Dozens of organizations ask Miami-Dade school board to improve superintendent search

More than 30 organizations are asking Miami-Dade School Board members to put a stop to the ongoing rushed process to hire a new superintendent and implement a more cautious approach.

MIAMI – More than 30 organizations are asking Miami-Dade School Board members to put a stop to the ongoing rushed process to hire a new superintendent and implement a more cautious approach.

Mina Hosseini, the executive director of P.S. 305, and Graylyn Swilley Woods, the executive director of Overtown Children Youth Coalition, said the board needs to appoint a temporary or acting superintendent in order to have more time to search for candidates.

“A $7 billion school district identifying a candidate in seven days just seems outrageous,” Hosseini said.

“Who hires in seven days? It’s just simple; it just really shouldn’t be this outrageous,” Swilley Woods said.

The groups and many concerned parents want the school board members to commit to doing their due diligence and to search for the best possible candidates — while allowing the community to engage in a more thorough process.

“Our school members are elected and it’s my hope that they will always respond in a way in which they are reflecting the wants and the desires and the input and the recommendations of those who they are representing,” said Nicole Crooks, a concerned parent.

The school board of the fourth largest school district in the country is clashing over how to replace Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, whose last day is Feb. 3. There are some members who agree with the groups’ requests.

District 8 Board Member Marta Pérez referred to the hiring process as a “sham” after a backdoor deal.

District 4 Board Member Perla Tabares Hantman, District 7 Board Member Lubby Navarro and District 6 Board Member Mari Tere Rojas criticized Pérez for her comments. District 1 Board Member Steve Gallon III was opposed to a national search.

Carvalho announced he was accepting a job offer in Los Angeles on Dec. 9, 2021. Sixteen candidates submitted applications by Wednesday’s deadline. Two dropped out, so by Thursday there were 14 candidates.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

The next school board meeting is on Jan. 18. For more information on how to address the school board during the public meeting, visit this page.

Read the Jan. 11 letter addressed to school board members:

Letter to Miami-Dade School Board (MDCSB)

Get to know some of the candidates

Dan Walke

The former speech pathologist and father of four attended public schools. He is the principal of a charter school in Homestead.

“I just love fighting for the forgotten,” Walke said, adding too many children keep falling through the cracks and he wants to change that.

Elton Aguilera

The veteran special needs teacher said his time in the trenches is what makes him most qualified.

“I feel a teacher should be running the school district to let the teachers do what they do best.”

Shawn Thorpe

The former teacher and administrator runs two private consulting firms.

“When I looked at Miami-Dade, it really gives me an opportunity to use all areas of my experience to really and try to help them to continue to move forward.”

Oscar Rico

Like Thorpe, Rico has experience in the classroom and in administration. Like many in South Florida, his family came to the U.S. looking for a better life.

“I came to this country illegally,” said Rico, who is based in El Paso and is Mexican-born.

As an educator, Rico said he’s always looking to impact kids like himself.

“Whoever is at those campuses needs to be carefully selected so that their life is impacted by an adult, who knows them personally, who knows their circumstances.”

Nalisa Saati

She runs the Super Hero Leadership Academy, a non-profit in South Florida.

“It’s crucial that whoever takes this role understands the needs of the local community.”

Related document: Memo with the resumes of the applicants

4:30 p.m. report

More than 30 organizations are asking Miami-Dade School Board members to put a stop to the ongoing rushed process to hire a new superintendent and implement a more cautious approach.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.