May 2013 Update

May 2013

Spotlight On: Payton Kaar...
Payton Kaar is an incredible young lady who has had an incredible couple of weeks. First, the junior at Northeast High School was flown to New York where it was announced that she is the recipient of a $250,000 scholarship to attend the school of her choice. The scholarship was from the Annenberg College Scholarship Fund; she had been nominated by the Council. Upon her return to South Florida, she and her science club partner were invited to the White House Science fair to present the project they did for the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam.

Last school year, Payton and her partner built an emergency water sanitization system to be used in third world countries after natural disasters or other situations during which potable water might not be available. It is powered by a bicycle with a hub motor attached to the back tire. The bicycle/hub motor provides electricity to power a water pump and two ozone generators. While at the White House, the girls coaxed President Obama to ride the bike to see how it worked.

This is not the first time that Payton has been recognized for her scientific research. She also presented her research at the University of Florida’s Science Symposium. In addition, Payton placed second in the 2012 Broward County Science Fair.

Payton and the Council were honored by the Broward County School Board on May 8th.


  • Steve Wasserman, business partner for Boyd Anderson Senior High and a CEC Board Member, was recognized by Broward County Public Schools with the 'School-based Partner of the Year Award'. Mr. Wasserman has been an active partner with the school for over six years and has facilitated over $250,000 in grants, including PASS. These grants have assisted in increasing the school's graduation rate through its college/career-ready focus. He has donated more than 1500 volunteer hours and is currently working with local manufacturing businesses to institutionalize Academies of Manufacturing and Global Logistics at the school. This enormous task has united the district, Broward Community College, community leaders, and the business community in designing and developing a world class curriculum in preparing the students for the 21st century.
  • Dr. Viola Irons, Principal of Bunche Park Elementary has retired. Bunche Park is an extremely effective PASS school whose business partner is Dr. Gerry Glass. Dr. Irons will relocate to the west coast of Florida, and do missionary work with her church.
  • Students at Broadmoor Elementary demonstrated that they understand the importance of the FCAT testing. The school had 100% attendance for all of the days of testing, so there were no make-up exams. Principal Linda Klein, the students and staff are to be commended for this accomplishment.
  • On April 11, Cohort 1 of the Commissioner’s Leadership Academy presented an outstanding Achievement Performance Excellence (APEX) Forum on the Common Core State Standards for principals in Escambia County. Other outstanding Forums were held on May 5th in Tampa and May 6th in Orlando. All of the Cohorts and their mentors are to be commended for a job well done. Rounding out the presentations are Forums which will take place in Miami-Dade on May 17th, and Broward on May 24th.

Semi-Annual Board Meeting...

The Board of the Council for Educational Change held its semi-annual Board meeting on April 30th at Monroe Middle School in Tampa. Superintendent MaryEllen Elia discussed all of the positive changes that have been occurring at the school since it became a PASS school. In addition, she thanked the Council for its efforts which resulted in two of the district students being awarded scholarships valued at $250,000 each. Scholarship winners, Isabelle Morris and Sean Vennett were recognized. Also recognized was Principal Lynn Roberts of Lockhart Elementary Creative Science Center which received a grant for $50,000. The awards were from the Annenberg College Scholarship and School Funds.

PASS and Executive PASS...

  • A Career Fest was held on April 17, at Boyd Anderson High School in Broward County. Not only did the event focus on offering career options for the students, but the companies involved were also offering internships and jobs. These opportunities ranged from positions with manufacturing companies to career colleges. First students were given an overview of the companies by the representatives, then they moved to the gymnasium for one-on-one and small group interactions. The students were interview ready with their resumes and dressed in work attire. Congratulations to Angel Almanzar, Principal, his staff, and Steve Wasserman, CEO, for providing these exceptional opportunities for the students.
  • Mt. Vernon Elementary PASS Alumni School Principal Peggy Pearson continues to be proactive and remains involved with the Council, PASS and her business mentor, Elliott Stern. Mt. Vernon Elementary is involved in a study with Florida State University which involves Kindergarten and First grade. This study is using tasks developed by a team at FSU that teach common core standards in math. Teams volunteered for the study and have found that the task creates very informative data which delves into deeper thinking for students. It also helps teachers develop formative assessments to drive instruction. Teams meet weekly to discuss the task with an FSU coordinator. They are learning how to pull out higher level thinking out of five and six year olds.
  • The herb garden at Jose Marti MAST 6 – 12 Academy was used for an Earth Day activity. The Green Club students worked on both the native forest and the herb garden. Teachers and their classes came out to learn about the projects. Students harvested cilantro, dill, Italian parsley, basil, and mint. Other herbs including sage, oregano, and thyme will be harvested at a later date.
  • The annual Executive PASS networking session was held on May 1st at Miami Edison Middle School. Participants shared the many wonderful projects that were implemented during the school year. Thanks to Principal Keith Anderson and his business partner Bernard Cottle, Integrated Learning Trust Foundation for graciously sponsoring the event.
  • While participating in the Executive PASS Program, Citrus Grove Middle Principal Emirce Ladaga and MCM Project Manager, Edgar Martinez began an after school dance program. That program is now sponsored by the University of Miami and is held on a weekly basis. As a result of the dance program, four girls from the school were selected to have a role in the University of Miami’s production of South Pacific, which ran from April 10 thru the 27 at the Ring Theatre.
  • New Executive PASS partnerships include: Wesley Matthews Elementary – Principal Deborah Darbonne and Business Partner Eduardo Suarez of Mass Mutual; Dr. Rolando Espinosa K-8 Center – Principal Marie Caceres and Business Partner Tom Eriksen of Covanta Energy; Golden Glades Elementary – Principal Dr. Theron Clark and Business Partner Greg Abell of John Hancock Financial Network; Frederick Douglass Elementary – Principal Yolanda Ellis and Business Partner Greg Abell of John Hancock Financial Network; North Miami Middle – Principal Alberto Iber and Business Partner Fabiola Fleuranvil of Blueprint Creative Group; Aventura Waterways K-8 – Principal Luis Bello and Business Partner Raj Thakor of ING Financial Partners; Brownsville Middle – Dr. Edward Robinson and Business Partner Jenny Dominguez of Provider Network Solutions.


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* • 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*
Richard Manners • 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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