NY1 is reporting that embattled schools chief Cathie Black is out and will be replaced by deputy mayor for education Dennis Walcott.
The move comes as Black as been under withering criticism in recent days, including a new poll that showed her with just a 17 percent approval rating and the resignation of several top deputies. Yesterday, an aide to Black cut off an attempted scrum by reporters when one asked about those numbers.
Walcott, the deputy mayor for education, has long been a trusted aide on education policy. And he comes with the kind of education experience that Black was harshly criticized for not having, when she was plucked from her perch at Hearst Magazines in a surprise announcement on November 9.
Walcott is former kindergarten teacher who went on to found a mentoring program, before serving as president and C.E.O. of the New York Urban League. He attended New York City public schools, graduating from Francis Lewis High School in Queens, and has a master’s in education from the University of Bridgeport, and a master’s in social work from Fordham.
Whether the appointment is permanent, or simply interim, is so far unclear. But Walcott has already drawn praise from one of Black’s critics, city corrections union president Norman Seabrook.