De Blasio picks former teacher Carmen Farina for schools chief

A former teacher and principal, Farina said she would review all of outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg's policies before making changes.
Posted By Gabrielle Levy  |  Dec. 31, 2013 at 9:21 AM
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Incoming New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped Camen Farina for the top job at the city's public schools.

Farina, a longtime educator who worked as a teacher and a principal before becoming a deputy chancellor, was hailed as one with an insider's experience who can still bring fresh ideas to the table.

“She knows it because she’s lived it,” de Blasio, whose campaign for mayor included a plan to raise taxes on wealthy residents to expand early education, said Monday.

"Carmen has worked at nearly every level of this school system. She knows our students, teachers, principals and parents better than anyone and she will deliver progressive change in our schools that lifts up children in every neighborhood.”

The mayor-elect, who takes office Wednesday, said he would also institute a moratorium on school closures and school-sharing operations known as co-locations that favor charter schools.

Farina said her focus as chancellor would be to emphasize bottom-up improvements, and that she would review every current policy before deciding what to keep and what to toss.

“There are things that need to happen, but they need to happen with people -- not to people,” she said. “To me, all change happens in the classroom."


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