APRIL MEMBER SPOTLIGHT - RICHARD A. CARRANZA
Richard A. Carranza
Superintendent of Schools
San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, California
Career Highlights & Education: I'm proud to have spent almost a decade as a classroom teacher before moving into administration. I was a high school bilingual social studies teacher in Tucson, Arizona, where I not only taught world and American history and American Government; but I also founded a high school mariachi program that was fully integrated into the school day as a full-fledged credit earning class. I also had the privilege of serving as a high school assistant principal and principal in Tucson before moving to Las Vegas as a high school principal and later a Region Superintendent. I've been in San Francisco for seven years having arrived as the Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice, and now in my fourth year as Superintendent of Schools.
What I like best about my job: Having entered school as a child only speaking Spanish, I personally know the transformative power of teachers and schools that believe in children. I'm living proof. I love that I get an opportunity each and every day to be part of the creation of conditions in the schools in my school district where loving and caring professionals can make a difference in children's lives. I love visiting schools and walking into classrooms learning about what is going well and what we need to work on. I love working with people - our staff, community and business partners, and elected officials - but especially the students. They keep me grounded in what's real.
The best advice I’ve ever received: Don't take it personally. Keep it real. You have to be true to yourself and your journey to be an authentic leader. I try my best to live this advice everyday.
Advice you would give a new superintendent or school system leader: Be sure you know what you stand for. As you enter the new job do three things: 1. Listen, 2. Listen, 3. Listen. Ask lots of questions. Involve your community and by all means ask the students for their input. You and the school board are a "governance team." You have to work together. If you don't like to work with school board members, don't be a superintendent. Remember as well, school board members don't always necessarily want detailed information. What they want is insight.
If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: Sitting on a deck somewhere with my guitar and a cool drink refreshing my soul...
People would be surprised to know that: I'm an identical twin (although I'm the older brother by 4 minutes). I'm also an avid runner with several half marathons under my belt. Still working on the big one.
One thing I wish more people knew about ALAS: ALAS is OUR organization. It is what we make of it. We have the opportunity to have a local and national voice, so let's not waste this opportunity. The time is now!