Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter will step down at the end of the year following a ten-month stint at the helm of the city’s school system, Porter announced on Wednesday morning.
Porter, the first Black woman to serve as schools chancellor, will become the chief executive officer of a new Bronx non-profit called The Bronx Community Foundation beginning next year. Porter said that her new position is a natural extension of her work with the Department of Education.
“So many families in the Bronx, my family included you know — I raised my family in the Bronx — have relied on schools as our second home and our second community partnership,” said Porter in an interview with NY1. “And I really look forward to working with schools to build out those partnerships.”
Porter’s departure will come at the end of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s term, clearing the way for an appointment by Mayor-elect Eric Adams. Adams has already announced his plans to name a new schools chancellor next week, and is likely to appoint David Banks, a longtime advisor to Adams who runs Eagle Academy, a network of all-boys public schools. David Banks’ brother is also a longtime friend and advisor to Adams: Philip Banks, a former police chief who abruptly resigned from the NYPD following a bribery scandal in 2014, has advised Adams on police matters.
Porter — a 20-year Department of Education veteran who has served as teacher, principal, and superintendent — was named chancellor after former Chancellor Richard Carranza abruptly resigned earlier this year following repeated disagreements with de Blasio over his approach to desegregating the school system.
Porter took the helm in March, inheriting a set of challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic that have rocked the school system for nearly two years. In her nine months as chancellor, Porter has had to navigate school openings and instituting health and safety protocols in the nation’s largest school system, serving over 1 million students.
Under Porter’s leadership, the DOE expanded free 3-K — preschool for three-year-olds — to every school district in the city; began a Summer Rising, a free, in-person summer program that served 200,000 students; and opened COVID-19 vaccination sites in schools.
Porter also reportedly influenced de Blasio’s decision to begin phasing out the gifted and talented programs, a plan de Blasio announced in October. The new plan — which Adams would have to implement as mayor — would permanently scrap the screening tests given to kindergarteners and the gifted classes, and replace them with accelerated classes beginning in the later grades of elementary school. Adams, however, has expressed support for the gifted and talented program, and has even advocated for its expansion.
Following the announcement of Porter’s departure, de Blasio praised her work with DOE.
“Throughout her entire career, Meisha Porter has shown up for the children of New York City. Together, we fully reopened our schools, launched an historic academic recovery for students, and made unprecedented gains for equity in our school communities,” he said. “There is no doubt in my mind that she will bring the same determination and passion to her work serving Bronx families.”