Ellen McCarville Sullivan M.S. '79

As an educator, Ellen Sullivan interacts with teachers, principals, superintendents, New York State Department of Education staff, state lawmakers, business leaders and others who support schools and students. But she is also “a visionary who is always looking five years ahead to plan for the possibilities and challenges that will confront teacher education,” said Virginia Goatley, chair and associate professor in the Department of Reading at the University at Albany.

Sullivan is assistant in Educational Services at the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) where she coordinates NYSUT’s implementation of the Federal Investing in Innovation grant on teacher evaluation and development. “Almost ten years ago, I presented at a session where Ellen raised ideas about National Board Certification that unfolded as the years progressed,” Goatley remembered. “Her views about professional development for teachers have been profound and insightful. She is always thinking ahead and enacting plans that lead to the next steps for education.”

A Department of Reading alumna and former classroom teacher, Sullivan “has used her excellent background, knowledge, and range of community qualities effectively for many years,” added Goatley. “Ellen has an enormous capacity to stay current on policy, grant opportunities, professional development programs, national initiatives, and other critical components of education.” Goatley said that she and many other education professionals seek out Sullivan for information and for her “insightful reflections.”

As longtime director of the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center, Sullivan “was knowledgeable about many of the supporting structures, such as budgets, finance, grant writing, and regulations that are critical components of new policies and practices,” said Goatley. Prior to joining the Center, Sullivan was the education director for the Junior Museum of Troy, education coordinator for the Albany Institute of History and Art and instructor and education assistant at Hudson Valley Community College. She also has been an adjunct professor at the College of St. Rose teaching business communication.

Lynn Macan, Ph.D., superintendent of schools for upstate New York’s Cobleskill-Richmondville School District, has known and worked with Sullivan for more than 15 years. “Ellen has served education in so many different aspects: from teaching to administration, children to adults. … In an era when teacher leadership has become essential, and wherein leadership does not have to equate to becoming an administrator, Ellen has been such a resource and supporter for teachers who strive to lead, and to make a difference.”

Macan described Sullivan as “a visionary,” adding that the educator’s work in National Board Certification and her longtime service with the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center “catapulted many a teacher into deeper and more meaningful work – the kind that was part of their calling to become educators. Additionally, she has influenced the growth of countless administrators, including me, by the example that she has set in interactions, the resources that she has brought forth, and the projects that she has collaboratively brought to fruition with assorted administrators. Ellen is unique in the reach that she has had throughout her career.”