A 59-year-old veteran of Miami-Dade public schools has been selected to lead the nation’s fourth-largest school district.
The Miami-Dade School Board chose José Dotres as the next superintendent, replacing Alberto Carvalho, who leaves on Feb. 3 to become superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The school board interviewed three candidates on Monday before voting 6-3 to appoint Dotres during an eight-hour meeting. Currently a deputy superintendent of Collier County schools, Dotres began his career in Miami-Dade County in 1988, as an elementary school teacher and reading coach, before becoming a principal. He rose to the role of administrative director of leadership development, and then the district’s chief of staff.
“It truly is an honor. I get to come back to work with incredible professionals,” Dotres said after the vote. “My greatest desire is that we work closely together for the benefit of this entire school district.”
Many considered Dotres the favorite in a group of 16 who applied to replace Carvalho after the board chose to make a quick hire rather than appoint an interim superintendent and do a more extensive search. Many of the teachers, students and community organizers who spoke lamented the lack of community engagement in the hiring process.
Dotres said he chose to apply because he wants to “continue serving the district that welcomed me when I was 5 (and) taught me English as a second language.” He spoke of his existing relationships within the district of 334,000 students and more than 41,000 employees. He said he’ll offer continuity from one administration to the next as Miami-Dade seeks to recruit and retain teachers.
The other finalists included Dr. Rafaela Espinal, an assistant superintendent in New York City, and Jacob Oliva, the Florida Department of Education’s Senior Chancellor.