The school superintendent of Miami-Dade County, Florida, has backed out of a job he had accepted leading New York City schools, saying he didn't know "how to break a promise to a child." The move apparently frustrated New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
De Blasio's office announced on Wednesday that Alberto M. Carvalho would become New York City's next school chancellor, CNN affiliate WABC reported.
But Carvalho told his board and others gathered at an emergency meeting on Thursday that he would be staying put in Miami.
Carvalho cited his commitment to children and his community.
"I am breaking an agreement between adults to honor an agreement and a pact I have with the children of Miami," Carvalho said, prompting cheers.
Carvalho said he "underestimated the emotional tug, the level of commitment, the power that crying members of the community have had on me."
"Against probably my personal best interest, I am making a decision and announcing a decision today, after speaking with the honorable Mayor Bill de Blasio, that I shall remain in Miami-Dade as your superintendent," he said.
"I will say that, I think, like many of you, I was very surprised by Mr. Carvahlo's decision. I thought we had found the right candidate," de Blasio told reporters Thursday.
The mayor said Carvalho called him during a break at the Miami-Dade board meeting and "expressed trepidation and concern and ... second thoughts."
"I obviously reiterated to him that he had already accepted the job and we had put out publicly with his agreement," the mayor said. "We had a couple of different conversations and he kept saying to me he didn't think he could take it after all and that was his ultimate decision."
"I think he has been honest today that he did not keep his agreement," the mayor said.
De Blasio said New York City schools chancellor Carmen Farina will continue in her role until March.
Before de Blasio addressed reporters, his spokesman, Eric Phillips, criticized Carvalho on social media.
"He was a Yes for a week+, until he was a No 15 minutes ago. Bullet dodged."
The mayor said that, while he thinks "the world of Eric," he "would not have said it that way."
Carvalho has led the nation's fourth-largest school system since 2008.
In 2014, he was named Florida's Superintendent of the Year and the National Superintendent of the Year.
In a tweet, he thanked de Blasio, the school system and "the people of New York City for all you have offered me."
"This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made," he wrote.