The day after Bill de Blasio's landslide general election victory, he pledged to move quickly on what he called his administration's two most important appointments: police commissioner and schools chancellor.
He took care of the former within a month, and on Nov. 25 he told reporters he'd have information about a chancellor announcement "in a couple more days down the road." But six weeks into a transition period that is now nearing its end, educators are not only wondering who will be in charge of the school system on Jan. 1. They're also asking, what's taking so long?
"Everybody is going crazy," CUNY education professor David Bloomfield said.
That anxiety has permeated the Department of Education's offices at Tweed Courthouse, which houses thousands of central staff members, as well as the hallways of the city's 1,800 schools, which let out today for the 12-day holiday break.
"We're as interested in it as you are," said Gary Nusser, assistant principal at M.S. 88 in Park Slope.
So why hasn't de Blasio picked someone yet? The company line is that he still hasn't made his mind up and that his deliberation is an illustration of the extreme care he's putting into the decision—though that also echoes criticisms of his indecisiveness that have dogged de Blasio throughout his political career.
They might have come for Diane Ravitch, but many who ventured to Red Hook’s P.S. 15 found another education celebrity in the school’s new library on Wednesday night: Carmen Fariña.
Fariña, who said she assumed she was on Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's shortlist for chancellor, demurred when asked where the selection process stood. "I don't know who the other people are on the shortlist," she said. "We'll see," she repeated to the well-wishers who sought her out.
And there were many of them, given the significant ideological overlap between Fariña and Ravitch and the fact that Fariña seemed to know just about everyone at P.S. 15. That's because the retired deputy schools chancellor is a close neighbor, a Red Hook native, and the chair of Friends of P.S. 15 committee, who uses her thick Rolodex to drum up donations and support for the school. (There's even a Carmen's Corner in the library, created from donations in honor of Fariña's recent 70th birthday.)