Miami-Dade Schools’ deputy superintendent heads to LA

Jaime Torrens, the deputy superintendent of Miami-Dade Schools, has left the district to work as a special adviser to Alberto Carvalho.  Carvalho left Miami last month to become superintendent of Los Angeles schools.

Jaime Torrens, the deputy superintendent of Miami-Dade Schools, has left the district to work as a special adviser to Alberto Carvalho. Carvalho left Miami last month to become superintendent of Los Angeles schools.

Alberto Carvalho’s top administrator will join him in Los Angeles.

Jaime Torrens, 62, the Miami-Dade school district’s former deputy superintendent, will be senior adviser to Carvalho, who last month started as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, a Los Angeles school district spokesperson confirmed Monday.

Torrens’ last day with the district was Feb. 11.

On March 8, the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education unanimously approved an employment agreement with Torrens as Carvalho’s senior adviser with a term ending June 30, 2024.

Read More: ‘Very emotional moment:’ Carvalho on leaving Miami

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Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho reacts after a video tribute during his final Miami-Dade School Board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. David Santiago dsantiago@miamiherald.com

The Miami-Dade School Board recently recognized the former administrator for his nearly 40 years of service in the district.

“What a loss it is that [Torrens] is leaving us,” said board member Marta Perez, who proposed the proclamation. His leadership “is rare and so admirable. He’s very quiet, very low key, but very effective. I cannot thank him enough.”

At the School Board meeting, Torrens didn’t address the specifics of his next role. Instead, he said, he would be “transitioning to a new role on the West Coast.”

Will others follow Carvalho?

Prior to his departure to LA, Carvalho said in an interview with the Herald that one of his first tasks as the district’s new leader would be to take stock of the “good work that [had] been done in Los Angeles” and “capitalize on the talent that’s already there.”

Torrens, however, may be the exception.

Following Carvalho’s December announcement that he’d be leaving Miami, School Board Chairperson Perla Tabares Hantman offered the role of interim superintendent to Torrens, she told board members in January. But Torrens, who was eligible for retirement, declined the position and provided no explanation for his decision at the time, she said.

Read More: Carvalho arrived with no papers and had quite the journey

According to district staff, there’s no indication others will be following Torrens and heading to LA.

“We aren’t aware of anyone else” who is planning to leave Miami, said district spokesperson Jaquelyn Calzadilla.

Torrens’ legacy in Miami-Dade

Torrens’ tenure began in 1985 as a coordinator, overseeing energy management, utilities administration and emergency communication for all district schools. Later, in 1996, he was promoted to executive director and became responsible for the district’s Safety Department, among other departments.

In 2004, he was promoted to the inspections officer, responsible for overseeing plant operations and that the district’s schools were compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2007, he became the district’s chief facilities officer. In that role, he oversaw all aspects of facilities planning, construction, maintenance, operations and inspections.

Most recently, in 2019, Torrens became the chief of staff to the superintendent and then led the district’s COVID-19 response.

During his 37-year tenure, he created the district’s recycling program, implementing a $1.2 billion program to renovate, construct and revamp district schools, and established a critical incident response team to support schools during emergencies, according to the district.

Like Carvalho, Torrens repeatedly expressed his love and connection to Miami during the board meeting Wednesday.

“This is my home,” he said. “[Miami]“will remain my home and I will always have the deepest regard for Miami-Dade in my heart.”

This story was originally published March 14, 2022 7:15 PM.

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