HISD superintendent addresses pending departure for NYC job

It isn’t the best time for the Houston Independent School District Superintendent Richard Carranza to leave the district.  So why did he accept a new job in New York?  Reporter Damali Keith sat down to talk with Carranza about his time in Houston and the new journey he’s about to embark upon. 

“It’s a new adventure. My wife and I always say as long as we’re together it doesn’t matter where we are. It’s going to be an adventure,” smiles Carranza.

He's headed to New York to lead a school district of more than one million students, compared to Houston's 214,000 kids. 

“It’s bitter sweet because I loved my time here in Houston. But as a superintendent, New York City is the pinnacle of your career.  It’s the largest school district in America,” Carranza explains.

The superintendent is leaving HISD six months after Hurricane Harvey devastated much of Houston.  He’s also leaving the city with the district facing a multi-million-dollar budget shortfall, as well as impending job and program cuts.  

“I think what makes it difficult here in Texas is that we have a funding system for public schools that’s not friendly to public schools,” Carranza says.

He accepted a new job although his contract with HISD isn't up until August  2019. “And no indication that it was going to be extended, so at some point people have to understand that I also have a family.  I also have responsibilities,” says Carranza.

The outgoing superintendent believes he's leaving the district better than when he arrived. 

“I inherited a culture where teachers were not, this is just my humble opinion, were not treated like the professionals that they are and we’ve been able to make sure that everybody who was promised something under the bond is getting what they were promised,” Carranza says. 

What are his plans in New York where there is no school board but rather a mayoral controlled district? 

“There is that synergy with Mayor de Blasio and I," Carranza says. "We will be working very, very hard on ensuring equality for all students.  We will be working very, very hard on, in New York they are called renewal schools, here we call them our historically underserved schools.”

Superintendent Carranza will leave HISD at the end of the month and begin working as Chancellor in New York next month.

“I will always have a piece of Houston in my heart,” Carranza says.                           

Carranza’s $345,000 a year salary will remain the same in New York as it was in Houston.