March 2013 Update

March 2013

Way to Go…

  • When Commissioner Tony Bennett announced the top honors for principal and assistant principal for the State of Florida, Miami-Dade County was ecstatic. Former Executive PASS Principal, Pablo Ortiz was named the outstanding principal. Dr. Ortiz is now the Assistant Superintendent in charge of the Educational Transformation Office, and was presented with a check for $5,000. Denise Barrett-Johnson, from Lake Stevens Middle School was named as the outstanding assistant principal, and received a check for $2,500. Both administrators also received money for their schools. The district’s teacher of the year, Alex Lopes, is a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year. Mr. Lopes is a teacher at Carol City Elementary, a Council PASS© program school. According to district spokesperson, John Schuster, the sweep of the awards is a first.
  • The Council’s STEM: Strong & Steady program held its third professional development event in Tampa. The program is designed to help schools improve the delivery of integrated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in nine Hillsborough schools. It also focuses on empowering the leadership teams – a principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor, and subject area teacher leaders – to develop effective STEM programs at their schools.
  • Longtime PASS Principal Carolina Naveiras, retired after 39 years of service with Miami-Dade County Public Schools.  Ms. Naveiras was praised by all of the members of the Board for her dedication and commitment.

Spotlight On: Russell & Joannie Newton…
Philanthropists Russell and Joannie Newton have generously given to a number of non-profits designed to provide opportunities to economically disadvantaged children and their families living in the Jacksonville area. They have also given of their time and talents, particularly in the educational arena.

Over the past eight years, the Newtons have served the children attending S.A. Hull Elementary, Reynolds Lane Elementary, and Carter G. Woodson Elementary Schools through their generous support of the Council’s PASS program. This is a model which pairs a principal of an underperforming school with a business partner with the goal of improving student achievement. Over three years, the partner commits $100,000, which is matched by the Council through its legislative appropriation. The principal and business partner work together to develop a plan to meet the challenges of the individual school. Principals learn business strategies to assist their school communities.

Russell Newton is a founding board member of the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership, a non-profit with the goal of improving student achievement in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns County schools. He currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Center is a state-of-the-art facility which provides professional development for educators.

Both Russell and Joannie are champions for education. She has served on the boards of the University of North Florida, Jacksonville University, and Episcopal High School. In addition to her support for the PASS schools, she has also supported the Guardian of Dreams Catholic School and Riverside Presbyterian Day School. Russell is the chairman and founder of Timucuan Asset Management, while Joannie is the Chairman Emeritus of Regency Centers Corporation.

Commissioner’s Leadership Academy…

  • The Hotel Intercontinental in Tampa was the meeting place for the 25 outstanding principals from around the state participating in the second meeting of the Commissioner’s Leadership Academy. They spent two and a half days interacting with motivating presenters including Mary Jane Tappen, FDOE Deputy Chancellor for Curriculum, Dr. Todd Whitaker of the University of Indiana, and Dr. Joseph Joyner, Superintendent of Schools in St. Johns County. Participants also began planning forums to be presented in several counties around the state on “Leadership to Implement the Common Core Standards.” These one day forums will take place in May.
  • Congratulations to Friendship Elementary School and Maria Martoral, Principal who is also a member of the Commissioner's Leadership Academy for receiving a National Professional Development Award at the recent conference in New Orleans. Maria is a strong supporter of professional development and greatly values her excellent school partnership with the University of Central Florida.

PASS© and Executive PASS©…

  • Mike Petro, Executive Vice President of the Committee for Economic Development visited Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy for their STEM showcase. Students at the school participated in presentations from their business partners including: Alberto Ruiz, Jr., President of LARC Technical Institute, dealt with hands on hardware and software issues. A Women in STEM Panel featured Geydi Alfonso, programming engineer at RIM; Loretta Adoghe, a Department Chairperson at Miami-Dade College; Anette Sanz, Lab Manager at Miami-Dade College; and Dr. Janne Thoft Nielson, Office of Undergraduate Research, University of Miami. Other presentations included: Tedor Whitman, Zoo Miami Director of Education; Robert Molleda, Meteorologist from the National Weather Service; and Angela Martinez and Melissa Giles from Women of Tomorrow. Classroom Mentors including Joseph Zawodny and Kirk Nieveen assisted students in hands on labs using specialized equipment.
  • Bunche Park Elementary submitted four entries in the Miami Gardens Science and Engineering competition. Darrell Young was placed fourth and received $200. The other three students were awarded $50 gift certificates compliments of the school’s PASS Partner, Dr. Gerald Glass. Four students also entered the Miami-Dade County Science Fair. Two students, Zariah Johns and Marquitta Walden placed third, and Darrell Young placed second. Congratulations to the students and their teacher, Kerry Mathews. The school also partners with the Marlins baseball team as a Marlins Ayudan School. In February, members of the Marlins Ayudan team visited the school to celebrate students’ successes as members of the “70’s Bunche”. The Marlins team also presented Bunche Park with $1000 to be used toward projects that they will be involved in at the school.
  • New Executive PASS partnerships in Miami-Dade include:
    • Sunset Elementary – Principal Dr. Marlene Leyte-Vidal, Business Partner Ryan Foley of John Hancock Financial Network;
    • Miami Carol City Senior – Principal Ja Marv Dunn, Business Partner Nicole Heran of Skanska USA Building, Inc.;
    • Shenandoah Middle – Principal Humberto Miret, Business Partner Gabriel Oxios of VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc.
Dates to Remember…
March 13 – School Board Recognition of Council for Educational Change by Miami-Dade County Public Schools
March 18 – School Board Recognition of Council for Educational Change and Board Member Steve Wasserman by Broward County Public Schools
March 28 – Commissioner’s Leadership Academy Steering Committee Call


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

Council for Educational Change Board....Florida's Educational Think Tank
Gene E. Marshall, Chair • Charles B. Blumenkamp, Chair-Elect • Dr. Elaine Liftin, President and Executive Director
Founder, Leonard Miller
Andrew L. Ansin* • Philip F. Blumberg • Hugh M. Brown* • Columba Bush* • Charles E. Cobb Jr.* • Irv Cohen • Scott A. Curtis* • Dr. Akshay Desai
Edward W. Easton* • T. Willard Fair* • Maribel Ferrer • Edward T. Foote, II* • Karen Fryd • Dr. Robert W. Graham, III
Bill Habermeyer* • Steven T. Halverson* • Elsie Sterling Howard • Cyrus M. Jollivette • David S. Kenin Esq* • Jonathan I. Kislak*
Daniel W. Mahurin* • Beth G. Martinez* • Jeffrey Miller • Sue Miller • Robert A. Morris Jr.* • Robert Moss • Anabel I. Nemrow • Beau Parrillo
Fred Pezeshkan • Andrew S. Rosen • Peter S. Rummell* • Steven J. Saiontz • Michael Scheck* • Roger Slade • Elliott Stern* • Steven J. Uhlfelder
Keith T. Ward • Steven Wasserman • Joe G. Weaver • Lynne Wines • Dr. Paul Zimmerman • Robert A. Zinn     *Life Trustees
3265 Meridian Parkway Suite 130 Weston, FL 33331 phone: 954.727.9909 fax: 954.727.0990

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