Elected officials, parent leaders and educators ripped Mayor de Blasio’s choice of Richard Carranza for city schools chancellor after a suit alleging sexual discrimination by Carranza came to light.
The suit said Carranza, 51, ruined the career of a female educator in San Francisco after she called him out for flirting with a female colleague while Carranza was the city’s superintendent in 2013.
The suit claimed that the plaintiff, longtime San Francisco educator Veronica Chavez, was passed over for a job by Carranza in retribution, and that he created an atmosphere within the district that stifled the careers of female educators.
San Francisco school officials settled the suit but denied any wrongdoing on Carranza’s part. He has refused to answer questions about it.
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Still, the flap shows that Carranza is not suitable to run the country’s largest school system, critics said.
“It is unconscionable that Mayor de Blasio has chosen someone with such an unsightly blemish on his record,” said state Sen. Catharine Young (R-Olean). “The children, teachers and taxpayers deserve to have a chancellor that can lead by example.”
New York City Parents Union President Mona Davids also blasted the choice.
“It’s alarming to me as a parent and as a woman that de Blasio would select Carranza . . . considering that lawsuit,” Davids said. “He’s a poor choice for chancellor.”
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According to the suit, Chavez was an assistant superintendent with a promising career in February 2013 when she attended a weekend education conference with Carranza in Los Angeles.
The suit said that “during this weekend, Chavez observed Carranza, who is a married man, engaging in inappropriate flirtatious conduct with a female colleague from another school district who was not his wife.”
The complaint says Chavez told Carranza what she had seen. Carranza didn’t take it well, and he took that out on her, according to the suit.
Bay Area attorney Moira McQuaid, who represented Chavez, said Carranza effectively halted Chavez’s career after the incident.
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Chavez now works as a teacher in the district at a much lower salary than at her previous post of assistant superintendent.
City officials admitted Thursday that they knew of the suit before making Carranza’s appointment — after they refused to say so when questioned about it a day earlier.
But they still refused to say if they spoke with Chavez as part of vetting Carranza for the job. They also refused to say whether he faced other accusations of wrongdoing.
De Blasio spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie said City Hall is convinced that Carranza, who is de Blasio’s second choice for the job, is a suitable chancellor.
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“Of course we knew about the suit. Richard proactively brought it up during his interview process,” Lapeyrolerie said. “We’re entirely confident it was baseless and we’re entirely confident Richard Carranza is the right person to lead our school system.”
Lapeyrolerie also said that Carranza was not involved in the hiring process that passed Chavez over for the job.
Brooklyn College Education Prof. David Bloomfield said the public deserves to know how city officials vetted Carranza for the job and why they believe that Chavez’ accusations are false.
“In the age of the #MeToo movement, there needs to be a detailed public explanation of why the mayor disbelieves Ms. Chavez,” Bloomfield said. “They cast a blanket on her, saying we don’t believe her, go away. That’s not good enough.”
But Monica Vasquez, who was appointed chief human resources officer for the San Francisco school system by Carranza, said he attracted top female talent to the district.
Carranza “brought women into some pretty critical roles in his executive cabinet,” Vasquez said. “He was very respectful and professional.”
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