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World Chancellor's first day in office is set

Carranza, 51, will replace Carmen Fariña, 74, who plans to retire for the second time, though at a news conference announcing Carranza’s appointment she said she would stay involved by volunteering on a high schools initiative.

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Chancellor's first day in office is set play

Chancellor's first day in office is set

(New York Times)
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Richard A. Carranza, who has been superintendent of the Houston Independent School District for the past 18 months, will take over as New York City schools chancellor on Monday, April 2.

Carranza, 51, will replace Carmen Fariña, 74, who plans to retire for the second time, though at a news conference announcing Carranza’s appointment she said she would stay involved by volunteering on a high schools initiative.

In Houston, Carranza oversaw a district of 215,000 students spread across 312 square miles. Before that, he spent four years as superintendent of The San Francisco Unified School District, which serves about 56,000 students. New York City has 1.1 million students in the school system, more than 75,000 teachers and 1,800 schools, and its scale creates enormous operational challenges for any leader.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m excited to work alongside the city’s talented educators and staff, and make a difference in the lives of 1.1 million children and their families,” Carranza said in a statement.

He will leave behind a difficult situation in Houston. The district is facing a $115 million budget shortfall, continued fallout from Hurricane Harvey and a potential state takeover of the district board because of its failure to turn around persistently low-performing schools. Houston has not announced an interim superintendent.

In New York, Carranza will inherit a system that is generally moving in a positive direction. Graduation rates and test scores have improved under Mayor Bill de Blasio, as they did under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But achievement gaps persist and the city’s schools remain deeply segregated.

Carranza, the grandson of Mexican immigrants, grew up in Tucson, Arizona, the son of a sheet metal worker and a hairdresser. It is a background that de Blasio has said will help him relate to New York City school children and their families, most of whom are poor people of color. Carranza has described his educational philosophy as very closely aligned with de Blasio’s. “There is no daylight between Mayor de Blasio and myself,” he said at a news conference Monday announcing his selection.

He was de Blasio’s second choice to lead the schools, after Alberto M. Carvalho, superintendent of the Miami-Dade schools, turned down the job on live television.

Carranza’s first week of work should be relatively quiet — the schools are on break that week, with students not returning to class until the following Monday.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

ELIZABETH A. HARRIS © 2018 The New York Times

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