The Los Angeles Unified board met behind closed doors Tuesday to finalize an employment contract with newly chosen Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who will then be formally introduced to the public.
The board announced Thursday that it had unanimously selected Carvalho, a celebrated educator who has led the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system since 2008. But his hiring is contingent upon final approval of a job contract.
The LAUSD board discussed the matter at 9:30 a.m. behind closed doors, but will convene in public session to formally approve the deal. Board members formally introduced Carvalho in a late-morning news conference Tuesday at Edward R. Roybal Learning Center.
"Alberto Carvalho will bring deep experience as an educator and leader of a large urban district to the role of superintendent of L.A. Unified,'' board President Kelly Gonez said in announcing the selection last week.
"His leadership will help our district navigate the short-term challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and will help us reach the long-term goals for recovery laid out by the board in June. The entire board eagerly looks forward to working with him on behalf of the students and families of L.A. Unified,'' she said.
Speaking at a news conference in Miami last week, Carvalho said he plans to do extensive outreach once he arrives in Los Angeles before determining his first steps as superintendent.
"There are many, many, many great examples of education practices in Los Angeles, much like in Miami-Dade,'' he said. "Certainly I will bring my personal philosophy, but at the same time, I will listen carefully to the culture, to the tradition, to the practices of Los Angeles.
"Do not expect me to go to Los Angeles and impose pronouncements without first understanding clearly by having boots on the ground and traveling the community and walking the classrooms and speaking with teachers and parents and every single board member and the stakeholders of the community,'' Carvalho said.
"Do not expect me to make pronouncements or take actions without that first-hand experience. So yes, I will go armed with my philosophy, with my skill set, but being fully cognizant of the fact that I don't know what I don't know.''
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 1,000 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.
Former LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner stepped down in June at the end of his employment contract. Megan K. Reilly has been serving as interim superintendent of the nation's second-largest school district ever since.
"On behalf of the board, we want to thank Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly for her leadership of our district during an extraordinarily challenging time,'' Gonez said last week. "Superintendent Reilly has successfully overseen a return to full in-person learning, maintained the strongest COVID safety protocols in the nation, implemented an employee vaccination requirement and overcome unprecedented challenges as we continued to respond to the pandemic and its effects on our students and communities.''
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.