BY JOE MARVILLI
On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his pick to lead the City school system.
As 2013 came to a close, de Blasio appointed Carmen Fariña, a lifelong veteran educator, to become the City’s new Schools Chancellor, a position that puts her in charge of the largest school system in the country, with more than 1.1 million students.
During a press conference in Brooklyn, de Blasio touted Fariña’s record within the City’s public school system, emphasizing her experience as an educator. Fariña is the first educator to be named Schools Chancellor since Rudy Crew, who held the position from 1995 to 1999.
Fariña began her career as a teacher at PS 29 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. She later became the principal of PS 6 in Manhattan, which rose to become one of the top 10 schools citywide in reading and math while she was there. She returned to Brooklyn as the superintendent for School District 15 and was then appointed Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning in 2004. While she was deputy chancellor, Fariña promoted increased interventions for middle school students, including $40 million to support Saturday classes, organizational workshops, counseling for parents and teacher training.
De Blasio worked with Fariña when they were both on the board of School District 15.
Fariña indicated that she would have a much more collaborative style that considers the input of teachers and parents, a trait that the Bloomberg administration was often criticized for lacking.
“True change happens not through mandates and top-down decision making, but through communication, collaboration and celebrating the successes along the way,” Fariña said. “Raising the success rate of our students is the only goal. I anticipate the entire City will aid us on this effort.”
Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), a member of the Education Committee, praised Fariña’s appointment.
“With the selection of Ms. Fariña, our city is gaining a chancellor who understands that universal early childhood education, high-quality after-school programs, a de-emphasis on testing and consistent parental involvement are key to student success,” he said.
Former chancellor Dennis Walcott was also pleased with his replacement’s selection.
“I have known Carmen for many years, and she is a deeply committed educator with a true passion for improving our schools,” he said. “I wish her well.”
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.