Ex-Schools Chancellor Cathie Black says she feels "fine" about her decision to step down, adding that trying to get up to speed on the workings of the country's largest school system was "like having to learn Russian in a weekend."
In an interview with Fortune magazine Friday, Black called herself "a warrior" and said she thought the tremendous scrutiny she endured during her time in office might not have happened to a man.
“If I were a guy, would I have had the pounding that I did?... And the worst pictures," she said.
She also discussed the learning curve on the job. "It was like having to learn Russian in a weekend—and then give speeches in Russian and speak Russian in budget committee and City Council meetings.”
Black, a former publishing executive, drew criticism for her lack of education experience. Bloomberg had said her private-sector accomplishments would make her a good chancellor.
On Friday, Mayor Bloomberg says that it's hard to say when his hiring of Cathie Black derailed.
In a live radio appearance, Bloomberg called Black "a phenomenally competent woman."
Bloomberg announced Thursday that the two of them had mutually decided she should step down after three months on the job.
Bloomberg appointed Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis M. Walcott as new Chancellor of New York City Public Schools.
Walcott began his first day as commissioner by walking his grandson, Justin, to the same school he had attended as a child – the St. Albans School PS 36.
“I’m fantastic,” said Walcott. ‘I’m here with my grandson and Justin is happy.”
This morning, Walcott was focused on getting Justin to school.
“The bell is ringing, and on his first day, the chancellor cannot have his grandson be late to school,” Walcott told NBC New York.
Walcott will spend the rest of his day talking with students and parents, meeting with the mayor, testifying to the city council, and meeting with various staff members.
“The one thing I will always do is respect our parents’ voices,” said Walcott. He plans to concentrate on continuing current reforms and “making tough decisions” concerning the budget.
Walcott did not blame Cathie Black for the resignation of high-ranking school officials earlier this year. “Cathie in her three months here worked very hard and I have the utmost respect for her,” he said.