Creating a fear-based workplace where subordinates felt "browbeaten" and bullied.
Accused of trying to cover up district complicity in the death of a 7 year old special needs child.
Was the target of parent protest for lack of district response after a second special needs child died at a Hillsborough school.
Oversaw a school district that has been accused of racial discrimination in its discipline policies and is target of federal complaint.
Oversaw a school busing and choice program that created a "reign of chaos" at McLane Middle School for ten years.
Was dubbed "MaryEllen EVILia" by some parents for pursuing district policies that harmed children with special needs.
Couldn't play nice with the school board and was ultimately whacked in a 4-3 vote in January.
And that's just what we've learned in the first 24 hours since she surfaced as the new NYSED commissioner.
You can bet we'll learn more in coming days, but for now that's quite a list of negatives.
Michael Fiorillo thinks that by appointing so divisive and flawed a personage as MaryEllen Elia, reformers are signaling that the first string reform team isn't interested in tangling with LI and suburban NY parents over ed deform policies, the Endless Testing regime and the like:
There are certainly a whole host of red flags around this appointment.
Elia's inability to work well with the Hillsborough board, her rep for micromanaging, her rep for retaliation against perceived enemies, her rep for creating a toxic, FEAR-based workplace culture where subordinates were too afraid to tell her the truth, her refusal to come clean on the tragic death of the 7 year old child, the animosity she engendered from some parents (especially those with children of special needs), and her refusal to change course on district policies unless forced to suggest she isn't long for the New York State Education Department.
We'll see - maybe she'll read the political landscape and understand that a thin skin, harsh treatment of subordinates, dismissal of parent concerns and micromanaging the state isn't going to work at this point in time.
But I'm skeptical about that and will certainly be watching for her first screw-up.
Given her track record, it shouldn't be too long.