Mayor-elect Eric Adams today announced David C. Banks as Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education – his first major appointment.
Banks is a pioneering educator with decades of experience in the New York City school system. A product of New York City public schools, Banks began his career in 1986 as a teacher at PS 167 in Crown Heights. After working as an Assistant Principal at PS 191, he co-founded the Bronx School of Law, Government, and Justice.
In 2004, he founded the Eagle Academy, a network of district schools that serve low-income Black and Latino boys in grades six through 12. The schools, which have a campus in each borough, consistently outperform other City schools.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine our education system – and David Banks is the right person to take on the challenge. Our schools continue to face deep, long-standing inequities that have only been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. I felt these inequities firsthand forty years ago, as a boy growing up in South Jamaica, Queens, being bussed every day to Bayside High School,” said Adams in announcing the appointment.
“As Chancellor, David will work tirelessly to implement my vision for a school system where every child is given the opportunity to succeed, regardless of zip code; where educators take a whole-child approach, instead of reducing students to a test score; where students with the learning disabilities get the support and resources they have been denied for too long; and where we finally recognize that education should be pregnancy to profession, not cradle to career. We are ready to get to work on behalf of our children on Day 1,” the Mayor-Elect added.
Banks said he is thrilled to be chosen to lead the city’s schools.
“As chancellor, I look forward to working with him and his administration to provide a high quality, equitable education that puts students on the path to life and career success. I am confident that together with our families, educators and school leaders, we will transform our schools,” said David C. Banks, who will have to step down as president and CEO of The Eagle Academy Foundation.
The appointment of Banks also represents something of a pivot from the de Blasio administration, which has had an adversarial relationship with charter schools. Banks is known to be more supportive of charter schools.
James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center in congratulating Banks, noted that the chancellor-to-be understands the importance of innovation and collaboration when it comes to providing students with an excellent education.
“New York City’s students are best served when we work together – and that’s exactly what we hope to accomplish with incoming Chancellor Banks, who has a strong track record of success as a school founder and long history of working with public charter schools, as he did as a key member of the District-Charter Collaborative,” said Merriman.
Charter schools are free, independently run public schools that are able to innovate in their classroom structures, curriculum, and teaching methods.
According to the NYC Charter School Center, more than 90 percent of the City’s charter school students are Black or Latino, and nearly 80 percent are from low-income families. There are 272 public charter schools serving approximately 145,000 students in all five boroughs for the 2021-2022 school year.
In other Adams appointment news, sources say that high-powered attorney Frank Carone the staff at his law firm that he will take a leave of absence to become Adams’ Chief of Staff.