State Education Commissioner meets face-to-face with Rochester School Board members

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia (Right) met with school board members one-on-one Tuesday (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. – The state’s top leader in education was in town Tuesday night to meet individually with each Rochester School Board member.

It comes after the state appointed a Distinguished Educator to oversee school operations.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia wanted to dispel some uncertainties about Dr. Kenneth Eastwood’s role. She made it clear he will not be here to be superintendent. He’s here to work up a report about what’s going wrong in the district.

Last week, Dr. Eastwood was named as a Distinguished Educator. It’s a consultant-type position.

School Board President Van White told 13WHAM last week he was caught off-guard by the decision. He questioned whether Dr. Eastwood’s role would be of value.

Commissioner Elia and the Board of Regents chancellor wanted to address those concerns face-to-face with board members and let them know the district is failing, and outside expertise is needed.

“What we’re asking is a Distinguished Educator to come in and to spend approximately three or four months really investigating what’s going on in the district and looking at the systems,” said Elia. “I mentioned HR, I mentioned finance, I also talked about some of the schools that have great need and percentages of schools within the district that have great need and what needs to be done as a district and as a school board and as an administration to support in those students in those schools.”

13WHAM spoke with School Board member Beatriz LeBron as she was leaving the meeting. She said it was productive, and that she is looking forward to working with Dr. Eastwood and state leaders moving forward.

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