Afer a career in Brooklyn schools, former P.S. 193 principal Dr. Kathleen Cashin is reportedly being considered to replace the outgoing Carmen Fariña as New York City Schools Chancellor.
Last December, Chancellor Fariña announced her (second) retirement, which would take place “in the coming months,” after a successor was chosen by the Mayor. The process has been closed to the public, with little information from the Mayor’s office, but Chalkbeat has listed seven contenders that are reportedly under consideration for the City’s top education job—and Cashin looks to be a strong contender.
Dr. Cashin spent 16 years as principal of Midwood’s P.S. 193, starting in 1982. During her tenure, the school enjoyed a strong reputation—the beginnings of a legacy of success that has lasted throughout her career. Public profiles unanimously mention Cashin’s compassion and engagement with educators, children and school staff at all levels.
As district superintendent of the now-defunct Region 5, covering schools in Ocean Hill, Brownsville and East New York in the mid-2000s, Dr. Cashin oversaw consistent gains in reading and math scores in a district with a history of low achievement—no mean feat. In her position, she preferred candidates for principal that came up through the system, the Times reported in 2006, instead of those recruited from outside the world of education by the Chancellor’s Leadership Academy.
Cashin was elected to the State Board of Regents in 20122, representing Brooklyn in determining State Education policy, and she was re-elected for another 5-year term in April 2015.
In a co-authored article for Education Week, published in 2013, Cashin pushed back against test-prep and computerized learning:
Tragically, many schools are becoming test-preparation factories where the human, interpersonal side of learning gets lost in the urgent routine of identifying test needs, problems, and distractions from achievement, for the sole purpose of improving “test results.” Often, this tendency comes in tandem with computer-based learning rather than the more personal pupil-teacher relationship.
The article called for two major points, to “1. Reinstate teaching and learning as the primary activity in schools” and “2. Ensure that online learning does not supplant teacher and student interactions in the classroom.” Cashin argues that holistic education, where students are empowered to ask questions, interact and take risks without fear of the right-wrong binary of simple test prep is the way to achieve greater results in schools.
Born in Flatbush, Dr. Cashin earned an M.S. in Education from Brooklyn College and her doctorate from Fordham, serving as an adjunct professor and a clinical professor at the schools, respectively. She currently resides in Bay Ridge.