School & District Management

Longtime Miami Superintendent, Who Almost Left for N.Y.C., Chosen as Urban Superintendent of the Year

By Denisa R. Superville — October 26, 2018 2 min read
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The coalition of the nation’s urban school districts has selected Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho as its 2018 Urban Superintendent of the Year.

The award was given to the longtime Miami school leader on Thursday night at the Council of the Great City Schools’ annual conference in Baltimore.

The honor, the Green-Garner Award, alternates annually between a district superintendent and a school board member. It is named after Richard R. Green, the first African-American chancellor of the New York City school system, and Edward Garner, a former Denver school board member. It comes with a $10,000 college scholarship for a student in the district.

Carvalho has been superintendent in Miami for the last decade. But earlier this year he made headlines not for his stewardship of the district, but his very public flirtation with moving to New York to run the country’s largest school system.

The drama unfolded at the end of February, when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Carvalho would be the city’s next chancellor. But less than 24 hours later—and after a long and emotional school board meeting in Miami—Carvalho changed course and announced that he was staying in Miami.

The district has received several academic accolades during Carvalho’s tenure, including the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education. The award, which was discontinued in 2015, was given to urban school systems that were making gains in closing the achievement gap.

This summer, the district trumpeted its first “A rating” from the state education department and the second year of having no F-rated schools.

Carvalho was the state superintendent of the year in 2014 and was also named the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year by the AASA, the School Superintendents Association.

“Alberto Carvalho has had a remarkable run as superintendent of one of the largest and most complex big-city school systems in the nation,” Michael Casserly, the executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, said in a press release announcing the award winner. “On top of that, his 10 years of leadership of the district has shown all of us in urban education what is possible. He is one of the finest and most effective urban leaders I have known in over 40 years of doing this work.”

Those vying for the award included Tom Boasberg, who stepped down this month as superintendent in Denver; Juan Cabrera, the superintendent in El Paso, Tex.; Kriner Cash, the superintendent in Buffalo; Anthony Hamlet, the superintendent in Pittsburgh; Michael Hinojosa, the superintendent in Dallas; Dorsey Hopson, the superintendent in Shelby County, Tenn.; Clayton Wilcox, the superintendent in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; and Alicja Winnicki, the superintendent of New York City’s District 14 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Last year’s winner was Felton Williams, a school board member in the Long Beach, Calif., school system.

Image caption: Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent of the Miami-Dade school district, was named Thursday as the Urban Superintendent of the Year by the Council of the Great City Schools, the organization that represents the country’s urban school systems. Photo by Clarence Tabb.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.