New York City Department of Education
David Banks

Turnover at the top: New administrators take over in the nation's largest districts

Feb. 22, 2022
The revolving door continues to spin in the executive suites of the nation’s largest school districts.

The revolving door in the executive suites of the nation’s largest school districts has been an ongoing problem, and the changes appear to be coming more frequently for superintendents who have endured nearly two years disruption and chaos caused by Covid-19.

At least four of the six largest public school systems in the United States will be getting new leaders in 2022.

Top executives have been appointed in the New York City and Los Angeles districts, and the Miami-Dade County and Broward County districts in Florida are conducting searches for new superintendents.

In addition, the superintendent of the Dallas school district, the 16th-largest system with more than 150,000 students, has announced his departure.

New York City. The election of a new mayor in the city means the appointment of a new schools chancellor to oversee the 1.1 million-student system. Mayor Eric Adams, sworn into office on Jan. 1., named David C. Banks to join his administration as head of the city’s education department. He replaces Meisha Porter, who served as chancellor for less than a year.

Banks is the former President and CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation, and the founding principal of The Eagle Academy for Young Men, the first school in a network of all-boys public schools in New York City and Newark, N.J.

He is a lifelong New Yorker and a graduate of city public schools. His first teaching job was at P.S. 167 in Brooklyn, and he went on to become a founding principal at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice. He also is a co-founder of Black EdFluencers United, an organization dedicated to influencing and developing the capacity of Black educators and raising awareness about systemic challenges within education.

Los Angeles. Alberto Carvalho has decided to leave the nation’s fourth-largest district and take the reins at the second-largest.

Carvalho, who has led Miami-Dade County Public Schools since 2008, has been named the next superintendent of the 600,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District. He was close to leaving Miami in 2018 when it appeared that he had agreed to take the top job in New York City Schools; but less than a day later, Carvalho changed his mind and remained in Miami.

In Miami, Carvalho received numerous honors as an administrator: 2014 National Superintendent of the Year; 2016 winner of the Harold W. McGraw Prize in Education; 2018 National Urban Superintendent of the Year; and 2019 National Association for Bilingual Education Superintendent of the Year Award.

The top job in Los Angeles became available last year when Austin Beutner stepped down after three years. Megan K. Reilly, a longtime administrator in the district, has served as interim superintendent for several months.

Miami. Carvalho’s departure means the Miami district, the nation’s fourth-largest with about 335,00 students, is searching for a new superintendent for the first time in 14 years. The school board announced in January that it had narrowed the search to three candidates: Jose Dotres, Rafaela Espinal and Jacob Oliva. It plans to conduct public interviews with the candidates in the coming weeks.

Dotres is a deputy superintendent in the Collier County (Fla.) district and before that, a longtime employee in the Miami-Dade district, including a stint as Carvalho’s chief of staff; Espinal is a longtime administrator with New York City Schools, and has served as a regional superintendent in the Bronx; Oliva is senior chancellor for the Florida Department of Education and has served as superintendent in the Flagler County (Fla.) district.

Broward County: The nation’s sixth-largest school system based in Fort Lauderdale is conducting a search for an administrator to lead the 270,000-student district. A search firm assessing candidates has recommended that the school board consider eight applicants.

Broward County is looking replace Robert Runcie, who stepped down in August following his indictment on perjury charges.

Dallas: Michael Hinojosa has announced he is stepping down as superintendent of the Dallas Independent District by the end of 2022.

Hinojosa, 65, has served two stints as superintendent in Dallas, the second-largest district in Texas. He led the district from 2005 through 2011, then departed to take the top post in the Cobb County (Ga.) school district in the suburbs of Atlanta. He returned to the Dallas superintendency in 2015

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