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Welcome to Episode 001 of District Leader. My guest is Richard Carranza, Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District. From 2009-2012, as Deputy Superintendent of Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice for SFUSD, Richard led the implementation of the district’s equity focused strategic plan. His responsibilities included the redesign of the district’s central office to better support school sites and the implementation of a core instructional curriculum to achieve more equitable educational results for all students.  Prior to his work with SFUSD, worked held a number of positions in Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Tucson Unified School District in Tucson, Arizona.  Richard has been principal, assistant principal, and a teacher of bilingual social studies and music. Richard holds a B.A. in Secondary Education from the University of Arizona and a M.Ed., with distinction, in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. He has also completed doctoral coursework through Northern Arizona University and is currently pursuing an Ed.D degree through Nova Southeastern University in Educational Leadership.  Having entered the public school system speaking no English, Mr. Carranza experienced first-hand the transformational power of access and equity in providing a rich and rewarding education to all students.

About The Conversation

     As the son of working class parents, Richard learned important lessons from his parents, on the importance of education.  Richard has been a mariachi educator and performer throughout his career.  He founded a strong program in Tucson that still exists today.  Through his music, Richard has been able to see a broader world.

     Richard sees the superintendency as a political role that can be transformative, if you are clear about your purpose and your role.  As superintendent, you cannot be afraid to get fired for doing the right work, because you know what you stand for, and are genuine about the work that needs to get done, and the conversations that need to take place.

     The pillars of scholarship, leadership, and agency

  • Richard sees scholarship as the empowerment of those in the system doing the hard work.
  • Leadership can be found across the spectrum. in everyone in the system.
  • Richard is not interested in parent engagement, he is interested in parent empowerment - agency. 

     Funding is one of the greatest challenges facing public education.  As a result, we must be innovative in how we address the needs of students. This is critical because Richard's greatest concern is that we're educating kids for a future that doesn't exit.   In addition, keeping the employees in SFUSD is a challenge.  The cost to live and work in San Francisco is great.

     Richard has found ways to power down and decompress.  That includes running, reading, and playing music. During our conversation, Richard shared a song.

Resources Mentioned In The Show

The Sponsors

  • This episode is being sponsored byIsagenix, one of America’s leading health and wellness companies, and, Education’s Daily Digest.

Additional Resources

"I'm not interested in systems improvement, I'm interested in systems change.  We need to change the system so that all kids are being served."  - Richard Carranza

Episode 001: Richard Carranza