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September 13, 2016
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JP O’Hare

(518) 474-1201


State Education Department Appoints Christopher Suriano As Assistant Commissioner of Special Education

State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia today announced the appointment of Christopher Suriano as Assistant Commissioner of Special Education. In his new role, Mr. Suriano will oversee the Office of Special Education’s efforts to promote educational equity and excellence for students with disabilities, provide general supervision and monitoring of all public and private schools serving New York State preschool and school-age students with disabilities, and provide technical assistance to parents and school districts.

“Christopher Suriano has spent his entire professional career working to support students with disabilities,” said Board of Regents Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown. “I am confident he will provide the kind of leadership the Department, our schools and the families of children with disabilities deserve.”

“The Department’s Office of Special Education provides critically important information and services to school districts to help support them in the education of students with disabilities,” Commissioner Elia said. “Christopher Suriano comes to us with years of relevant work experience and we are thrilled to have him join our team.”

In his role as Assistant Commissioner, Mr. Suriano’s duties will include the following, among others:

•           Oversee all aspects of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) including the development of the State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Reports and the State Systemic Improvement Plan;

•           Manage the development of proposals for State law and regulation, and the development of policy and guidance to ensure New York State’s compliance with IDEA and the achievement of students with disabilities;

•           Ensure that technical assistance is provided to school districts, parents and other special education programs to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities;

•           Oversee the operation of seven regional offices throughout NYS responsible for the monitoring and oversight of approximately 700 school districts and hundreds of private preschool and school age programs, delivering services to students with disabilities;

Since starting as a special education teacher in 1989, Mr. Suriano has devoted his career to the field of special education and working with students with disabilities. Most recently, he was the Executive Director of Specialized Services in the Rochester City School District. In this position, he was responsible for the districtwide oversight of the special education programs and services for approximately 6,000 students. Prior to his service in Rochester, Mr. Suriano worked from 2003 to 2013 in the New York State Education Department’s Office of Special Education where he was the supervisor of the Special Education Quality Assurance Western Regional Office before being promoted to Regional Coordinator.

Mr. Suriano’s first day at the Department will be September 22.



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