Alberto Carvalho leaving for job in Los Angeles – WPLG Local 10

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Hatzel Vela, Reporter
David Selig, Digital Executive Producer
Published: December 9, 2021, 11:18 AM
Updated: December 9, 2021, 11:46 PM
Hatzel Vela, Reporter
David Selig, Digital Executive Producer
MIAMI – Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has been offered the same position in Los Angeles and will enter contract negotiations to take over the second-largest school system in the country.
Carvalho, 57, who has led Miami-Dade’s public school district since 2008, made the announcement that he had accepted the new job Thursday afternoon at iPrep Academy, where he is principal.
“As I open my heart to LA, I will never close my heart to Miami,” said Carvalho, who was named Superintendent of the Year in 2014 by the national superintendents association.
WATCH A REPLAY OF CARVALHO’S ANNOUNCEMENT:
Miami-Dade’s district is the fourth-largest in the country, and Carvalho has been credited with raising its academic and financial standing.
“We’ve pulled this district from financial bankruptcy, from academic bankruptcy, where dozens of schools were rated ‘D’ or ‘F,’ where graduation rates were at 58%,” he said. The district says its current graduation rate is 93% and has no D or F schools.
Before looking forward to his next challenge, Carvalho spent time Thursday looking back.
“I am the poor kid from Portugal whose first job in this country was as a dishwasher, second job was as a day laborer,” he said. On his way to the news conference, Carvalho said he drove through a Miami neighborhood where he had been homeless 30 years ago.
“My world changed when I became a teacher,” Carvalho said. “I still feel this journey is a fairytale.”
After announcing that they approved Carvalho’s selection unanimously, the Los Angeles Board of Education said it planned a vote to finalize his contract on Dec. 14.
“Alberto Carvalho brings the deep experience we need as an educator and leader of a large urban district to manage L.A. Unified’s ongoing response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Los Angeles Unified School Board President Kelly Gonez said in a statement. “As the longtime Miami-Dade Superintendent, he established a clear record of positive student outcomes and has relentlessly worked towards greater equity for historically underserved communities. I know he will continue that focus in Los Angeles, and he is ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.”
Carvalho was close to taking over the school system in New York City in 2018 but ultimately decided to remain in South Florida.
“I underestimated the emotional tug, the level of commitment, the power that crying members of the community have had on me,” Carvalho said at the time. “Against probably my personal best interest, I shall remain in Miami-Dade as your superintendent.”
Of Los Angeles, he said Thursday: “I feel that this is a very good fit. I see the possibility.”
Los Angeles’ last full-time superintendent, Austin Beutner, was making a salary of $350,000, and over $382,000 when including benefits, records show. Carvalho was making $375,000 in Miami-Dade, with his contract set to run until June 2023.
Miami-Dade school board vice-chair Steve Gallon said they were just beginning the process of determining when Carvalho will be able to leave and the next steps for filling the position.
“It is a tremendous loss,” Gallon said. “There is a process that we have to undertake, and that process is just getting started.”
Karla Hernandez-Mats, president of the United Teachers of Dade union, said she believes an interim superintendent will be named initially. She praised Carvalho’s work in Miami-Dade, saying “his commitment to our community has elevated our schools to be a beacon of excellence.”
Carvalho attended Broward Community College and graduated in 1990 from Barry University with a biology degree. He became a high school science and math teacher before quickly moving up the administrative ranks, becoming a principal before moving to the district office where he was the district’s spokesman and an assistant superintendent before becoming superintendent in 2008.
“I count myself amongst the many people lucky to have benefitted from his leadership,” said school board member Luisa Santos.
Added fellow board member Lucia Baez-Geller: “We’re just lucky to have had him, but we’re also moving forward and excited about the future possibilities.”
Copyright 2021 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 
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David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing Local10.com.
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