THE BRONX (PIX11) – The city’s new schools chancellor purposely chose to visit M.S. 223 in the Bronx on Thursday, her first day on the job, not just because she knows the principal well, but also because it’s a middle school.
“I really believe if we get middle school right, the rest will be a piece of cake,” said Carmen Farina, the recently appointed leader of the country’s largest public school system.
The 70-year-old former principal, teacher and deputy schools chancellor in the Bloomberg administration, said that it’s important to reach students by the 7th grade.
“We know by 7th grade who’s going to graduate in 12th grade,” Farina said. “We’ve got to figure out what teens need, what they’re all about, like hanging out and how do we provide things for them to hang out.”
In addition to focusing on middle schools, the veteran educator aims to bring parents more into the system.
She began the day meeting with members of her team at the Department of Education headquarters in lower Manhattan.
“I’m a little overwhelmed. I’m just going to go home, and rethink everything I heard,” said Farina, who told reporters she prefers to be called Carmen, because she’s not comfortable with the word ‘chancellor.’