NEW YORK - In the midst of a public health crisis and 10 months before the end of Mayor Bill de Blasio's final term in office, Richard Carranza is resigning as the chancellor of the largest public school district in the country. Carranza served about three years at the helm of the district, which serves more than 1 million students.
Why is Richard Carranza stepping down?
Carranza cited a personal toll from the virus and the loss of 11 family members and childhood friends due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I know the pandemic has not been easy for you or for any New Yorker," he said. "And make no mistake, I am a New Yorker — well not by birth, but by choice — a New Yorker who has lost 11 family and close childhood friends to this pandemic. And a New Yorker who, quite frankly, needs to take time to grieve."
He said he will step down in March, before the end of the current school year.
Carranza's commitments and controversies
Carranza began his tenure promising to tackle undeniable segregation in New York City schools. His policies pitted racial groups in the city against each other. He particularly alienated Asian American New Yorkers.
He and the mayor sometimes disagreed on how to racial injustice. They debated whether to end gifted and talented programs that appear to disfavor Black and Hispanic students, who make up two-thirds of students in the district.
"Let me just say, when I came to New York City three years ago, it was because I believed that this mayor believes in equity and believes in tearing down systems that oppress anyone," said Carranza, who formerly headed public school districts in San Francisco and Houston.
Clashes over coronavirus
Carranza and the mayor were both criticized for keeping schools open too long in March 2020 as it was clear the coronavirus was running rampant in the city.
Then he and the mayor presided over a summer of changing plans that twice delayed the extremely complicated start of school.
The union that represents principals and school administrators gave Carranza a vote of "no confidence."
The head of the teachers union, however, called the chancellor a "real partner."
Carranza will be replaced by Meisha Ross Porter, the first Black woman to lead the country's largest school system. As the Bronx executive superintendent, she oversees 361 schools.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.