After a rocky search process, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that he has found a new schools chancellor: Richard Carranza.
Carranza, a lifelong educator, has been the superintendent of Houston Independent School District since late 2016 and was previously the superintendent of San Francisco Unified School District. In all the speculation of who would become the next schools chief in New York City, Carranza’s name had not been mentioned.
Carranza joined de Blasio and Carmen Fariña, the outgoing chancellor, at a press conference at City Hall. There, de Blasio praised Carranza as a great pick for the job, just days after his first choice rejected publicly rejected the position.
“His story is the story of the American Dream, if there ever was one,” de Blasio said about Carranza, an Arizona native whose mother was a hairdresser and father was a sheet metal worker. He said he had offered Carranza the job at 10 p.m. Sunday and “Richard agreed immediately.”
Carranza said he would work to execute on de Blasio’s education agenda. “There is no daylight between Mayor de Blasio and myself,” he said. “The equity agenda championed by our mayor is my equity agenda.”
In a question-and-answer session, Carranza offered details, saying that he sees schools as a solution to segregation; he wants to see schools offer social services to students and their families; and believes students with disabilities should be included in mainstream classrooms whenever possible. All of those positions align with de Blasio and Fariña’s.
Fariña, who is set to retire for the second time after 52 years working in the city’s schools, praised Carranza as “an educator’s educator” and noted similarities between her life story and his. She also said she would look forward to working side by side with Carranza for some time in the city’s education department, in an unusual arrangement.
Education insiders quickly praised Carranza. “He’s very personable. He’s very a good listener. He’s very parent-student-oriented,” Betty Rosa, Chancellor of the state Board of Regents, told Chalkbeat.
The announcement comes after Miami superintendent Alberto Carvalho publicly snubbed the position by turning it down on live television last Thursday. The appointment will let the city avoid appointing an interim, something de Blasio had always said he preferred not to do.
Correction: A previous version of this story referred to Betty Rosa as the commissioner of the New York State Board of Regents. She is the Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents.