Shannon Tahoe reflects on time serving as NYSED’s Interim Commissioner

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It was announced on July 24 that after 14 years at the New York State Education Department, Interim Commissioner Shannon Tahoe is moving on.

Tahoe started as Interim Commissioner at the end of 2019 after having other roles at the Department. And much has taken place as schools have had to evolve due to the coronavirus. 

“I was put in the position of Interim Commissioner and then had to work steadfastly to figure out how to work with all of our school districts across the state, provide continuity of learning, child nutrition plans, childcare for first responders in the midst of the pandemic in March and from March through June and how to continue those services,” Tahoe said.  

School districts have until Friday to submit reopening plans to the state. Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to decide some time next week if schools will reopen based on a formula. 

While the Education Department is reviewing plans as they come in, Tahoe said one theme seems to be a hybrid learning model of in-person and remote instruction.

“But it’s really a district-wide decision, and the districts have to look at their facilities, their enrollment, what their school population looks like, what their capabilities are on a resource perspective, what types of staff are going to be able to come into schools in the fall, and how many staff will be available,” Tahoe said.

She said, once she departs, she hopes the Department will continue to work on reopening, securing broadband and devices for students, obtaining federal finances, and looking at the academic deficits students have faced as a result of not having in-person instruction. 

“Most importantly, we need to look at the social and emotional needs of both our students and our families and parents and our communities, and the staff in our districts,” Tahoe said. 

Tahoe said, after she leaves on August 13, she plans to spend time with her family before announcing where she’s headed next in the coming weeks.The Board of Regents expects to appoint an Acting Commissioner before her departure.

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