After a decade as the Miami schools superintendent, education leader Alberto Carvalho has been offered the job as New York City schools chancellor, overseeing America’s largest school district, with over1 million students.
The news comes two months after Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced she would retire early this year after four years as chancellor. Nearing the end of its third year, the troubled department has received widespread criticism.
John Schuster, a spokesman at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, confirmed to The 74 Wednesday that de Blasio’s office had offered Carvalho the job, though Schuster said his boss had not yet accepted the offer. Carvalho, 53, is scheduled to address the school board in Miami at 10 a.m. tomorrow. Schuster said Carvalho will not provide public comments about the offer until after that meeting concludes.
In a statement Wednesday, de Blasio called Carvalho “a world-class educator with an unmatched track record of success.”
“I am very confident that our extensive, national search has found New York City the best person to lead the nation’s largest school system into the future,” he said. “I look forward to welcoming our new chancellor to New York City in the days ahead, and to working with him in the years ahead as we deepen achievement in our classrooms and build on the outstanding record of accomplishment that Chancellor Fariña has delivered for students and their families across the five boroughs.”
Carvalho, a Portuguese immigrant who grew up in poverty, arrived in New York City, in fact — as an undocumented teen in the 1980s speaking no English.
“I remember landing in New York City, JFK International Airport, and the rest is history,” Carvalho said in an interview last year. “I remember some of my first jobs in this country. I spent a lot of time scrubbing pots and pans in sweaty kitchens in the city, I was a construction day laborer carrying cement and sand and brick, and I did anything from asphalting in South Florida to roofing. I painted places, homes, bused tables, waited on tables, which tells us once again that the American dream that we discuss so much is a real dream that is achievable.”
He has led Miami’s public school system since 2008, and in 2012 the district won the Broad Prize for Urban Education. The $1 million prize, given out by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, recognizes public school districts that have demonstrated the greatest improvement while narrowing the achievement gap for low-income students and students of color.
Carvalho has sparred with President Donald Trump over immigration issues, making news last year when he said, “Over my dead body will any federal entity enter our schools to take immigration actions against our kids.” Last year, circulated that he was considering a bid for Congress.
Jenny Sedlis, executive director of pro-charter advocacy group StudentsFirstNY, said she hopes Carvalho will be “the independent leader that public school children desperately need.”