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Chancellor Carranza Announces Appointment of Linda P. Chen as Chief Academic Officer and Names New Executive Superintendents

  • Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018

The nine Executive Superintendents will streamline supports, bring resources closer to schools, and create a clear line of accountability from each classroom to the Chancellor.

NEW YORK – Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza today announced the appointment of Dr. Linda Chen as Chief Academic Officer and also named the nine Executive Superintendents who will oversee the community and high school superintendents and Field Support Centers in their districts and ensure schools and families are served efficiently and effectively.

“I’m excited to bring these proven experts on board and I’m confident they are ready to hit the ground running and move our school system forward,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “We’re focused on supporting and empowering school communities to achieve equity and excellence for every student, and I know that these are the right leaders to help us build a world-class education system.”

The new Chief Academic Officer will unify and streamline instructional supports – including professional development and curricular resources and materials – to make rigorous teaching accessible to all learners, including students with disabilities and English Language Learners. The nine Executive Superintendents will provide greater alignment between superintendents and Field Support Centers to expand our work to support school principals, educators, students and families. The CAO and nine Executive Superintendents are:

Dr. Linda P. Chen, Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Linda P. Chen will oversee instructional supports for all learners and manage the Divisions of Teaching and Learning, Special Education, and English Language Learners. Chen previously served as Chief Academic Officer of Baltimore City Public Schools, Deputy Chief Academic Officer of Boston Public Schools, and Assistant Superintendent and Deputy Chief of Teaching and Learning in the School District of Philadelphia. She currently serves as Vice President, Engagement and Implementation at Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). Chen started school speaking very limited English and brings a deep knowledge of serving English Language Learners and students with disabilities to her position. Prior to joining the School District of Philadelphia, Chen was principal of PS 165 in Manhattan, literacy supervisor in Queens, and taught elementary school at PS 163 in Manhattan.

“I’m excited to return to New York City public schools as Chief Academic Officer and be part of the Mayor and Chancellor’s bold Equity and Excellence for All agenda,” said Dr. Linda P. Chen. “I’m looking forward to working with our great New York City educators and hearing about what’s working and where we can improve. Together, we’ll ensure that the work we do at a central level supports our schools and provides all our students with the rich academic experiences they deserve.”

Recy Benjamin Dunn, Executive Superintendent for Affinity Schools

Recy Benjamin Dunn most recently served as Chief Operations and Growth Officer at YES Prep Public Schools in Houston. In New York City, he served as regional director for the nonprofit New Leaders and led major initiatives within the DOE as Executive Director of the Office of Early Childhood Education and later the Office of Charter Schools. Prior to his work in New York City, Dunn also held critical roles in Prince George’s County Public Schools and the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Barbara Freeman, Executive Superintendent for Brooklyn South, Districts 17, 18, 20, 21, and 22 

Barbara Freeman has served as superintendent of district 13 in Brooklyn since 2011, leading the district to increased student performance in Math and ELA. She has served at the DOE for over 30 years, beginning as an early childhood teacher and director, and later working as assistant principal, and then principal of the Don Pedro Albizu Campos School.

Tim Lisante, Executive Superintendent for Transfer Schools, District 79, and Adult and Continuing Education

Tim Lisante began his career as a teacher and assistant principal at Alfred E. Smith Vocational High School, before becoming principal at Island Academy on Rikers Island. He then served as a local instructional superintendent, and Deputy Superintendent in the Office of Adult and Continuing Education. Since 2011, he has been superintendent of District 79, New York City’s Alternative Schools District.

Anthony Lodico, Executive Superintendent for Staten Island, District 31

Anthony Lodico began his professional career as an English and Drama teacher at Port Richmond High School. He later served as assistant principal of Port Richmond High School, principal of Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, and superintendent of high schools in the Bronx and Manhattan. He has been superintendent for District 31 and Staten Island high schools since 2014, where he oversees 69 schools and 3 Pre-K centers.

Lawrence Pendergast, Executive Superintendent for Queens North, Districts 24-26 and 30

Lawrence Pendergast has served as a teacher, educational coach, instructional specialist, assistant principal, principal, and network leader. He was founding principal of Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction in Manhattan, and executive principal of Leadership and Public Service High School. He has been the Executive Director of the Queens North Field Support Center since 2015, supporting 168 schools.  

Marisol Rosales, Executive Superintendent for Manhattan, Districts 1-6

Marisol Rosales began her career as a physical education teacher, and later became an assistant principal and principal before becoming a network leader. She served as principal of Bedford Stuyvesant Preparatory Academy, and has been superintendent of Manhattan High Schools since 2012, where she currently oversees 47 high schools. She also served as Executive Director of Leadership in the Office of Leadership at the DOE central office.

Meisha Ross Porter, Executive Superintendent for the Bronx, Districts 7-12

Meisha Ross Porter served as a long-time principal and assistant principal of The Bronx School for Law, Government, and Justice, a school she helped found in the 1990’s. She has been superintendent of District 11 in the Bronx since 2015, where she oversees 45 schools and four pre-k centers. In her role as Superintendent, Ross Porter has been invested in deepening school leaders’ equity lens and building collaborative practices across schools. 

Andre Spencer, Executive Superintendent for Queens South, Districts 27-29

Andre Spencer previously served as a regional superintendent in the Houston Independent School District, and a network team leader in Baltimore Public Schools. He served in the US Army and began his teaching career in Baltimore where he worked as a science teacher, assistant principal and principal. He most recently served as superintendent of schools for Harrison School District Two district in Colorado, from 2013 to 2018.

Karen Watts, Executive Superintendent for Brooklyn North, Districts 13-16, 19, 23, and 32

Karen Watts was born in Guyana and began teaching there at the age of 16. She later served as a high school science teacher in New York City, before becoming principal at Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Manhattan, and then ACORN High School for Social Justice, now the Brooklyn School for Law and Technology, in Brooklyn. She has been the superintendent of Brooklyn North high schools since 2010.

The Executive Superintendents and Chief Academic Officer will start on September 5, 2018 and support schools as they start the new school year. These new appointments will further advance the Mayor and Chancellor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda to ensure that, by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time and two-thirds of graduates are college and career ready.

The Equity and Excellence for All agenda is building a pathway to success in college and careers for all students. Our students are starting school earlier, with free, full-day, high-quality education for three-year-olds and four-year-olds through 3-K for All and Pre-K for All; and our schools are strengthening foundational skills and instruction earlier, with Universal Literacy and Algebra for All. Our schools are also offering students more challenging, hands-on, college and career-aligned coursework, as Computer Science for All brings 21st-century computer science instruction to every school, and AP for All works to give all high school students access to at least five Advanced Placement courses. Along the way, our schools are providing students and families additional support through College Access for All, Single Shepherd, and investment in Community Schools. Efforts to create more diverse and inclusive classrooms are central to this pathway.