After three contentious years leading the nation’s largest school system, Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza is stepping down, city officials said in a surprise announcement Friday.
His last day will be March 15, and, according to the DOE, he will be replaced by new Bronx Executive Superintendent Meisha Ross Porter.
“Serving as a chancellor has been a privilege of a lifetime, and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve you and my children,” Carranza told Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference.
“It’s been an honor of a lifetime to serve as a chancellor and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve your and my children,” Carranza said at a press briefing with Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Carranza, 54, grew emotional as he revealed the explanation behind his abrupt exit, which comes as officials seek to reopen schools in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic for some 1 million Big Apple students.
Make no mistake, I am a New Yorker, but by choice, not by birth. He broke off while fighting back tears, A New Yorker who has lost.
He continued, after composing himself, “11 family and close friends from childhood to this pandemic.”
“He said, “And a New Yorker who needs to take time to grieve, quite frankly. I feel like because of the place we are in and the job we have done together, I can take the time now.
The resignation of Carranza comes in the midst of what has been a turbulent school year for both parents and students, as COVID-19 infection rates dipped and surged in the area, a combination of in-person instruction and remote learning.
Asked why he wanted to resign now in the de Blasio administration with 10 months remaining, Carranza said it was a personal decision and had little to do with the high-profile job’s politics.
“Look, I’m leaving because I need to take care of me and I need time to grieve, and this city, this school system, deserves a chancellor who 100 percent is taking up the helm and leading the charge to bringing everybody back in September,” he said.
“In the largest school system in America, we made true progress in dismantling structures and policies that are products of decades of entrenched racism,” he said. “Like suspending school screens and we finally brought mental health into the spotlight.”
De Blasio thanked Carranza for his service.
“I admire you for everything you’ve done and we thank you and were going to miss you,” Hizzoner said.
Then in May 2018, Carranza, the superintendent of Houston, Texas schools, made his cross-country trip to New York City, after de Blasio’s first choice for school czar, Alberto Carvalho, who led the public school system of Miami-Dade, turned down the position.
Any of the successes during his leadership were touted by Carranza, who also previously managed the San Francisco school district.
Born in South Jamaica, Queens, Porter would become the first black woman in the city to take the helm of the largest school district in the country.