Incoming NYC Schools Chancellor Greets Children

NEW YORK (AP / WCBS 880/ 1010 WINS) – The publishing executive poised to take over the nation’s largest school system sought to move on from questions about her lack of education experience as she greeted students and teachers Tuesday, but she told a group of first-graders that she is a bit nervous about the job.

Hearst Magazines chairwoman Cathie Black was at a high-performing Bronx elementary school for her first public appearance since her appointment was announced weeks ago. On Monday, the state granted her a waiver to bypass a requirement that chancellors have credentials as educators.

The 66-year-old Black declared Tuesday “the beginning of a new era” and brushed aside questions about having no education experience.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb with Cathie Black in the Bronx

“That was yesterday and today’s today, and I’m the new chancellor,” Black said.

She officially takes over from outgoing chancellor Joel Klein on Jan. 3.

Black and Mayor Michael Bloomberg greeted arriving students at P.S. 109 together. After the mayor left, Black spent about 30 minutes inside the school, visiting classrooms and meeting with the principal and teachers.

She read the book “Caps for Sale” to a group of first-graders, and also told the children that she was a little nervous, like they might have felt on their first day of school, Principal Amanda Blatter said afterward.

Media were not allowed inside for the visit.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

Black told reporters in a brief news conference that her greatest challenge will be budget constraints, but she declined to discuss other specific education issues.

“It is my first day, and so I’ll get to understand it,” Black said. “All of these things are very important and challenging questions and we’ll come up with what we believe are the right answers.”

She said she plans other school visits to meet teachers, parents and kids.

“I’m very much an outreach person, historically, and I look forward to it, because that’s where I’m going to learn more,” she said.

Bloomberg announced Klein’s resignation and his pick for a replacement three weeks ago without any notice, surprising even some officials within the administration.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb with Mayor Bloomberg on the deal for the waiver

With no credentials as an educator, Black needed the waiver from state education Commissioner David Steiner, and an advisory panel recommended last week that he deny it. But Steiner indicated he would give the green light if Bloomberg elevated a deputy chancellor with an education background.

The mayor eventually agreed to create the position of chief academic officer as a no. 2 to Black, appointing Shael Polakow-Suransky, a former teacher and principal who is currently deputy chancellor for performance and accountability.

Bloomberg said Polakow-Suransky, 38, would oversee instructional programs and the implementation of major educational policies.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

More from Rich Lamb
  • danny

    Look at how well the kiddies were learning when the chancellor’s had an educational background. It’s time for more of this type of “outside the box” thinking. And, enough of this left/right nonsense. We’re all Americans first! Both sides have valid points and both sides have the crazies.

  • Ad Council

    This Christmas season, remember to keep the Jew in JEWlery!

    • Ad Council

      Correction of my typo: This Christmas season, remember to keep the Jew in JEWelry!

  • Jerry

    Hopefully, she will reset the bar on education with emphasis on student education instead of administrator salaries, perks and vacations.
    We are becoming a nation of idiots!

  • andy warhol

    she scares me. i dont know what it is. her smile?

    • Nick

      Just don’t go into her gingerbread house…

  • Flynn

    You know how I can tell that you’re anything but Liberal, Mr. Liberal? Your name.

    Only a con would post something so idiotic and then use a baiting screen name.

    You know how else I know you’re not a liberal? Because every Lib I know is outraged by this decision.

    So please, stop trying to incite.

    Oh and Happy Holidays. I say that because I don’t know if you’re Christian or Jewish or whatever. Though I’m sure you’re now outraged that I didn’t say Merry Christmas anyway.

  • DanTe

    Bloomberg and Hitler both love to dictate how our children will be “educated”. Will there be a Bloomberg Youths?

    Bloomberg and Hitler, one-and-the-same?:

    Bloomberg and Hitler both unilaterally broke the law on term limits and extended their terms due to an “emergency”.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both like to dictate what healthy activity or food the peons need to do or eat. Hitler was a vegetarian too.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both have grand automobile/people mover plans. The Autoban and the massive lane changes in NYC.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both hates it when civilians are allowed to own guns. Gee, I wonder why they both like a helpless citizenry.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both use “emergencies” to increase their special police’s powers. NYC’s SS even perform overseas “investigations”, like NYC is a wholly separate little dictatoriate.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both just love to control how our youths are “educated”.

    Bloomberg and Hitler people both wear monochrome colored shirts in a uniform manner. (While it’s true, this is placed here more so that the fascists can have something to respond to.)

    I wonder what “emergency” will occur for Bloomberg to break the term limit on the Presidency?

    • Jerry

      Maybe you should leave NYC if you are so dissatisfied with our city trying to improve itself instead of sinking into an abyss?

  • Linda

    Political Appointments are ridiculous.

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