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Mayor de Blasio Appoints Meisha Porter Chancellor of NYC Schools as Richard A. Carranza Departs

February 26, 2021

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Meisha Porter—a New York City public school graduate and 20-year veteran who has led at every level in the system—the next Chancellor of New York City public schools, and the first Black woman to serve in the role. After three years at the helm, Richard A. Carranza will begin transitioning out of the role of Chancellor. Porter will begin as Chancellor on March 15. 

“Today is an historic day for New York City schools. Meisha Porter is a homegrown New Yorker who knows what it takes to give every kid the high quality public school education they deserve,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Together we care going to build on the work that Richard Carranza has led in guiding the nation’s largest school system through the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting social and emotional learning, and making unprecedented gains for equity in our schools.”

“It has been my greatest honor to serve as New York City Schools Chancellor and I can’t think of anyone who would be better to take the helm than Meisha Porter,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “She has dedicated her life to New York City public schools and has a deep and crucial understanding of what it means to be a teacher and a principal. I am proud of what we've accomplished over the past three years and the change we've created together will help lift up generations of children for years to come." 

“As a lifelong New Yorker, a product of our City’s public schools, and a career educator, it is the honor of my lifetime to serve as Chancellor,” said Incoming Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter. “Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza have laid an incredible foundation for me and I am ready to hit the ground running and lead New York City schools to a full recovery.”

Porter currently serves as Bronx Executive Superintendent, leading community school districts 7-12 and New Visions Affinity schools, covering the entire borough’s 361 schools and 235,448 students. She started her career as a youth organizer in Highbridge, and joined the Department of Education (DOE) as a teacher at the Bronx School for Law, Government, and Justice, a school she helped conceive and found. After 18 years at the school, where she became Principal, she spent three years as Superintendent of District 11, which served the Pelham Parkway, Eastchester, and Woodlawn neighborhoods of the Bronx. 

As Executive Superintendent since 2018, Porter has overseen the largest gains in graduation rates of any borough in that time, from 67.4 in 2018 to 73.0 – a 5.7 percentage point increase, as compared to a 2.8 point increase citywide. Postsecondary enrollment in the Bronx has also had a substantial increase under her tenure, with 54.9% of the 9th grade cohort for the Class of 2019 enrolling in college, a 1.2 increase from the Class of 2018.  

In addition to previous roles within the DOE, Porter has also taught at CUNY as an adjunct professor and been a Columbia University Cahn fellow, an Aspen Institute fellow, and a member of the Harvard University National Institute for Urban School Leaders and the Fordham University – Carnegie Foundation iLead team. Ross-Porter has also received the National Association of Negro Women Sojourner Truth Award, Mercy College honorary degree and multiple state and local recognitions.

As the first person appointed from within DOE leadership in recent history, she will take the helm of the largest school district in the nation on March 15, and build on the tremendous accomplishments of Chancellor Carranza, a fierce advocate for public education and a champion for equity. In his tenure as Chancellor, he has: 

Led the nation’s largest school system through the COVID-19 pandemic: including the overnight transition to remote learning in March, the creation of dozens of safe learning environments for children of essential workers, distribution of 500,000 devices for remote learning, 80 million meals served to New Yorkers who need them, and a successful reopening of nearly all of our school buildings   when everyone doubted our ability to do it safely. Under Carranza’s leadership, New York City has consistently led the way on school reopening nationally in the past year. 

Propelled continued growth in academic achievement: year after year, under his academic vision, New York City’s public schools have achieved record-high graduation rates and record-low dropout rates. College enrollment and college readiness rates have risen to all-time highs, and formative assessments have become more widespread and consistent across schools in order to gain real-time information about what students know. Carranza championed and memorialized the first-ever common definition of Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education for the DOE, making sure every student is recognized in the books they read and lessons they learn.  

Continued dismantling segregation and promoting equity in schools: including reforms that have capped suspensions and eliminated racial disparities in discipline; a strong focus on culturally responsive and sustaining education; a public push to eliminate the SHSAT; the elimination of a single Gifted & Talented test for four-year olds and plans to permanently change the program and a suspension of middle school admissions screens. This progress has occurred as the DOE has targeted efforts to support our most vulnerable learners.  

Made mental health and social emotional learning the priority that it is: as we move towards expanding restorative justice to every middle and high school in the City, invest in social-emotional learning, and provide students who need them with mental health services. Under his leadership, every student now has access to a guidance counselor or social worker, and the transfer of School Safety Agents from the Police Department to DOE is underway.

“During his tenure as New York City Schools Chancellor, Richard Carranza was a true partner in the pursuit of inclusion and equity for all students.  Amidst a global pandemic, Chancellor Carranza was dedicated to building a system where all children, regardless of where they live or what language they speak, have the opportunity to receive a high-quality education and realize their dreams. His leadership, insight and commitment to the children of New York City was remarkable and will be missed. I thank Dr. Carranza for his tireless dedication to the students, teachers and school staff throughout the city. I look forward to working with incoming Chancellor, Meisha Porter on the issues facing New York City schools to continue to ensure all students can realize their full potential,” said State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa.

“I’m so excited that Meisha Porter has been named the next chancellor of NYC Schools. Meisha is an incredible leader and visionary and has a deep love of our children, families and communities. She is a listener, a learner, and lives and breathes equity. I cannot wait to work with her to build a better education system for our kids,” said U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

"The challenges facing our students, families and the entire school system amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented but Queens has full confidence in the immense ability of Queens-born trailblazer Meisha Porter, the first Black woman to lead the Department of Education," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. "Queens thanks Chancellor Richard Carranza for his leadership both before and during this devastating public health crisis, and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

"HerStory was made today with the announcement that my dear friend Meisha Ross Porter will serve as the first Black woman Schools Chancellor for the City of New York. Meisha is one of us, a native New Yorker, and educated in our public schools. She has the commitment, compassion and conviction to make a difference. She stands in her purpose knowing the path that has led her to great success allows her a unique opportunity to lead 1.1 million public school children, educators and administrators for such a time as this. We are in a crisis like never before, with many of our students, families and educators left traumatized by the COVID-19 pandemic and we need effective leadership to guide us through this challenging time. I am extremely proud of her achievements and know she has the passion, plan and purpose to lead. From our work in School District 9 on Equity and Excellence, to the many ribbon cuttings at new schools, countless events, forums, town halls and partnerships we have embarked on, brighter and better days lie ahead under the leadership of our next Schools Chancellor, Meisha Ross Porter!" said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

Chancellor Carranza is a native of Tucson, Arizona and has spent over 30 years as a public school educator. He began his career as a bilingual social studies teacher and high school principal, and led school districts across the country including Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Houston before New York City.  

Meisha Porter was born in Queens, New York and comes from a family of educators. She was raised by a single mother who returned to school to finish her degree and become an educator herself; her upbringing has taught her the power of public education, and the difference one teacher can make. 

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