Incoming city schools Chancellor Richard Carranza doesn’t start on the job until Monday — but staffers at city Education Department headquarters are already feeling his presence.
Carranza, who serves as superintendent of the Houston Independent School District through Saturday, replaces outgoing Chancellor Carmen Fariña, 74, who retired Friday after more than five decades working in the city schools.
But Carranza, 51, has already been holding calls with City Hall officials and senior Education Department officials over the past few weeks discussing his new job.
Education Department staffers said he’s considering the major subdivisions within the Department. They said he’s eyeing his direct reports, including the deputy chancellors who run various divisions within the $30 billion agency.
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Carranza’s focus is on student achievement, staffers said — and he wants to know what his direct reports are doing to boost outcomes such as graduation rates, attendance rates and test scores.
And news of the sexual discrimination lawsuit involving his actions that was settled in San Francisco arrived at city Education Department headquarters in Tweed Courthouse before he did.
Some Department staffers are nervous.
“We’ve gone from ‘grandma’ to the ‘Me Too’ chancellor and nobody’s really that excited,” one DOE staffer said. “There is pressure to show a break from Fariña.”
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Carranza, who moves to Brooklyn over the weekend, declined to comment on his plans for his first weeks in office.
Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holness said he’ll be visiting a string of schools starting April 9, after school gets back in session following spring break, which started Friday.
“Chancellor Carranza is excited to hit the ground running and is looking forward to meeting students, educators, families, staff and partners as he visits schools across the city during his first few weeks,” Holness said.
Fariña bid farewell to Tweed Friday, walking down a hallway lined with well-wishers from the Education Department who held up signs reading “Thank you.”
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“On behalf of all 8-and-a-half million New Yorkers and especially 1.1 million kids, thank you Carmen for your extraordinary service to New York City. Let’s give her a big round of applause,” Mayor de Blasio said to those gathered just before she departed.
Fariña, who began her time as a teacher, was later a principal and was talked out of a first retirement by de Blasio to become chancellor.
“I really want New Yorkers to know that there really is no better job in the system than being teacher and ultimately an educator,” Fariña said.
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