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San Francisco Superintendent Among Finalists for Top Job in Houston

San Francisco Unified Superintendent Richard Carranza is the leading contender for the top job in Houston, the nation's seventh-largest school district, the San Francisco Chronicle and Houston Chronicle report.

The Houston school board is expected to announce a single finalist or present a pared down list of candidates Wednesday, the newspapers report.

in January, Carranza, 49, was among the contenders for the top job in Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest district, but withdrew from consideration prior to the school board's selection. 

"The Board of Education has met and we are prepared with a plan in the event that he leaves," Matt Haney, San Francisco school board president, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We have a strong foundation, a newly refreshed strategic plan, tremendous leadership in our schools and our district, and we are confident our progress will continue."

The move to Houston would represent a significant step up the career ladder for Carranza. San Francisco has roughly 53,000 students; Houston has 215,000.

If selected, Carranza would step in as the permanent replacement for former superintendent Terry Grier, who stepped down in February after six years at the helm. Houston's deputy superintendent and chief financial officer Ken Huewitt has served as interim school chief since Grier's departure.

A former English-language learner, Carranza has led San Francisco Unified since 2012 after a stint as a regional superintendent in the Clark County, Nev., schools. He was among Education Week's 2015 class of Leaders to Learn From for his "commitment to ensuring that English-language learners in San Francisco's public schools not only become fluent in their new language, but also have the opportunity to become fully fluent and literate in their native one."

That experience could come in handy in Houston: roughly 25 percent of students, about 55,000, in the district are ELLs, according to a 2015 Migration Policy Institute report.

Grier was also a member of Education Week's 2015 class of Leaders to Learn From, along with Lenny Schad, the district's chief information technology officer.

Here's a look at a video profile of Carranza from Education Week.

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