NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza is Stepping Down

On Friday, New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced that he is stepping down  just about one year into the pandemic. Meisha Porter, the executive superintendent of the Bronx school districts, will take over starting March 15. She will be the first Black woman to hold the role and she brings 20 years of Department of Education experience.

“I can't think of anyone who would be better to lead this work and take up this mantel and serve New York City's children as the next New York City Schools Chancellor than Meisha Ross Porter,” says Carranza. “She's born and bred New Yorker.”

Carranza's departure was his own decision, noting that COVID-19 has taken the lives of 11 of his own relatives, according to officials. Carranza says he is proud of what NYC schools have been able to accomplish over the last three years, including the continued dismantling of systemic racism within NYC schools, bringing mental health to the forefront, and the increase in graduation and college enrollment rates.

“The change we've created together will help lift up generations of children to come,” says Carranza. “This is because of the incredible work of the entire Department of Education family.”

Carranza was at the forefront of bringing New York City schools fully remote back in March of 2020 as well as bringing schools back for in-person learning throughout the pandemic. He oversaw the creation of the Regional Enrichment Centers to provide childcare to children of frontline worker and also brought forth an effort to distribute 500,000 digital devices for remote learning to NYC students who needed them (albeit, an endeavor prone to difficulties). 

Carranza has made a number of efforts to make NYC schools more diverse throughout his three years as chancellor, including implementation of system-wide anti-bias training, championing de Blasio's plan to remove the SHSAT, opposing the city's Gifted and Talented tests, and suspending school screens. 

Porter was a teacher and principal for 18 years and has been executive superintendent in the Bronx since 2018. She “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,” according to the DOE. 

“This moment isn't about me, it's about the story of us and what we're going to do to move this system forward,” said Porter. “I know with certainty, it's my duty and responsibility that I've carried with me my whole life to lean forward and lean in and see every student and create opportunities for them in every way that I possibly can.”