After months of speculation, New York City mayor-elect Bill de Blasio (D) announced his pick for the position of schools chancellor on Monday morning. Here are nine things you should know about Carmen Fariña, the woman who will now lead the nation's largest school system.
1. She’s experienced.
A written statement from the de Blasio team notes that “Fariña has 40 years of experience in New York City public schools.” She worked for 22 years as an English teacher in public elementary schools before becoming a school principal, district superintendent and New York City's deputy chancellor for teaching and learning. Her extensive experience as an educator contrasts with previous chancellors like Dennis Wolcott, Joel Klein and Cathie Black, who did not have nearly as much of a background in the classroom.
2. She’s coming out of retirement for the job.
Fariña retired from her position as the deputy chancellor in 2006 at the age of 63. At the time, she said she was retiring to spend more time with her family, although she has since criticized the policies of Joel Klein, her boss at the time.
3. She initially said she wasn’t interested in the job.
In October, Fariña reportedly told GothamSchools that she was enjoying her job as a “full-time grandmother.”
4. She has a long-standing relationship with de Blasio.
Fariña met de Blasio decades ago, when he was serving on a school board in Fariña's district. The two have been close ever since, and she reportedly advised de Blasio on education policy when he was a candidate, according to NY1.
5. She has high expectations.
As principal of Public School 6 in Manhattan, Fariña replaced 80 percent of her staff. In 1999, she told The New York Times that she was able to do this -- despite obstacles like teacher tenure -- through her powers of persuasion. ''Once you create a climate in a building that is hard-working, people will find out whether they are comfortable with it or not. ... And then they have decisions to make,'' she told the outlet.
6. She believes in the five Cs.
Fariña's vision for the department of education involves “five Cs and an E,” which stand for collaboration, communication, capacity building, curriculum enhancement, celebration and efficiency, according to Crain’s New York Business.
7. She has endorsed the Common Core Standards.
According to Crain's, Fariña has said she supports the Common Core Standards, a new set of education benchmarks that have been adopted in a majority of states, including New York.
8. She knows what it's like to struggle in school.
Fariña, whose parents immigrated to America from Spain, told The New York Times in 1999 that she was the only Spanish-speaking student in her kindergarten class in Brooklyn. As a result of the language barrier, she was marked absent for six weeks, despite the fact that she was present.
9. She is an advocate of expanding access to early education.
De Blasio has placed a major emphasis on plans to expand access to early education around the city. Similarly, Fariña has been described as a longtime advocate of early education.