Boston Public Schools has a new superintendent — Dr. Brenda Cassellius. Cassellius has served as Minnesota’s commissioner of education for eight years. She will succeed former BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang, who stepped down from the role last July. WGBH News' Morning Edition fill-in host Aaron Schachter spoke with Cassellius to discuss her new appointment and her plans to unite the Boston Public Schools community. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Aaron Schachter: People at the school committee meeting spoke about healing bruised relationships and clearly felt you are the woman for the job. What did you see when you came to Boston?

Brenda Cassellius: Well, I had such a great welcome when I was here on my visits and met so many wonderful people. So I'm very excited to really help lead the district into a place where there is a very good trusting relationship, where people feel heard and valued — that their voices are valued at the table — and to work with the mayor in leveraging resources for children, families and communities [in Boston]. So [I'm] just really excited to have the opportunity.

Schachter: Parents here like to have an active role in what happens within the school system. How [will] you make yourself available to parents and to their concerns?

Cassellius: Parents are a child's first teacher, and it's absolutely critical that parents are involved. So it's good news to an incoming superintendent that parents want to be involved with their children's education. So I'd make myself available by being part of the community, by attending events, by listening to parents and getting back to parents within 24 hours. I've always had a policy to get back to folks right away, to make sure that they're heard and that they know that they're valued.

Schachter: I heard somewhere that you're planning to give out your cell phone number. Is that true?

Cassellius: Well, I've always done it and no one's ever abused it. I don't know that they just want to sit and chat with me; I've never really had that, but they do call when they need something and I do get back to them. It's a great way to build trust with folks to just be able to get that out so that they know that they can call the top person if they have a concern and that they're heard.

Schachter: So you are not a fan of standardized tests. What, in your opinion, is the best alternative way to gauge student progress?

Cassellius: Assessment is important. It's always been part of teaching and learning. So it's not that I'm discounting the role of assessment. It's just very difficult when you put them into accountability systems, and they're the only measure of what's a high quality environment for children.

Schachter: Now here is perhaps the most important question, and I know parents have been waiting to hear about this. Coming from Minnesota, you get an average of 70 inches of snow. Boston has an average of 44 inches. So I imagine you have a fairly high bar to call for a snow day?

Cassellius: Well, I don't think you have the similar roads that we have. We work on a grid system; it makes it much easier. And we get pretty cold temperatures. We sometimes closed not because of the snow so much, but for the temperature. So that will be a little bit different. We'll be collaborating with the mayor [to know] what the situation is on the ground. And [we'll give] parents plenty of time so that they can plan so that children are safe when they're at home.