images of parents with their children
October 25, 2019
Dear Parents,

First, it is with deep regret that I inform you of the passing of Judith Johnson, a member of the New York State Board of Regents. In a career that spanned decades, above all else, Judith was dedicated to the pursuit of educational equity and excellence for all children.

Judith's leadership was legendary at the local, state and national levels. In 2008 she received the NYS School Superintendent of the Year award, making her the first African American to receive that honor. Immediately upon her appointment to the Board of Regents in 2015, she continued her unrelenting advocacy for state policies aimed at lifting up all students. Her legacy of caring and compassion will live on.

Second, you may have heard that after nearly seven years serving the New York State Education Department, I will be departing for another opportunity. My last day in the office will be Friday, November 15.

The time I've spent at NYSED has presented me with the chance to work alongside and learn from some of the finest people I've ever met - individuals whose commitment to bettering the lives of others is unwavering. I've seen firsthand the tireless effort members of the Board of Regents and colleagues have made to ensure New York State residents have equitable opportunities to access education, the arts, cultural institutions, vocational services and opportunities and the professions.

With that professional opportunity there were challenges in trying to find balance between my personal and professional life. I've come to appreciate that when I started my partnership with you my children were 4, 4 and 7. They are now 10, 10 and 13. As they move into their next phases of childhood it is important that I rebalance my time with my husband and children.

I'd like to thank you for your work supporting schools and communities. As parents, you provide incalculable support for schools and children by giving your time and the necessary resources to create a true school community. Thank you for helping to ensure a high-quality education for your children and all our students in New York State.

Finally, NYSED is currently inviting public comment on a variety of topics, some of which I have mentioned in previous updates:
Thank you, as always, for staying connected and for your continued support.


Beth Berlin
Interim Commissioner of Education