Miami-Dade Superintendent Carvalho turns down NYC schools chancellor position

MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has decided not to accept the position as New York City’s schools chancellor.

Carvalho was reportedly offered the position to head the largest school district in the country on Wednesday. He officially declined the offer Thursday during an emergency meeting by the Miami-Dade School Board.

Thursday morning’s emergency meeting was held “to discuss the stability of the executive management leadership” following reports that Carvalho was considering the job. The meeting lasted nearly four hours.

After two recesses where he tried to call New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and notify him of his choice, Carvalho finally came forward to announce his decision.

“I am breaking an agreement between adults to honor an agreement and a pact I have with the children of Miami,” Carvalho said during the meeting. “I am making a decision and announcing a decision today, after speaking with the honorable Mayor Bill de Blasio, that I shall remain in Miami-Dade as your superintendent.”

He added, “I underestimated the emotional tug, the level of commitment, the power that crying members of the community have had on me.”

During the meeting many members of the community and school board got the opportunity to speak and attempt to sway Carvalho to stay in Miami.

“I would never want to hold you back from pursuing your dreams, but I don’t want to see you go. Can I have a hug?” said one student during the meeting.

“Your calling was here,” said board member Dr. Lawrence Feldman. “Your family is here. Your dad’s memories that you share with us is here.”

Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew also asked Carvalho to stay in South Florida. “The Miami Dolphins pushed Dan Marino out, and they ain’t replace him yet,” said Campbell during the meeting.

Upon making his announcement, Carvalho was greeted with a standing ovation.

“I was so worried about him leaving,” said parent Yamira Quesada. “He has done so much for this district and for all his students. He’s very caring.”

Carvalho said what ultimately helped him make his decision were the voices of the students. “I heard from two kids, two undocumented dreamers, who said, ‘I don’t know what my future will be like if you leave,'” Carvalho said.

Students and their parents arriving to class on Friday morning also expressed their happiness.

“I’m happy because I didn’t want him to leave because I couldn’t get to see him again,” said student Morgan Bauer.

“I think he put his heart on top of [that decision],” said parent Tino Aguirre.

Isabel Hernandez, a seasoned worker at iPrepatory Academy, said Carvalho has exceeded expectations.

“I been 25 years in the system, and he has gone above and beyond with no exceptions for all of us,” said Hernandez.

However, Carvalho’s announcement did not sit well with everyone.

Eric Phillips, the press secretary for de Blasio took to Twitter to voice his disappointment with Carvalho’s decision.

“Carvalho backed out. He won’t be coming to NYC. There is…never a dull moment in our great city,” Phillips tweeted.

“He was a Yes for a week+, until he was a No 15 minutes ago. Bullet dodged,” Phillips said in a following tweet.

“Who would ever hire this guy again? Who would ever vote for him?” Phillips continued in another tweet.

“I accept that,” Carvalho responded to the criticism, “but it seems to me that I have a position here, and I made a decision that’s specific to what Miami needs.”

De Blasio spoke about the decision at a news conference, Thursday afternoon. “I was very surprised by Mr. Carvalho’s decision,” he said. “I thought we had found the right candidate, which we had an extensive nationwide search, as a lot of you reported when the announcement was made — a candidate who was very impressive and had done a lot of good work in Miami. I had offered Mr. Carvalho the job, and Dean Fuleihan had follow-up conversations over a week ago, and he had accepted. You can imagine how surprised I was to get a phone call from him a few hours ago.”

De Blasio went on to say he spoke with Carvalho on Wednesday night, and it appeared everything was on track. “I spoke to him again last night, I think it was around 8, and we discussed the next steps for his announcement here in New York City,” he said.

As chancellor of New York City schools, Carvalho would have overseen 1,800 schools, which are responsible for educating 1.1 million students. By comparison, Miami-Dade Schools has approximately 350,000 students in 460 schools, and is the country’s fourth-largest school system.

Carvalho has already been the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools for the last 10 years.

Friday’s New York Post cover reads, “Miami schools boss dumps de Blasio — on live TV. Jilted!”

Carvalho will get back to work on Monday, with a town hall scheduled alongside Miami-Dade College’s president, Eduardo J. Padrón.

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