From the State Education Department:
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia today appointed Charles Szuberla as monitor for the East Ramapo Central School District. Szuberla, a well-known former Deputy Commissioner who served the Department for 29 years before his retirement in late 2015, will lead the Department’s continuing efforts to provide enhanced communication with the East Ramapo community through greater outreach to students, parents and stakeholders. He will be supported by Dr. John W. Sipple, a Cornell University professor who continues in his role as monitor, specializing in budgeting and fiscal matters.
Szuberla will report directly to Commissioner Elia and will be a regular presence in the East Ramapo School District. In addition to fulfilling the duties and responsibilities specifically set forth in the legislation enacted this June, Szuberla will, like his predecessor Dennis Walcott, have the authority to monitor district operations, including fiscal and operational management and educational programming and to provide guidance, recommendations and propose actions for improvement to the school district, as well as to the State Education Department, to ensure that students have access to appropriate programs and services and that the district is on a path to fiscal and programmatic stability. Elia’s appointment of Szuberla also reflects the enactment of Chapter 89 of the Laws of 2016, which, among other things, continues the appointment of up to three monitors for the 2016-2017 school year and contains a specific focus on fiscal and budgetary planning and oversight.
“It is imperative that we continue the progress that the monitors have already made to ensure that the civil and educational rights of a community of overwhelmingly low-income children of color in East Ramapo are not denied,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa. “We are building on the foundation set by the first group of monitors, led by Dennis Walcott, further opening the channels of communication with the East Ramapo community and school district to make sure that the forward momentum we have seen in the last 12 months continues.”
“Over the past year, the work of our monitors has begun to address the actions that undermined the educational rights of the students of East Ramapo for far too long, but we still have a considerable way to go,” said Elia. “Across the state, Chuck Szuberla is known as a leader who is able to bring various groups to the table to solve problems—and that’s the exact kind of experience we need in East Ramapo. I am confident that he will hit the ground running and continue to repair the trust of the East Ramapo community by engaging with students, staff, parents, and stakeholders. This effort would not have continued without the efforts of Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee, Assemblymember Ken Zebrowski and Senator David Carlucci. I thank them for their commitment to this district.”
“This past year, the monitors began the process of resetting a moral compass that focuses on ensuring all children are given the opportunities to learn that prepare them to graduate high school equipped with the knowledge, skills and personal goals essential to meaningful participation in our democratic society. I look forward to supporting their work,” said Regent Judith Johnson.
Szuberla most recently served as the State Education Department’s Deputy Commissioner for P-12 School Operations before his retirement in December 2015. In this role, he was responsible for supporting school district leaders in providing high quality educational opportunities for the more than 3.1 million public and nonpublic students in New York. His priority projects included expanded access to prekindergarten programs; enhanced instruction for English Language Learners; and multiple pathway high schools. In his 29 total years with the Department, Szuberla gained extensive experience in school district operations, management, and budgetary and fiscal oversight. He also managed the Roosevelt Union Free School District’s transition to full independence between 2002 and 2013.
Szuberla will be supported by Sipple, who served on the initial monitor team and is an Associate Professor of Development Psychology at Cornell University. Sipple’s continued assistance in the District will provide continuity and expertise in the critical areas of budgeting and fiscal matters, which are a key focus of the monitor’s responsibilities under Chapter 89. Szuberla will also consult with additional experts on an as-needed basis.
This monitoring initiative will build on the many accomplishments seen in the 2015-2016 school year, during which the District named Dr. Deborah Wortham superintendent, improved teaching and learning, increased transparency and communication with the community, and began the process for much-needed capital repairs and projects.
The monitors will continue to prioritize community engagement and communication. In the coming weeks, Szuberla and Commissioner Elia will meet with stakeholders and plan to hold a public meeting in mid-to-late September. In an effort to ensure all parents and community members are aware of any developments in the district, the Department will provide written materials in English, Spanish, and Haitian-Creole.
Additionally, the Department has created an electronic mailing list for East Ramapo students, parents, teachers, community members and other stakeholders. The Department will provide updates and share district-related information through this mailing list. If you would like to receive these e-mail updates, please send an e-mail to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.NYSED.GOV. The body of the message should read: SUBSCRIBE EAST-RAMAPO Your Name (Example: SUBSCRIBE EAST-RAMAPO Jane Smith).
Community members with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact EastRamapoMonitors@nysed.gov.