Rudy Crew, Miami's School Chief, Is Ousted

Though the schools were improving, tensions with the school board led to a buyout of Crew's contract.

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Rudy Crew has been ousted as the superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools, the fourth-largest school district in the nation and a finalist this year for the prestigious Broad Prize for Urban Education. Alberto Carvalho, who was associate superintendent under Crew, has been named his successor, the Miami Herald reports.

Crew's departure follows months of wrangling with a sharply divided school board. Critics say Crew mismanaged the budget and neglected to build ties with communities, particularly the Cuban-American population. Those tensions often came to a boil during board meetings. Both sides agreed to end the feuding and reached a settlement in which the board voted to buy out Crew, who had two years left in his contract. Crew, who came to Miami with a reputation as a transformative school leader for his work in New York City and Sacramento, Calif., called the Miami-Dade school district "the single most politically driven system" he had ever worked in, according to the Herald.

This is the third year that the Miami-Dade school district has been a finalist for the Broad Prize, which comes with $500,000 in scholarships. The prize recognizes what is judged to be the most improved urban school district in the country (the other finalists are the Aldine Independent School District and Brownsville Independent School District, both in Texas; the Long Beach Unified School District in California; and Broward County Public Schools in Florida). This year's winner will be announced October 14 in New York City. It could make for an uncomfortable moment if Miami-Dade is the winner.

Under Crew's tenure, Miami-Dade schools made notable improvement. He invested heavily to raise achievement in the district's lowest-performing schools and pushed for more Advanced Placement classes. He fired dozens of underperforming principals and overhauled the district's construction practices, which had resulted in millions of dollars in wasteful spending before he became superintendent in 2004.

Carvalho, who takes over the superintendent's job this week, has been embroiled in a controversy of his own in recent days. E-mails have surfaced suggesting that he and a Miami Herald schools reporter were involved in a romantic relationship. Carvalho has denied any inappropriate involvement with the reporter; he says the E-mails were doctored and are part of a smear campaign. The reporter has declined comment. The school board says it has confidence in Carvalho.

U.S. News will have a story on the school district that wins the Broad Prize.

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Broad Prize for Urban Education