We have a new Chancellor!
On Monday, March 5, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed lifelong educator and the current head of Houston’s public schools, Richard A. Carranza, to become New York City’s next Schools Chancellor.
As superintendent of the Houston Independent School District in Texas since 2016, Carranza led the effort to re-open Houston’s public schools after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana in August 2017. Carranza previously served as the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), where he raised graduation rates to historic highs. Carranza has a strong commitment to equity and excellence and a proven record of narrowing achievement gaps and turning around struggling schools in diverse districts.
“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 Mayor de Blasio. “He understands the tremendous work New York City educators do every day to put our children on the path to success. 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. Carmen Fariña leaves a tremendous legacy not only from her four years as Chancellor, but as an inspiring and innovative educator and public servant for more than 50 years.”
Carranza, the son of Mexican immigrants, is a fluent Spanish-speaker who began his career at Pueblo High School in Tucson, Arizona, as a high school bilingual social studies and music teacher for ten years before becoming a principal. Then, in 2004, he joined the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, to serve as the Northwest Region’s superintendent until 2009, when he moved to San Francisco to become SFUSD’s deputy superintendent for Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice. In 2012, SFUSD selected Carranza to become San Francisco’s superintendent of public schools, where he served until 2016.
“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.”
In Houston, Carranza was widely praised for leading the successful effort to re-open schools two weeks after Hurricane Harvey battered the city with catastrophic rainfall. This included coordinating transportation for students living in shelters and providing counseling for all students and staff members.
During his eight years in San Francisco, Carranza drove remarkable progress in academic outcomes, outpacing gains made by other school districts in California. He helped raise graduation rates for African-American students by 13.9 percentage points and Latino students by 15.4 percentage points.
“I am thrilled Richard will be New York City’s next Chancellor,” said Chancellor Fariña, who is retiring this month. “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. He’s made critical investments in professional development, strengthened the leadership pipeline for principals and has immersed himself in the community to empower families. Every step of his career, he’s focused on equity for all not just some. I know he will deepen the Equity & Excellence agenda and bring new ideas that will make New York City better.”
In addition to his previous service as superintendent of public schools in Houston and San Francisco, Carranza was also the past chairman of the Board of Directors for the Council of the Great City Schools, where he served as a national spokesperson on significant issues facing urban school districts. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, the American Association of School Administrators‘ Executive Committee, and the K to College Advisory Board.
“I have devoted my life to public education because a strong public education is the greatest gift I ever received,” said Carranza following the Mayor’s announcement. “It is why I chose to start my teaching career nearly 30 years ago at Pueblo High School in Tucson – the same high school that put me, the son of a sheet metal worker and a hairdresser, on the path to college and success my parents never could have imagined. It is why a child who didn’t speak English until he entered kindergarten can rise to become New York City’s Schools Chancellor.”
Carranza continued, “I so look forward to meeting and working with you and your school communities – including parents and families, who must be part of all the work we do together. I want to hear about your successes, but also the challenges you are facing. I want to hear your ideas about how I, as Chancellor, can better support you and better support the 1.1 million children of New York City.”