New city schools chief promoted from within

San Francisco Board of Education played it safe Tuesday in a unanimous vote to promote deputy superintendent Richard Carranza to superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

He will replace current superintendent Carlos Garcia in July with a $245,ooo, three-year contract.

The decision comes as a way to maintain stability with someone who understands what’s currently on the table for the board, according to board member Jill Wynns:

“I think we’re making a really good choice here. We don’t want to start over. We don’t want to deny all the good work we’ve done before.”

Carranza also has a good relationship with the board by comparison to other superintendents whose terms were often tenuous. Carranza was viewed as someone who could continue to facilitate the progress made by the school system, vice president Rachel Norton said to him prior to the vote:

“I think the continuity of leadership is going to allow you to keep us moving.”

Garcia has been popular for closing the “achievement gap” between black and Hispanic students to their white and Asian counterparts. However, Carranza is also stepping in to financial woes, including state funding shortfalls that have reduced the budget by $113 million in two years.

The board and the teachers union have been on shaky ground since the budget began crumbling. The union criticized the board for choosing Carranza without interviewing potential new candidates.

The union said it hopes that Carranza will respect its needs during his term, according to president of United Educators of San Francisco, Dennis Kelly.

“We hope that Superintendent Carranza recognizes the benefits of starting his term with labor peace instead of confrontation.”