Education News

HISD threw its own fiesta to welcome new Superintendent Richard Carranza

Carranza signed a three-year contract with an annual base salary of $345,000.

 

Moments after Richard Carranza signed his new contract with the Houston Independent School District, a school band struck up.

It wasn’t a marching band or jazz ensemble. They were mariachi musicians mostly from Sam Houston High School with a serenade for their new superintendent. Carranza loves mariachi because it connects him to his heritage as a Mexican-American.

It was a celebratory mood as administrators and a crowd of Houstonians welcomed Carranza at the HISD headquarters. The board had picked Carranza as the sole finalist for the job in late July, but they had to wait 21 days under Texas law to finalize his contract. They voted unanimously on that at a special meeting Thursday evening.

“I'm very proud to have you come to Houston, very proud to have learned of all the accomplishments that you set out in San Francisco, in Clark County,” said Trustee Greg Meyers. “You have a tremendous record of achievement.”

Carranza previously led the San Francisco Unified School District with about 50,000 students and was a region superintendent in Las Vegas.

He signed a three-year contract with a base annual salary of $345,000 with HISD. It’s effective immediately and Carranza plans to tour some campuses on the first day of school next week.

He shared his approach to education.

“First and foremost what you see is what you get. I'm a teacher. I was a decade in the classroom. I know what it's like to do a lesson plan and have it go south the first two minutes you walk into the classroom,” he said, drawing some chuckles from the audience.

He said he wants to focus on several themes, such as the state’s beleaguered school finance system and equity for all students. But he said that he isn’t bringing a “preconceived agenda.”

“Except that every child will be served in our schools. That’s the agenda,” he added.

Carranza also showed he knows how to hold a crowd. He stepped up to the mic with the student mariachi band behind him. And he sang an impressive ranchera.

Richard Carranza made his debut as HISD's new superintendent with a special mariachi performance.
Richard Carranza made his debut as HISD’s new superintendent with a special mariachi performance.

 

 

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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