Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor de Blasio welcomed Carranza to NYC on Monday.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday appointed Richard Carranza as the next City Schools Chancellor.
Carranza, 50, who most recently served as superintendant of the Houston Independent School District—the largest in Texas—takes the baton from Carmen Fariña, who announced in December that she will retire this spring after leading the nation’s largest public school system for the past four years.
“I am thrilled Richard will be New York City Schools Chancellor,” Fariña, 74, gushed. “We are philosophically on the same page and he has a proven track record as an educator with a laser focus on what’s in the classroom.”
According to the administration, Carranza was widely praised for leading the successful effort to re-open schools two-weeks after Hurricane Harvey. This included coordinating transportation for students living in shelter and providing counseling for all students and staff. During his eight years as deputy superintendent and then superintendent in San Francisco, the school system outpaced gains in the state and narrowed the achievement gap.
Carranza also raised graduation rates in San Francisco for African-American students by 13.9 percentage points, and for Hispanic students by 15.4 percentage points, faster than the overall growth rates in California as a whole.
“The beliefs he brings to this work played out very deeply in San Francisco. His focus was on increasing equity. His focus was overcoming the divisions of the past and, at the same time, creating academic rigor,” de Blasio said of Carranza. “He’s had a proven record of someone who can get results while moving an equity agenda, and that certainly is so powerful to us when we think about our core vision of Equity and Excellence.”
Carranza, the grandson of Mexican immigrants, is fluent in Spanish and an accomplished mariachi musician. He is married to Monique and has two daughters.
“My trajectory has always been that of a teacher. I consider myself a teacher now. Where I used to work with children in classrooms, I now work with adults in bigger environments, and I still make it a point every week to visit classrooms. That’s where I find my inspiration. That’s where I find my strength, and quite frankly that’s where I find the good things that are happening as we think about educating our children,” Carranza said on Monday. “But make no mistake my friends—education is the cornerstone of our democracy. It is the great equalizer. It is the great empower-er of the next generation, and right now as we speak the 1.1 million children in New York are the future tax payers of New York. They are the future doctors and lawyers and teachers. They are the future mayors. They are the future of this vibrant city that is like no other in the United States. So, it is a great honor that we have every day to serve those children in the best way that we can.”
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), the ranking member of the Senate Education Committee, said on Tuesday that he’s looking forward to working with Carranza.
“Carmen Fariña has done many wonderful things for New York City school children during her tenure as Schools Chancellor,” Addabbo said. “I am very hopeful that Richard Carranza will continue in her footsteps and be the guiding hand that all of our school children need.”