Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio says he's still not ready to name the next schools chancellor and that may because not all of the leading candidates to lead the city's largest agency actually want the job. Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
At midnight on December 31, Chancellor Dennis Walcott is retiring.
But Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio says it may be at least another week before he names his replacement and that's starting to make educators and experts nervous.
“A decision has to be made soon. It probably should have been made already,” said David Bloomfield of the City University of New York Graduate Center.
There are many reasons why picking the next Chancellor is a complicated, delicate process, but one challenge may be convincing candidates to take the job.
Sources tell us that at least one of the mayor-elect's potential choices turned him down right away.
Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor at Stamford and a widely respected academic on education issues, apparently said she wasn't interested when the de Blasio camp initially reached out to her about the position.
Darling-Hammond led the education transition team for President Barack Obama in 2008 and was considered a finalist for Secretary of Education. In a carefully worded statement, released both by Darling-Hammond and the de Blasio team, she wrote, "I did not seek nor was I offered this position."
When we asked whether she told the de Blasio team to not even consider her for the position, representatives would not clarify.
Darling-Hammond joins other contenders who have said they don't want the job. Most notably, Former Deputy Chancellor Carmen Farina, a close, informal education advisor to de Blasio, has said repeatedly that she is happily retired and uninterested in being schools chancellor.
That hasn't stopped many from speculating that she'd be the mayor-elect's best option, if he can convince her to take it.
And if she won't, people close to the school system say he needs to choose someone else quickly.
“De Blasio promised a change in the educational direction of the city. People would be disappointed if that team wasn't in place on January 1,” said Bloomfield.
This was never going to be an easy transition. It’s the first under Mayoral control in the middle of the school year, but the mayor-elect says he wants to take the time to pick the right leader.