MIAMI (WSVN) - It’s deadline day for candidates hoping to lead the nation’s fourth largest school district.

The superintendent search is ramping up.

There are less than three weeks until Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s tenure comes to a close and the school board is now addressing criticism of their superintendent search.

Last week, the board in a 6-3 vote opened a seven-day window for applicants.

“I think the seven days is ridiculous,” said District 8 representative Dr. Marta Perez.

Turning down the idea of selecting an interim superintendent and undergoing a national search.

“It makes no sense,” said Urban League of Miami’s T. Willard Fair.

Soon after the search was announced, criticism poured in from community leaders like Fair.

“It’s obvious to anybody that they already selected the person that they wanted to be the next superintendent,” said Fair.

Close to 30 community leaders, including Fair, signed a letter.

In it they wrote, “Unless a candidate has already been identified and selected, it is unclear why only seven days are being permitted.”

And request that “the school board appoint a temporary or acting superintendent in order to define and implement a search and selection process that will engender the confidence of students, parents, and other members of the community.”

The application window Wednesday closed at 5 p.m., and so far there have been 16 applicants.

A majority of them are South Florida educators, but the most notable and arguably most qualified is Jacob Oliva, the Florida Department of Education’s Sr. Chancellor.

Another name new to that list will be familiar to community members: Dr. Jose L. Dotres. The deputy superintendent of Collier County schools also spent decades in Miami-Dade, including time as assistant superintendent.

“We owe it to ourselves to do a national search. We owe it to ourselves to find the best possible person for this job,” said Fair.

“I’m not sensing outrage, and again I’m plugged into the community. I’m very actively engaged in social media, and I have made myself available and accessible to not only the media but to my constituents,” said District 1 rep. Dr. Steve Gallon III.

“There’s no outrage, because the broad community is not aware of what’s going on,” said Fair.

Last week, United Teachers of Dade Karla Hernandez stated, “That as long as people know what is happening, and obviously they are being transparent, uh, because people are going to doubt the system if they feel it isn’t transparent.”

“We have to move forward, and do what is in the best interest for our students and our students learning,” said Perez.

The school board will meet on Jan. 18 to discuss the 16 applicants as well as the next steps.

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