Incoming schools Chancellor Richard Carranza ruined the career of a rising star in the San Francisco school system after she called him out for flirting at a conference, a bombshell lawsuit claims.
Educator Veronica Chavez said Carranza victimized her as part of a series of moves he made to snub women employees when he was superintendent in San Francisco in 2013.
Chavez still works as a teacher in San Francisco, but Carranza effectively derailed her career — where she was once seen as a rapidly ascending educator in the district, said her attorney, Moira McQuaid.
“It halted her ability to have forward progression,” McQuaid said.
“I was surprised to see that Carranza had gone to New York,” she added.
According to the suit, Carranza, 51, was an educator himself with a promising career, and Chavez was an assistant superintendent in February 2013 when they attended a weekend education conference in Los Angeles.
“During this weekend, Chavez observed Carranza, who is a married man, engaging in inappropriate flirtatious conduct with a female colleague from another school district who was not his wife,” the complaint states.
After the conference, Chavez told Carranza what she had observed, according to her suit. The complaint says Carranza didn’t take it well, and he took that out on her.
“Carranza retaliated against and subjected Chavez to a hostile work environment,” by placing her work under heightened scrutiny and passing her over for a promotion.
Shortly before the interview for the promotion, the suit says, Carranza warned Chavez that she’d better have a “Plan B” in case she didn’t get the job.
Chavez didn’t get the job, and she lost her position as an assistant superintendent, according to the suit, which was filed in 2015.
McQuaid said Chavez, 51, now works as a teacher, which comes with a salary that’s smaller than what she made in her former role. Chavez’s suit was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2016.
Chavez did not respond to requests for comment on this report. McQuaid said she prefers to stay out of the public spotlight.
“She had lost this position and basically her only remedy was to bring this lawsuit, to let it be known what the circumstances were and how she felt it was ultimately unfair,” McQuaid said.
McQuaid said she heard from several women who are educators and made claims about Carranza that were similar to those made by Chavez.
“She’s not the only female who had contacted me from San Francisco about similar concerns,” McQuaid said. “The perception was that there was a general preference to have men.”
McQuaid said she was not at liberty to disclose the amount of the settlement and that such arrangements are common.
San Francisco Unified School District spokeswoman Gentle Blythe also wouldn’t say what the city paid.
The district “denied any allegation of wrongdoing by former Superintendent Carranza in connection with Ms. Chavez’s complaint,” Blythe said. “We are committed to a working environment free of unlawful harassment and discrimination. The district settled the matter in order to avoid the cost and distraction of further litigation.”
McQuaid said Chavez was shattered by the experience. “She was severely distraught,” McQuaid said. “It wasn’t something she immediately bounced back from.”
Representatives for the Houston school system, where Carranza went to work soon after the suit was settled, didn’t respond to questions about whether they knew of the Chavez case.
Mayor de Blasio’s spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie said the accusations Chavez made are untrue. “The allegations were completely false and Mr. Carranza was never named in the lawsuit nor was he involved in the settlement,” Lapeyrolerie said.
Carranza did not respond to requests for comment on the suit.
His appointment came just days after de Blasio’s first choice to replace Fariña, Miami schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, dissed Hizzoner by rejecting the job offer he had accepted on live TV.
Carranza’s appointment was met with mostly positive reaction from local education experts, but critics in Houston complained he left the system there in the lurch by quitting after just 18 months on the job.