Kermit Carolina, principal of Hillhouse High School, announced on Sunday night that he will be the seventh candidate to run for mayor to replace current Mayor John DeStefano Jr.

“My decision to run is firmly rooted in my belief that New Haven can do better for those who have been locked out and forgotten. Poverty impacts us all. Poverty is at the root of crime, low educational achievement, high levels of unemployment and the dysfunction that exists in many families,” Carolina wrote in a press release. “My candidacy will also address the challenges facing middle-class families. There must be a concerted effort to address superfluous expenditures and rising property taxes.”

Carolina’s announcement will put him in the race with Ward 10 Alderman Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10, state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, plumber Sundiata Keitazulu, former city economic development director Henry Fernandez LAW ’94, president and CEO of Connecticut Technology Council and state senator Toni Harp.

In his press release, Carolina cited his experience in the New Haven Public School system as giving him a “unique understanding and appreciation” of the challenges and issues that Elm City residents face. He also cited his experiences as a resident of the Elm Haven Public Housing Project and his single-parent home as key to his understanding of poverty.

His announcement comes in time for a scheduled mayoral debate this Tuesday at Gateway Community College. Carolina formed an exploratory committee to investigate the viability of a campaign at the beginning of April and held an event at the Elks Club on April 9.

Carolina has previously said that he will commit to using the Democracy Fund, New Haven’s public funding system for mayoral candidates.