News and Speeches

Prominent Women Leaders Announce Support for Cathie Black as Schools Chancellor


Urge State Education Commissioner to grant waiver

Calling her appointment “historic”, twenty-eight prominent women in education, advocacy, business, and entertainment sent a letter today supporting Cathie Black to serve as the next schools Chancellor of New York City. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Ms. Black’s appointment at a news conference November 9, and last Wednesday submitted a request to State Education Commissioner David Steiner asking him to grant her a waiver to serve as Chancellor.

In their letter to Commissioner Steiner today, the women wrote, “We are delighted that the largest public school system in the country will, for the first time, be headed by a woman – and in Cathie Black we have an extraordinarily qualified and visionary leader. We urge you to grant the necessary waiver for this historic appointment.”

President of NARAL Pro-Choice New York Kelli Conlin, prominent feminist and author Gloria Steinem, actress Whoopi Goldberg, President of the New York Women’s Foundation Ana L. Oliveira, and President of 100 Hispanic Women, Inc., Shirley Rodriguez Remeneski, among others, went on: “Over the past 30 years in the publishing industry, Ms. Black has played a critical role breaking through the glass ceiling – not once, not twice, but time and again. She has distinguished herself as a talented manager, starting in 1979 as the first female publisher of a weekly magazine, continuing with her tenure as the first publisher of USA Today and leading to her current role as the first female president of Hearst Magazines.”

Under the State Education Law, a School District Leader certificate is required for Ms. Black to serve as Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools. State Education Law section 3003(3) and 8 NYCRR Part 80-3.10(b)(3)(iii) authorizes the Commissioner of Education to grant a certificate to a candidate who does not meet certain educational and training requirements but “whose exceptional training and experience are the substantial equivalent of such requirements and qualify such person[s] for the duties of a superintendent of schools.”

Cathie Black is currently Chairman of Hearst Magazines, where she has led a team of some 2,000 employees producing more than 200 local editions of 14 magazines in more than 100 countries. Under her leadership, Hearst had record-breaking years – they built on decades of success with titles like Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, and Town & Country, introduced highly-acclaimed new titles like O, The Oprah Magazine and created digital platforms that were inconceivable in 1995. As the media industry has tackled digital changes, Hearst Magazines has been widely-regarded as being at the forefront of that evolution.

Current and former elected officials who have expressed support for Cathie Black include former Mayors Dinkins, Koch and Giuliani; former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr.; Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro; State Senators Malcolm A. Smith, Carl Kruger, Andrew Lanza, Marty Golden and Craig Johnson; and City Council Members James Vacca, Michael C. Nelson, James Gennaro, Dominic M. Recchia, Jr., and Joel Rivera.

The full letter can be read here.