School & District Management

Incoming NYC Chancellor Sees Job as ‘Unbelievable Opportunity’

By Christina A. Samuels — December 06, 2010 1 min read
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WABC-TV in New York scored the first interview of length with incoming New York schools chancellor Cathie Black, asking her about the controversy over her hiring and her feelings about school closures, budget issues, and charter schools. Ms. Black, a former Hearst magazines chairman who recently received a waiver allowing her to take the position, will start Jan. 3.

The network broke the interview into three segments, which I have embedded below. Among the highlights:

Why did she want to become chancellor?
“When the mayor and I first discussed it a while back, my first response is, what an unbelievable opportunity. How exciting to have a role in continuing to improve our schools, thinking about children, at this stage in my career.”

What makes her feel she’s qualified for the job? “I am a proven manager. You can ask anyone who has worked with me or for me. I am a consensus builder, I listen, I want to hear what’s on their mind...I believe that one of the reasons that the mayor wanted someone with a different set of skills is that we need to think differently.”

Does her personal wealth make it difficult for her to relate to the children who attend New York schools and their families? “I did not grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. It’s as simple as that. I’ve been working steadily, supporting myself, for 40 years. I’ve had a successful career. It didn’t land in my lap like a gift from God. I have worked very hard and earned everything that I have.”

What about the opposition to her appointment? “I’m not taking it personally. They don’t know me... I have three words: let’s go forward. None of this is going to change the outcome, so let’s go forward, together.”

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