Deputy Richard Carranza picked to lead SF schools

Sarah Rice / Special to The Chronicle
By: Jill Tucker

 The San Francisco school board avoided an expensive nationwide search for a new superintendent by officially handing the job Tuesday to the district's second-in-command, Richard Carranza.

The board voted unanimously to hire Carranza, 45, agreeing to a three-year contract with an annual salary of $245,000. In addition, he will receive $20,000 in annual housing allowance and $6,000 for a car. The total package comes to $271,000, plus pension and health and life insurance.

Superintendent Carlos Garcia, who plans to retire at the end of the school year, makes $293,000, plus benefits. Carranza will replace him on July 1.

Carranza is expected largely to maintain the status quo by continuing Garcia's effort to focus resources on the district schools that are struggling the most. For example, he played a large role in identifying the 14 "Superintendent Zone" schools that were infused with extra staff and district oversight to help improve test scores.

"We all agree we're heading in the right direction, but at the same time we know we have a lot of work to do," said board President Norman Yee just before the vote. "We didn't want somebody coming in and try to put us on another path. We have found a superintendent who will continue the work we've been doing."

Test scores in those schools have been rising, attendance is up, and the achievement gap between low-income, minority students and their more advantaged white and Asian American peers is starting to close.

"What was happening in San Francisco was just tremendously provocative to me and I wanted to be part of that," Carranza said. "I think if you look at the big picture I think the community is happy with the direction the district is going."