Schools Chancellor David Banks quietly promoted Mayor Adams’ girlfriend to a top job at the Department of Education, just months after Adams hired Banks’ girlfriend as a deputy mayor, The Post has learned.
Banks named Tracey Collins — Adams’ longtime partner and NYC’s unofficial First Lady — the DOE’s “senior advisor to the deputy chancellor of school leadership,” Desmond Blackburn. She started the new job in July, and got a giant, 23% raise to $221,597 a year, records show.
Hizzoner named Banks’ girlfriend, Sheena Wright, and four other women deputy mayors last Dec. 21. Deputy mayors made $251,982 in FY 21.
Both women’s advancement underscores the tight inner circle of the Adams administration.
Wright, 52, previously CEO of United Way of NYC, helped lead Adams’ transition team. Banks and Wright live together in Harlem. Banks and Adams took office on Jan. 1.
A Queens teacher was stunned to learn of the quid pro beau.
“Banks’ girlfriend works for Adams, and Adams’ girlfriend works for Banks. I am sleeping with the wrong man,” she quipped.
David Bloomfield, a Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad Center education professor, said, “It’s not only a bad look, smacking of favoritism and cronyism. It displays a degree of insularity and groupthink that’s adverse to organizational effectiveness.”
DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer said Collins, “a veteran educator with 30 years of experience,” replaced another senior advisor, Mariano Guzman, who retired.
Styer said Collins “went through a rigorous process that did not include City Hall’s oversight.
“She was by far the most qualified of all applicants for the position, which is why she was the only finalist presented to the chancellor,” Styer added. He could not say how many applied for the publicly posted position.
Collins, 59, now sits in a powerful spot. Her boss Blackburn, in a role created by Banks, oversees the school system’s 45 superintendents. He reports directly to the chancellor.
Collins has served as an obscure DOE educrat since 2008, lastly as “senior youth development director.” Previously, she worked as a principal and a teacher.
“She gets up at dawn to run the largest school system in the United States,” working 12 hours a day, Adams wrote in his 2020 diet book, “Healthy at Last: A Plant-based Approach to Preventing and Reversing Diabetes.”
“She never gets a break.”
Collins also wrote a 2007 inspirational book about acts of kindness, “Sweet Promptings.” Adams, then a state senator representing Brooklyn, wrote the introduction.
Collins kept a low profile during Adams’ mayoral campaign, but appeared with the mayor in May at the Met Gala, dazzling in a white Oscar de la Renta gown adorned with sequined leaf details at the shoulders.
City Hall spokespersons did not immediately comment.