Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho gets big national award

Miami-Dade County Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has another award to add to his sprawling collection.

The Council of Great City Schools Thursday night honored Carvalho with the Green-Garner award, the highest honor for an urban educator, at its 62nd annual conference in Baltimore. He was one of nine finalists, all big-city school superintendents, from 74 of the largest urban public school systems in the country.

The honor, sponsored by the council as well as Aramark Education, Scholastic Inc., and Cenergistic, also comes with $10,000 in scholarships for Miami-Dade students. The top prize, given to a superintendent every other year, is presented each year in memory of Richard R. Green, the first African-American chancellor of the New York City school system, and businessman Edward Garner, who served on the Denver school board.

Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie was also given the Courage Under Crisis award, according to a tweet by the council.

A video made by Miami-Dade County Public Schools honoring Carvalho played at the banquet ceremony. It features former Miami Heat player Alonzo Mourning, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Urban League of Greater Miami President T. Willard Fair, United Way of Miami-Dade CEO Maria Alonso and School Board chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman.

Hantman along with board members Martin Karp, Larry Feldman, Marta Perez and Steve Gallon traveled to Baltimore to support Carvalho. Feldman is also chair of the council.

In a press release, the council praised Carvalho’s achievements during his decade-long tenure as superintendent, including the district’s 2012 win of the Broad Prize for closing achievement gaps, and its first-ever A district grade this year. The press release also notes how Carvalho inherited a district that faced financial difficulties in 2008 and later went on to win the top national honor for financial management from the council.

“Alberto Carvalho has had a remarkable run as superintendent of one of the largest and most complex big-city school systems in the nation,” said the council’s executive director, Michael Casserly, in the press release. ”On top of that, his 10 years of leadership of the district has shown all of us in urban education what is possible. He is one of the finest and most effective urban leaders I have known in over 40 years of doing this work. Congratulations to Alberto and kudos to Miami!”

Former Miami-Dade County School Board member Holmes Braddock is the only other Miami educator to win the Green-Garner award, receiving it in 1994. The award has been presented annually since 1989. Former Broward County Superintendent Frank Till was named a co-recipient in 2003.

Carvalho was Florida’s Superintendent of the Year in 2014 and went on to win the National Superintendent of the Year that same year. He was named by Scholastic Administrator as one of “The Fantastic Five” educators making a difference in America, was the 2016 winner of the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education, and the Magnet Schools of America 2016 Superintendent of the Year.

In a tweet, the council praised Runcie for his courage in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High tragedy, when 17 were killed and another 17 injured in the largest school shooting in Florida.

“The courage you all exhibited after a tragedy and the stand that you all took after to make ensure schools become safe is absolutely amazing!” the tweet read.

Andrew Pollack, the father of Meadow Pollack who was among those killed in the shooting, shared the news from the Broward school district account.

“This award going to Robert Runcie is reprehensible,” Pollack wrote. “He has culpability in creating lenient policies in Broward Schools that cultivate criminals like the one that murdered my daughter. The award should be given to one of the MSD teachers that paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

The school district’s handling of the Valentine’s Day shooting and the events leading up to the tragedy is currently under investigation by an independent board.

Contact Colleen Wright at 305-376-3003 and @Colleen_Wright.