Meisha Ross Porter, a doctoral candidate in Fordham’s Graduate School of Education, will become the new chancellor of New York City public schools on March 15. She is the first Black woman to lead the nation’s largest school system.

“My job will be to remove the barriers to direct resources where they are needed most and communicate clearly around our shared goals and commitments at every school, in every neighborhood, in every single borough,” Porter said at a news conference on Feb. 26. 

Porter, a longtime city educator and executive superintendent of the Bronx since 2018, will replace the current chancellor, Richard Carranza, who announced that he was stepping down from his position on Friday. Porter faces several herculean tasks in the months ahead, including the full-time reopening of New York City schools this fall and the desegregation of city schools. 

“I think the mayor and the chancellor have already begun to make great grounds in this area. [But] the reality is segregation exists, and I’m not going to shy away from the importance of really looking at inequities around admissions processes and really pushing forward for ways we can create opportunities and access for all students across New York City,” Porter said at the Friday news conference. 

Porter, a Queens native who was raised by a family of educators, is also a product of the New York City public school system. She graduated from Queens Vocational and Technical High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Hunter College, and received her master’s degree in administration and supervision from Mercy College. Porter also completed a school district leader certification through the New York City Department of Education’s Advanced Leadership Institute. 

In 2018, Porter became a student in Fordham’s newly redesigned Ed.D. program. Over the past three years, she has spoken about the importance of diversity in schools and leadership at Fordham events, including a 2018 panel alongside other Bronx educators and a 2020 lecture that addressed racial bias in Bronx schools and beyond. 

“When you tell someone you live or work in the Bronx, there is a reaction that you get. It is not, ‘Wow’— it is, ‘What?’” … One [of my responsibilities]is to retell the Bronx tale and rewrite that narrative in the way that we know,” Porter said in the 2018 panel. “We know a Bronx that not everyone knows, that is full of beautiful places, people, and children doing amazing things.”

This year, Porter worked with GSE’s Center for Educational Partnerships to help Bronx schools prevent student violence with a nearly $600,000 federal grant. She is also a partner in the Graduate School of Education’s iLEAD initiative with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.