Biography for MaryEllen Elia
MaryEllen Elia was appointed Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools on July 1, 2005, following a nationwide search. District schools have successively earned more A and B grades each year of her tenure as superintendent. The district also earned its first overall A grade from the state of Florida for student achievement after her first year as superintendent, and has earned two more since then.
Ms. Elia, a lifelong educator, began her career as a social studies teacher in the state of New York in 1970. In 1986, she relocated to the Tampa Bay area after accepting a position at Plant High School as a reading resource specialist. She was promoted to several key positions in the district over the next 20 years.
She was the district's first magnet schools supervisor. She was promoted in 1997 to the director of non-traditional programs where she managed all magnet schools, as well alternative schools and drop-out prevention programs. Ms. Elia was appointed general director of secondary education in 2002.
In 2003, she became the district's chief facilities officer. In this role, she provided oversight of all new construction and was responsible for the maintenance and operation of more than 200 existing schools and educational facilities. She remained in this position until her appointment as superintendent.
In 2011, she received the College Board's District of the Year Beacon Award and was recognized with the Florida Department of Education's Data Leader of the Year award for leading the way in using education data to drive student improvement . In 2010, she received the Inaugural Governor's Business Partnership Award presented by Governor-Elect Rick Scott and the Florida Council of 100; the Women of Distinction award from the local chapter of the American Association of University Women; CEO of the Year from the Florida Supplier Development Council; the University of South Florida-Anchin Center Exemplary Leadership in Education award; and the Network of Executive Women 2010 Executive Woman of the Year award. In 2009, Superintendent Elia received The College Board's Outstanding Leadership award. She received the Florida Association of District School Superintendents' Superintendent's Award for Volunteer/Community Service in 2008/2009 and 2006/2007. In 2008, Mrs. Elia was named the Dr. Carlo Rodriguez Champion of School Choice by the State Board of Education. She was named Florida's Superintendent of the Year by the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations in 2007.
Ms. Elia holds a bachelor of arts degree from Daeman College; a master's in education from the University of Buffalo; a master of professional studies in reading from State University of New York at Buffalo; and certification in educational leadership.