S.F. schools chief's 1st overseas field trip

April 15, 2013

San Francisco school Superintendent Richard Carranza returned this week from a trip to China where he toured schools, talked shop with education officials and took a side trip to the Great Wall.

While that might sound a bit ho-hum for the usual travel-weary public officials, it was anything but for Carranza.

In fact, it was the first time he's been out of the United States.

He had to get a passport so he could go.

"I'm just a little country mouse," Carranza said with a chuckle.

He's actually from Tucson, which would make him more of an urban desert mouse.

Carranza said he had a great time in China and loved the country and people. The school system? Not so much.

The regimented system bears little resemblance to school life here, and education officials there peppered San Francisco's superintendent with questions about how to foster creativity and innovation.

And the food?

Good, but he didn't eat a lot of it.

"I still watched what I ate," said Carranza, who has lost something like 50 pounds in the last several months.

"My first 10K is in a week."

- Jill Tucker