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San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza is top pick to lead Houston Independent School District

SF Board of Education announces likely interim superintendent

Superintendent Richard A. Carranza announced today that he has accepted a preliminary offer from the Houston Independent School District Board of Education to lead the 215,000 student Texas school district.  The Houston Independent School District is the seventh largest in the nation.

Board of Education President Matt Haney and his fellow board commissioners have unanimously agreed to appoint SFUSD's Deputy Superintendent Myong Leigh as interim superintendent upon Carranza's likely departure in early September.

"We are committed to ensuring a smooth transition and continued positive momentum for our school district, " said Haney. "All of my fellow board members agree that Mr. Leigh is the best choice to serve as SFUSD's interim superintendent. He has been with SFUSD since 2000 and has successfully managed day-to-day operations and overseen key district wide initiatives.  SFUSD has a strong foundation, a recently updated strategic plan, and tremendous leadership throughout our schools and central offices. Mr. Leigh will be working with a great team."  

The details of a search and selection process will be vetted in a public meeting in the near future.  

"We take our responsibility to ensure the most capable and qualified leader for the eighth largest school district in California and the fourth largest employer in San Francisco very seriously. Our national search process will be inclusive, transparent, and thorough. SFUSD students, staff, families deserve the best." said Haney.

"Our enduring goals of student achievement, access, equity, and closing the racial opportunity gap continue to be our focus, and we will work together with our community to ensure SF public schools progress toward our bold vision for all students. We will keep moving forward."  

Superintendent Carranza praised the board for their choice of interim.

"San Francisco Unified has the most talented team of professionals I have ever had the honor of working with, and Deputy Superintendent Leigh is among the best of the best. Together with the community, I am confident Leigh and other district leaders are moving our schools toward our bold vision."

About Richard A. Carranza

Richard Carranza has led SFUSD for seven years, first as a Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice, and then for four years as the Superintendent of Schools.

SFUSD's high school graduation rates increased 7.7 percent since 2009-10 when Carranza began serving as deputy, most significantly for subgroups with historically low graduation rates. Contributing to this improvement has been the adoption of early warning indicators for all entering 9th graders. This practice, in place across all high schools for the past four years, entails close monitoring of students who are on-track and off-track for graduation and implementing support services accordingly.

SFUSD combined forces with other California districts to reorganize its school accountability system to focus on more holistic measures; the first time there has been a change in the school federal accountability system in over 15 years.

Additionally, the district established a long-term plan, Vision 2025, and to reach that vision it has been implementing three year short-term plans that reflect and improve on the practices at school sites as well as central offices. All strategies delineated are research-based and form the basis for all school site planning.

Carranza helped lead the renewal of the City's Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF), guaranteeing City funding for arts, sports and other enrichment through the year 2041 and created Our Children, Our Families, which is a new citywide collaborative to maximize collective impact of city funds for children and youth. Securing even more resources for schools, over the past seven years, SFUSD has passed two school facilities improvement bonds and one parcel tax.

In addition to public investments, Carranza worked with Mayor Ed Lee and sf citi, among others,  to bring in more private investments in support of district initiatives. One of the biggest examples of a private public partnership has been The Mayor's Middle Grades Leadership Initiative. This initiative weaves together three major strands of work that are improving outcomes for middle school students: (1) create a robust STEM-focused curriculum, (2) instill a college going/career-focused culture, and (3) empower schools leaders to innovate.

The district has been a leader in a national shift toward more compassionate and less punitive response to student behavior. As a result suspensions have dropped by more than 50 percent  since 2012. Although African American students remain disproportionately represented in the suspension data, SFUSD has seen the largest decrease in African American suspensions.

Last year, Education Week profiled Carranza as a national 2015 Leader to Learn From, highlighting the district's work in promoting bilingualism.

Haney praised Carranza for his service to San Francisco's public schools.

"Carranza is a visionary, collaborative leader who brings a deep commitment to equity and academic excellence for all SFUSD students.  Under his leadership, we have seen increases in our graduation rate to its highest levels ever, turned around some of SFUSD's historically low-performing schools, raised salaries for our teachers, and made major investments and improvements to the district's instructional practices and use of technology," said Haney.

About Deputy Superintendent Myong Leigh

Myong Leigh, Deputy Superintendent for Policy and Operations, has been a SFUSD staff member since 2000.  

"Myong Leigh has dedicated his career in public education to seeking adequate school funding and creating conditions for educators to do their best work with students and families," said Board President Haney.  "It has been clear that equity is truly at the core of how the district allocates its resources. He has led this charge for over a decade."

Leigh's work involves interaction and collaboration with numerous staff members in the district including all school sites and all central office departments. His work has focused in subject areas including financial planning and resource allocation, school site-based academic decision-making and budgeting, student assignment and desegregation, collective bargaining and labor relations, capital facilities planning, and transportation.

As the lead staff member on several voter-approved funding initiatives and shared policy issues with the City and County of San Francisco, Mr. Leigh has built strong relationships with various community and city agencies as well as business and philanthropic leaders.  

Prior to his work with SFUSD, Mr. Leigh was the Budget Director for the District of Columbia Public Schools. Earlier in his career, he was a financial advisor to state and local governments on capital facilities financing and budgeting.

Mr. Leigh holds a master's degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Page updated on 07/27/16