At a press conference this morning, Mayor Bloomberg announced the appointment of Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott as Cathie Black’s replacement as schools chancellor. Black, who was not present at the press conference, met with the mayor this morning and offered her resignation. In Bloomberg’s words, “The story had become her, and it should be about the students.” She had served just 3 months in office and was highly scrutinized for her lack of education experience.
Bloomberg said the following about Walcott’s qualifications:
“There’s no one who knows New York City public schools or the challenges we are facing today better than Dennis. For almost 30 years, from the time he began his career as a kindergarten teacher through his current position as deputy mayor, Dennis Walcott has dedicated his life to working on educational and youth services issues. Dennis’ experiences with our public schools began as a student, he attended P.S. 36, J.H.S. 192 and Francis Lewis High School. He is the first in his family to attend college, and he has earned two masters degrees; one in education and one in social work.”
Dennis Walcott also founded a mentoring program and spent three years as a foster care worker. So yeah, pretty much the exact opposite of Cathie Black.
Walcott, who said he’s, “Just a guy from Queens…Just a city guy,” was accompanied at the press conference by P.S. 10’s student council. When Walcott asked the students what he had promised them, they all yelled, “Waffles!”
Cathie Black never made anyone waffles.
Bloomberg was prickly when asked if he thought he had made a mistake by initially appointing Cathie Black, and insisted that, “it was time to look forward.”