Security & Safety

New York Ed Department Names First Privacy Officer

New York’s Education Department has appointed its first privacy officer, whose responsibility will be to ensure that student data remains private and confidential.

State Education Department (SED) Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has appointed Temitope Akinyemi as chief privacy officer, according to the SED and the Staten Island Advance. In her new position, Akinyemi will develop, implement and oversee policies and procedures to protect the privacy and confidentiality of student, teacher and principal data, Elia said.

“It is imperative that confidential data shared by parents, educators and students is kept just that — confidential,” Elia said in a prepared statement.

Akinyemi’s salary will be $112,200 and she will report to acting general counsel and deputy commissioner Alison Bianchi, according to the ed department and the Advance. Akinyemi’s experience includes serving as a privacy officer and an attorney at the state Office of Information Technology Services for more than five years. She also served as an attorney with the firm Anderson Byrne.

She will start her new job Sept. 22.

Legislation passed in New York’s 2014-15 budget requires the ed department to put in place a chief privacy officer.

After that legislation, the SED also instituted a “Parents Bill of Rights,” allowing parents to review their children’s academic records and affirm that their children’s information is protected by federal and state law and would not be sold or used for commercial purposes, the Advance reported. The law also applies to students’ medical or criminal records.

Georgia has adopted similar legislation. The Student Data, Privacy, Accessibility and Transparency Act was passed in 2015, and the state Department of Education’s technology management director, Levette Williams, became chief privacy officer. He had already overseen the collection and reporting of K–12 data before becoming CPO, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].