Dennis Walcott, the longtime deputy mayor who is poised to become the city's next schools chancellor, says he never intended to go into government work.
"Even in college, government was not part of my interest," he said in 2009. "My interest was always in community service and social service."
But Walcott ended up working for Mayor Bloomberg as a deputy mayor in 2002, and it was announced Thursday that he has been selected to take over for embattled Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, who abruptly resigned three months into the job.
Parents and teachers shouldn't expect much to change under Walcott, who on Thursday declared himself a "believer in what we do" and a "believer in this mayor."
"The reforms as a result of Mayor Bloomberg's leadership have benefited countless students," Walcott said at a City Hall news conference. "I have a simple goal -- to continue that progress and reforms that the mayor has made so special to all of us."
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said he has worked with Walcott over the years and added "I look forward to working with him now."
Walcott, whose grandparents emigrated from the Caribbean, grew up in southeast Queens.
"I'm just a city guy," he said Thursday.
Walcott also has an adventurous streak that includes skydiving trips in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The father of four attended public schools, and eventually returned to the classroom as a kindergarten teacher early in his career.
In 1975, he founded the Frederick Douglass Brother-to-Brother organization that mentored young boys. He also served on the now-defunct Board of Education.
He was the president and CEO of the New York Urban League when he was picked to be a deputy mayor.
In his post as deputy mayor for education and community development, he has helped oversee the Department of Education and several other community-based organizations.
"I've visited probably hundreds and hundreds of our schools, walked the corridors, held the hands of students and talked with the moms and dads," he said Thursday.
Walcott has masters degrees in education and social work. He still does not have the credentials required by the state, including the three years of teaching experience, and will need a waiver.