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NEW YORK — Mayor-elect Eric Adams announced David Banks as his pick to head up the nation’s largest school system on Thursday.

“I didn’t have to do a national search to find someone who doesn’t understand our city,” Adams at a press event with Banks outside a Brooklyn grade school.

New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter announced she’d be stepping down from the job at the end of the year. Adams is set to take office on Jan. 1, 2022.

“I am deeply humbled, but I’m also ready,” Banks said after being introduced by the mayor-elect. “You can not change New York City if you do not change the state of education in this city,” he added.

Adams has previously called the Department of Education “one of the greatest embarrassments in our city.” He’s promised an overhaul.

“For eight years I questioned him. I asked him what he stood for. I went and visited his family and talked to his dad and his mother. I spoke with his brothers and the people that were in his circle,” Adams said of Banks. “I wanted to see the character of the man I was going to hand my babies over to.”

Banks helped open the first Eagle Academy for Young Men in the South Bronx in 2004.

He has said in the past that students need to be engaged with a curriculum that matters to them.

“I know that every young person that attends our schools, across the city, is filled with brilliance, potential, promise and gifts,” Banks said Thursday. “And I know something else, that they exist in a school system that is fundamentally flawed.”

Banks and Adams both spoke of transforming the city’s public school system to better serve the youth of New York.

“Change is coming,” Banks told the crowd. “The system will be reengineered from the bottom up…Today is a day to celebrate what will be a rebirth of this department.”

Banks and exiting Chancellor Porter go way back: Banks was the founding principal at Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice where Porter continued his work.

“If you go to one school to find two chancellors, it says a lot about that school and that community and the work that came out of there and also from the Bronx,” Ross Porter when she announced she’d be stepping down. “And so I’m super excited for what is to come and wish David all the best.”

Part of Adams’ election campaign included universal dyslexia screening for public school students and a promise of more support for students with special needs.

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers union, told PIX11 News he’s looking forward to working with Adams to expand the gifted and talented program and increase the graduation rate through vocational education.

He also said he has worked well with Banks in the past and looks forward to working with him as he runs the city’s school system.

“David Banks is an educator who cares deeply about children. We have worked well with David in the past, and we look forward to continuing that relationship as he takes on the challenge of running 1,600 schools still suffering from the effects of the pandemic,” Mulgrew said.