MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It was all by chance that Miami-Dade got an opportunity to change the superintendent’s mind.
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho was supposed to be in New York Thursday but when word got out he may be leaving, an emergency meeting was called.
Against the odds, parents, students and board members were able to change his mind.The emergency school board meeting started with hugs and quickly evolved to a love fest.
“I would never hold you back from pursuing your dreams but I don’t want to see you go. Can I have a hug,” said iPrep student Maxwell Sultz.
His students poured it on, making their case that Miami-Dade schools would never be the same without him.
“Without Carvalho, intellectual and moral growth would not be possible. Losing Carvalho would be losing our voice,” said iPrep student Rebecca Camejo.
For another hour, people took to the podium praising the superintendent who turned the school district around.
“I’m begging you as a friend. I’m begging you as a resident of an association here in Miami, with tears in my eyes, for you to stay. There is no replacement for Carvalho,” said William Delgado.
“We have never had a superintendent that cared about our community at the level that you care,” said Tangela Sears whose child was killed.
“Thank you, more specifically for standing up for the immigrants of this community,” said Marleine Bastien with the Haitian Women of Miami.
“Mr. Carvalho, if you do decide to leave here. You got all our blessing but there ain’t no place like Miami. New York ain’t got nothing on us,” said Miami rapping legend Luther Campbell.
He told Carvalho he’d be crazy to leave.
“He’s brought respect to this. So whatever is going on in this system that is pushing this man out, you all need to straighten it out,” said Campbell.
The board tried to do just that.
“I want to publicly thank you for all the work you have done for Miami-Dade Public schools. I know we would not have gone as far as we have without you,” said School Board Member Susie V. Castillo.
One board member even asked, in Spanish, for him to stay.
Another board member, speaking to Carvalho’s wife, inadvertently suggested Carvalho is great at a lot of things.
“Maria, I hope you hear this. I know that no one does it better. So” (eyes open wide!) “No! Maria! No,” said School Board Member Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall.
Then came the “5 minute recess,” as Carvalho dialed New York City’s Mayor Bill De Blasio. Many speculated that their last ditch attempt had worked
“I’m hopeful. Perhaps he’s having a conversation with the mayor of New York. I think what the board said the feedback from the community is that he is really appreciated here,” said School Board member Dr. Martin Karp.
Nearly an hour later, he confirmed he was staying. The community relieved.
“I have never seen a superintendent take interest in families. The way he takes interest. These are not things he has to do. It’s not a part of his job description. These are things that he do because he cares,” said Sears.
“It is beyond adults. It’s about community and the promise we made to children. I think that’s why we are all here,” said School Board member Lubby Navarro.
Carvalho’s contract goes through 2020. There is a lot of talk now about two things – extending that contract and whether he’s planning on running for county mayor, something he’s always dismissed.