New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio found an ideal new schools chancellor, a candidate who seemed almost too good. The mayor described his selection as “the best person to lead the nation’s largest school system into the future.” And then the hire backed out on live television.
De Blasio announced Wednesday that Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, would fill the New York position.
Carvalho met with the Miami-Dade school board on Thursday, where community and board members begged Carvalho to stay. Their pleas were successful.
“I underestimated the emotional tug, the level of commitment, the power that crying members of the community have had on me,” Carvalho said on air. “Madam Chair, against probably my personal best interest, 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.”
De Blasio’s secretary met Carvalho’s announcement first with surprise, then with indignation.
Give us a minute, folks. We’re also sorting through the weirdness.— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) March 1, 2018
He was a Yes for a week+, until he was a No 15 minutes ago. Bullet dodged.— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) March 1, 2018
The mayor held a press conference Thursday at New York City Hall, where he discussed the drama of the last two days.
Carvalho has led Miami-Dade for almost 10 years and with remarkable success. He has implemented changes that raised high school graduation rates in the country’s fourth-largest school district more than 20 percent.
Finding a replacement with the credentials measuring up to Carvalho will likely be difficult. But the decision to publicly reverse his acceptance could also daunt Carvalho in the future.
De Blasio’s press secretary tweeted, “Who would ever hire this guy again? Who would ever vote for him,” after the incident, hinting at the issues that could befall Carvalho in coming years.
Although de Blasio is left to scramble in this case, the ramifications of Carvalho’s flaky, last-minute decision could prove problematic if he eventually decides to leave his current job.