LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles Unified School District has selected Alberto Carvalho, the current head of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, as its next superintendent.
In a special meeting Thursday morning, the LAUSD Board of Education unanimously chose the 57-year-old Carvalho to the post.
"I am blessed and happy to report, that the L.A. Unified School system has offered me the position of superintendent," Carvalho said. "In fact, they just wrapped up a meeting where they unanimously have made this decision. And now we are going to enter a phase of contract negotiations."
The board is expected to finalize and vote on a new contract on Dec. 14.
Carvalho has been the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools since 2008. It is the fourth-largest school district in the nation, while LAUSD is the second-largest.
"I'm one who believes, that the energy, fuel of our democracy lies with public education," Carvalho said. "If we do right by our schools and our children, we protect democracy. That is what I will carry to Los Angeles, a community that faces the very same challenges we face, and continue to face."
In the news conference, Carvalho described himself as a "poor kid from Portugal" whose first jobs in the U.S. were as a dishwasher and day laborer, and who at times was homeless. Carvalho immigrated to the U.S. after high school. He attended college and then started his teaching career as a science teacher in Miami-Dade County.
"I decided to drive today through the neighborhood, blocks away from here, where about 29-years-ago, 30-years-ago, I was homeless," Carvalho said. "This has been an honor, a privilege, a story that only in America can it be told."
In 2018, the New York City Public Schools district tried to lure Carvalho away, but he stayed after emotional pleas from the Miami community.
Carvalho was named Superintendent of the Year in 2014 and has vastly improved schools in Miami.
"During that time we pulled this district from financial bankruptcy, academic bankruptcy, where dozens of schools were rated D and F, where graduation rates were at 58 percent," said Carvalho Thursday. "Even though I will be calling L.A. home, Miami will always have a special place in my heart."
LAUSD has been without a permanent superintendent since Austin Beutner officially stepped down in June. Beutner served in the position beginning in May of 2018 and guided LAUSD through the first 16 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Megan K. Reilly has since served as the interim superintendent.
"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," said LAUSD Board President Kelly Gonez 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."
Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, said the union is "ready to work" with Carvalho.
"The prolonged pandemic has underscored the critical importance of public schools for our communities," Myart-Cruz said in a statement. "We are ready to work with incoming LAUSD Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho to uplift public education in L.A. and build racially just, fully resourced schools that serve as community anchors, where educators are valued, families are supported and students have the resources they need to thrive."
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