Former New York State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia Appointed Senior Fellow at International Center for Leadership in Education

Elia to serve as Center’s key thought leader in areas of policy, standards and school improvement

REXFORD, N.Y. – The International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), a division of learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), today announced that MaryEllen Elia, former Education Commissioner of New York and President of the University of the State of New York (USNY) has joined ICLE as a senior fellow.

ICLE, one of the nation’s leading education consulting companies, researches and disseminates best practices for district-wide achievement and is known for its high-impact work around school transformation. Elia will serve as a vital thought leader for ICLE, contributing to the vision and content development within her specialized practice areas, which will include policy, community schools, teacher evaluation systems, standards, school choice and urban education.

“We are honored to welcome MaryEllen Elia to the team,” said Sue Gendron, President, ICLE. “She brings deep expertise working hand-in-hand with school communities at the district and state levels to drive and support improvements designed to benefit every student and teacher. We know she will bring great value and insight to our practice.”

ICLE’s senior fellows are well-established education experts who support the Center’s growth by providing strategic guidance of consultants within their practice fields and extending engagement within the professional services landscape at-large through publication, speaking engagements, content and programming development and more. Fellows also work directly with educators in the field, deepening ICLE’s connection with its customers and strengthening its offerings to best serve evolving needs of schools and teachers.

“As a former teacher, administrator, superintendent and commissioner, I have devoted my entire career to putting children on a path to success both in school and beyond,” added MaryEllen Elia. “I am enormously grateful for the opportunity to join The International Center for Leadership in Education. I hope to translate the experiences I have garnered during my career into lessons to help improve classrooms, schools and districts for students in every state.”

Elia brings nearly five decades of experience as an educator to her role at ICLE. Prior to this appointment, she served as the first female New York State Commissioner of Education and as President of the University of the State of New York (USNY). In this capacity, she oversaw the work of more than 700 school districts with 3.2 million students; 7,000 libraries; 900 museums; and more than 50 professions encompassing nearly 900,000 licensees.

Previously, she served for ten years as superintendent of schools in Hillsborough County, Florida, where she successfully implemented higher learning standards, partnered with teachers to develop a comprehensive evaluation system, and earned national recognition for gains in student achievement. In 2015, she was named Florida’s Superintendent of the Year, received the AASA Women in School Leadership Award from the School Superintendents Association, and was one of four finalists for the National Superintendent of the Year award.

Elia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Daeman College (formerly Rosary Hill College) in Buffalo, a Master of Education from the University of Buffalo, and a Master of Professional Studies from SUNY Buffalo. In 1970, she began her career in education as a social studies teacher in the Sweet Home Central School District (in Western New York) and taught for 19 years before moving on to positions as a school and district administrator.

To learn more about ICLE, its expert team and its work, please visit:


About the International Center for Leadership in Education
The International Center for Leadership in Education, established in 1991 and located in Rexford, N.Y., is one of the most influential education consulting companies in America. It is best known for identifying and disseminating successful practices to assist all students in achieving higher standards. Founder and Chairman Dr. Bill Daggett and his team of consultants have assisted numerous state education agencies and hundreds of schools and districts in their improvement initiatives. For more information, please visit

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ: HMHC) is a learning company committed to delivering integrated solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K-12 core curriculum, supplemental solutions and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students' potential and extend teachers' capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 3 million educators in 150 countries, while its award-winning children's books, novels, non-fiction and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit Follow HMH on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Media Contact:
Leah Riviere
Senior Communications Manager
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt