Education News

It Was The First Day of School for HISD’s New Superintendent Too

Carranza said that he was impressed by how organized and clean the schools were and how well teachers knew their students, even on the first day of the year.

Monday wasn’t just the first day of school for thousands of students in the Houston Independent School District.

It also marked the first day for their new superintendent, Richard Carranza, who signed a three-year contract last week to lead the state’s largest school district.

He spent his first day on a whirlwind tour, crisscrossing the district with stops at six campuses and traveling some 60 miles.

At every stop along the way, Carranza stopped to meet people, including principals, teachers, custodians and young kids, like third grader Karhlyn Jackson in South Houston.

“Are you excited about your first day?” Carranza asked him. “You want to hear a secret? It's my first day, too!”

First Carranza visited dual language classes for kindergartners and first graders at Law Elementary in South Houston. Then he checked out a new reading initiative at Stevenson Middle School near Hobby Airport. He ate lunch with high schoolers at Carnegie Vanguard High School, a magnet near downtown, and met newcomer students at Wisdom High School in Gulfton. He wrapped up the tour by meeting pre-kindergartners at Fonwood Early Childhood Center near Bush Airport.

Carranza said that it's all part of learning what different communities need and want in HISD.

“I think that's where the communication is the biggest opportunity. But in a big system, it's also the biggest challenge. That's part of what I'm looking forward to doing in the first 90 days is really listening, and learning and really asking lots of questions and getting lots of feedback from the community,” he said.

So far, the feedback about the new superintendent seems positive. Cenita Nickerson met Carranza when she dropped off her young cousin at pre-K. She called him “real.”

“Such as, he's not like the other ones,” she said. “He's more down to earth.”

Carranza said that he still needs to wrap up business at his former district in San Francisco. He plans to be full time in Houston in about two weeks. He will earn $345,000 a year.

He said that he was impressed by how organized and clean the schools were and how well teachers knew their students, even on the first day of the year.

“That's really, really indicative for me of a healthy system that's really trying to look at every child rather than treat kids in a warehouse fashion,” he said.


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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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