It’s quite a career arc.
From kindergarten to Miami Senior High graduate to becoming a teacher, a principal, a regional superintendent, and chief of staff to Alberto Carvalho, Dr. Jose Dotres is as homegrown as it gets.
“He’s a visionary,” Dotres said of Carvalho. “I think I’m a visionary as well, I’ve learned a lot from him.”
The Miami-Dade County School Board voted 6-3 to make Dotres the next superintendent of the nation’s fourth-largest school district, succeeding Carvalho when he moves on to take over the Los Angeles Unified School District. Dotres is currently an assistant superintendent for Collier County Public Schools.
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“The incredible path and the incredible opportunities that I was able to participate in in Miami-Dade Public Schools, I believe, has made me who I am today,” Dotres said in a Zoom interview from Naples Tuesday.
Priority No. 1 for Dotres is reversing academic regression caused by the pandemic.
“I don’t like to say learning loss because how in the world do you say learning loss when they haven’t really been able to finish the learning that they should’ve had?” Dotres explained. “You know we talk about instead of remediation, accelerating learning, well, it’s easy to say that, however, how do we do it, and are we equipping teachers properly to be able to accelerate the learning and applying the appropriate strategies and supports that student's need, but also what teachers need, in order to carry this out?”
Another challenge for Dotres will be overcoming the perception that the majority of the school board rigged the selection process in his favor.
“So he will have to do the work of winning the trust and support of every member of this community,” said board member Luisa Santos, who voted in favor of Dotres.
Dotres pledged to listen to all the stakeholders in the extremely diverse school district and to be accessible to every community.
“I would hope to see independence from the board,” said board member Dr. Marta Perez, who wants Dotres to follow Carvalho’s example of independent leadership.
Perez was among three board members who voted for Jacob Oliva, who oversees all public schools for the Florida Department of Education.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a superintendent who can call up people at the state level, and he is a master at that, and get things done for us,” Perez said.
Dotres said he’s ready to get things done for the district on day one.
“I know the school district, in my opinion, inside out,” Dotres said.
Part of his philosophy is setting high expectations for students and educators and giving them the resources and innovative programs to achieve at high levels. Dotres said the district will continue to be among the nation’s leaders in choice and magnets programs under his stewardship as he follows the strategic plan laid out by Carvalho and the board.
The fact that his primary residence is in Broward County is causing some concern among board members. He said that would be a topic to be settled in contract negotiations.