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Changes at the Helm: NYC, L.A., and El Paso School Districts

  • New York City Mayor-Elect Eric Adams has named David Banks, the founder of a network of public all-boys schools, as the next chancellor of the nation’s largest school district with 1.1 million students in more than 1,800 schools.

    He will succeed Meisha Porter, who is leaving the New York City Department of Education she has led since March 2021 to become chief executive of a local foundation. 

    Banks is the president and chief executive officer of the Eagle Academy Foundation and the founding principal of The Eagle Academy for Young Men, the first school in a network of six all-male schools offering young men of color in grades 6-12 a college preparatory education. The schools emphasize a partnership between schools and communities and are part of the New York City public school system. 

    Previously, Banks served as the founding principal of the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, which was created in 1997 and offers a law curriculum to students in grades 6-12.

    At a recent news conference announcing his selection, Banks said his first priorities would be expanding early childhood education programs, boosting the career prospects of older students and improving student’s mental health.

    “I want to help transform the lives of so many of our children, but particularly Black and brown children who have struggled the most in this system,” said Banks in an interview with the “New York Times.” “They need people to be bold on their behalf.”

    Miami Long-Time Leader Heads to L.A.

    The nation’s second largest school system will also begin 2022 with a new superintendent at the helm. Los Angeles Unified School District recently named Alberto Carvalho to lead the 628,468-student school system. 

    Carvalho has served as superintendent of the Miami-Dade County school system since 2008. Under his leadership, the  district raised its graduation rate, earned an “A” grade by the Florida Department of Education, was awarded the 2014 College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Equity and Excellence District of the Year for expanding access to AP courses and won the Broad Prize for Urban Education in 2012 for its strong leadership and community engagement. In 2018, he was awarded the Green-Garner Award, the nation’s top award in urban education, by the Council of the Great City Schools. And in 2019 he received the National Association for Bilingual Education Superintendent of the Year Award.

    “It has been the privilege of my life to serve as Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools,” said Carvalho in a press release. “For the last three decades, I have selflessly dedicated my professional career to the children of Miami’s diverse community, and I am hoping to bring that same passion, compassion and commitment to the students and families in L.A. Unified.”

    Carvalho will succeed Megan Reilly, who has served as interim superintendent since July 2021.   

    New Leader in El Paso

    Texas’ El Paso Independent School District recently announced the selection of veteran educator Diana Sayavedra as its new superintendent. She will be the first woman to hold the position permanently in the district’s 140-year history. 

    Sayavedra is currently the deputy superintendent of schools for Texas’ Fort Bend Independent School District, where she previously served as interim superintendent. 

    “…I look forward to learning more about this phenomenal community, sharing my passion for education and working alongside a committed group of educators and community leaders to collaboratively shape the future of EPISD,” said Sayavedra. "I have devoted my professional life to public education and will continue to be a champion for children so that every child has access to learning experiences that serve to develop them into the best version of themselves.

    Stepping Down in Anchorage

    Deena Bishop, superintendent of Alaska’s Anchorage School District, recently announced she will retire in June from the state’s largest school district, which she has led since 2016. 

    “After much reflection, I’ve made the decision to complete my term as the Anchorage School District superintendent,” wrote Bishop in a letter to the school board. “From the most tragic times as evidenced by the 7.1 earthquake in 2018 to the continuing global pandemic, our community has overcome obstacles, learned, and grown.” 

    Under Bishop’s six-year tenure leading the 43,500-student school system, new and innovative programs were implemented such as the Alaska Middle College School, the redesign of King Tech High School, and the ASD Virtual Program.

    Before coming to Anchorage, she served as the superintendent of a neighboring school district for five years.