June 2017 Update

June 2017

Over the past 10 years, Donald Soffer and his Family have been major donors to the Council for Educational Change. In May, they completed their pledge of $1,000,000. This support has helped the Council grow into a statewide organization delivering programs that prepare and empower principals and school site leadership teams, partner principals with business leaders in a partnership that positively impacts student achievement, and helps connect schools across Florida with resources.

In 1967, real estate developer Donald Soffer bought a 785-acre tract of undeveloped swamp and marshland in Miami-Dade County, Florida. He built a mall, office buildings, and condo towers in what is now the town of Aventura. Now his son Jeffrey and daughter Jackie Soffer are co-CEOs of Turnberry Associates. Today Turnberry's biggest project, in partnership with the LeFraks real estate clan of New York, is turning a 183-acre former city dump site in North Miami into a community with 4,400 condos, shopping, a movie theater with table service, and two swimmable lagoons. The Soffers also own the iconic Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach. Their Aventura Mall is one of the higher-grossing shopping centers in the country. On tap: the Turnberry Ocean Club luxury condos in Sunny Isles Beach, not yet built.

One could argue that Jeffrey Soffer was born with a sense of command. His father, moved the family from Pittsburgh to South Florida when Jeffrey was 2 years old. But just because a strong business sense and an aim-high attitude were instilled in Jeffrey at a young age, don’t assume power was just handed to him. “I had motivation and drive,” says Soffer. “I wanted to be my own person. I didn’t just want to be the son of a successful businessman. That’s one of the factors that drove me.”

Jackie Soffer is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chairman of Turnberry, a privately held real estate development group based in South Florida. Founded more than 50 years ago, the company specializes in large-scale lifestyle developments within the hospitality, retail, residential, and office sectors.

Jackie has evolved Turnberry from the regional leader into one of the most creative and dynamic organizations in real estate today. She leads through innovation, combining her passion for retail and hospitality with creative design-led thinking. She first applied this approach at the Aventura Mall, which she transformed from a classic retail shopping mall into one of the country’s premier lifestyle destinations by attracting luxury retailers such Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Cartier, Gucci, Burberry, Fendi, Tiffany & Co., Bally and Emilio Pucci. In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities for Turnberry, Soffer serves as a member of the University of Miami Board of Trustees, the Board of Trustees for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, and the Board of Advisors for Pine Crest School, Fort Lauderdale.

Fantastic News…

  • U.S. News & World Report announced its annual list of America’s Best High Schools and Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) was a leader both nationally and statewide. The district is home to five of the top 100 high schools in the country and had seven schools in Florida’s Top 20. The magazine gathered data on more than 28,000 schools across the country. Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy, an Executive PASS school, was ranked at Number 12 in the State of Florida and Number 88 in the nation. More than 22,000 schools were eligible to be ranked using a four-step analysis based on performance on state-required tests, whether their least advantaged students – those of black, Hispanic and low-income backgrounds – performed at or better than the state average, a graduation rate of at least 75 percent, and participation in and performance on Advanced Placement. Congratulations to Principal Jose Enriquez and all of the students and staff at the school.
  • The television production students at Miami Northwestern Senior High participated in the Miami-Dade Gov Clean Up Green Up Environmental Initiative. The competition included 20 schools, and the students earned the first place prize for their video submission in the contest! Principal Wallace Aristide has enlisted the aid of the Performing and Visual Arts Center TV/Film Department to create videos and content for web and social media platforms that enhance the 'snapshot' of the school community. The television production program was enhanced as a direct result of the school’s PASS program.

PASS© and Executive PASS©
Statewide Sponsors: Raymond James Financial and Publix Super Markets Charities

Congratulations to the Lanier Elementary PASS Partnership team. This PASS team consists of Principal Rachael O'Dea, CEO Mentor John Giordano Esq. of Bush Ross PA, PASS Coach Sherry Ogden and PASS Historian - Assistant Principal Sarah Garcia. The team's vision, planning, teamwork, and energy have resulted in PASS focus goals and action steps that are well under way. Early utilization of some of their PASS funds to increase technology for student use will support meeting the individual achievement needs of more students. The team hosted a dynamic student led Leadership Day on May 5th, at which time the PASS model was introduced to the entire community. The Hillsborough School Board recognized this PASS partnership at a recent School Board meeting. Special thanks to Phillip and Betty Casey for their financial support through the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, and to Council Board Member Gene Marshall for his vision and work to make this thriving partnership a reality.

Celebration was in the air as students from Mount Vernon Elementary attended an end of the year event at Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg. This partnership is a star in the Executive PASS Program. Business partner Ron Diner, and Principal Robert Ovalle planned an exciting day to recognize the success of their Lunch Pals Program. Students were paired with their mentors to tour this fabulous business campus, and see where their "pals" actually work. They were also privileged to view the priceless works of art displayed throughout this incredible facility. The experience was topped off with a kid friendly lunch and mentor/mentee activities which allowed the students to show appreciation for the 150 plus participants in the program who visit the children once a week at the school.

An executive partnership between Deerfield Beach Middle School and JM Family Enterprises has been an enriching learning experience for students. It has included interdisciplinary lessons for the middle schoolers that introduced them to the auto and aviation industries. Field trips to JM Lexus and JM Family Enterprises Aviation are helping to prepare our future workforce. Congratulations to Principal Francine Baugh and Dan Chait, Kim Bentley, Elena Wood, and Eric Carter from JM Family Enterprises.

Ponce de Leon Middle School hosted its magnet program orientation for over 240 incoming magnet students and their families. Students were invited to the school’s summer academy which will take place June 12–16. Ponce de Leon is a PASS school which teams Principal Martha Chang with partners Kelly-Ann Cartwright and Eric Ray of the law firm of Holland & Knight.

On May 23, the Third District Court of Appeals hosted students from Brownsville Middle School’s Law Academy in commemoration of American Bar Association Law Day. Each year, the firm of Hamilton, Miller, & Birthiesel hosts a Law Day activity with its partner school. Chief Judge Richard Suarez and Judge Robert Luck hosted the students for a history and overview of the Third Court of Appeals and moderated a mock debate and role playing exercise on the three branches of government. Principal Ebony Dunn and Executive PASS Partner Marlon Hill explained that the trip highlighted the significance of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Executive PASS partners Clearwater High School and Big Brothers Big Sisters met to celebrate their exciting partnership and to plan for even more possibilities to enrich the program in the upcoming school year. Principal Keith Mastorides and President & CEO Stephen Koch have high energy and really made things happen to build their mentor/ mentee and leadership programs. They will both be working on next steps throughout the summer to get things kicked off early in the 2017-2018 school year.

Broward Executive PASS
The five schools participating in the Broward Executive PASS held a networking session on May 30th at Flanagan Senior High to end the year and begin discussing the partnerships for next year. The partnerships are extremely diverse, but have had great benefits for the schools. They include:

  • Larkdale Elementary - Principal Carla Hart with Business Partner Diane Hickman of Learning for Life;
  • Mirror Lake Elementary - Principal Marlen Veliz and Business Partners Diane Hickman of Learning for Life; Dr. Verda Farrow, After School Program (ASP), and Fernando Recalde of Evershore Financial Group;
  • McNicol Middle - Principal Melissa Gurreonero with Business Partner Fernando Recalde, Evershore Financial Group;
  • Flanagan High - Principal Michelle Kefford with Business Partner Henry Rose, Falcon Foundation;
  • Hollywood Hills Elementary - Principal John Fossas and Business Partner Connie Booth of Evershore Financial Group.

A printable version of the Update is available for download below.

Council for Educational Change Board....Florida's Educational Think Tank
Steven Wasserman, Interim Chair • Dr. Elaine Liftin, President and Executive Director
Founder, Leonard Miller
Andrew L. Ansin* • Philip F. Blumberg • Columba Bush* • Ambassador Charles E. Cobb Jr.*
Scott A. Curtis* • Diane Davis* • Edward W. Easton* • Dorothy Eisenberg • T. Willard Fair*
Karen Fryd • Dr. Robert W. Graham, III • Steven T. Halverson* • Douglas Harrison • Lori R. Hartglass, Esq.
Barry E. Johnson • Jonathan I. Kislak • Michael Kornahrens • Joseph E. Mahoney, Jr.
Gene E. Marshall • Beth G. Martinez* • Jeffrey Miller • Eric Montes de Oca • Arthur Noriega V
Andrew S. Rosen • Peter S. Rummell* • Steven J. Saiontz • Ned Shandloff* • Steven J. Uhlfelder
Scott Ulvi • Joe G. Weaver • Lynne Wines* • Paul Zimmerman, MD    *Life Trustees
3265 Meridian Parkway Suite 130 Weston, FL 33331 phone: 954.727.9909 fax: 954.727.0990 www.ChangeEducation.org



JUN 2017 Update.pdf178.2 KB