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New chancellor is rooted in NYC experience

Meisha Ross Porter, former Bronx exec superintendent, came up through ranks
New York Teacher
Women sitting at podium

Meisha Ross Porter, the former Bronx executive superintendent tapped to succeed Richard Carranza as schools chancellor, is introduced at a City Hall press conference on Feb. 26.

Meisha Ross Porter, the new chancellor of the city’s public schools, “always wanted to hear from ‘the boots on the ground,’ the people doing the work in the classroom,” said Aine Sia, a teacher and chapter leader at PS 112 in the Bronx who first met Porter six years ago when she was a new superintendent.

“She wanted a private chat with me, a chapter leader, to discuss what teachers needed,” Sia said. “She took notes, and she clearly listened.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Porter chancellor — the first Black woman to hold the post — after Richard Carranza announced his resignation on Feb. 26. Porter, who had been an executive superintendent for the Bronx, began her new role on March 15.

A 20-year veteran of city public schools, Porter started out as a teacher at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, where she later became principal. In 2015, she was appointed community superintendent for District 11 in the Bronx. Three years later, Carranza appointed her Bronx executive superintendent.

Raised in Queens, Porter graduated from Queens Vocational and Technical HS. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Hunter College and a master’s degree in administration from Mercy College, and she is a doctoral candidate at the Fordham University Graduate School of Education.

As Bronx superintendent, Porter “always kept me abreast of District 11 initiatives when teachers were involved,” said Alice Cooper-Jackson, the UFT District 11 representative. “She supported us, and that’s my expectation of her as chancellor.”

UFT President Michael Mulgrew praised Porter. “We have successfully partnered with Meisha Ross Porter on projects in the past, including the Bronx Plan and expanding community schools,” he said on the day of her appointment.

Sia said Porter “always worked with the union to push learning forward.” While she had high expectations, Porter followed up with support for schools struggling to make improvements and would be direct in her assessments. “She doesn’t sugarcoat things,” Sia said.

Porter issued a statement on Twitter on Feb. 26: “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.”

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