Toby Ann Stavisky, the first woman from Queens County elected to the State Senate and the first woman to Chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education, is a native New Yorker who was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She attended New York City public schools before graduating from Bronx High School of Science, and Syracuse University, which she attended on an academic scholarship. The Senator completed graduate school at Hunter and Queens Colleges.
After working in the actuarial department of a major insurance company, Mrs. Stavisky taught Social Studies in the New York City high schools. She served as district manager in Northeast Queens for the Census, where she directed more than 1,000 field and office staff and was cited by the Commerce Department for her outstanding work. In the community, Senator Stavisky has been involved in a wide array of activities on such issues as better schools, improved programs for older adults, social justice, opportunities for New Americans, and assisting small business.
Senator Stavisky has been honored by the New York Community College Association of Presidents, the Taiwanese Association of America, the Korean American Association of Flushing, the Flushing Chamber of Commerce and Business Association as well as the 112th Precinct Community Council. She was honored as a "Worthy Woman of Forest Hills" and was the recipient of the Claire Shulman Award from the "Top 10 Women in Business." For her “dedicated service to seniors across Queens,” Senator Stavisky was presented the Rose Kryzak Legislative Award from the Queens Interagency Council on the Aging. She was named legislator of the year by the New York Humane Society and the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps honored the Senator for her support. The New York Branch of the NAACP honored her contributions toward furthering freedom and human dignity. In 2012, the Queens Community House presented her with an award in recognition of her support for the after school programs. The Senator is proud to have been an honoree at the 2012 Flushing Chinese Business Association dinner.
From 2003 to 2008, Senator Stavisky served as Assistant Minority Whip and Ranking Minority Member of the Committee on Higher Education. In 2009-10 she was Chairwoman of the Committee on Higher Education. Currently she holds a leadership position in the Senate as Assistant Democratic Leader and Ranking Minority Member on the Senate's Committee on Higher Education.
The former Toby Ann Goldhaar was married to Dr. Leonard Price Stavisky, a university professor, who served in the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate until his death in June of 1999. She has one son, Evan, who is married to Kristen Zebrowski.
Senator Toby Ann Stavisky was first elected to the Senate on November 2, 1999, and has subsequently been re-elected seven times. In 2012 she was reelected to office with 75 percent of the vote. In 2013, Senator Stavisky was appointed to the subcommittee on New York City Education.
The Senator currently resides in Forest Hills.
Standing Committee Assignments 2012: Higher Education (Ranking Minority Member), Aging, Education, Finance, Insurance, Judiciary, and Transportation.