Mayor Names Houston Superintendent As New York City Schools Chancellor

Mayor Names Houston Superintendent As New York City Schools Chancellor
New Chancellor Robert Carranza and Mayor Bill de Blasio at today’s announcement (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

After last week’s drama surrounding the search for a new Chancellor, Mayor Bill de Blasio has tried again, naming educator Richard A. Carranza as his choice to head up New York City schools.

Carranza is “an educator’s educator,” said the Mayor in a live-streamed address from City Hall this afternoon. Carranza has been a teacher, a principal and a superintendent in a career that spanned Tuscon, Las Vegas, San Francisco and finally Houston before arriving in New York.

“His story is the story of the American Dream if ever there was one,” said Mayor De Blasio, telling the story of Carranza’s grandparents, immigrants to the U.S. from Mexico, and Carranza’s parents, who were blue-collar workers in Tuscon that valued their son’s education. Speaking Spanish at home, Carranza learned English at the public schools he attended and has championed English Language Learners in his career.

Working to close the achievement gap, Carranza’s efforts at his schools have raised the graduation rates of Latino and African-American students by double-digit percentages, while the schools saw overall improvements that outpaced state growth. The Mayor also praised Carranza’s support for LGBTQ and transgender students.

“Richard Carranza understands the power of public education to change lives, and he has a proven record of strengthening public schools and lifting up students and families,” said the Mayor. “Richard is the right person to lead our school system forward as we build on the progress we’ve made over the past four years and make our vision of equity and excellence for every child a reality.”

The press conference glossed over the previous week’s drama, when Mayor De Blasio announced Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, as the new chancellor, only to have Carvalho reject his appointment on live TV from Miami. This time, the Mayor had his choice for chancellor at his side, taking no chances.

Carranza served as superintendent of the Houston unified school district since 2016. After Hurricane Harvey struck the city last year, Carranza garnered praise for re-opening schools in two weeks, providing transportation to students living in shelters, food for those in need, and offering counseling for both students and faculty at the schools in his district.

In New York, Carranza will step up to leading the largest school system in the U.S., which the Mayor called the “flagship school system in the nation.”

“As the son of blue-collar workers and a lifetime educator, it is an honor to serve New York City’s 1.1 million children as Schools Chancellor,” said Carranza. “I want to thank the Mayor and First Lady for the opportunity to join an administration that knows public education is an investment in our future. I will work every day to further the progress Chancellor Fariña has made in strengthening our public schools for generations to come.”

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