Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday announced the names of members of his new Reimagine Education Advisory Council.
A teacher from the William Floyd District and Jackie Burbridge, described as a parent from Suffolk County, appear to be the only two Long Island representatives on the council. Other members include upstate school superintendents, parents, teachers, several college representatives, and PTA and union leaders.
Cuomo said the role of the council is to help districts “reimagine schools as they prepare to reopen while protecting health and safety, (and determine) how virtual learning can bridge the gap, and supplement face to face education when schools reopen.”
The Council will be chaired by SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras – will be comprised of lower and higher education leaders from across the state. The list of members is available below:
- Kaweeda Adams, Superintendent, Albany City School District
- Jaime Alicea, Superintendent, Syracuse City School District
- Jody Arnhold, Founder, Dance Educator Laboratory
- Melodie Baker, Director of Education, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
- Kyle Belokopitsky, Executive Director, New York State PTA
- Meg Benke, Provost, SUNY Empire State College
- Jackie Burbridge, Parent, Suffolk County
- Katie Campos, Partner, Strategic Collective
- Anthony Collins, President, Clarkson University
- Stephanie Conklin, Master Teacher, South Colonie Central School District
- George Dermody, CEO, The Children Home of Wyoming Conference
- Karol Mason, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- Austin Ostro, President, SUNY Student Assembly
- Martin Palermo, Master Teacher, William Floyd School District
- Roger Ramsammy, President, Hudson Valley Community College
- Seema Rivera, President, Guilderland Central School District School Board
- Shannon Tahoe, Interim Commissioner, New York State Education Department
- Dennis Walcott, Former Chancellor, New York State Department of Education
- Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
“When we closed school facilities because of the COVID-19 virus, our teachers and students rose to the occasion, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their heroic work,” Cuomo said. “Like everything else, when we do reopen schools it’s not just about reopening as they were before, it’s about building back even better than before. “
Earlier this week, Cuomo announced that the state was partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to find answers to what education should look like in the future. That immediately brought opposition from many parents and educators who pointed out Gates’ role in supporting Common Core principles.
When schools were shut down in March, teachers and students had to adapt to working remotely. Though many teachers said they were prepared, not all students had the equipment to work online. Several teachers said too many students continue to work with paper packets of assignments and are not able to get or remain online.
With fears of a second wave of Covid-19 in late summer or fall, educators are trying to figure out how school might resume without endangering anyone.