Albany, NY - November 17th, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced new education appointments within the administration, building on the administration’s diverse team to achieve the Governor’s bold education reform agenda.
“It is an honor to welcome these new members of my administration, and I commend them for their commitment to public service as we continue to develop and implement reforms to New York’s education system,” Governor Cuomo said. “These individuals have a wide array of experience in education, including as teachers in the classroom, and such experience will be invaluable in improving student performance across the state. These individuals are dedicated to improving the lives of New Yorkers, and I am confident their proven records of success will be an asset to this administration as we keep moving New York forward.”
Elana Sigall serves as Deputy Secretary for Education. An attorney, professor and former teacher, Ms. Sigall previously served as Chief Policy Officer of Division of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners at the New York City Department of Education, where she designed, launched, led and managed a number of new offices and programs and oversaw their hundreds of employees. She is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College and at Columbia University School of Law. She also has held a number of public and private sector education policy and legal counsel positions for more than two decades. Ms. Sigall earned her A.B. from Princeton University and J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Jay Quaintance serves as Assistant Secretary for Education. With 20 years of teaching and administration policy experience in higher education, Mr. Quaintance most recently served at the State University of New York as Assistant Vice Chancellor and Assistant Provost for Community College Policy and Planning and, previously, as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges. In these roles, he provided system support to the 30 SUNY community colleges for the implementation of the SUNY strategic plan, including coordinating efforts to advance many of SUNY’s critical initiatives to ensure student access, completion and success.
His policy work focused on improving outcomes of college readiness, reducing remediation, and workforce and workplace development as well as academic program review and alignment. Mr. Quaintance has an M.A. in Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing and a B.A. in English from New Mexico State University as well as a certificate in Basic Mediation from Albany Law School.
Paola Therasse serves as a Program Associate for Education. Ms. Therasse most recently served as a general and special education teacher within the New York City Department of Education, responsible for designing, planning and implementing English Language Arts, math, reading and social studies lessons for groups of varying skill levels based on Common Core State Standards. She also developed, wrote and implemented Individualized Education Programs for children identified as special needs students.
Additionally, Ms. Therasse has held a number of public sector jobs, having worked for the New York State Senate Finance Committee and the New York State Assembly Corrections Committee. She received a M.S. in Education from Mercy College and a M.A and B.A. in Criminal Justice from SUNY Albany.