Woman of the Year.