Miami-Dade School Board Votes to Appoint Jose Dotres as New Superintendent

MIAMI — Jose L. Dotres, a product of Miami-Dade Public Schools, was elected the district’s new superintendent late Monday night.

The Miami-Dade School Board interviewed three candidates for the position during a special session Monday that lasted until about 10:30 p.m

Board members voted six to three to appoint Dotres to succeed Alberto Carvalho. Rafaela Espinal and Jacob Oliva were the other finalists chosen by the board of directors last week from 16 applicants.

Dotres, who has served as Collier County’s assistant superintendent for the past nine months, was first on the list to be interviewed Monday. He’s a veteran of the Miami-Dade School, having spent decades there as a teacher, administrator, and assistant superintendent.

He was the favorite of the three by most reports and explained why he wants to come back.

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“The main reason behind my decision is to continue to serve the community that welcomed me when I was 5 years old, helped me grow into a successful student and taught me English as a second language,” Dotres told the board .

The school board was scheduled to interview three finalists in a special public session on Monday as they act quickly to replace outgoing Alberto Carvalho.

Dotres also spoke about the challenges the district is facing regarding COVID-19, the financial outlook, and the challenge of hiring and retaining teachers.

Carvalho, who has held the position for 14 years, is expected to leave for his new post in Los Angeles next month. Despite objections, the school board decided to quickly replace him rather than hire an interim superintendent to conduct a broader national search.

At last week’s meeting, executive vice chairman Steve Gallon tabled a motion to nominate Dotres as superintendent, before later withdrawing the motion.

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“I think right now Dr. Jose Dotres every single box,” Gallon said.

In December, days after Carvalho announced his departure, Dotres received a proclamation. Two of the nine school board members even hinted at a possible return of Dotres.

School Board Chairperson Perla Tabares Hantman will now negotiate a contract with Dotres, who began his teaching career in 1988 as a teacher and reading coach at Frederick Douglass and South Pointe Elementary Schools.

He also spent five years as an assistant principal at one of the district’s first K-8 centers, the MA Milam K-8 Center, and became principal of Hialeah Gardens Elementary in 2000.

Dotres also spent a year as Chief Academic Officer for Broward County Public Schools and returned to Miami-Dade in 2014 as Chief of Staff to the Superintendent before moving to Chief Human Capital Officer a year later.

Espinal was the only out-of-state finalist. She has been involved in K-12 education for 28 years, most recently as an Assistant Superintendent in New York City.

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Before that, she was superintendent at Community School District 12 in South Bronx, overseeing 36 schools and 24,000 students.

“I’m passionate. I’m hardworking,” Espinal told the school board. “I come with strong core values ​​since I came to the United States at the age of 7 when my parents came to America undocumented.”

Raised in South Florida, Oliva is a product of the Miami-Dade County public school system and a proud graduate of Killian Senior High School.

He has worked in public education for more than two decades as a classroom teacher, administrator and superintendent of Flagler County Public Schools.

Oliva is now Chancellor in the state Department of Education and oversees all K-12 public schools.

“I think it’s important for people to know that I’m a husband and a father,” Oliva said in an interview with Local 10 News last week. “I started in a classroom. I went into administration. I was at the state level. I’ve gained experiences that students in a school district can benefit from that no one else has.”

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More information about the candidates, their letters of motivation and CVs can be found here.

See also…

Dozens of organizations are asking the Miami-Dade School Board to improve superintendent searches

The Miami-Dade School Board is at odds over finding a superintendent

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