From Illegal Immigrant to Superintendent for 2 of America's Biggest School Districts

by | March 1, 2018

By Jillian Jorgensen and Ben Chapman

Mayor de Blasio has selected Miami Superintendent Alberto Carvalho -- an illegal immigrant who rose to prominence and became a citizen in the process -- to lead the city's school system.

De Blasio will officially announce Carvalho, 53, on Thursday as his chancellor pick to run the nation's largest school system, City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips said.

Carvalho was born in Portugal to a working-class family and came to the United States in the early 1980s as an undocumented immigrant.

He has served as superintendent of the Miami-Dade County public schools, the nation's fourth-largest school system, since September 2008, according to the district's website.

Representatives from Carvalho's office didn't respond to requests for comment on his new appointment.

The incoming chancellor started his two-decade career in Miami's schools as a teacher, eventually becoming a principal and climbing the ranks to become superintendent nearly 10 years ago.

He enjoys a strong reputation as one of the country's top superintendents, and under his leadership Miami's graduation rates have climbed as new schools have opened.

He's also been criticized for failing to punish teachers in a cheating scandal and was accused of having an extramarital relationship with a reporter for the Miami Herald.

The reporter resigned from her job when emails between the two were published in the local media, but Carvalho held onto his job and soon after received a promotion.

De Blasio struggled for months to find a replacement for retiring Chancellor Carmen Fariña, 74, and was widely criticized for conducting his search in secret.

But in a statement issued Wednesday night, the mayor praised his choice for the next leader of the city school system.

"Alberto Carvalho is a world-class educator with an unmatched track record of success," de Blasio said in his statement.

"I am very confident that our extensive, national search has found New York City the best person to lead the nation's largest school system into the future," de Blasio added.

(c)2018 New York Daily News