Former New York City Schools Chancellor Dies at 79

By Christina A. Samuels — July 28, 2010 1 min read
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Nathan Quinones, a chancellor for the New York City school system in the 1980s, died Sunday at the age of 79.

Mr. Quinones rose through the ranks of the school system, serving as a language teacher and principal before being appointed chancellor in 1984. He stepped down in 1987.

Mr. Quinones was credited with easing classroom overcrowding and reducing the dropout rate, by some measures, according to an article in The New York Times. The Harvey Milk School, created to provide support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth, also opened under Mr. Quinones’ tenure as chancellor. In 2002, the program became a fully-accredited high school.

While Mr. Quinones’ tenure was marred by accusations that he didn’t have the political skills to navigate all the constituencies of the sprawling district, according to a 1987 Education Week article, his time as chancellor did restore some balance to a district facing problems. The article described his leadership this way:

“Despite the district’s troubles, Mr. Quinones is widely credited with restoring stability and credibility in the wake of the city’s fiscal crisis and alleged improprieties by the previous schools chief, Anthony J. Alvarado. In addition, even some of the chancellor’s most vocal critics acknowledge that his vigorous implementation of state programs raising minimum standards for schools helped expose the deep-rooted nature of the problems the system faces.”

The Lloyd Funeral Home in New York City, which is handling the arrangements, confirmed that Mr. Quinones’ funeral would be held Thursday.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.