Miami-Dade school board is in a rush because ‘superintendent has already been identified,’ activist says

Community activists say they are concerned about the way the Miami-Dade County School Board is handling the hiring of the new superintendent.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – T. Willard Fair said he is worried about the way the Miami-Dade School Board is going about hiring Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s replacement.

Fair is the president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc. He co-founded the Liberty City Charter School and the FBI honored him for his “We Rise Education Village” initiative.

“It’s done. The next superintendent has already been identified. He will be a controlled person,” Fair said after attending the school board’s public meeting on Wednesday. “I saw politicians doing what they had to do to conceive and deceive the public.”

School board members voted to start the hiring process by accepting resumes from applicants during the next seven days with the goal of having a permanent superintendent by early February. District 1 Board Member Steve Gallon III opposed a national search.

“It’s a process that we, unfortunately, cannot drag out,” District 7 Board Member Lubby Navarro said during the meeting.

The board also decided on a job description requiring experience as a classroom teacher, principal, and administrator, and a master’s degree. A doctorate is preferred. The candidate must also understand the diversity of the community and students’ needs.

Fair said that instead of customizing the job to the candidate of their choice the board should be working on a search for the best possible candidate and have an interim superintendent in the meantime.

“You are going to tell me that the 4th largest school district in the world does not have somebody who can step in and run the district until we go through an actual real search?”

District 8 Board Member Marta Pérez agrees with Fair. She also thinks some on the board already have someone in mind.

“It’s a sham,” Pérez said about the hiring process.

Marika Lynch, a former Miami Herald editor, said that as a parent of students who attend public school she is concerned about the board’s rush to have a superintendent in place without input from the community.

“This is the most important decision that this school board will make for the next ten years — making it in one month is way too short,” Lynch said. “It doesn’t involve the community. It doesn’t allow time for the best candidates to step forward and it doesn’t allow us to have trust in the process.”

Carvalho announced in early December that he accepted the position of schools superintendent in Los Angeles. The board expects him to leave on Feb. 3. Carvalho said he is starting his new job on March 1st.

“The reason the superintendent is leaving is because of the toxic nature of the board,” Pérez said. “The board controls and wants to control the superintendent.”

Broward County Public Schools is also hiring a superintendent. The school board hired a firm to handle the process in November and they accepted applications until Jan. 3. Board members will review the applications during public meetings starting in February.

A petition: Lynch used Facebook to share the “Miami’s Superintendent Search: Bringing the Public into Public Education” petition on the Action Network.

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.