Killian graduate aims to serve as Miami-Dade superintendent

Jacob Oliva is among 3 final candidates to replace Carvalho

Jacob Oliva said that if he is selected to serve as a Miami-Dade County Public Schools superintendent, it would be the honor of a lifetime.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Jacob Oliva said that if he is selected to serve as a Miami-Dade County Public Schools superintendent, it would be the honor of a lifetime.

Years ago, if anyone would have told him that Miami-Dade School Board members were going to select him as one of the three finalists to replace Superintendent Alberto Carvalho — he said he wouldn’t have believed it.

“Having an opportunity to come back and be closer to family and be closer to friends and be in a district that has given me a lot, is something that I would find very rewarding,” Oliva, 47, said on Wednesday.

Oliva is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Florida and a graduate of Nova Southeastern University and Flagler College. He said he is most proud of having graduated from Miami Killian Senior High in Kendall. He also attributed his passion for helping teachers, students, and administrators to his time as a Miami-Dade County Public Schools student.

“Go Cougars! If there are any cougars out there,” Oliva said. “It’s exciting to recognize that family that helped bring me up in my humble beginnings and early pathway towards education.”

Olivia said one of his goals if he is hired as the superintendent of the nation’s fourth-largest school district is to find ways to support teachers and to offer them the resources they need to improve learning. He has more than two decades of experience in education.

“I have garnered experiences that can benefit the students in a school district that nobody else has,” Olivia said.

Olivia started as a teacher who worked with students who had learning, mental, emotional, or physical disabilities. He also served as a principal of Flagler Palm Coast High School and as Flagler County Public Schools’ superintendent.

He is the senior chancellor at the Florida Department of Education who oversees the Division of Public Schools. He reports to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, who had been at war with the school district over a face mask mandate.

“I have all 67 school district superintendents on speed dial. Any time that there are questions about policy or how to improve learning or how to strategize, I’m one of the first people they call,” Oliva said, adding that his recommendation on whether to challenge a law or on the implementation of the law would have been “to put the district in the best protection.”

Aside from understanding the many gains of his lifelong career in education, Oliva said it is also important for the school board members and for the public they represent to know his heart as a devoted family man whose children attend public schools. He said he is ready to come back home to Miami-Dade.

Carvalho is leaving Miami-Dade County in February to serve as the schools’ superintendent in Los Angeles. The other two final candidates Miami-Dade School Board members selected on Tuesday are Jose Dotres and Rafaela Espinal, who both have doctorate degrees.

Read his application packet

5:30 p.m. report

Aside from understanding his lifelong career in education, Jacob Oliva said it is also important for the Miami-Dade School Board members and the public they represent to get to know him as a devoted family man whose children attend public schools.

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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.