April 13, 2011
A guest appearance by Mayor Bloomberg in the Department of Education’s weekly email update to principals makes no mention of last week’s biggest news: the firing of Chancellor Cathie Black.
Taking over the space usually occupied by a message from the chancellor, Bloomberg focuses instead — just as he did when he announced Black’s departure last week — on the man he selected to replace Black, Dennis Walcott. In the letter, which accompanied a long list of logistical announcements, Bloomberg summarizes Walcott’s involvement in the city schools and emphasizes that Walcott’s mission is to continue the mayor’s education priorities and policies.
“With every decision we make, Dennis brings to the table his experiences as a teacher, parent, and community leader, as well as his years of experience working closely with you,” Bloomberg writes.
The mayor also slips in praise for principals, some of whom have reported feeling a lack of support while the department has undergone rapid internal changes.
“Our students have no greater champion than Dennis Walcott, and I know that—working with the most talented team of principals in this country—he will help our schools continue the tremendous progress we’ve already made,” Bloomberg writes.
Bloomberg’s full message to principals is below.
As Mayor, it’s my number-one responsibility to make sure that our kids are learning the skills they’ll need to be productive, successful adults. Nothing is more important to the future of our City than improving our schools. That’s why I named Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott our next Chancellor.
Many of you already know Dennis well. He’s been a familiar presence in our schools for more than nine years: he’s stopped by your classrooms, joined you for after-school activities, and chatted with you and your teachers about the challenges you face. He’s also been one of my closest advisors, working with me and with Chancellors Klein and Black to shape the policies that have made our schools better. Dennis has been instrumental in empowering you to make the best decisions for your schools, designing a system that rewards you and your teachers for helping students make progress, ending social promotion, and opening excellent new schools. Thanks to his leadership, more of our students are achieving at higher levels and graduating from high school.
A product of Queens public schools, Dennis has been deeply committed to our City’s young people for decades: he began his career as a kindergarten teacher before founding a mentoring program and going on to lead the New York Urban League, which provides educational and youth service programs. He sent his children to public schools and his grandson currently attends an elementary school in Queens. With every decision we make, Dennis brings to the table his experiences as a teacher, parent, and community leader, as well as his years of experience working closely with you.
I know that Dennis’s leadership will help us tackle the challenges that lie ahead. Over the next three years, we will focus on helping more students graduate prepared for college and 21st Century careers, which means opening more high-performing schools, thoughtfully introducing Common Core standards, and making sure we have a great teacher in every classroom.
You will continue to see Dennis regularly in your school communities. Our students have no greater champion than Dennis Walcott, and I know that—working with the most talented team of principals in this country—he will help our schools continue the tremendous progress we’ve already made.