When school starts this fall, the two biggest systems in Texas will be led by Latinos. Last year, Dallas rehired Michael Hinojosa as superintendent. Today, Houston's board of trustees unanimously chose Richard Carranza as sole finalist for its top job.
Carranza currently leads the San Francisco Unified School District in California. He’s also worked in Arizona and Las Vegas. He speaks Spanish fluently and is skilled in mariachi.
“He fits Houston," said school board president Manuel Rodriguez. "Mr. Carranza is the right leader at the right time for Houston’s children."
Rodriguez said Carranza stood out from a pool of 35 candidates -- 29 men and six women. He highlighted Carranza's work in bilingual education, fine arts and discipline, reducing suspensions and trying to keep children in the classroom.
Trustee Jolanda Jones said Carranza has shown he thinks outside the box and is used to working with kids from all backgrounds.
“We were part of the same village,” Jones said.
Under Texas law, the board has to wait 21 days before taking a final vote on whether to hire Carranza.
The HISD board has been searching for a new leader for months. Almost a year ago in September, longtime superintendent Terry Grier announced he would retire early, effective at the end of February.