Four Miami-Dade County School Board members on Wednesday spoke publicly about a now-deleted Instagram account targeting school Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
The account, named “I have a lover” with the handle @superintendentofmiami, made rounds among Tallahassee political circles and Miami-Dade teachers and administrators. It featured several intimate selfies of Carvalho — both shirtless and clothed — and accused him of cheating on his wife.
The account had 14 posts and was following 55 other accounts before it was locked down Tuesday. On Wednesday, the account was deleted around noon.
Through a district spokeswoman, Carvalho gave this statement Tuesday: “I am both disturbed and saddened to learn about the existence of a fake social media account, portraying illegitimately obtained images of me, that advances commentary of a personal nature meant to presumably damage character and hurt those around me.”
On Wednesday, Vice Chair Steve Gallon broke the ice at the end of the Fiscal Accountability & Government Relations committee meeting, the first of the day. He read from a prepared speech:
“…Leadership does not afford one the luxury of ignoring or dismissing matters that may present a concern or threaten to distract from, disrupt, or discredit an obligation and focus on a core mission. I can never pretend it’s business as usual if it’s not,” Gallon said. “I do and will however respect that some matters are private that do not have an impact on our public service and obligations. I don’t underestimate or take for granted the potential impact of private matters on public life and service.”
He said he would have a private conversation with Carvalho and said he would revisit or address the issue if there is a future need.
Chair Perla Tabares Hantman followed him. She said the last two days had been challenging for her as the chair.
“I’m certainly always concerned about what has… transpired. That puts me in a difficult position,” she said. “It is unfortunate. A situation evolves. Only the board can determine if any steps or any conversations should be had.”
School Board member Mari Tere Rojas said she concurred with her colleagues’ statements.
“It’s a very difficult time,” she said. “We always have to keep our children as our priority No. 1. I hope as we move forward, due process is something that is afforded to everyone and that hopefully things will be resolved in the very near future.”
School Board member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall went next.
“I await whatever needs to happen and, as I said to some individuals, I understand that we all come to a place with hands that are not always clean, and we have to make sure that we allow others to do whatever it is that they do privately and not bring about a judgment if it does not affect our mission,” she said. “And our mission is to educate our children.”
She added: “If I’m on the same subject as some of the others, I am not too sure if what we are speaking on affects our children.”
When a Miami Herald reporter stood by to get comment during the break between committee meetings from Carvalho, who had immediately left and came back late during the next meeting, an unarmed Miami-Dade Schools police officer approached and stood around.
School Board committee meetings were speedier than usual Wednesday. Personnel, Student, School & Community Support chair and board member Marta Perez started her committee meeting without a break. Usually, there is a break of a few minutes between committee meetings.
Rookie School Board member Luisa Santos, the vice chair of Facilities Construction, also started her committee meeting immediately. It was her first meeting as chair, filling in for absent committee chair Lubby Navarro. Near the end of that meeting, the last of the day, another Miami-Dade Schools police officer stood guard near the Herald reporter.
When the reporter approached Carvalho and asked if law enforcement was involved in the matter of the Instagram account, he said, “I provided you a statement yesterday. I appreciate it.”