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Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho is headed west to lead the Los Angeles school district

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho
Joe Raedle
Getty Images
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho

After more than a decade in the position, Alberto Carvalho will leave his post as Miami-Dade Schools superintendent.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon he confirmed a Los Angeles Times report that he was a finalist to lead the Los Angeles Unified School District.

"I am blessed and happy to report that the Los Angeles Unified School system has offered me the position as superintendent. They unanimously have made this decision and we’re now going to enter a phase of contract negotiations," Carvalho said.

Carvalho has lead the nation's fourth-largest school district since 2008.

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"With a degree of heartbreak for the community I'm leaving, but with happiness in my heart also for the community that I will work tirelessly to earn their love and respect — I want to say thank you," said Carvalho. "I will miss Miami, and even though I will be calling Los Angeles home, Miami will always have a special place in my heart."

Before the decision was confirmed Thursday afternoon, some Miami-Dade school board members praised the outgoing superintendent.

"Considering his long and successful track record as a district leader, Mr. Carvalho being strongly considered to lead top districts across the nation should be no surprise to anyone," said school board vice-chair Dr. Steve Gallon III.

"Yes he spoke with me yesterday. It’s an immense loss for our community. I was one of his biggest supporter[s]. I brought [the] item to extend his contract in 2019 to keep him here," said board member Lubby Navarro in a text message.

Gallon noted that going forward the school board will continue its day-to-day operations even with this change at the top of the district.

"I am confident that our board, under the steady leadership of our Chair Perla Tabares Hantman, will continue to remain focused on the progress of our district and education of our students, and where needed, embrace a professional, pragmatic, and prudent approach to ensure continued leadership at every level of the school district," Gallon said.

The United Teachers of Dade union also pointed to the future, in response to the news, while lauding Carvalho's time as superintendent — even when the union and the school board had disagreements.

"During the 9 years I have directly worked with him, he has been a resolute and responsive supporter of the United Teachers of Dade, always comporting himself with professionalism and respect, even in times of opposing views. His commitment to our community has elevated our schools to be a beacon of excellence. We wish him well as he continues pursuing the American dream as an successful immigrant," said UTD president Karla Hernandez-Mats, in a statement.

"As we transition our district, we expect that our new superintendent will come from our education community and be knowledgeable of our culture and needs. We do not want our hard-earned achievements to be dismantled by opportunists with a political agenda. Our next leader must exhibit the same upbeat, working relationship with the various unions and all stakeholders that will continue to inspire our teachers and students.”

Carvalho's exit comes three years after he nearly left his post to become schools chancellor of the nation's largest school district in New York City. After an emotional school board meeting, he ultimately decided to remain in South Florida.

He will now head up the second-largest school district in the United States.

WLRN's Sherrilyn Cabrera and Elliot Rodriguez contributed to this report.

Alyssa Ramos is the multimedia producer for Morning Edition for WLRN. She produces regional stories for newscasts and manages digital content on WLRN.
Sherrilyn Cabrera is WLRN's PM newscast and digital producer.
Elliot Rodriguez is a fall 2021 intern at WLRN News.
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