Alberto Carvalho gets final tributes from Miami before L.A.

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Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho reacts after a video tribute during his final meeting at the Miami-Dade School Board administration building in Miami on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022.

dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Surrounded by School Board members, outgoing Superintendent Alberto Carvalho on Wednesday thanked the Miami-Dade County Public School community, where he has a history that began with his first job teaching physics at Miami Jackson Senior High as a 25-year-old graduate from Barry University.

Standing at the dais at his last School Board meeting, he spoke to teachers, district staff, custodial staff, bus drivers, parents and students both inside the room and across the county. Dozens of people came to the board meeting to say goodbye as he embarks on his new post as superintendent of Los Angeles public schools, after announcing in December that he’s leaving.

I’ll simply say thank you. Thank you for teaching me,” he said. “I am the man I am today because of all of you in this room, and those who spoke earlier. I am a better leader because of what I’ve learned from you.”

And to the board, he thanked members for his appointment in 2008 and supporting an agenda “that was not always easy.” He dedicated his recognition to “the work I’ve done here and the work still left to be done.”

A more personal gesture, however, was directed to his late father, a custodian who taught him most of what he knows: “I’m more him than anyone else.”

Carvalho came to this country as a 17-year-old with no papers, leaving behind his mother, father and five siblings in Lisbon, Portugal.

Carvalho’s remarks are among the last he is expected to give as the district’s superintendent, a position he’s held for 14 years. His last day is Friday. He is expected to begin his new role as the Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent on Monday, according to news reports in L.A.

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School Board member Dr. Marta Perez applauds as Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho reacts during a video tribute in his final meeting of the Miami-Dade County School Board on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. She was on the Board when he was hired as superintendent in 2008. David Santiago dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Led by board member Marta Pérez, the School Board Wednesday recognized Carvalho for his more than 30 years of service to Miami-Dade County Public Schools. He began at Jackson High in 1990.

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Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho gets some gifts from Miami Dolphins Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs Jason Jenkins during his final meeting of the Miami-Dade School Board on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. He is leaving to become superintendent of the Los Angeles school district. David Santiago dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Similarly, community leaders — ranging from Miami-Dade County Commission Vice Chairman Oliver G. Gilbert III and the Aventura Chamber of Commerce to the United Teachers of Dade and the Miami Dolphins — applauded Carvalho for his leadership and thanked him for his years of service.

Many, including some Miami-Dade County graduates, attributed their organization’s success to Carvalho’s continued support and partnerships. Others gave Carvalho plaques and memorabilia to honor his dedication to the district.

Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman concluded the accolades.

“Your devotion to our community was evident in your daily actions,” she said to Carvalho. “We thank you for the years of friendship, leadership and partnership.”

Carvalho’s final days as superintendent

Wednesday’s recognition was the culmination of Carvalho’s final days in Miami. In the past week, he received accolades from community organizations and visited a handful of schools, including iPrep Academy, a magnet school he founded and named himself principal, Hialeah Senior High School and South Florida Autism Charter Schools.

At iPrep, students last week surprised Carvalho with a celebration, singing “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles. And at the South Florida Autism Charter Schools, a classroom was dedicated to him.

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Jairo Ontiveros, left, presents Alberto Carvalho with the first Arsht Art of Education Champion Award in Hialeah on Feb. 3, 2022. Jose A Iglesias jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

He also visited Hialeah Senior High School for the Arsht Center’s performance of “I am Me,” a play created for teens focusing on mental health and wellness.

The Center awarded Carvalho with the inaugural Arsht Art of Education Champion Award, which recognizes the decade-long partnership between the Arsht Center and Miami-Dade schools to bring free, high-quality arts experiences and live theater performances to fifth, seventh and ninth-grade students.

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Alberto Carvalho hugs teacher Felicia Williams while visiting her classroom at Hialeah Senior High on Feb. 3, 2022. Jose A Iglesias jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

Looking ahead to Miami’s new superintendent

On Jan. 25, in a 6-3 vote, the Miami-Dade School Board hired José Dotres to replace Carvalho as superintendent. He is expected to begin Friday, though his contract has yet to be finalized.

Before leaving Miami-Dade last year, Dotres, 59, who is the deputy superintendent of Collier County Public Schools, served in Carvalho’s administration. Most recently, he was the district’s chief of staff and former HR director.

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Alberto Carvalho fist bumps Enrique Santos, left, during a taping of Santos’ podcast at Hialeah Senior High on Feb. 3, 2022. Jose A Iglesias jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

Upon arrival, Dotres told the Herald after his appointment that he hopes to conduct a “temperature check” of the district. Doing so, he said, will enable him to gain insight about what’s being done to address learning losses and setbacks exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the structures it has to support teachers and educators and the mechanisms it developed to support students who may be struggling with mental health issues.

Dotres, who came to Miami from Cuba at age 5 with his family and attended kindergarten at Citrus Grove Elementary and later graduated from Miami Senior High School, said he is ready to return.

“Coming back to my hometown, to help children who reflect who I was and supporting school leaders and teachers…is highly important for me.”

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Alberto Carvalho poses for photos with Hialeah Senior High School students during his visit to the school on Feb. 3 2022. Jose A Iglesias jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

This story was originally published February 9, 2022 6:44 PM.