CCSSO Announces Hawaii and New York Chiefs To Join Board of Directors

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Washington, D.C. (February 14, 2019) –– The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today announced that Hawaii Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto and New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia have joined the Board of Directors.  

CCSSO’s Board of Directors manages the overall business affairs of the Council and is the governing body of the organization. The Board is composed of the president, the president-elect, the past president, and six directors elected by members of the CCSSO membership.  

“It is a tremendous honor to serve on CCSSO’s Board of Directors and I look forward to working with all my colleagues to develop creative solutions to educational challenges,” said Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. “The unified voice of our members will be crucial towards improving equity and innovation on behalf of our students across the nation.”  

“As a teacher first, I know it’s critical to look at best practices and gather experience and ideas from all sources. I am honored to join CCSSO’s Board of Directors for the opportunity to share the good work we are doing in New York and to learn from other states to collaboratively foster success for all students across the country,” said Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. 

CCSSO Executive Director Carissa Moffat Miller said she looks forward to working with both chiefs and welcomes their guidance on the CCSSO board. 

“Superintendent Kishimoto is a collaborative leader who actively seeks student voice and teacher and community engagement in creating college and career pathways, improving school safety, and recruiting and retaining teachers. She is committed to providing equitable access to quality learning opportunities for all students and has prioritized addressing achievement gaps for English language learners and students with learning disabilities,” Miller said. 

“Commissioner Elia puts at the center of her work students and providing them equitable opportunities to prepare for college, careers and civic engagement. She is a strong advocate for high-quality prekindergarten, expanding access to career and technical education and advanced coursework opportunities, and providing additional support to schools so that every student can succeed.” 

The following is a list of CCSSO’s 2018-19 Board of Directors: 

  • President: Pedro Rivera, Pennsylvania 

  • President-Elect: Jillian Balow, Wyoming 

  • Past President: Carey M. Wright, Mississippi 

  • Board Member: Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota 

  • Board Member: Matthew Blomstedt, Nebraska 

  • Board Member: Sydnee Dickson, Utah 

  • Board Member: MaryEllen Elia, New York 

  • Board Member: Christina M. Kishimoto, Hawaii 

  • Board Member: Molly Spearman, South Carolina 


The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public. 


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