Schools Chancellor David Banks has begun clearing out the executives under his predecessors and replacing them with his own team — vowing more “dramatic changes” at the city Department of Education in the coming months.
At least seven top officials under ex-chancellors Richard Carranza and Meisha Porter have already left the DOE, and six will remain for the time being – but in lower-level positions with less pay.
“I’m committed to drastic change,” Banks told The Post, saying he plans more personnel moves to cut and streamline the massive DOE bureaucracy.
“The intention here is to save millions of dollars for the system that gets pushed closer to schools,” he said. “I’m not here to placate and make people feel good. I came here at the behest of the mayor to bring real change, and it is coming.”
Mayor Adams’ schools boss, who completed three weeks on the job Friday, has assembled a seven-member cabinet, down from 15 in the former DOE administration.
In some cases, their salaries are higher than previously paid to top DOE execs. For instance, newcomers Daniel Weisberg, first deputy chancellor, and Desmond Blackburn, deputy chancellor for school leadership – a newly created post – will each make $265,000 a year. Blackburn was CEO of a national non-profit, the New Teacher Center.
“I’m really starting to reduce the number of people who report to the chancellor, reducing the size of the cabinet, giving larger portfolios,” said Banks, who will get the same pay as Carranza and Porter, $363,346.
“There will be fewer people with greater responsibilities.”
Among the changes:
–Marisol Rosales, promoted by Porter last August to senior deputy chancellor with a $241,000 salary, was demoted to “special advisor” in the school support division with a pay cut. She agreed to leave “at a date certain” — by the end of next year, sources said.
–Lashawn Robinson, former Deputy Chancellor for School Climate and Wellness, who made $236,000 last year, was demoted to ”senior director for strategic Initiatives,” under Blackburn with a reduced salary.
In a similar title, Banks appointed Jawana Johnson Chief of School Culture, Climate and Well-Being. Johnson previously served as Chief Achievement Officer at the Eagle Academy Foundation, which supported six public schools founded by Banks. Her salary: $222,972.
–Linda Chen, named Chief Academic Officer by Carranza, is out. Chen’s salary was $236,332.
Banks named Carolyne Quintana as Deputy Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, with a $241,000 salary. Quintana, a former DOE teacher and principal in the Bronx, will oversee all academics as well as support for early childhood education, students with disabilities, and multi-language learners.
The DOE did not provide the salary reductions for Rosales, Robinson and others who received a cut in pay.
In another major appointment, Banks named Karine Apollon the Chief Diversity Officer, with a $222,972 salary.
She will oversee a first-ever Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Such offices have sprung up in many other school districts, colleges and corporations, but often with broader, controversial progressive mandates.
The DOE’s office will be “narrowly focused,” Banks said, on contracting more businesses owned by women and minorities, and hiring more staffers of color.
Black-owned businesses get less than one percent of DOE contracts, he said. “The numbers are just horrible. We can do better than that in a city as diverse as New York.”
The DEI office will not get involved in academics, he said.
“This is not about creating a curriculum that’s controversial,” Banks said in a nod to the furor over Critical Race Theory, the concept that racism is embedded in legal and other systems.
A spokeswoman for IntegrateNYC, a group opposed to de facto segregation in city schools, is disappointed the office will not tackle matters such as admission “screens” for high schools, Gifted & Talented classes or other selective programs.
“It’s concerning – the omission or absence of the pillars we’ve been working on for so long,” said communications director Seba Uchida, a 2019 Bronx HS of Science grad.
A School Diversity Advisory Group appointed by former Mayor de Blasio called on him in February 2019 to name a Chief Integration Officer. DeBlasio never did, and Banks has no plans to do so, DOE spokespersons said.
But Banks has created another new title – Chief of Student Pathways, naming Jade Grieve to the post to oversee all college and career readiness, and work-based learning. Grieve last worked at Bloomberg Philanthropies in career and technical education, and previously served as senior advisor to the Prime Minister of Education in Australia.
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