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Here’s what incoming Chancellor Richard Carranza is telling New York City educators

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza (left) at a press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza (left) at a press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio
Christina Veiga

New York City’s incoming chancellor, Richard Carranza, wasted no time introducing himself to the teachers, principals and central staff who he’ll soon be tasked with leading.

Carranza, who currently leads the Houston Independent School District, penned a letter to New York City staff on Monday afternoon, shortly after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Carranza would become the city’s new chancellor.

In the letter, Carranza said he would spend his first weeks on the job visiting schools “to simply listen and learn.” He then runs through his resume, starting with his time as a bilingual teacher in Arizona before he rose to become a regional superintendent in Las Vegas, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District and now superintendent in Houston.

“It will be my job as Chancellor to support you – to help you build on the work you are already doing and reach even greater heights,” he wrote.

Here is Carranza’s letter in full.


I am so deeply excited and honored to serve as your next Schools Chancellor.

I want to take a moment to tell you about myself, my career, and why I believe in the power of public education, but before I do, I want to recognize you for the work you do every day for New York City’s 1.1 million children. That is what is most important.

Whether you are a teacher, an administrator, a member of school support staff, or part of the DOE’s central team, you are making an impact on our children, their families, and the future of New York City and our country. It will be my job as Chancellor to support you – to help you build on the work you are already doing and reach even greater heights. Together, we will keep moving towards a shared vision of Equity and Excellence for every student in New York City, regardless of their zip code or background. To this end, I plan to spend my first weeks as Chancellor visiting your schools and offices to simply listen and learn – just as I did when I took on my current role as Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.

Now, a little about me and my career: I am a lifelong educator and have served at all levels of our educational system – as a bilingual high school teacher in Tucson, Arizona; a high school principal in Tucson and Las Vegas; a regional superintendent in Las Vegas; a deputy superintendent and then superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District; and now superintendent in Houston. I am proud of the work I have done in partnership with educators on the ground across these districts. Together, we have raised the bar for students, including improving graduation rates, narrowing achievement gaps, and turning around long-struggling schools.

I have devoted my life to public education because a strong public education is the greatest gift I ever received. 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 Schools Chancellor. I know – just as Mayor de Blasio does, just as educators in San Francisco and Houston and New York City do – that public education is an investment in our future.

Already, Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña have made historic investments in the future of New York City through the Equity and Excellence for All agenda. You are a national model for early childhood education, launching Pre-K for All, 3-K for All, and Universal Literacy. You are leading the way in supporting the whole child with the nation’s largest system of Community Schools and after-school programs. And ultimately, when I look at New York City schools, I see a clear focus on improving instruction and sharing success across classrooms and schools – this is the nitty-gritty work that has a positive impact on every child and family.

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.

There’s so much work to do.

In unity,
Richard Carranza

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