Cathie Black's appointment as chancellor of New York City's public schools was met with heavy criticism by teacher unions and skepticism by parents and insiders though she was a mother of two children and highly successful businesswoman during her stints as president of US Today and chairman of Hearst Magazine. Her lack of experience in education was the primary criticism but she didn't endear herself to many either as she joked about serious issues such as overcrowded classrooms in the nation's largest public school system. Although it wasn't as media-attentive as the Dominic Strauss-Kahn controversy, it was a case of major concern for those in education circles. After exactly 95 days on the job, Black resigned with the support of Mayor Bloomberg, her biggest and probably only fan. She was succeeded by Dennis Walcott.
In just three months since been appointed chancellor, Walcott has won praise as he tries to improve a public school system that serves more than 1.1 million students in more than 1,600 schools. Born and raised in Queens, Walcott has a quite interesting background
, having served as President and Chief Executive of the New York Urban League for 12 years and founding the Frederick Douglass Brother to Brother Mentoring Program before becoming chancellor. As chancellor, he spoke at14 graduations within a week, including my graduation ceremony last week. Being the first graduating class at the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science, in Walcott's words of inspiration
really touched us graduates and it speaks to how well he has been received by the City. I can't even imagine the kind of character, preparation, devotion and attention that goes into running a school system as diverse and complex as New York City's. Though time and results
will eventually be the judge of Walcott's tenure, he seems off to bright start.