March 10, 2015

Legislature Elects Four Members and Re-elects
Three Others to Board of Regents

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan and Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick today announced the Legislature's election of Beverly L. Ouderkirk, Dr. Catherine Fisher Collins, Judith Johnson and Judith J. Chin and the re-election of Dr. Kathleen Cashin, Roger B. Tilles and Dr. Lester W. Young 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.

"With today's elections, we both retain and add highly qualified individuals to the Board of Regents," said Speaker Heastie. "These are people who have the experience and skills necessary to lead our education system and ensure its academic excellence and accessibility to all New Yorkers."

"The dedicated individuals we elected today to the Board of Regents share our longstanding commitment to academic performance and excellence so that every child in our state has access to a quality education," said Nolan.

"Today's actions by the Legislature ensure that the Board of Regents has the experience and leadership necessary to advance the achievements of students across our state," said Glick. "I am very pleased by the talent of these individuals and their commitment to producing results that will lead to an even stronger educational system."

Newly Elected Regents

Beverly L. Ouderkirk (Judicial District 4) has more than two decades of experience as an elementary K-4 and special education teacher, principal and superintendent. Ouderkirk, a graduate of Syracuse University and SUNY Oswego, has held education posts with the Morristown Central School District; Tioga Central School District, Broome County; Valley Central School District, Orange County; Genesee Valley BOCES; and also in Weedsport and Gouverneur. Currently, she is a school board member in Morristown and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Morristown Public Library.

Dr. Catherine Fisher Collins (Judicial District 8) earned a doctoral degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo from which she also received her Master's Degree in Allied Health Education, graduating from the School of Nursing, Nurse Practitioner's Program. Dr. Collins is a respected author and among her many published books are Sources of Stress and Relief for African American Women (2003) and The Imprisonment of African American Women: Causes, Conditions and Future Implications (winner of the 1997 Outstanding Academic and Scholarly Award).

Judith Johnson (Judicial District 9) has devoted her professional life to public education, providing leadership roles to six school districts and the U.S. Department of Education. In 2008, she received the New York State School Superintendent of the Year award, making her the first African American to receive the award in the history of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. Johnson, a graduate of Brooklyn College, is a former president of the New York Association of Small City Schools and has served on the executive boards of three professional associations of school superintendents.

Judith J. Chin (Judicial District 11) worked for the New York City Department of Education for 37 years, serving in various capacities before her retirement, including as a Regional Superintendent / Chief Education Officer for a majority of the elementary, middle schools and high schools in Queens. Her professional responsibilities have included the management and supervision of education programs that provided support and oversight to principals and school communities, pre-K through Grade 12, throughout the five boroughs. Chin currently is a strategic project developer for Teachers College, Columbia University.

Re-Elected Regents

Dr. Kathleen Cashin (Judicial District 2) served the students of New York City for more than 35 years as a teacher, staff developer, reading consultant, and superintendent. Dr. Cashin was named "Distinguished Educator of the Year" by the New York City Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. She also served as a member of the Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning's senior team, which was responsible for successful instructional changes across the City of New York, and the CEO of the Knowledge Network Learning Support Organization.

Roger B. Tilles (Judicial District 10) graduated from the University of Michigan, College of Law. He became Director of Law and Legislation for the Michigan Department of Education and was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education. Tilles taught education and the law at the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan Universities' Schools of Education. Tilles, who hails from Great Neck, is a founding member of the Association for a Better Long Island and has served as Chair of the Long Island University Board of Trustees.

Dr. Lester W. Young (At-Large) has served as a teacher, guidance counselor, supervisor of special education, principal, Associate Commissioner with the New York State Education Department and Superintendent of Community School District 13. He also led the first N.Y.C. Office of Youth Development and School Community Services. As a recognized educational leader and innovator, Dr. Young was responsible for establishing some of the more successful high schools and middle schools in New York City and replicating the nationally recognized Algebra Project and Comer School Development Program.

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.