First Black Woman to Run N.Y.C. Schools Faces Huge Task: Full Reopening

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David C. Banks, the founding principal of the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, said he believed that Ms. Porter would breathe new life back into a system in which he said principals and teachers were worn out and frustrated, not just by the pandemic but also by the feeling that their views were too often ignored by City Hall.

“She’s not a standoffish bureaucrat who will speak in canned answers,” Mr. Banks said, adding, “Meisha really tries to speak in a language that is real and transparent, and people understand it, and that’s why people are drawn to her.”

“The question is,” he said, “will the mayor get out of the way and really allow her to be the leader for the school system and not just have the title of being chancellor?”

Representative Jamaal Bowman, a former middle school principal in the Bronx who was elected to Congress last year, said he was “overjoyed” by Ms. Porter’s appointment, describing her as a “visionary” who “lives and breathes equity.”

“I’m just excited about her tackling issues like the school-to-prison pipeline and bringing more of a focus on restorative justice into our schools, bringing more social workers and counselors than cops into our schools, our schools being much more culturally responsive and anti-racist,” he said.

Mark Dunetz, the president of New Visions for Public Schools, an organization that has started dozens of high schools across the city, said that Ms. Porter “realizes that effectively leading schools requires meticulous behind-the-scenes work.”

“As I’ve watched her work, I’ve seen her really pay attention to the details of how the work actually gets done by principals, teachers, counselors,” he said. “She never assumes that these details will work themselves out.”

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