The superintendent of America’s fourth-largest school district discusses why our nation’s diversity is a strength and his optimism on delivering on the American Dream for all students.
Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Schools
Alberto M. Carvalho was appointed in 2008 as superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the nation’s fourth-largest school system, and since then nothing in Miami was ever the same. To turn around failing schools he requested the help of the entire community, enlisting the help of celebrities and athletes like Goldie Hawn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elie Wiesel, and David Beckham. He expanded educational opportunities for minority students and closed the achievement gap, a process that won the Broad Prize for Urban Education, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for educators. Carvalho pushed for more choices for students, and Miami-Dade now has more than 1000 offerings including bilingual programs, fine and performing arts, biotechnology, engineering, robotics, aviation, forensic sciences, and many others. He has welcomed the President of the United States, who praised his work in bringing technology to students; the first lady, who applauded the district’s meal program; and the King of Spain, who visited the district’s celebrated bilingual program.
Carvalho is a national voice for educational equity and has earned numerous titles including but not limited to Doctor of Public Service, Doctor of Human Letters, Doctor of Pedagogy; the 2018 National Urban Superintendent of the Year; the 2019 National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) Superintendent of the Year; and appointee to the National Assessment Governing Board. Despite his accomplishments in making Miami-Dade County Public Schools one of the nation’s highest-performing urban school systems, Carvalho keeps it real. He humbly reminds visitors that he’s just a poor kid from Portugal who has encountered some wonderful opportunities to help today’s children.