About Toby Ann Stavisky

Chair of Committee on Higher Education

Democrat Democrat

District 16

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.  She is a native New Yorker who was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  She graduated from the 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 has been involved in the community with improving our schools, programs for older adults, social justice, opportunities for New Americans and assisting small business.  

The Senator has been honored by many organizations including the Taiwanese Association, the Korean American Association of Queens, the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Queens Interagency Council on the Aging.  The New York Branch of the NAACP honored her contributions toward furthering “freedom and human dignity.”  The Senator is proud to have been honored twice by the Flushing Chinese Business Association and by the University Student Senate and PSC of CUNY.  In June 2016, at the Queensborough Community College commencement, she was awarded the Presidential Medal for her “exceptional and longstanding commitment to public higher education.”

Currently, she serves as Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic Majority Conference and Chairwoman of the Senate’s Committee on Higher Education.  In addition, Senator Stavisky serves as a trustee of the CUCF (City University Construction Fund) and as a member of the HeCap (Higher Education Capital Matching Grants Program) Board. Senator Stavisky is Treasurer of the bipartisan, bicameral Legislative Women’s Caucus.

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky was first elected to the Senate on November 2, 1999 and has subsequently been re-elected eleven times.  She resides in Forest Hills.

She was married to Dr. Leonard Stavisky, a university professor who served in the Assembly as Chair of the Education Committee and in the Senate until his death in June of 1999.  She has one son, Evan, who is married to Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky.  

Standing Committee Assignments 2021: Higher Education (Chairwoman), Education, Ethics and Internal Governance, Finance, Judiciary, and Racing, Gaming and Wagering.