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Ex-Pleasantville Schools Chief Fox-Alter Tapped to Serve as East Ramapo Monitor

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Mary Fox-Alter, who retired in December after serving as the Pleasantville School District’s superintendent, was appointed as one of two monitors for the East Ramapo School District.

State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa announced Tuesday that former Pleasantville superintendent of schools Mary Fox-Alter was appointed as the state’s academic monitor for the troubled East Ramapo Central School District. 

Fox-Alter, who will serve with Bruce Singer, the state’s fiscal monitor for the Rockland County district since March 2020, will begin her new role on Thursday. She replaces the previous academic monitor, Denise Lowe, who resigned from the post last month after serving for the last two years.

“Ms. Fox-Alter is a proven and effective district leader with a unique ability to support students, teachers, families, and school board members alike,” Rosa said in a statement. “Her blend of experience in public and private schools coupled with her strong commitment to student success and the community make her an exceptional choice for the East Ramapo Central School District.”

The East Ramapo state monitors oversee district finances and operations and help to ensure that students have equitable access to high-quality instruction, programs and services. 

Reached Tuesday afternoon, Fox-Alter said her role is to provide oversight for the district’s voluminous long-term academic plan. She will be attending board meetings and interacting with staff in hopes of helping the district to achieve its goals.

“It’s very detailed, there’s a lot of information in it and my job is to review it and to constantly help them through the process,” said Fox-Alter, who was contacted by the commissioner to fill the vacancy. Her appoint is for one year.

The state legislature created the monitor positions for East Ramapo in 2016 after repeated allegations that the Board of Education was inadequately funding the district.

Fox-Alter retired from Pleasantville at the end of 2021 after 31 years in the district, the last 12 of which were as superintendent. She started her career as a social studies and computer science teacher in Catholic schools for the first nine years of her career.

Since retiring from Pleasantville, Fox-Alter has also been teaching a doctorate program at Manhattanville College.

“Mary Fox-Alter will bring a depth of knowledge, skill and understanding to the state monitor position, which is thoughtfully designed to help all children in East Ramapo,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. “Ms. Fox-Alter’s ability to forge meaningful, collaborative relationships with school board leadership while maintaining a productive relationship with the community will allow her to quickly become a valuable asset to the students and families of the East Ramapo community.”

East Ramapo is one of four school districts in the state that requires a monitor, along with the Hempstead, Rochester and Wyandanch school districts. East Ramapo is the only one of the districts to have two monitors, both of which are considered state employees for their length of service, according to the state Education Department website.

Fox-Alter said that she was happy to answer the call from the education commissioner.

“I was honored to think that the body of work that I’ve done for advocacy on the state and local level and the positions I held in the professional organizations caught the attention,” she said.

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