ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- Constance L. Frazier of Montebello, a retired school administrator, is Rockland's new Commissioner on Human Rights, County Executive Ed Day announced.
"Connie has it all – experience, background, education and a sterling record of accomplishment," Day said as he introduced her. "She is a top-notch manager and has years of experience in conflict resolution and bringing people together – all qualities necessary to lead the Commission on Human Rights."
The appointment, which is effective immediately, includes director of the Office of Community Development.
Frazier is currently a member of the Rockland County Commission on Human Rights. She grew up in Nyack and has deep roots in the community.
"Connie has dedicated her life to making sure that people of all races, gender and ethnicities have access to opportunities," said County Executive Day. "That experience will serve the people of Rockland County well as she applies that experience to the Commission on Human Rights."
Numerous local officials attended the announcement, including Legislators Harriet Cornell and Laurie Santulli, Nyack Mayor Jen White, Haverstraw Village Mayor Michael Kohut, Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart, Spring Valley Trustee Emelia White, Paul Adler, Gary Siepser and others.
Frazier said she looked forward to the challenges of the position. She has already engaged in an outreach to various constituency groups and county legislators.
"We tend to dislike that which we do not understand," Ms. Frazier said. "We need to remember that we are more alike than we are unalike. The role of the Human Rights Commissioner is to focus on bringing people together so we can all live here in peace."
She has spent her career in education – ensuring that children of all races and ethnicities are treated fairly and have access to education and all the opportunities that goes with it.
Ms. Frazier has had leadership roles in large and diverse public school systems in New York and New Jersey.
Her professional career started in Nanuet, where she was a teacher. She also taught in public schools in Yonkers. She went on to become an elementary school principal in Yonkers, then principal at an elementary school in Englewood, N.J.
Ms. Frazier held leadership positions in numerous school districts, including Plainfield, N.J., Hempstead, N.Y., Jersey City, N.J., Orange, N.J.,
She retired in 2010 after a long career as interim Superintendent of Schools and Assistant Superintendent in Orange, N.J.
"In those roles, she has managed large numbers of people and large amounts of money. Her work has been innovative and comprehensive," the County Executive said. "Throughout her career, her overriding mission has been to ensure equality."
Her involvement in the struggle for civil rights goes back decades. She has been an active member of the NAACP in Nyack and Spring Valley for more than 40 years.
She comes from a family with a long history of service to the community. She was very close to her cousin Waverly "Chipper" Brown, the one of the first African-American members of the Nyack Police Department, who gave his life protecting Rockland from domestic terrorists during the Brinks robbery.
Ms. Frazier also has a long record of giving back to the community, a value she learned at a young age at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Nyack.
She has been a member of the Nyack Board of Education, the Nyack Village Planning Board, the Rockland County Mental Health Association and many other organizations.
She has won many awards for her contributions and is a candidate for a doctorate at Columbia University Teacher's College.
Her appointment has to be confirmed by the Rockland County Legislature within 60 days.
Penny Jennings remains as a Compliance Officer in the Department of Community Development. County Executive Ed Day thanked her for her stellar contributions.
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