Carmen Fariña

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Carmen Fariña
NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina.jpg
New York City Schools Chancellor
Assumed office
January 1, 2014
Appointed by Bill de Blasio
Preceded by Dennis Walcott
New York City Deputy Schools Chancellor for Teaching and Learning
In office
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Personal details
Born (1943-04-05) April 5, 1943 (age 74)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Nationality United States

Carmen Fariña (née Guillén; born April 5, 1943, Brooklyn, New York) is the current New York City Schools Chancellor, the head of the New York City Department of Education.[1] The announcement of her selection by Mayor Elect Bill de Blasio occurred on December 30, 2013. She is the first New York City Schools Chancellor to have had schools supervision training and experience since Board of Education chancellor Rudy Crew.[1] Fariña was a teacher, principal, superintendent, and the Deputy Chancellor of Teaching and Learning from 2004 to 2006.[1]

Early career[edit]

Fariña started her career at P.S. 29 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, where she flourished as a classroom teacher specializing in the social sciences. Throughout her 22 years there, "she was beginning to make a name for herself across the city, pioneering a curriculum that blended social studies and literacy."[2] As District 15's Core Curriculum Coordinator, Fariña published her multicultural and interdisciplinary program, "Making Connections", a model that the then Board of Education replicated in every district in the city.[3]

In 1991, Fariña was asked to serve as principal of P.S. 6 – a role she assumed until 2001. Fariña further improved academic achievement by overhauling the school's culture. Under her leadership, the school's ranking among public elementary schools on the citywide reading test rose from 76th to fourth from 1988-97, with 91.8 percent of students reading at grade level.[4] She achieved reportedly visited each classroom daily to encourage teachers to share best practices, and enhancing staff training.[clarification needed][5] During this time, she was also an adjunct professor at Bank Street College: P.S. 6 served as a model site for prospective principals, hosting more than 500 visitors a year.[5]

She left P.S. 6 in 2001 after being elected Community Superintendent of Brooklyn's District 15.[6] She later served as Superintendent of Region 8.[6] From 2004-06, Fariña served as Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at the Department of Education, where she invested $40 million to expand programs for middle school students, including Saturday classes, organizational and study skills workshops, and parent counseling. She also improved services for students with disabilities.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Born to Galician parents who fled Spain during the Spanish Civil War, Fariña was the only Spanish-speaker in her kindergarten class and learned English in school. The language barrier was so severe, that Fariña's "teacher marked her absent every day for six weeks because Carmen then [sur]named Guillén, did not answer when the teacher, who was of Irish background, called Quillan during roll call."[4]

She was the first person in her family to attend college. She holds a Bachelor of Science from New York University and three master's degrees from Brooklyn College (Bilingual Education), Fordham University (Gifted/Arts Education), and Pace University (Administration and Supervision).[citation needed]


On February 13, 2014 the East Coast was hit with heavy snowstorms. Under Fariña and Mayor Bill De Blasio, NYC public schools were kept open despite area wide travel advisories issued for residents to stay home. This decision was criticized by teacher unions, parents and on social media websites. Ms. Fariña was quoted stating "it's a beautiful day outside". Her statement came under fire as the city saw up to 9.5 inches of snow that day.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b c Hernández, Javier C. (December 29, 2013). "Veteran of City School System Is Said to Be Next Chancellor". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ Hernández, Javier C. (January 14, 2014). "New York Schools Chancellor Honed Blunt Style Over 40 Years". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  3. ^ Colvin, Jill (December 30, 2013). "Carmen Fariña Named Schools Chancellor". New York Observer. New York City: Observer Media. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Hartocollis, Anemona (February 24, 1999). "In School; A principal with a will of steel makes a public school as prestigious as a private one". The New York Times. New York: The New York Times Company. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "Chancellor Fariña and the Leadership Team: Chancellor Fariña". New York City Department of Education. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Herszenhorn, David M. (March 12, 2004). "A Troubleshooter With a Passion for Schools". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Winter Offensive takes toll on East Coast". Marc Santora of The New York Times. February 13, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Rage as De Blasio keeps schools open in storm". The New York Post. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Dennis Walcott
New York City
Schools Chancellor