Desmond Blackburn, 49-year-old Deputy Chancellor in the New York City Department of Education, announced he would be leaving the role after only occupying the position for a year. Chancellor Banks appointed Blackburn to the position of Deputy Chancellor for school leadership, a role which was specially created for him by Banks when he became Schools Chancellor.
In an email sent to staffers on Friday, February 10th, Blackburn said, “I am writing to let you know that I have accepted a new opportunity as chief executive officer. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve New York City students and families alongside all of you. Together, we have reimagined and restructured support for schools. We streamlined our organization and empowered superintendents. We recognized the importance of school leaders, their expertise, commitment, and relentless focus on student outcomes.”
Blackburn, who previously served as a superintendent in Florida, will be joining the education non-profit organization Facing History & Ourselves as its President and Chief Executive Officer. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Facing History & Ourselves provides racism and anti-Semitism resources and learning tools.
Blackburn will be leaving the DOE for his new role in March 2023. Many people within the department shared that they were surprised Blackburn was leaving his position a year after assuming it.
Blackburn will be replacing Facing History & Ourselves’ outgoing CEO Roger Brooks. The organization has a standing relationship with the DOE, having worked together with the department as the lead partner for The Facing History School, located in Hell’s Kitchen.
“The work they do, they bring powerful professional learning to teachers across the nation that works to address some of the crucial topics of our time, both around history and our current events,” Blackburn said, referring to the work Facing History & Ourselves does.
Chancellor Banks released a statement applauding Blackburn and wishing him well. “Dr. Blackburn is the kind of leader who leaves a lasting impact in every space he’s in,” said Banks in a statement. “He has been instrumental in developing our team of school leaders and empowering superintendents to be community leaders.”
“The New York City Public School system is lucky to have benefitted from his brilliance, and we wish him nothing but continued success in his next role in ensuring that all American students are deeply connected to our collective history,” said Banks about Blackburn.