I spoke to Cathie Black earlier this week, and offered my support for her nomination for Chancellor of the New York City public school system. As State Senator and both husband and brother to NYC Public School teachers, I want what is best for our schools. In these difficult financial times, as we in State leadership look to balance our budget, we need a leader with the right experience, vision, and management skills who can guide our school system wisely. Cathie Black clearly has the demonstrated management experience necessary to take the helm of a $23 billion agency, with 135,000 employees and 1.1 million students.
But management experience is not enough. We also need someone who will be willing to get out into our schools, to learn from educators, to listen to parents. In my conversation with Ms. Black, we talked about the unique needs of Staten Island, and I know she understands - and is ready for - the challenges ahead. In speaking to both her and the administration I am confident that she is well positioned and motivated to bring continued improvements for our students, teachers and administrators. Our conversations demonstrate for me, that she is committed to working with us on issues concerning school resources, class size and bus service for our students.
I believe Ms. Black's past success and demonstrated leadership ability offer great promise in her new role as School's Chancellor. Rather than pull the rug out from under her at the starting gate, I believe and therefore choose to embrace and support her efforts. Staten Island students and teachers need and deserve such cooperation in order that we might deliver all that is needed for our schools. The stakes are too high not to get off on the right foot. Our schools deserve the best, and I look forward to providing our new Chancellor with the support needed to deliver.
Accordingly, I have written to NYS Education Commissioner David Steiner urging him to grant the waiver allowing her to serve as Chancellor of the New York City public school system.