Home / Education / Tension between de Blasio, Fariña as she plans retirement

Tension between de Blasio, Fariña as she plans retirement


The mayor sang the praises of outgoing city schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on Thursday — but some insiders say privately he’s not so sorry to see her leave.


At a City Hall press conference announcing her departure, Mayor de Blasio spoke in glowing terms of Fariña’s ability to execute his vision for the public schools.


“I’m thrilled with what Carmen’s achieved and I want to just deepen what she’s already started,” said de Blasio, whose control of the public schools was extended through 2019 by the state Legislature. He and Fariña have worked together on education issues for roughly two decades.


“I’m very satisfied that we have the right the blueprint,” he added when a reporter asked what he seeks in the next chancellor. “I would welcome additional good ideas. But am I looking for something we don’t have now? No, I think we have the right blueprint right now.”

NYC schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña to announce retirement


But behind the door on that blueprint, insiders have said de Blasio has been growing impatient with Fariña’s inability to communicate his education agenda to the public.


“De Blasio thinks the schools are doing great,” said one Education Department official who requested anonymous. “He can’t understand why he gets negative coverage and pushback over things like school safety.”


The mayor said a national search to replace Fariña, 74, who will leave by the end of the school year, has been underway for months. He refused to give details. De Blasio touted record graduation rates, college readiness rates and state test scores as proof that his education policies have worked for the schools under Fariña.


“I think the challenge for the next chancellor will be to continue progress at this clip and then try to build upon it,” he said.

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But insiders said relations between City Hall and the Education Department have been deteriorating for months. “In general, trust levels are extremely low,” said one. “Might as well be Trump’s White House.”


City Hall spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie denied there’s any friction.


For her part, Fariña said she’s looking forward to retiring. “In the next stage of my life I am not going to have a Blackberry to walk around with,” Fariña said. “I am going to go out to dinner and not have to respond to any emergencies.”


Potential candidates to replaceFariña


City officials refuse to publicly discuss possible replacements for outgoing schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. But insiders say these educators may be in the running for her job:


– Senior Deputy Chancellor Dr. Dorita Gibson


Gibson is Fariña’s second-in-command, in charge of the Education Department’s Division of School Support. A veteran educator, some believe Gibson has been groomed for the job.


– Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg.


Said to be a favorite candidate of some in City Hall, Boasberg is an outsider but is seen as a rising talent on the national education scene.


– Former Baltimore City Public School System CEO Andrés Alonso


Alonso traded his role leading Baltimore’s public schools in 2013 for a prestigious professorship at Harvard. He also served as a deputy chancellor in New York, prior to taking the top schools job in Baltimore in 2007.


– Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning Phil Weinberg


Weinberg has been a city educator for more than three decades and comes from de Blasio’s backyard of brownstone Brooklyn. Like Fariña, he’s known as a nuts-and-bolts expert in the city schools.

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