San Francisco schools superintendent takes job in Houston

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San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza is headed to Texas. (KGO-TV)

San Francisco public schools are losing their superintendent.

Richard Carranza has accepted a position to lead the school district in Houston. He took over the San Francisco Unified School District four years ago

This is a man who pulled out of the race for superintendent of Los Angeles schools back at the beginning of the year. He said Houston, on the other hand is a good fit.

He says he wants to do some of the things he's done here, but at a larger scale. Houston is the largest school district in Texas, bigger than San Francisco Unified.

In between meetings, Carranza sat down with ABC7 News to discuss his reasons for accepting Houston's offer.

"When the opportunity to go to Houston came around, I did my homework. The work that they're doing around equity, the work they are doing around language, the work they're doing around meeting the needs of all students," Carranza said.

Carranza recently divorced, says being single again, offers him a chance to spend more time at work.

"A superintendent in the field is worth two in the seat," Carranza said.

That was also his style here in San Francisco. He's been known to shadow students and drop in on teachers.

During his four years as superintendent, suspension rates went down, his team focused on pouring more resources into underserved communities, and he got Silicon Valley more involved in the classroom.

He says his greatest achievement has been to increase the graduation rates among African Americans.

"I think the work we've done on putting a laser light focus on the achievement of African American students when for decades have been student ho have be underserved by our community,"

Besides raising teachers' salaries by 12 percent over three years, Carranza agreed with the union on how teachers are evaluated.

On the lighter side, he's also known for his love of Mariachi music.

Melendez: "So are you more a 'Cielito Lindo' kind of guy, or are your more of a 'Alla en el Rancho Grande' kind of guy?

Carranza: "Yes, I can do those kind of songs, but I'm more of a ranchero romantico kind of song. My guitar and boots will go to Houston, but a piece of my heart will stay in San Francisco.
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