Chancellor Zimpher, Commissioner Elia Highlight “Voices of TeachNY” as Statewide Listening Tour Wraps Up

October 12, 2016

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia today highlighted the "Voices of TeachNY" as their statewide listening tour with teachers, faculty, and students nears its final stop in Plattsburgh Friday.

The state’s top two education leaders thanked nearly 800 teachers, faculty, students, administrators, and staff who will have participated in the regional discussions at area schools and SUNY colleges and universities in Buffalo, Cortland, Geneseo, Long Island, New Paltz, Oswego, Plattsburgh, and Saratoga; and highlighted opinion pieces published by cross-sector participants and news outlets. 

Excerpts include:

"With a need for 1.6 million new teachers nationwide within the next decade, New York has the opportunity to set a national benchmark in education reform with TeachNY. As growing challenges have delivered deep blows to public education across the state, TeachNY offers the right solutions to recover stronger than ever before." – Marc Cohen, University at Albany student and president of the SUNY Student Assembly

"Why is [TeachNY] different from other education reforms? This steering committee membership includes faculty and staff who are on the ground, educating and preparing teachers from their point of interest to their attainment of teacher certification. We know from the inside what the issues are and how they truly affect student success. Teachers voices will make a difference." – Stony Brook University Interim Dean and Associate Professor Ken Lindblom, Ph.D.

"Too often, education policy decisions are made without consulting classroom teachers. TeachNY bucks that trend … [It] has shown me that I have a voice and inspired me to become more active in shaping educational policy." – Deborah Mabey, NYS Master Teacher, Hoosick Falls School District

"Chancellor Zimpher cannot do this alone … New York has been given an actionable plan for how it can ensure a strong pipeline of excellent P-12 teachers for all of the state's public schools. It is now up to policy makers and parents, educators and activists, to decide whether the plan is enacted or placed on a shelf. If we enact it, New York could soon be a shining model for 21st-century teacher preparation." – Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and was president of Teachers College, Columbia University

"The importance of good, quality teachers could never be underestimated. Raising awareness about this need and employing strategies to increase the ranks are not only laudable but essential goals as we consider the future of education in New York." – Poughkeepsie Journal, Democrat & Chronicle Editorial Boards

"The TeachNY process re-affirmed the critical importance of the teaching profession as the foundation on which New York’s ­– and the nation’s – future has always built." – Erik J. Bitterbaum, SUNY Cortland President

"We cannot afford to wait another day before we address the critical need to prepare and support the cadre of future and current teachers. These are the women and men who will continue to educate, support and encourage the intellectual preparation and development of every child in the state of New York." – Buffalo State College President Katherine Conway-Turner

"The TeachNY campaign has shown me that educational leadership in Albany is fighting for what’s best for both the students and teachers." – Jeri Diletti, Akron High School math teacher

"The [TeachNY] campaign is promoting the teaching profession, which is necessary as baby boomers retire and millennials choose other fields." – Buffalo News Editorial Board

"With the state finally climbing out of its economic crisis, and aid to schools approaching pre-recession levels, New York is at the cusp of what could be a bright new era in education. In order to get there, we will need a lot more teachers." – Times Union Editorial Board

"Teacher education must evolve with schools and their societal role, and TeachNY can make that possible … I am proud to contribute to TeachNY. We must use every bit of what we have learned in the past four decades about recruiting, educating, and retaining qualified teachers." – Dennis Showers, Distinguished Service Professor of Education at SUNY Geneseo

"The last decade has seen dramatic changes in PreK-12 education and PreK-12 teacher preparation … In order to meet these challenges, we need something that has of yet eluded our PreK-20 educational system – a truly inclusive and coordinated effort to reform the way we prepare teachers and educate students. Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and Commissioner MaryEllen Elia have launched such an initiative, TeachNY." – Nathan Gonyea, interim dean, SUNY Empire State College School for Graduate Studies

The TeachNY opinion pieces in their entirety are all available online, at

About TeachNY

TeachNY is a movement to lift up the teaching profession and ensure that New York and the nation will have the high quality educators needed for the future. TeachNY will: promote the power of teaching; cement a clinical practice profession; secure investment in innovative educator preparation; improve transparency about supply and demand; and support the entire educator preparation pipeline.

Alongside the listening tour sessions, a steering committee headed by SUNY Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright, meets regularly to take in feedback received. Ultimately, the steering committee will develop new teacher preparation policy for Chancellor Zimpher to bring to the SUNY Board of Trustees and for Commissioner Elia to bring to the Board of Regents.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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