Miami Herald | By Sommer Brugal | June 23, 2022
The Miami-Dade School Board approved an organizational realignment with little to no discussion — a shift away from the lengthy conversations it’s had in previous years when a reorganization proposal came before them.
The changes, proposed by Superintendent Jose Dotres to “maximize efficiencies and eliminate redundancies,” includes school-site and non-school-site changes, such as school principal and assistant principal reassignments, more than a dozen first-year principal appointments and new top leaders within the district.
In total, the board on Wednesday approved more than 80 assignments, but, officials assured the board, the changes yield a savings of approximately $160,000. Just three of the positions approved — assistant superintendent of school operations, district director for civil rights compliance and district coordinator, community engagement — are new roles, according to officials.
“The costs associated with any additional or upgraded positions, minus reductions of expenditures from salaries and benefits, actually yields a savings,” Dawn Baglos, the district’s chief human capital officer, told the Board.
NEW DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT, SOUTH SUPERINTENDENT
Among the approved positions is a new deputy superintendent, to be filled by John Pace III, who was the district’s chief operating officer. The position, which had been vacant, according to district officials, pays an annual salary of $164,780.
Luis E. Diaz, the assistant superintendent of applied technology and adult career education, will be the district’s new chief operating officer.
Another high-level change will be the South Region Superintendent.
Barbara A. Mendizabal, who was previously in the role, will move to be the assistant superintendent of family and community engagement. Her successor is Rafael A. Villalobos, who was the administrative director for the South region.
SHIFT IN REPORTING
Much of what was approved Wednesday was a shift in reporting lines within the district.
For starters, people within the Office of Economic Opportunity will report to the chief of staff, Jose Bueno, to “facilitate the direction and development of strategic initiatives related to equity, access, diversity and inclusion.”
The district’s chief of staff will also oversee the Office of Information Technology, which focuses on evolving technologies and Cybersecurity.
School operations will be split into two divisions: the Office of School Leadership and Performance, which will provide oversight and direct services to schools, and Office of District Operations, which will support district services related to food and nutrition, transportation, district inspections, emergency management and comprehensive health services.
The Office of School Leadership and Performance, which will also include a new position, assistant superintendent of school operations, will report to the deputy superintendent. The Office of District Operations will report to the chief operating officer.
The Office of Strategic Planning and Initiatives is also being established. It will report to the chief strategy officer, who will also oversee the student and families’ enrollment officer, a new role the board approved last month. Tiffanie A. Pauline, who served as the assistant superintendent of compliance and support, will move into the chief strategy officer position.
To better support students’ mental and behavior health, two departments — Office of Academics and Transformation and the Department of Mental Health Services — will combine to form the Office of Mental Health and Student Services.
This is the second and largest reorganization so far under Dotres, whom the board hired in January to succeed former Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
Last month, the board filled or created 35 positions across the district, including a new student and families’ enrollment officer to develop a plan that will offset the decrease in student enrollment, and a chief sustainability officer, who will oversee policies related to the district’s energy use, conservation, pollution reduction and waste elimination.
The latter raised concerns among some board members about the high-paying salary — the district’s second-highest pay scale — while others argued it was a worthy investment in the “long-term health” of the workforce.