There will be no interim superintendent for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
The school board decided Wednesday in a special meeting that it would move swiftly to hire a new permanent superintendent to replace the outgoing Alberto Carvalho, who has accepted the top job at the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The board opened a seven-day period, starting now, in which anyone interested in the job can apply. The qualifications include teaching and administrative experience, along with at least a master’s degree.
“The truth is we will never, ever find another Alberto Carvalho,” board member Lubby Navarro said during the meeting.
Even those board members who had openly clashed with the superintendent praised Carvalho Wednesday as a transformational leader.
“What a loss, what a terrible loss for our district,” said board member Dr. Marta Perez.
Perez, a Carvalho ally, caused a stir in the meeting when she blamed some of her colleagues for his departure.
“The superintendent had a very toxic environment here on the board,” Perez said, without accusing any particular board member.
Dr. Steve Gallon took offense to her remarks.
“When you’re using words like toxic and you’re using words like the board’s behavior, etcetera, I don’t think that’s appropriate board decorum and you’re actually representing certain things that are untrue,” Gallon responded during the meeting.
“There’s petty jealousies and things like that, they don’t like that he stands out, and all of the other things that have nothing to do with educating children and all the successes and they have pushed away the best superintendent in the United States,” Perez said.
“Absolutely, unequivocally I do not agree with those statements,” Gallon said in response.
Ever the diplomat, Carvalho never publicly criticizes any board member and he did not do so Wednesday.
“I’m accepting the position of general superintendent in LA for very personal and professional reasons, I think it’s fair to say internal and external conditions have shifted significantly over the past few years,” Carvalho said.
The superintendent agreed with the board that his successor should have teaching experience, and that there’s a deep talent pool of potential successors already at the district.
“I think we have viable, qualified, committed and proven applicants that could step into the role of superintendent here in Miami-Dade County,” Gallon said.
Carvalho reiterated what he’s been saying since he announced his departure, that his successor should be passionate about education and also be a person of principle.
“Someone who has the fortitude and courage to stand up against the special interests that are not in the best interest of children or political interests that get in the way of making the right decisions for kids,” Carvalho said.
His last day here is now scheduled to be Feb. 3.
Miami-Dade is not launching a national search. It appears the board is looking at interbank candidates, people who know the district and can hit the ground running.