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June 4, 2020
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Appoints Dr. William Johnson as Monitor for the Hempstead Union Free School District

New York State Education Department Interim Commissioner Shannon Tahoe today announced the appointment of Dr. William Johnson as the State Monitor for the Hempstead Union Free School District. Recently enacted legislation requires the Commissioner to appoint one monitor for both academic and fiscal issues in the district. Dr. Johnson has decades of experience in both academic leadership and financial management roles in school districts on Long Island. As the State Monitor, Dr. Johnson will provide oversight, guidance and technical assistance related to the educational and fiscal policies, practices, programs and decisions of the school district, the Board of Education and the superintendent.

"Ensuring stability and a brighter future for the students of Hempstead is our number one priority in appointing Bill Johnson as the State Monitor," Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. "The Board and I advocated taking this next, more authoritative step in Hempstead to provide real avenues to redress the inequities that have plagued the schools and community for so long. The district needs focused, continued support and we know that there is much work to be done to best serve each child in the Hempstead School District."

“Bill Johnson has a deep understanding of the educational needs of Long Island students and a long history of improving students’ chances to succeed,” Regent Roger Tilles said. “In more than 30 years as a superintendent, he crusaded for increased access to programs that led to gains at all levels. Bill has said many times that ‘Hempstead’s kids are our kids and until they succeed, we cannot say that any of us are succeeding.’ It’s that level of investment and empathy that makes him the right person to provide oversight for this district.”

“It’s critical that Dr. Johnson will provide help to continue efforts to turnaround the dysfunction that has plagued the Hempstead district for years,” Interim Commissioner Tahoe said. “While academics at the elementary and middle school levels are heading in the right direction, services for English language learners continue to lag. Dr. Johnson’s knowledge of Long Island education will assist district leaders in facing these and other governance related obstacles that they must overcome for the good of their students.”

Hempstead UFSD Monitor Duties

Under legislation included in the Enacted Budget, the Hempstead UFSD Monitor oversees academic and fiscal issues. Dr. Johnson will be entitled to attend all meetings of the board including executive sessions and have access to any necessary documents and records of the district.

Among other duties, the monitor will work with the district’s shared decision-making committee in developing the financial plan, academic improvement plan, district goals, implementation of district priorities and budgetary recommendations. Dr. Johnson will also assist in resolving disputes and conflicts, including those between the superintendent and the Board of Education. The State Monitor may also recommend cost-saving measures, including shared service agreements.

Financial and Academic Improvement Plans

The Board and the monitor will develop proposed Financial and Academic Improvement plans for the 2020-21 school year and the four subsequent school years no later than November 1, 2020. These plans will be the subject of public hearings to consider the input of the Hempstead community. Once the plans are approved by the Board, the plans must be submitted by the monitor to the Commissioner for approval.

District & Monitor Reporting Requirements

The district is required to provide quarterly reports to the monitor and annual reports to the Commissioner and Board of Regents on the fiscal, and operational status of the district. The monitor is required to provide semi-annual reports to the Commissioner, the Board of Regents, the Governor and Legislature on the academic, fiscal, and operational status of the district, which includes all the contracts that the district enters into throughout the year.

Dr. William Johnson Biography

Dr. Johnson brings more than 40 years of experience in education to the role of State Monitor. For the past 34 years, he has served as the Superintendent of the Rockville Centre Union Free School District. Prior to serving as Superintendent, Dr. Johnson held numerous leadership roles in the district including in the areas of Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education and Business. Dr. Johnson’s vast experience includes serving as President of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, serving as a member of the State Education Commissioner’s Advisory Council and participating in two Governor’s commissions related to education. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Johnson has received numerous awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Long Island Association of TV Broadcasting, Phi Delta Kappa’s Educator of the Year, the Abraham Krasnoff Courage and Commitment Award and Education Week’s Leaders to Learn From award. Dr. Johnson holds a Ed. D. and an M. Ed. from Columbia University, a certificate of advanced study from Fairfield University and a bachelor’s degree from St. Bernard’s College.