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Miami-Dade and Broward Pick New Supt.; Other Big-City Leaders to Step Down

  • José DotresThe Miami-Dade School Board has named José Dotres superintendent, commending him as a “committed educator with more than 30 years of experience in multiple leadership roles” in the district.

    “It truly is an honor,” Dotres told board members after the vote, according to the Miami Herald. “I get to come back to work with incredible professionals. My greatest desire is that we work closely together for the benefit of this entire school district.”

    A product of Miami-Dade public schools, Dotres began his career as a teacher and reading coach, later serving as principal and in administrative roles, including chief human capital officer for the district. Most recently, he was the deputy superintendent of Florida’s Collier County Public Schools.

    Dotres told the board he was ready to address district challenges including recruiting and retaining high quality teachers. Development of school leaders has “always been at the forefront of what I’ve done,” he said, according to the Herald.

    The district enrolls about 325,000 students and is the fourth largest school system in the country.

    Miami-Dade’s longtime superintendent Alberto Carvalho recently resigned to assume the superintendency of the Los Angeles Unified School District.Vicki Cartwright

    Vickie Cartwright, the interim superintendent of Florida’s Broward County Public Schools, was recently named the superintendent, the first woman to hold the position.

    Cartwright has served as interim of the 256,021-student school system since August. She previously served as superintendent for the Oshkosh Area School District in Wisconsin and worked for 17 years in the Orange County Public Schools in various positions, including Associate Superintendent for Exceptional Students Education (ESE), where she oversaw the ESE Department with responsibilities for supporting students and leading principals, central office administrators, instructional personnel and classified staff. 

    “I look forward to continuing to work together to ensure our students are successful and remain the primary focus of our conversations as we become the nation’s greatest school district,” said Cartwright in a news release.

    Elsewhere, transitions in leadership are in the works in several urban districts.

    Barbara JenkinsAfter 10 years at the helm of Florida’s Orange County Public Schools, Barbara Jenkins recently announced her retirement. She will open the 2022-23 school year, but will officially retire in December. 

    In addition to serving as the first female superintendent of the 203,000-student school district, Jenkins is a graduate of the school system and where she started her teaching career.

    Under her leadership, the district won the prestigious 2014 Broad Prize for Urban Education for academic achievements and has been recognized by the College Board for increasing access to Advanced Placement course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the number of students earning exam scores for college credit.

    Jenkins is the current chair of the Council of the Great City Schools’ Board of Directors. and in 2017, received a presidential appointment as a director of the National Board of Education Sciences. The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents also named her the Hispanic-Serving School Superintendent of the Year.

    Another longtime urban schools superintendent is also stepping down. Michael Hinojosa

    Michael Hinojosa is resigning as superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District by the end of the year. Hinojosa has led the district since 2015 and previously served in that role from 2005 to 2011. The district is the second largest in Texas, with 143,000 students.

    Hinojosa undertook initiatives including creating a universal curriculum, expanding dual-language programs, expanding early learning, and establishing one of the nation’s first school district racial equity departments, among other achievements.

    Kent ScribnerIn 2020, he was named Urban Superintendent of the Year and received the Green-Garner award at the Council’s virtual 64th Annual Fall Conference.

    In neighboring Fort Worth, superintendent Kent Scribner announced plans to retire from the 76,000-student school district he has led since 2015. He intends to continue serving at the helm of the Fort Worth Independent School District until a new superintendent is selected.

    During his tenure, the school system renewed its focus on early literacy and early math and experienced a 12-point gain in the district’s state accountability rating. In addition, the district focused on racial equity and efforts to address gaps in academic achievement and dismantle systems that have historically reinforced those disparities.  

    Guilford, Pinellas and Boston Superintendents Leaving Sharon Contreras

    Sharon Contreras will leave the 70,000-student Guilford County School District in Greensboro, N.C., at the end of the school year. She has been named CEO of the Innovation Project, a nonprofit collaborative group of school superintendents and their teams in that state, beginning this summer.

    During her six-year tenure, Contreras implemented initiatives to expand broadband connectivity, provided tutoring to underperforming students, opened career academies, and strengthened the principal pipeline for males of color.

    Michael GregoAlso stepping down is Michael Grego, superintendent of Florida’s Pinellas County Public Schools. He recently announced he would retire this summer from the 109,000-student school district that he has led for 10 years.

    In a letter to the community, Grego cited achievements including rising graduation rates – most recently 92 percent – as well as expanded magnet programs, career academies, an early literacy initiative and numerous voluntary prekindergarten classes.

    Also departing is Brenda Cassellius, who recently announced she is leaving Boston Public Schools at the end Brenda Cassellius of the school year. Cassellius has served as the superintendent of the 53,094-student school district since 2019.

    Under her leadership, all schools have access to a social worker, nurse, family liaison, guidance counselor, school psychologist, and librarian to provide a full range of supports to each student. The district also made progress toward greater equity by adopting a new admission policy for exam schools.

    Before coming to Boston, she was Minnesota's commissioner of education.

    Interim in Charleston

    Donald Kennedy was recently named the interim superintendent of South Carolina’s Charleston County School District. He succeeds Gerrita Postlewait, who resigned as superintendent of the 50,000-student school system, a position she held since 2015.

    Kennedy twice previously served as the district’s chief financial and administrative officer, most recently from 2018 to December 2021.

    Tenure Extended in Denver

    The Denver Public Schools Board of Education recently voted to extend Superintendent Alex Marrero’s contract from a two-year to four-year term, praising his performance in his first five months in the post of the state’s largest school district with 90,000 students.

    “I believe in bold leadership, and I believe that we have that in Dr. Marrero,” said Board President Xóchitl “Sochi” Gaytán in a press release. “We have already seen bold and swift action from him as superintendent. Having that positive impact on a district the size of Denver Public Schools requires more than two years. Extending this contract will help Dr. Marrero’s success.