Back in 2008, Alberto Carvalho inherited the top job at Miami-Dade Public Schools under doubly unenviable circumstances. On one hand, the system was in turmoil — his predecessor, Rudy Crew, had just been forced out, teacher morale was plummeting, and sharks were circling around his position from the start. On the other hand, just before getting pushed out, Crew had earned the highest recognition ever for a Florida schools chief, becoming the first from the Sunshine State to win National Superintendent of the Year. Five years later, Carvalho had already surpassed his predecessor's achievements. Graduation levels had spiked across the board. Test scores were also on the rise. His system won the 2012 Broad Prize, a prestigious award for urban districts. And then this February, Carvalho became the second Floridian to nab honors as National Superintendent of the Year. It's all a testament to a fine turnaround job in one of America's most historically troubled districts but also to Carvalho's unmatched political skills. Not many leaders could have moved into such a toxic job and not only survived but thrived. Carvalho even managed to finagle voter support last year for $1.2 billion in bonds for new construction and technology projects at the height of Marlins Stadium antispending fervor. A politico who can escape the Jeffrey Loria effect? Now that's a miracle.