Cathie Black spends first day on 5-borough tour

January 3, 2011 2:30:20 PM PST
Cathie Black began her first day saying she has a dream job, a dream opportunity, and a chance to make a difference.

Backed by brightly colored library books and her new boss, Cathie Black, the former publishing executive, began her first day as Schools Chancellor.

"A change in leadership is a good thing...Fresh set of eyes to look at different problems," said Black.

Today those eyes will take in the scene inside classrooms around the five boroughs, but for the last few weeks Black's been defending her fresh perspective as critics railed against her lack of an education background and graduate degrees.

One group even petitioned the court arguing that she was unfit for the job, but a judge ruled against them.

"I've had 40 years of ever-increasing experience in management, budget, organization, learning, long period of time," adds Black.

She and the mayor say her first challenge will be dealing with tough decisions that have to be made regarding the budget.

"I think the big unknown is what's going to happen in Albany. There are some very difficult choices," said Mayor Bloomberg.

And, by Black's own admission, many more challenges lie beyond.

"The success of programs over the last several years with Joel in terms of accountability, teacher evaluations, dealing with the unions, all of these are major priorities," said Black.

Black will have to deal with a budget, one that will be without $800 million in stimulus money that came through for this year.

Over the last few weeks she's visited 20 schools in all the boroughs while defending her qualifications for the job.

She saw teams of people in the classrooms in schools working with teachers and principals analyzing what's working.

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