New York — In defending his selection for schools chancellor, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has called Cathleen P. Black, a publishing executive with no education experience, “exactly the right person for the job” and suggested that her skills as a manager were unrivaled.
Ms. Black, however, was not the first person the mayor asked to take the position. Mr. Bloomberg tried to persuade Geoffrey Canada, the prominent Harlem education leader and a friend of the mayor, to be chancellor, but Mr. Canada turned it down, according to two people with direct knowledge of the discussions.
The two people did not want to be identified because Mr. Bloomberg has sought to keep the process private.
Mr. Bloomberg has repeatedly declined to offer details about whom he consulted during the search process, or how he ultimately settled on Ms. Black, the chairwoman of Hearst Magazines.