Meisha Ross Porter made history on Friday after she was named the successor to New York City school chancellor Richard Carranza, making her the first Black woman to lead the largest public school system in the country.
With over 1 million students and 1,800 schools under her jurisdiction, Porter, 47, says she’s ready for the challenge.
“I’ve dedicated my life to @NYCschools, and cannot imagine a greater honor than the opportunity to lead as Chancellor. @NYCmayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza have laid an incredible foundation. I am ready to hit the ground running and lead our schools to a full recovery,” Porter tweeted on Friday.
Porter’s appointment comes 30 years after educator Richard R. Green became the first Black New York City Schools Chancellor, serving from 1988-1989.
Carranza is stepping down after serving as chancellor since 2018, making way for Porter to assume the role on March 15. Porter, a Queens native, has decades of experience as a teacher and administrator and currently serves as the Bronx Executive Superintendent. Porter also co-founded the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice.
Her appointment comes at the height of disagreements between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Carranza over the reshaping of schools, away from segregation and inequity which routinely affects Black and brown students. New York, while heralded for its diversity and culture is home to the most segregated school system in the country. White and asian students make up 75 percent of the city’s gifted student programs, where Black and Latino kids make up 70 percent of the total number of students in New York City, The New York Times reports.
On top of creating opportunities for Black and brown students to excel, the ongoing pandemic has upended life for students everywhere, especially in highly populated areas like New York City.
School procedures implemented in states like New York, California and Texas often lay the groundwork for the rest of the country, and will catapult Porter into the national conversation around education and learning.