HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza is leaving Houston to become New York City’s Schools Chancellor.
Carranza had only been with HISD, the state's largest school district, since August of 2016. He will leave Houston as it faces a dire financial forecast. Officials predict a $115 million deficit for the 2018-2019 school year.
"While Carranza leaves in the midst of HISD facing several challenges, we are confident in the ability to overcome those challenges with viable solutions," HISD Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones said in a statement. “We are committed to continuing the work he began and moving the district forward.”
The president of Houston’s teachers union said he was disappointed that Carranza is moving on because he was helping to make gains in the troubled school district.
“Mr. Carranza spent a lot of time meeting with parent leaders, teachers and others to really hear what’s going on with the system. We felt like we were really just starting to get into a groove," said Zeph Capo with the Houston Federation of Teachers. "Big changes need to be made, so we’re very concerned about not having a leader at the helm at this time.”
Carranza will receive the same salary in NYC as his base pay in Houston. Carranza had signed a contract with HISD for a three-year base salary of $345,000 with the option to extend his contract.
“It has been an honor and privilege to have served the students of the Houston Independent School District and bring a voice to communities that have historically been underserved,” Carranza said. “It is with a heavy heart that I announce my departure as I embark on this new journey. I am looking forward to the opportunity of serving the 1.1 million students in New York City. I am forever grateful to the people of Houston for allowing me to be a part of this great city."
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio praised Carranza's leadership during Hurricane Harvey.
"When you look at Carranza's leadership during Hurricane Harvey, you see amazing strength and sense of calm," de Blasio said. "He determined early on that the district would lead the recovery."
Carranza said he's "incredibly honored" to be chosen to oversee New York City's schools.
Miami's schools superintendent had accepted the post but then backed out last week. Alberto Carvalho cited emotional pleas from the Miami schools community to stay.
The Houston Business Journal and Associated Press contributed to this report.