Transition at Tweed

New York

Focus turns to school leader search in de Blasio transition

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio aside his pick for first deputy mayor, Anthony Shorris. Next to Shorris are Dominic Williams, who will be the first deputy mayor's chief of staff, and Emma Wolfe, de Blasio's director of intergovernmental affairs. As the dust settles from Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's two-day spree of administrative appointments, all eyes have now turned to his next big decision: who he'll pick for New York City schools chancellor. Speculation around a handful of candidates has been around for months, but this week the rumored list was shuffled and whittled down. Some names have vanished while others surfaced at the top of the rumor mill, a rearrangement that reflects concerns that de Blasio's top administrative picks so far aren't diverse, observers say. The newest contenders to emerge are Kaya Henderson, District of Columbia's schools chancellor, and Chicago schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who was in New York City recently, fueling rumors of her candidacy, sources said. Montgomery County Superintendent Josh Starr also remained in the mix, as did New York-based Carmen Farina, the city's former city chief academic officer and Regent Kathy Cashin. Andres Alonso, the former chief executive officer the Baltimore schools once considered a frontrunner for the job, has not been mentioned as prominently. The short list of education leaders outside New York City reflects a wide swath of backgrounds and ideas about education policy, some of which seem to align closely with de Blasio's views, and some of which don't. For de Blasio and his advisors, their choice will be a signal of how faithful he plans to stick to some of the campaign pledges that helped distinguish him from more centrist Democratic candidates during the primary.