FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Board of Regents Unanimously Re-Elects Dr. Lester W. Young, Jr. To Serve as Chancellor and Josephine V. Finn as Vice Chancellor
The Board of Regents unanimously re-elected Dr. Lester W. Young, Jr. and Josephine Victoria Finn to the posts of Chancellor and Vice Chancellor, respectively, Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced today. The Chancellor and Vice Chancellor are the two elective officers of the University of the State of New York, each serving a three-year term.
“I am humbled and honored to be re-elected to serve the children, educators, and communities of our state as the Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents,” said Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. “Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, we have made significant progress. With the leadership of Commissioner Rosa and our dedicated SED staff, together with district and school leaders, teachers, staff, school boards, parents, and our students, New York State schools were able to reopen safely. Additionally, we have advanced the values and beliefs necessary to create school and district environments where all NYS students have the opportunities to go as far as their hopes, dreams, and hard work will take them. There is more work ahead, and the path may not always be smooth; however, I am confident that with the partnership among the Board, Department, and education leaders across the state, we can create a more equitable education system for all New York’s students.”
Vice Chancellor Finn said, “The enduring trust that Chancellor Young and my fellow Board members have placed in me enables me to continue to serve New Yorkers as Vice Chancellor of the Board of Regents, and I am so grateful for this opportunity. Working with the Board, Commissioner Rosa, and Department staff, I believe we are better positioned than ever to support our schools and empower students from all backgrounds to be successful.”
“The unanimous re-elections of Chancellor Young and Vice Chancellor Finn are a testament not only to their work during their tenures as leaders of the Board of Regents but also their inspiring careers as advocates for New York’s students and families,” said Commissioner Rosa. “I have had the privilege of working with each of these accomplished leaders for many years, and there is no one better suited for these roles. I look forward to our continued partnership with Chancellor Young and Vice Chancellor Finn to advance equity in education and support our schools, libraries, and licensed professionals.”
Under the leadership of Chancellor Young, Vice Chancellor Finn, and Commissioner Rosa, the Board and Department follow two guiding principles. The first is a commitment to creating equity for all students to prepare for college, careers, and civic engagement – regardless of background, zip code, first language, or ability. The second strategic priority is to fundamentally change how the Department approaches its mission, shifting focus to a service-oriented approach as part of the statewide teaching and learning community.
Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr.
Dr. Lester W. Young, Jr. was first elected Chancellor of the Board of Regents in January 2021. Chancellor Young has served as a member of the Board of Regents since 2008. As an advocate for students, he has focused on creating opportunities “where every student can be successful” throughout his more than 50 years of public service.
In March 2008, Chancellor Young was appointed by the New York State Legislature as Regent at Large, and in April 2020, was appointed by the NYS Legislature to a fourth term as Regent at Large. Chancellor Young co-chaired the P-12 Education Committee and the Regents Workgroup on Early Learning and Early Childhood Education. He also chaired the Regents Workgroup to Improve Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color. His leadership in this area led to the establishment of the NYS My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and with a commitment by the NYS Legislature, New York State remains the only state in the nation to have the My Brother’s Keeper initiative enacted into NYS law.
Vice Chancellor Josephine Victoria Finn
Josephine Victoria Finn was first elected as Vice Chancellor of the Board of Regents in June 2021. Vice Chancellor Finn was first appointed to represent the Third Judicial District for a five-year term effective April 1, 2014, and elected to a second five-year term effective April 1, 2019. Vice Chancellor Finn graduated from the State University of New York at Oneonta, receiving a B.A. in Psychology and Black Studies, and from the University of Buffalo Law School, where she received a J.D. She has been admitted to the practice of law for 35 years and is trained in mediation.
In her time on the Board, she served as Chair of the Audits/Budget and Finance and Ethics Committees while also serving on the P-12 and Professional Practice Committees, the Workgroup to Improve Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color, and the Research Work Group.
Vice Chancellor Finn served as Assistant County Attorney for Sullivan County as well as Assistant Town Attorney and Town Attorney for the Town of Thompson. For over 18 years she served as legal counsel to the Sullivan County Branch of the NAACP. Vice Chancellor Finn taught at Sullivan County Community College for 13 years and ran the Paralegal Program for several years. She served on the Sullivan County Community College Board of Trustees prior to her election to the Board of Regents.
After serving 20 years as the Village of Monticello Justice, Vice Chancellor Finn has retired from the bench. She is a member of both the New York State Magistrates Association and the Sullivan County Magistrates Association. She has also served as the President of the Sullivan County Bar Association.
The NYS Board of Regents
The Board of Regents was established in 1784 and is the oldest, continuous state education entity in the United States. The Regents, who serve without pay, are responsible for the general oversight of all educational activities within the state, presiding over the University of the State of New York and the State Education Department. The Board of Regents includes 17 members elected by the State Legislature for five-year terms. Thirteen of the Regents represent the State's 13 judicial districts, one from each district, and four are at-large.
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