Earlier this month, New York City lost one of its most respected and effective schools chancellors when Frank Macchiarola passed away. His service as chancellor coincided with the period of my husband Leonard’s service as Chairman of the Assembly Education Committee.
Dr. Macchiarola’s academic credentials were impeccable — his law degree and Ph.D. were from Columbia University and membership in the Thomas Jefferson Club, a powerful Brooklyn political organization.
As a result, he understood the theoretical and how to get results. He combined intellect with street smarts, imposing rigorous standards, stopping automatic social promotion and restoring respect in the classroom. He was a friendly, warm person who somehow remembered that my son was attending PS 193 and always asked for him.
Shortly after I was elected, there was a vacancy for chancellor and I saw Frank at an event. I, along with many others, tried to convince him to return as chancellor. He declined and it was the city’s loss.