Legislature Re-elects Four Members to Board of Regents

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Education Committee Chair Michael Benedetto, Senate Education Committee Chair Shelley Mayer, Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick, and Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Toby Ann Stavisky today announced the Legislature’s re-election of the Honorable Josephine Victoria Finn, Dr. Christine D. Cea, Dr. James E. Cottrell and Wade S. Norwood to the New York State Board of Regents.

The board is comprised of 17 members elected by the legislature for five year terms. One member is elected from each of the state’s 13 judicial districts and four members serve at-large.

“With today’s elections, we re-elect four accomplished and experienced individuals to the Board of Regents,” said Speaker Heastie. “They have dedicated themselves to leading our education system and will continue to ensure its academic excellence and accessibility to all New Yorkers.”

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “The re-election of these distinguished Board of Regents members will allow us to continue our commitment to providing a quality education for all students. I thank them for their individual leadership and public service to New York State’s education system and our children’s futures.”

“The continued service of these four individuals to the Board of Regents will preserve New York’s commitment to academic excellence ensuring that all our students have access to a quality education,” said Assembly Education Committee Chair Michael Benedetto.

Senate Education Committee Chair Shelley Mayer said, “Congratulations to four distinguished members of the Board of Regents on their re-election to serve on one of the most important and consequential leadership positions in New York State. I thank them for their service on behalf of New York’s children, teachers, parents, and school districts. I look forward to continuing to work with them in the coming years to provide a quality education for every child.”

“Today’s re-election of these members to the Board of Regents maintains the leadership and experience necessary for the advancement of students across our state,” said Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah J. Glick. “I am grateful that these individuals have reaffirmed their commitment to establishing an even stronger education system.”

Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Toby Ann Stavisky said, “For the past 235 years, the New York State Board of Regents has played a significant role in shaping the educational policy for our state. Alexander Hamilton and John Jay were among the first to serve in this position and today we continue this tradition. New York State is unique in the selection process and the four re-elected regents continue this tradition.”

Honorable Josephine Victoria Finn (Judicial District 3) has practiced law for over 30 years serving as Assistant County Attorney for Sullivan County, Assistant Town Attorney and Town Attorney for the Town of Thompson. For over 18 years she was legal counsel to the Sullivan County Branch of the NAACP. 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. In addition to serving as a regent, Finn is also currently a village judge for the Village of Monticello. Finn has served as a regent since 2014.

Dr. Christine D. Cea (Judicial District 13) is a researcher, educator and advocate for persons with disabilities. She is currently a visiting scientist at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Cea has developed techniques to enhance the comprehension of persons with intellectual disabilities to enable participation in the informed consent process for health treatments and to understand their rights as research participants. More recently, she co-developed and published a health promotion program now being used on Staten Island to encourage adults with intellectual disabilities to lead healthier lifestyles, and has worked to evaluate an initiative for individuals with autism spectrum disorders who are transitioning from school to work or college. Dr. Cea has authored numerous articles and chapters concerning the rights and ethical treatment of persons with disabilities. She has served as a regent since 2009.

Dr. James E. Cottrell (At-Large) is a Distinguished Service Professor and Chairman Emeritus of Anesthesiology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. As a clinician, Dr. Cottrell has served on the medical staff of Kings County Hospital Center, Long Island College Hospital, Lutheran Medical Center, New York University Hospital and Bellevue Hospital Center. He also served as an associate professor of anesthesiology at New York University. He is a past president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and was awarded that national organization’s highest honor, The Distinguished Service Award, in 2010. Dr. Cottrell has served as a regent since 2011.

Wade S. Norwood (At-Large) has served his community for over 30 years including past membership on the Rochester City Council and the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority. He is currently the chief executive officer of Common Ground Health, a not-for-profit community health planning agency that promotes public health in the Finger Lakes region through research, advocacy and community engagement. Norwood has served as a regent since 2009.

The Board of Regents was established in 1784 and is the oldest, continuous state education entity in the United States. The regents 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.