Tuesday, January 04, 2022

A Letter from the Chancellor

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you enjoyed a restful and safe winter break with your loved ones. As we enter this new year, I am honored and thrilled to be working alongside you as your next Chancellor.

Of course, I’m technically not working alongside you. I’m your boss, make no mistake, and heads will roll, yours included, if you don’t do what I say. But hey, think of me as a pal.

First, let me begin by saying that nothing matters more to me than the health and well-being of our community: our students, families, and each and every one of you. Except money, of course, and that’s just one of many reasons I’m not bothering to have everyone PCR tested. It’ll just be people who opt in, and most will not 😀.

There are several good reasons for this. One is that the fewer tests we give, the less COVID shows up, and the better I look. Eric Adams, my boss, can keep saying that schools are the safest places to be. Another is we’re both fraidy-scared of pushback if we actually compel testing. Those anti-vaxxers can protest all they want, but hey, I don’t want them outside of my office.

Today we start on a journey together. By way of introduction, I went to school and stuff. Then I got some jobs, and did some other stuff, you know, important stuff.  It was at P.S. 167 that I fell in love with teaching and realized that education would be my life’s work. So I got my administrative credentials and hightailed it out of there at the first opportunity. In all of these roles, I aspired to support, listen to, and empower our city’s youth and families. How long did I actually teach? Who the hell are you to ask me questions? Sit down, shut up, and do that working alongside me thing before I 3020a your scrawny ass!

This new role will be no different. I am ready to get started in partnership with all of you. And by that, I mean it will be you getting disciplinary letters for petty nonsense, not me. Count on me to rule against you at Step Two no matter how nonsensical your offense is. You looked at the principal funny? Guilty. Declined to wash his car? Guilty. That's what Bloomberg did, de Blasio didn't change it, and if you think Eric Adams, Bloomberg's BFF is gonna change that, you must have a geranium in your cranium.

I believe with every fiber of my being that each student in New York City is capable of academic and lifelong success, especially when they experience the power of phenomenal teachers and supportive school communities. I don't care if they're homeless, or lacking formal education, if they speak no discernible human language, or unwilling to come to school at all. Any time any student does not have academic success, I will blame you. I expect you to compensate for absolutely everything. And hey, don’t give me any crap about how schools I led did not meet the standards I’ll be laying on you. As we leap forth into this marvelous adventure together, I don’t frigging want to hear about it.

To that end, it is essential to begin our work together by sharing the vision that will drive us toward a stronger, more equitable school system: that you will do what I say and like it. That way, each and every one of our students graduates with a plan and a pathway to a rewarding career, long-term economic security, and equipped to be a positive force for change in our communities and our city. If not, again, it will be entirely your fault. I don’t want to hear about your frigging hazardous working conditions. I have gala luncheons to attend.

To help achieve this vision, I am excited to bring along a number of new team members who will serve in key roles within our organization. An immense amount of thought and deliberation has gone into assembling this team, who will work in close collaboration to bring about fundamental change for our students and families. I am pleased to introduce key incoming leaders. You’ve never heard of any of them, but they all have higher salaries than you will ever get, and wouldn't set foot in a classroom on a bet. Count on all of them to make my job easier, no matter what the cost, even as I publicly bellyache about expenses. Meanwhile, I want you all to get off your lazy asses and start making me look good. Make that priority number one. 

I look forward to announcing more key leaders in the coming weeks. In this time of transition, we will continue to work hard to provide clarity on implications for offices and individuals. You sit in your classroom with the air purifiers that don’t work, with no heat, and keep the window open, while I shuffle papers in my grand new office. Maybe I’ll let you use teachers choice to buy an arctic parka, but don't count on it.

Over the coming months, you will all need to work hard, think creatively, work as a team, support me, and leverage the many assets available to us in this city, from the expertise of school-based and Central Office staff to the resources of both the public and private sectors. Most importantly, stop carping about COVID and our utter failure to take it seriously. We've never supported you before, so why change now?

I ask that you join me in creating a world-class educational system here in New York City, and to hold yourselves accountable for performing miracles under adverse conditions in the middle of a pandemic the mayor and I are working doubletime to ignore. Get your act together, stop griping, or get a frigging job at Kinko’s.

Soaring high,


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