You are reading

Two Southeast Queens Natives Take Over High-Powered Positions in City Agencies

New NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison and new Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office and Mayor’s Office Livestream)

Feb. 26, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Two Southeast Queens natives have taken over high-powered positions in city agencies this week.

Rodney Harrison was named the chief of department of the New York Police Department on Thursday and Meisha Porter was named the schools chancellor of the Department of Education Friday.

Both Harrison and Porter were born and raised in Jamaica.

Harrison, whose last position was the chief of detectives, is taking over as chief of department after Terence Monahan announced his retirement from the NYPD.

Monahan will transition into a new position as a special advisor to the city’s COVID-19 recovery czar Lorraine Grillo.

Harrison, who began his career at the 114th Precinct in Astoria in 1992 and became the NYPD’s first Black chief of detectives in 2019, is taking over the reins from Monahan as the NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed officer.

Harrison grew up in Jamaica and described how relations with police there have not always been positive.

“I grew up in Jamaica, Queens — grew up in a co-op called Rochdale Village — and growing up in that community we had negative interactions with law enforcement,” he said at a press conference Thursday. “There was some struggle sometimes, some frustrations, but I also took a leap of faith in coming into this organization.”

He said he became a police officer to change the department’s relations with communities like Jamaica.

“There was one time that I was stopped by a police officer that was extremely unprofessional, and I said to myself, ‘all cops can’t be like this and how can I make a change?'” Harrison said. “And that’s why I took that application and came on his job to make a change.”

Harrison joins Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, the head of NYPD, who is also from Queens. Shea, a Sunnyside native, became police commissioner in December 2019.

Meanwhile, Porter, another Jamaica native, is taking the top position at the DOE beginning March 15 as current Schools Chancellor Richard Carrazana transitions out of the role.

Porter, a New York City public school graduate herself, said she learned the importance of educators from her own mother growing up in Jamaica.

“I grew up in South Jamaica, Queens,” she said at a press conference Friday. “My mom is a teacher and what I learned first from my favorite teacher, my mommy, is the importance that one teacher makes in the life of every young person.”

Porter will be the city’s first Black woman to be schools chancellor, and the first person appointed to the role from within DOE leadership in recent history, according to City Hall.

She currently serves as Bronx executive superintendent and started her career with the DOE as a teacher at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice — a school she helped found and later became the principal of.

As the Bronx executive superintendent since 2018, Porter has overseen the largest gains in graduation rates of any borough in that time, from 67.4 in 2018 to 73.0 – a 5.7 percentage point increase, as compared to a 2.8 point increase citywide, according to City Hall.

“It’s my duty and responsibility — that I’ve carried with me my whole life — to lead forward and lean in and see every student and create opportunities for them in every moment that I possibly can,” Porter said.

Carrazana said he was stepping down as chancellor after three years at the helm in order to take time to grieve the loss of 11 family members and close friends whom he lost to COVID-19.

His tenure as schools chancellor was not without controversy.

Queens Council Member Robert Holden has been a constant critic of Carrazana and called his resignation “the best thing to happen to our city’s students and teachers in a long time.”

“Chancellor Carranza, the city’s most overpaid non-essential worker, constantly put his own political agenda ahead of our students’ education,” Holden said in a statement. “His relentless attacks on academic standards and Gifted and Talented opportunities hurt our public school system.”

He said the city must ensure that the hardest working students are given the opportunities they earn.

Queens State Sen. John Lui was less harsh on the outgoing chancellor.

“Richard Carranza had a difficult tenure as NYC schools chancellor, with some missteps from the outset, unhelpful micromanagement from the mayor, and an unimaginable crisis with the global pandemic,” Lui said in a statement. “Though we had our share of disagreements, I appreciate his efforts in running our schools and wish him the best.”

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Brooklyn man who was cleared in the murder of 14-year-old girl, indicted for attempted murder of teen in Middle Village last July: DA

A Brooklyn man who had a murder conviction vacated by the Queens District Attorney’s Office in November 2022 was indicted in connection to a fatal shooting in Middle Village.

Shamel Capers, 24, of Herzl Street, was arraigned Tuesday in Queens Supreme Court on an indictment charging him with attempted murder and Dante Hunter, 25, of Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway, was arraigned Monday on an indictment charging with murder and other crimes in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Joshua Taylor in Middle Village last July.

Construction workers rescued from trench collapse at South Ozone Park home Monday morning: FDNY

The FDNY rescued two construction workers who were injured during a trench collapse at a home in South Ozone Park Monday morning.

Multiple units, including Squad 288 from Maspeth and Engine 302 in Jamaica, began arriving on the scene minutes after receiving a call just after 11:36 a.m. of workers trapped in the collapse of a retaining wall at 133-28 150th St. Firefighters discovered the two men pinned at the knees from dirt and debris in a collapsed 20-by-40-foot section. A neighbor who witnessed the scene said other construction workers came to the aid of the two before the FDNY arrived on the scene.

John Adams HS assistant principal busted in alleged sexual abuse of 15-year-old student: NYPD

An administrator at John Adams High School in Ozone Park was arrested on campus Wednesday for allegedly stroking the inner thigh of a 15-year-old student on Monday and then showing pornographic images of himself to her the following day.

Police from the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park responded to the scene after the student reported the incident to another John Adams High School administrator. Michael Budhu, 52, was then taken into custody.

Five Queens startups win $20,000 each in 2024 Tech + Innovation Challenge

May. 19, 2024 By Czarinna Andres

A diverse range of businesses, including a yoga studio, an olive oil distributor, a female health care provider, a sustainable mushroom farmer, and an AI-powered physical therapy service, have been named winners of the 2024 Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge (QTIC). Each winner will receive a $20,000 grant to support their business operations.

City hosting walking tours at the new Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways on Sunday

This Sunday, May 19, the city is conducting walking tours of the newly opened Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways to showcase the 35-acre beachfront jewel developed on a formerly vacant illegal dumping ground on Beach 44th Street in Edgemere.

The tours, hosted by the Department of City Planning (DCP), NYC Parks, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), will allow participants to explore the preserve’s diverse ecosystem. The large preserve is a component of the upcoming Arverne East housing development, which, when completed, will be one of the most environmentally conscious developments in the United States, achieving net zero and eliminating the need for fossil fuels on-site.

QBP Richards, advocates rally to demand Mayor Adams restore funding to City’s libraries

May. 17, 2024 By Gabriele Holtermann

A rally was held at the Queens Public Library at Forest Hills on May 16, during which Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, union reps and library advocates called on Mayor Eric Adams to reverse the proposed $58.3 million budget cuts to the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and the Queens Public Library (QBL) for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins on July 1, 2024.