Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan and Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick today announced, in a concurrent resolution of the legislature, the reelection of Lester W. Young, Jr., Karen Brooks Hopkins, Harry Phillips III, James C. Dawson, Robert M. Bennett and Roger Tilles to the New York State Board of Regents.
The Board is comprised of 17 members elected by the Legislature for five-year terms. One member is elected from each of the state's 13 judicial districts and four members serve at-large.
"The reelection of these six highly qualified individuals to the Board of Regents underscores the Assembly Majority's continued commitment to provide all New Yorkers with a sound, basic education," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "We look forward to continuing to work with the returning Regents on statewide education policy, to ensure our students are prepared to enter the workforce."
"It is important for the state at this critical juncture to have the experience of these returning Regents," said Nolan (D-Queens). "They are dedicated to upholding the goals and mission of the Board of Regents, which includes providing early childhood education through adult education for all New Yorkers."
"The Board of Regents has been instrumental in making New York State a leader in education," said Glick (D-Manhattan). "I am pleased that we have such talented individuals committed to the well-being and advancement of students across the state."
Lester W. Young, Jr. was elected to the board in 2008 to fill the remaining two years of an unexpired term. He is currently an adjunct professor of human development and leadership at the Long Island University Graduate School of Education. He worked in the New York City school system for 36 years before retiring in 2004, serving as Superintendent of Community School District 13 in Brooklyn, Associate Commissioner with the New York State Education Department and elementary school principal. In 2003 he was appointed to lead the first New York City Office of Youth Development & School-Community Services. Young received a doctor of education from Fordham University. He will serve as a Regent at Large.
Karen Brook Hopkins was first elected to the board in 2006 to fill the remaining four years of an unexpired term. She is president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where she has worked since 1979. Hopkins is also an active member of the Performing Arts Center Consortium, and served as its chair from 1994 to 1996. She is a member of the Board of NYC & Company, New York's Convention and Visitor's Bureau, and was an adjunct professor for the Brooklyn College Program for Arts Administration for four years. Hopkins graduated from the University of Maryland and received an M.F.A. from George Washington University. She will serve as a Regent for the 2nd Judicial District.
James C. Dawson was first elected to the board in 1993, and has chaired the Regents' Cultural Education Committee, the Administrative Committee and the State Aid Subcommittee. He was also president of the National Association of State Boards of Education. Dawson has served on the faculty at the State University of New York, College at Plattsburgh since 1970, where he teaches courses in geology as a Distinguished Service Professor in the Center for Earth and Environmental Science. He will serve as a Regent for the 4th Judicial District.
Robert M. Bennett was first elected to the board in 1995. He was Chancellor of the Regents from 2002-2009, and after stepping down was unanimously elected by his colleagues on the board as Chancellor Emeritus. Bennett is currently a distinguished lecturer in Policy and Politics in Education at Niagara University and a senior policy advisor to the Vice President and Dean of the Graduate School of Education at SUNY Buffalo, where he also teaches a policy course. He served as president and CEO of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County from 1985 until his retirement in 2000, and prior to that spent four years in local government. Bennett received a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame and a masters degree in interdisciplinary studies from SUNY-Buffalo. He also has an honorary doctor of laws degree from Niagara University and doctor of humane letters from Canisius and D'Youville Colleges. He will serve as a Regent for the 8th Judicial District.
Harry Phillips III was first elected to the board in 2000. He served as President of Geothermal Electric Corporation and is presently Managing Director of Winged Keel Group, Inc., a financial security management firm in New York City. He serves as a board member of the Westchester Community College Foundation, and was Board Chair of Westchester Community College for many years. He was a past president of his local PTA and a founder and past president of the Woodland High School Scholarship Fund. Phillips graduated from Harvard with honors and received a masters degree in financial services from The American College. He will serve as a Regent for the 9th Judicial District.
Roger Tilles was elected to his first five-year term in 2005. He is a member of the New York, District of Columbia and Michigan Bar Associations, and served as Director of Law and Legislation for the Michigan Department of Education. He was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education and served as Executive Secretary to the Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives. He also opened his own law practice in Washington, D.C. and was Director of Tilles Investment Companies in Long Island. Tilles is also a member and past President of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck and is on the Board of The Jewish Outreach Institute. He graduated from Amherst College and the University of Michigan College of Law. He will serve as a Regent for the 10th Judicial District.
The Board of Regents was established in 1784 and is the oldest, continuous state education entity in the United States. The Regents are responsible for the general oversight of all educational activities within the state, presiding over the State University of New York and the state Education Department.