BCC president is former school board member
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The new city schools chancellor is going to do a great job because she understands the needs of students and teachers, Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, predicted after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his selection of Carmen Fariña.
Scissura said he worked with Fariña many years ago when she was superintendent of School District 15 (Sunset Park-Windsor Terrace-Park Slope) and he was the president of the c community education council in neighboring District 20 (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst).
Speaking on behalf of the chamber, Scissura praised de Blasio’s choice of Fariña to run the city’s public school system.
“We can think of no better person to lead New York City's public schools than Carmen Fariña,” Scissura said in a statement. “It's wonderful to see a Brooklynite and a person who came up through the system as a teacher, principal, superintendent and deputy chancellor now running the country's largest school system,” he said.
“I worked closely with her when I was president of Community Education Council/District 20 and know that she has the experience, leadership and vision to lead the Department of Education under Mayor Bill de Blasio. She understands both the needs of teachers and students and - as she has demonstrated in the past - will work tirelessly to serve them both very well. I want to congratulate Carmen on her appointment and look forward to working with her," Scissura said.
Scissura has an extensive history in education advocacy. He was elected to Community School Board 20 in 1999 and served on the board for five years. After the boards were abolished by state law and control of the city’s public school system was given to the mayor, community education councils were created in each of the city's school districts. Council members were elected by PTA leaders, but two seats on each council were filled by appointees of the borough president. Scissura was appointed to the Community Education Council for District 20 in 2004 and served for four years.
Laurie Windsor, president of the Community Education Council of District 20, said she is happy with de Blasio's choice. "I don't know anyone who is unhappy about it. Teachers and principals in my district are happy. I don't know anyone who has a bad word to say about her," Windsor told the Brooklyn Eagle.
"She has the respect of educators because she is an educator," Windsor said. "This is the first time in 12 years you don't need a waiver from the state," she said. Windsor was referring to the fact that chancellors selected by Mayor Bloomberg were not educators and required a waiver from the state in order to take the job.
Praise for Fariña was also voiced by the man she is replacing, outgoing Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.
“Mayor-elect de Blasio is someone who cares deeply about public education, and I want to congratulate Carmen Fariña on being named chancellor,” Walcott said in a statement issued two days before the new mayor took office.
“I have known Carmen for many years, and she is a deeply committed educator with a true passion for improving our schools. I wish her well,” Walcott said.
As the Brooklyn Eagle reported on Monday, Fariña was born in Brooklyn, was raised in Brooklyn Heights and is a resident of Cobble Hill. Over her 40 year career as an educator, she has been a teacher, principal, school district superintendent, regional superintendent as deputy chancellor.
Elected officials also like de Blasio’s choice.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) posted a statement on his Facebook page congratulating Fariña. Golden wrote that he is “looking forward to working with our new NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña as this school year continues and beyond.”
The city’s children “deserve the very best of opportunities and I know Carmen will work to achieve that for each and everyone,” Golden wrote.
Big changes might be in store for the school system under the de Blasio- Fariña management system.
The New York Post reported that Fariña plans to review all of the current policies before deciding which ones to keep.