LAUSD Board Weighs Superintendent Choice, as Miami Leader Emerges


Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education met behind closed doors today to again discuss the search for a new superintendent, amid a report that a celebrated educator from Miami has emerged as the leading candidate.

The LAUSD board has met repeatedly in recent weeks to discuss a replacement for Austin Beutner, who stepped down as superintendent of the nation's second-largest school district in June, ending his three-year contract. Megan Reilly is serving as interim superintendent and is likely also among those being considered for the position.

The board was continuing to meet behind closed doors as of mid-morning.

The Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed sources familiar with the search process, reported Thursday that Alberto Carvalho, who has helmed the Miami- Dade County Public Schools system since 2008, has emerged as a leading candidate for the LAUSD post. The paper reported that a formal announcement could come as early as Thursday.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools is the fourth-largest system in the nation. Carvalho is a well-regarded leader in the education field who briefly considered a move to lead the nation's largest school system -- New York City -- three years ago but backed out of the post to remain in Miami.

According to his official biography, Carvalho, 57, is a ``nationally recognized expert on education transformation, finance, and leadership development'' who has led the Miami-Dade system to become ``one of the nation's highest-performing urban school systems.''

``As a staunch believer in school choice, he has expanded choice options in Miami-Dade to over 1000 offerings that include bilingual programs, fine and performing arts, biotechnology, engineering, robotics, aviation, forensic sciences, and many others,'' according to his biography. He was named the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators. The district also won the Broad Prize for Urban Education in 2012.

The Miami-Dade school system has roughly 350,000 students. The LAUSD has more than 500,000.

Born in Portugal, Carvalho previously taught physics, chemistry and calculus in Miami and was later an assistant principal at Miami Jackson Senior High School.

Earlier this year, in the midst of the superintendent search, the LAUSD released the results of a sweeping survey of district parents and other stakeholders, with 90% of them saying the next superintendent should have experience working in public schools as a teacher or administrator. When Beutner was hired, he had no formal experience in public education, although he ultimately earned positive reviews for his leadership of the district during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the survey, nearly 89% of respondents felt the next superintendent should have experience managing a large ``organization in transition,'' and 66% felt it was important for the person to come ``from a historically underrepresented community'' or closely reflect the district's student population.

``An overarching theme of our engagement is that LAUSD stakeholders want to see a superintendent plugged into the particular needs, culture and inner workings of the district and region at large,'' the survey report's authors wrote. ``In addition, many stakeholders feel they are not listened to; that they hear updates about their local school and the district from the news or through forwarded emails, instead of from the superintendent or the board.''

Photo: Getty Images

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