Meisha Porter Makes History as the First Black Woman to Lead the Nation's Largest School System
Photo Credit: Twitter / @LRobinsonNYC

Meisha Porter Makes History as the First Black Woman to Lead the Nation's Largest School System

This Black woman will now lead the nation’s largest school system.

On Friday, New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio announced that Meisha Ross Porter will become New York City’s Chancellor, reports Because of Them We Can (BOTWC). 

She will replace Chancellor, Richard Carranza, and will be the first Black woman to lead the school system.

Currently, Porter is the executive superintendent of the Bronx and will start her new position on March 15.

“As a lifelong New Yorker, a product of our City’s public schools, and a career educator, it is the honor of my lifetime to serve as Chancellor,” said the Queens native in a statement. “Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza have laid an incredible foundation for me, and I am ready to hit the ground running and lead New York City schools to full recovery.”

Porter is a New York City public school graduate who first got her start as a youth organizer in the Bronx’s Highbridge neighborhood. She has become a staple in the education department for the past two decades and has served as a teacher, principal, and superintendent in the Bronx.

In 2018, she was appointed by Carranza to oversee the borough’s 361 schools as executive superintendent in the Bronx.

“Today is a historic day for New York City Schools,” said Mayor de Blasio in a statement. “Meisha Porter is a homegrown New Yorker who knows what it takes to give every kid the high-quality public school education they deserve. Together, we are going to build on the work that Richard Carranza has led in guiding the nation’s largest school system through the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting social and emotional learning, and making unprecedented gains for equity in our schools.”

According to the news release, as executive superintendent, Porter has played a role in the largest gains in graduation rates of any borough in that time, from 67.4% in 2018 to 73.0% —  a 5.7% point increase.

The 47-year-old has also overseen a substantial increase in postsecondary enrollment in the Bronx. Under her tenure, 54.9% of the ninth-grade cohort for the Class of 2019 enrolled in college, a 1.2% increase from the Class of 2018.