Regents board names new NY education commissioner

Mary Ellen Elia, 66, a western New York native, was named the state's top education official.

Mary Ellen Elia, a western New York native, was named the state's top education official.

Mary Ellen Elia, a western New York native, was named the state's top education official. (5/26/15)

ALBANY - The state Board of Regents has selected a former Florida schools official to become New York's next education commissioner.

Mary Ellen Elia, a western New York native, was named the state's top education official.

The 66-year-old will replace John B. King, who left last year to take a federal job after a rocky rollout of the Common Core academic standards and curriculum.

Under her leadership as superintendent at Hillsborough County Schools in Florida, the graduation rate there soared from 64 percent to 74 percent.

Elia was fired from her post earlier this year. Critics called her a "micro-manager" and blamed her for not focusing enough on special-needs students.

She is scheduled to officially take over the post on or around July 6.

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