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Carvalho honored at White House

Miami Times staff report | 5/8/2014, 9 a.m.
Carvalho tweeted a photo from the White House.

Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho was honored as the nation’s Superintendent of the Year during a ceremony at the White House where President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praised him for turning around the nation’s fourth largest public school system.

In the East Room at the White House, Carvalho, who was named National Superintendent of the Year in February, was honored alongside the National Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year winners. Carvalho had also been named Florida’s Superintendent of the Year in December.

The honor capped a string of achievements for Carvalho, a former Biology and Chemistry teacher at Miami Jackson Senior High who grew up poor and became the first in his family to graduate from college. Since taking the top job at Miami-Dade Public Schools, Carvalho implemented drastic cuts as part of a sweeping overhaul that saved the school system from bankruptcy and academic failure. Numerous urban high schools, including Northwestern, Booker T. Washington, Edison and Central were on the verge of closing from consistent “F” grades. The majority of these schools had a graduation rate just above 50 percent.

Today, those schools are among many that are achieving top grades and high graduation rates. More students are taking honors and advance placement classes and are applying to college.

Carvalho recently received an honorary degree in public service from Florida International University during their spring commencement ceremonies.