News Room

September 2017 Update

September 2017

Spotlight on Board Member: Scott Ulvi
Mr. Scott Ulvi has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Triumph Enterprises since the company was founded in 2005. He is responsible for ensuring Triumph’s overall success and setting performance standards for the organization.

His more than 30 years in the federal contracting industry have enabled him to effectively create a vision for the company’s future. Scott is responsible for communicating the organization’s strategic direction in a clear, engaging and exciting way to all stakeholders.

August 2017 Update

August 2017

Spotlight on Executive PASS© in Pinellas
School may have been out for the summer, but the Pinellas County business community was hard at work supporting some of the district’s Executive PASS schools. Students from Campbell Park, High Point, and Melrose Elementary schools were some of the over 100 happy recipients of brand new beds, mattress sets, and bedding from Ashley Furniture's Hope To Dream Program.

July 2017 Update

July 2017

Spotlight on Saint Clair Evans Elementary, Duval County
The faculty and staff at Saint Clair Evans Elementary School in Duval County have a lot to be excited about. The school was nominated by the Council for Educational Change to receive a $50,000 grant from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children. The school used these funds to equip a state of the art science laboratory and create an interdisciplinary curriculum with a focus on science. The results were amazing.

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.

May 2017 Update

May 2017


  • Palm Beach County PASS school, Village Academy, has been recognized as a School-wide Site of Distinction for the AVID Program. Of the 771 eligible schools for the award, only 104 were recognized.

April 2017 Update

April 2017

Spotlight: In Memorium – Dr. Brian Dassler
Brian Dassler was a distinguished educator and valued friend of the Council for Educational Change.

He began his association with the Council when he was a teacher in Broward County, at Stranahan High School. He was a star participant in our New Teacher Retention and Mentoring Initiative. Subsequently, he participated in Stranahan's Urban Teacher Leadership program. Throughout his educational career, Brian stayed connected with the Council.

March 2017 Update

March 2017

Spotlight: Dr. Malou Harrison
Dr. Malou C. Harrison was among the first of the Council’s Executive PASS© partners in higher education. Not only has the number of her partnerships increased, but she has been extremely influential in encouraging all of the other campuses to participate in the program. Her school partnerships include: Brentwood Elementary, Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy, Miami Lakes K-8, Mater Lakes Academy, and North Miami Beach Senior High. Dr. Harrison has been a participant in the program for approximately 10 years.

February 2017 Update

February 2017

Spotlight: New Board Member
Barry E. Johnson

Barry E. Johnson is the Past President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, South Florida’s first and the longest sustaining business development organization and one of the largest chambers in the southeastern U.S. He directs a team of 25 Chamber professionals, supporting more than 400,000 employees of chamber member companies in South Florida.

January 2017 Update

January 2017

Spotlight: Scott Ulvi
Board member Scott Ulvi has over 25 years of management and leadership experience. He has served in executive level positions with high growth firms since 2002 with responsibilities that have included Business Development, Operations Management, and Executive Leadership. Mr. Ulvi has been directly involved in the Financial Planning, Performance Management, People Development, and overall business performance of several successful firms.

December 2016 Update

December 2016

Meet Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award 2016 Winner
Jeannette Acevedo-Isenberg

Principal of Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School, Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Accomplishments & Practices:
Promotes leadership within a multi-lingual school setting (English, Spanish, and Portuguese), and provides teachers with leadership opportunities to develop and coordinate school events and mentor others.

November 2016 Update

Eric Montes de Oca holds the position of Vice President and is also an Equity Partner of Grycon LLC, a leading South Florida General Contractor and Construction Management firm.

October 2016 Update

October 2016

The Council for Educational Change is delighted to shine the spotlight on Jeffrey Miller, one of its longest sitting Board members and former Board Chair. He has served the Council tirelessly by previously sponsoring two different PASS schools which achieve tremendous successes. Currently, he is sponsoring the technology based Nearpod pilot in Polk County.

September 2016 Update

September 2016

Lawyers Alliance Launch
The Council for Educational Change is formally launching the Lawyers Alliance to further its mission of strengthening leadership in public schools. Strong leadership leads to vibrant schools and a prepared workforce. On Tuesday, September 13th, at 6 PM, South Florida lawyers will gather for a cocktail reception, hosted by Art Noriega, at the offices of the Miami Parking Authority. The event is an opportunity for lawyers to learn about the Council’s program that will make a significant difference in our schools.

August 2016 Update

August 2016

Calling All Principals Who Have Ever Participated in a Council Program–$10,000 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award
Each year, the Council presents the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award to a principal who demonstrated outstanding leadership, involved the parents and community, and raised the academic performance of the students. Raising the academic performance translates into demonstrated learning gains. Success can be measured by such things as an increase in the graduation rate, the percentage of students in a grade level or subject area showing improvement, or in learning gains.

July 2016 Update

July 2016

Council is “Best of Miami”

The Council for Educational Change was named “Best of Miami” in the category of education by Miami Today. Barry Johnson, President and CEO of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, made the nomination. In his nomination he said, “The Council is transforming the educational landscape in Miami-Dade by helping school principals strengthen their leadership skills. An empowered principal who is a strong leader will run a successful school. Operating under that principle, the Council partners business executives with school principals, often in urban communities for one to three years.”

June 2016 Update

June 2016

Spotlight on Annenberg Scholar: Natalie Antunez
Natalie Antunez is a young woman who will change the world – for the better! When staff at the Council first met her, she was a junior at Hialeah High School in Miami-Dade. At the request of the Leonore Annenberg Scholarship Fund, the Council for Educational Change, assisted in crafting her application for a $250,000 scholarship. Her application was so impressive, she was one of five students nationally to receive this incredible scholarship which includes, tuition, room and board, a computer, and stipends for books and monthly expenses.

May 2016 Update

May 2016

Council for Educational Change: Finalist for Prestigious NOVO Award…
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Business Committee NOVO Awards Task Force announced that the Council for Educational Change—Partnership to Advance School Success (PASS©) had been selected as one of the three finalists for the 2016 NOVO Awards in the budget of less than $2 million category.

April 2016 Update

April 2016

New Board Chair Appointed
The Council for Educational Change is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Interim Board Chair – Steven S. Wasserman. Mr. Wasserman, who serves as Senior Vice President for Jones Lang LaSalle in South Florida, will lead a 32-member board of directors in promoting the Council’s statewide mission. The Weston-based Council for Educational Change develops and implements mentorship programs that strengthen the leadership of K-12 public schools in Florida. The programs are designed to help school principals narrow the achievement gap and to address critical education issues that may hinder the preparation and nurturing of our future workforce.

March 2016 Update

March 2016


Sixth grade students at Benjamin Franklin K-8 Center in Miami-Dade, received some special classroom visitors this winter—NBA referees!

Executive PASS© Business Partner Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, teamed up with Benjamin Franklin K-8 Center to bring the TIMEOUT for Reading program to sixth grade students at the school. TIMEOUT for Reading, a unique mentoring program in partnership with Scholastic and the National Basketball Referees Association (NBRA), is designed to deepen literacy and instill a love of reading in students through NBA referees who are willing to share their time.

February 2016 Update

February 2016

Spotlight On: Jeff Rubin, IT’SUGAR
Jeff Rubin is the founder and CEO of IT'SUGAR, established in 2005. He has over 30 years experience in the candy business. The IT’SUGAR brand has become one of the largest and fastest-growing specialty candy and gift retailers in the world. The IT'SUGAR Empire consists of over 80 retail locations in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Denver, San Diego, and Palm Beach, in addition to international outposts in Panama, Venezuela, and Grand Cayman. With avid growth plans, IT'SUGAR aspires to a future where everyone has access to the pure joy that comes from indulging in a world with fewer rules and more sugar.

January 2016 Update

January 2016

Spotlight: Philip F. Blumberg
Council for Educational Change Board member Philip F. Blumberg, is making a difference. Around the world, vast quantities of food are going to waste, up to 50 % of annual crop yields are lost or spoiled. This is at the same time that countries are facing food shortages. The Egyptian government is addressing the issue with Blumberg Grain, one of the world's leading food security companies. Blumberg Grain is developing 294 Blumberg Grain aggregation centers, saving about US$ 600 million per year in crop loss. In 2015, the company wrapped up the year with over 12 million square feet of industrial development under construction throughout the Middle East and Africa, making Blumberg one of the largest developers in the region.

December 2015 Update

December 2015

Spotlight:Jayne Ellspermann
2015 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award Winner

Jayne Ellspermann is the winner of the 2015 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award. Not only did she receive this honor at the Council for Educational Change’s luncheon which was held on November 19th at the University of Miami’s Newman Alumni Center, but she was previously recognized as the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) 2015 National Principal of the Year.

School Principals From Marion, Palm Beach and Hillsborough Counties Receive Prestigious Award For Their Turnaround Leadership Skills

Miami, FL. [Nov. 19, 2015]

The Council for Educational Change is proud to announce that West Port High School Jayne Ellspermann from Marion County is the recipient of the 2015 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award. Jayne was one of three School Principals chosen as Gold Medallion Finalist of this highly coveted award in the State of Florida. Carver Middle School Principal Kiwana Alexander-Prophete from Palm Beach County and Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy Principal John Haley from Hillsborough County were finalists.

November 2015 Update

The Legacy of Leadership – Council Effect

Over the past 13 years, the Council for Educational Change has been providing programs which develop the leadership skills of school site administrators. The results have been extraordinary. Thanks to the generosity of the Braman Foundation, the Council has authored “The Legacy of Leadership” a publication which captures the stories of leaders who have made a difference in the lives of children. These leaders have forged partnerships which have improved the academic performance of students. The publication will be shared at the annual Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award luncheon on November 19th. However, we will begin highlighting individuals who have participated in Council programs, and where they are now. This is the “Council Effect.”

October 2015 Update

October 2015

Spotlight: Publix Super Markets Charities, Inc.
Congratulations to Publix Super Markets as they celebrate their 85th Anniversary. Our very own local stores are recognized nationwide. Forbes and Fortune Magazines sing its praises year after year listing Publix in multiple –most admired and best of– lists (from the Miami-Herald). Not only are they a great chain and employer, they are also excellent community citizens and business mentors.

September 2015 Update

September 2015

Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award...
Principals are invited to submit their application for the 2015 Leonard Miller Principal of the Year Award, available online at Any current principal who has ever participated in a Council program, and is in their third year of principalship is eligible to apply. The annual award is given to a principal who has utilized business partnerships to improve student achievement. The winner receives $10,000 for personal use and two runners up each receive $5,000.

August 2015 Update

August 2015

Spotlight: Board Member Steven J. Uhlfelder

Council Board Member Steven J. Uhlfelder is a lawyer who specializes in public and administrative law, and has received the highest lawyer rating in Martindale-Hubbell. He has represented many of the nation’s largest corporations, including ABC News, American Express, General Electric, Kaplan, Pearson, Tenet Healthcare, and UPS. He is a legislative consultant for the Florida Press Association. Florida Trend magazine named him one of Florida’s 150 most influential citizens. Uhlfelder received the National Points of Light Award, one of the most prestigious national honors for community and public service. He was selected by Tallahassee Magazine as one of Tallahassee’s most distinguished citizens.

July 2015 Update

July 2015

Spotlight On: Board Member Lori R. Hartglass
Council for Educational Change Board Member Lori R. Hartglass has been recognized by the Florida Real Estate Journal as a top woman in Florida commercial real estate, and by Martindale-Hubbell as a preeminent AV (5 out of 5) attorney. Mrs. Hartglass has spent most of her legal career as an equity partner with a major national law firm. Currently she is a partner with Arnstein & Lehr, LLP.

June 2015 Update

June 2015

Spotlight On: Board Member Steve Wasserman...
Long time Council Board member, Steven Wasserman, serves as Senior Vice President for Jones Lang LaSalle and is one of the team leaders in the South Florida Industrial Group. Mr. Wasserman has a diversified industrial practice where he represents institutional property owners in leasing and strategic advice. He also represents local and national tenants looking to buy or lease space. Finally, he represents owner users in the disposition of their industrial buildings and land.

May 2015 Update

May 2015

In Memoriam: R. Kirk Landon

On March 24, 2015, the Council for Educational Change lost a friend and supporter with the passing of philanthropist, R. Kirk Landon. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the South Florida Annenberg Challenge, the precursor of the Council. After serving on the Committee from 1997 - 2002, he continued to be a strong supporter of the Council and its programs.

April 2015 Update

April 2015

Spotlight on Board Member Dorothy S. Eisenberg…

We welcome our new Council for Educational Change Board member, Dorothy S. Eisenberg. She is a prominent certified public accountant, who brings a wealth of taxation experience to Gerson, Preston, Robinson & Company, and is highly regarded by her clients. Ms. Eisenberg focuses her practice on managing some of the largest and most complex tax and general accounting matters for high net‐worth individuals and businesses served by the firm.

$150K in Annenberg Grants for Three Florida Schools

While lack of funding for public schools continues to be a problem around the state, a private grant is opening new doors for three Florida schools.

March 2015 Update

March 2015


The Council for Educational Change recently honored former Miami Heat All Star Center Alonzo Mourning with its Inaugural Leadership in Education Award for his contribution to education. Business executives attended the function to support the Council and pay tribute to Mr. Mourning. In his acceptance speech, Mourning explained that public schools are in dire need of resources and that simply relying upon state funds is not enough. Mourning encouraged those in attendance to develop business partnerships with public schools and explained that “together we can make a difference.” Highlights of the event can be found here.

February 2015 Update

February 2015

Spotlight On: New Board Member Arthur Noriega V….

Arthur Noriega is the newest Council for Educational Change Board Member. He is an executive with a strong background in construction, operations, and urban development projects with over 16 years of parking industry experience. Mr. Noriega has headed the Miami Parking Authority since 1999. As Chief Executive Officer, he oversees all of the parking and enforcement operations in a major metropolitan city. Mr. Noriega also must act as a strong advocate in the promotion of public and private sector joint ventures, while maintaining an excellent working relationship with local elected and government officials, as well as development authorities. He oversees a staff of 185 employees and an operation that generates $40 million in parking revenue. Mr. Noriega has been responsible for unprecedented revenue growth at the Authority, as well as the development of the City’s seven newly constructed public garages. Miami Parking Authority is currently engaged in the pre-development of two additional public/private joint venture developments within Miami’s Central Business District.

Inaugural Leadership In Education Award

The Leadership In Education Award presented by the Council for Educational Change recognizes an individual's commitment to education. Join us February 5, 2015, when we recognize Alonzo Mourning for his exceptional contributions in support of education.

The event will be held at the Trump National Doral in Miami.

Sponsorship Opportunities Are Available

January 2015 Update

January 2015

Leadership in Education Award…

On February 5, 2015, the Council for Educational Change will host its inaugural Leadership in Education Award dinner. Diana Diaz from Channel 7, WSVN-TV will preside as the Council honors Alonzo Mourning for his commitment to education. Mr. Mourning has donated time, resources and talent to improving education in Miami-Dade. The event will be held at the Trump National Doral.
For sponsorship and ticket information, please contact Maria Mesa at (954) 727 – 9909.

December 2014 Update

December 2014

Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award & Event…
Sue Miller hosted the 12th annual Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award luncheon on November 13th at the University of Miami‘s Newman Alumni Center. The winner was Wallace Aristide of Miami Northwestern Senior High School. The other two Gold Medallion finalists were Kenneth Hart of Monroe Middle School in Hillsborough County and Guarn Sims of the Village Academy School on the Art and Sara Jo Kobacker Campus in Palm Beach County. Thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Miller, all three principals were awarded $10,000 for their outstanding leadership in improving student achievement.

Top Miami-Dade Principal Receives a $10,000 Leadership Award

November 13, 2014

Miami, Florida

Miami-Dade County Principal Wallace Aristide of Miami Northwestern Senior High School received $10,000 from the Council for Educational Change on November 13th at the University of Miami, Newman Alumni Center in Coral Gables, FL. He is one of three principals recognized state-wide for outstanding contributions in the field of education. Kenneth Hart from James Monroe Middle School in Hillsborough County and Guarn Sims from Village Academy School in Palm Beach County are the two Gold Medallion winners honored for their excellence in leadership and received $5,000 each. At the event, Dr. Elaine Liftin, the Council’s President & Executive Director along with Sue Miller, announced Wallace Aristide as the 2014 Winner of the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award.

November 2014 Update

November 2014

Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award 2014...

Three outstanding principals have been named Gold Medallion finalists for the Council’s 2014 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award. Wallace Aristide from Miami-Northwestern Senior High School in Miami-Dade, Kenneth Hart from Monroe Middle School in Hillsborough County, and Guarn Sims from Village Academy School on the Art and Sara Jo Kobacker Campus in Palm Beach County will each receive $5,000 for personal use. The overall winner will be named during the annual luncheon on November 13, at the University of Miami Newman Alumni Center. The winner will receive an additional $5,000.

October 2014 Update

October 2014


Council Board Member and Governance Committee Chair, Lori R. Hartglass was honored on September 19th by Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) at a Black and White Gala at Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale. She was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Council for Educational Change congratulates her on this prestigious honor.

Village Academy

September 26, 2014


Village Academy, on the Art and Sara Jo Kobacker Campus

The Palm Beach County School District has given new life to the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The District has joined forces with the Council for Educational Change and the Arthur & Sara Jo Kobacker, Alfred & Ida Kobacker Foundation (Kobacker Foundation) to support the Village Academy School with multiple community business partnerships. The school, on the Art and Sara Jo Kobacker Campus in Delray Beach, has moved from tradition to a trend-setting example for education. Village Academy is not just about reading, writing, and mathematics any more, but is now an institution of innovative thinking providing resources and services to its families.

Lawyers Go Back to School

September 18, 2014



The law firm of Gray Robinson recently hosted an event for the Lawyers’ Alliance, which is a partnership developed through the Council for Educational Change. Lawyers have the opportunity to interact directly with students to help them become knowledgeable about the legal system.

September 2014 Update

September 2014

On the Educational News Front:
Helios STEM Project...

The STEM Leadership Academy was held in Sarasota from August 7-9 with some 75 participants attending. The Academy is an integral activity of the Council’s three year STEM: Strong & Steady project which is generously funded by the Helios Education Foundation. The project serves teams of principals, assistant principals and math and science department heads from 17 Hillsborough district middle schools. The purpose of the project is to help the participating schools build strong, interdisciplinary STEM programs at their sites which will boost student STEM achievement.

August 2014 Update

August 2014

SPOTLIGHT: Executive PASS in Miami-Dade
Executive PASS continues to thrive in Miami-Dade County.  Now with more than ninety partnerships throughout the county, the partnerships and the Council are looking forward to the 2014-2015 school year.  Many challenges remain but together principals and business partners will achieve continued growth.

July 2014 Update

July 2014

Our Annenberg Scholars…
Where Are They Now?

Natalie Antunez:  Natalie has completed a very eventful year at Harvard. In addition to earning excellent grades, she traveled to Peru for a week over the winter break. During the spring recess, she participated in a community service project on an urban farm in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. For the second semester, Natalie joined a sorority and was elected treasurer of Latinas Unidas de Harvard. This summer she will travel to Barcelona and Madrid to study Spanish language and culture. For next year, Natalie will serve as a Peer Advising Fellow for incoming freshmen.

June 2014 Update

June 2014

On the Educational NEWS Front
In 2010, Florida International University began a partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools with a grant from the Children’s Aid Society. By 2011, JP Morgan Chase added $1 million with the goals of improving teaching and learning, enhancing parental and community engagement, and creating an environment conducive to student success that promotes pathways to post-secondary education.  The partnership began at Miami Northwestern Senior High and will spread to middle schools in its feeder pattern.

May 2014 Update

May 2014

Spotlight On: Lawyers’ Alliance

The Lawyers’ Alliance is a group of volunteer attorneys in Miami-Dade led by Council Board member, Roger Slade.  The lawyers have identified several activities which connect lawyers with local public schools.  Such activities include lectures at local schools on college admissions, the use of social media and various other legal issues, as well as tours of the courts led by these prominent attorneys.

April 2014 Update

April 2014

Spotlight On Partnership: Raymond James Financial & Mt. Vernon Elementary
The Executive PASS© experience has provided the staff and students at Mt. Vernon Elementary, with numerous opportunities that has benefitted the entire school. One of the most meaningful outcomes of working with Ron Diner and the employees of Raymond James Financial were the mentors and tutors that supported many of the students. Thirty six students had mentors from Raymond James. These students and mentors met weekly for 30 minutes during lunch. The bonds formed between the mentors and mentees were incredible. These students anticipate the arrival of their mentors and have so much to share about their school “happenings”. The mentors served as a positive incentive for students and created a motivation for them to strive for success in school. In addition to academic gains, many of these children have had an increase in their social and emotional well-being as a result of this opportunity. 

March 2014 Update

March 2014

Spotlight On: Sue Miller
On February 8th, Temple Beth Shalom on Miami Beach recognized the Council for Educational Change’s Development Chair, Sue Miller, as their 2014 Honoree. Sue is a dedicated philanthropic leader who has received numerous awards for her community involvement, including the Philanthropist of the Year from the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. She is a true champion of innovation in health care, education, the arts, and Jewish education.

February 2014 Update

February 2014

Spotlight: Annenberg Sweethearts
Our Annenberg Sweethearts continue to shine:

January 2014 Update

January 2014


Art Noriega, CEO of the Miami Parking Authority has been an Executive PASS© partner with Miami Northwestern Senior High since the 2007– 2008 school year. During that time he has been an overwhelming supporter of the school, students and staff. Each year he serves as a valued member of the school’s Advisory Committee and also served on the interview panel for the school’s football and basketball coach positions, and is currently assisting in securing championship rings for the girls’ track team.

December 2013 Update

December 2013

Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award…

Sue Miller hosted the 11th Annual award luncheon on Nov. 14th at the University of Miami Newman Alumni Center. The winner of $10,000 was Adolfo Costa of Coral Gables Senior High in Miami-Dade. The Gold Medallion finalists and winners of $5,000 each were Kyle Dresback of Allen B. Nease High in St. Johns County and Robert McCue of South Lake High School in Lake County.

Adolfo Costa is the 2013 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award Winner

Adolfo Costa, principal of Coral Gables Senior High School from Miami-Dade County, received $10,000 from the Council for Educational Change on November 14th at the University of Miami, Newman Alumni Center.  He is one of three principals recognized for outstanding contributions in the field of education.  Kyle Dresback of Allen D. Nease High School from St. Johns County, and Robert McCue of South Lake High School from Lake County are the other two finalists who were each awarded $5,000.  At the event, Dr. Elaine Liftin, the Council’s President & Executive Director along with Sue Miller, announced Adolfo Costa as the winner of the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award.

November 2013 Update

November 2013

It is fitting that on November 14, Secretary of State John Kerry will present the Charles Cobb Award to the top career ambassador and the Sue Cobb Award to the top non-career ambassador in Washington, DC. On that same day, Ambassador Charles Cobb will pay tribute to his long time friend, Leonard Miller at the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award luncheon. He will honor Mr. Miller’s legacy by reminding the audience of what an extraordinary leader he was and how he was convinced that the best principals in our schools produce the best education for kids.

September 2013 Update

September 2013


  • Council board members Robert Zinn and Roger Slade have relocated and are with other law firms. We congratulate Robert Zinn on his new position at Carlton Fields, and Roger Slade on his new position at David B. Haber, PA.  We wish them both much success.

August 2013 Update

August 2013

For the past five years, the Helios Education Foundation and the Council for Educational Change have partnered on projects that developed the instructional leadership skills of hundreds of educators, from novice teachers to principals.

July 2013 Update

July 2013

Spotlight On: Joe Weaver…
Joe G. Weaver is a recent addition to the Board of Trustees for the Council for Educational Change. He is President of Raymond James Trust, N.A., subsidiary of Raymond James Financial, Inc. (NYSE-RJF). Joe came to Raymond James Trust in 2011 after more than 20 years of banking and wealth management experience, most recently at Regions Financial as the Private Banking & Wealth Management Executive for West Florida. He also served as the Managing Director of U.S. Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management in Tampa, Florida where he led a team of advisors and specialists focused on acquiring and developing relationships with high net worth individuals and families.

June 2013 Update

June 2013

When the team from the Council for Educational Change went to Hialeah High School and met junior Natalie Antunez in September of 2012, they knew she was a very special young lady. Natalie was nominated, and eventually was awarded a Leonore Annenberg Scholarship Fund college scholarship worth $250,000.
Since receiving her award in April of 2012, she has proven that the team made a great choice. At her senior luncheon in December, Natalie won two senior superlatives. Her peers voted her "Most Intellectual" and "Best Leadership Ability" for her work as Student Government President. Natalie was inducted for the fourth and final time to the Hialeah High chapter of the National Honor Society. Four-year members like Natalie, being the highest ranking members in the club, are awarded a cord of distinction to be worn at graduation.

April 2013 Update

April 2013

$1 Million in Scholarships…
Four Florida students have just learned that their lives have been changed forever. Thanks to the generosity of the Leonore Annenberg College Scholarship Fund, these young people will receive four year, all expense paid tuition, book allowance, housing and living expenses to attend the school of their choice. The high school juniors were nominated for the $250,000 scholarships by the Council for Educational Change. An announcement was made on April 17th in New York City.

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.

February 2013 Update

February 2013

Spotlight On…
Board Member: Anabel I. Nemrow

The Council’s newest Board member, Anabel I. Nemrow, joined BankUnited, N.A. as Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel in 2009. In her current role, Ms. Nemrow supervises and collaborates with outside counsel on litigation matters involving creditors' rights, consumer and commercial lending issues, bankruptcies, workouts, employment and retail banking issues in both state and federal courts. She also monitors regulatory activity and provides guidance on legal and compliance issues bank-wide.  Additionally, Ms. Nemrow reviews and negotiates vendor contracts, and drafts agreements in connection with the development of new customer relationships and new products. Ms. Nemrow addresses customer specific issues arising out of the bank’s daily operations and represents the Legal Department in special projects dealing with industry topics, changes in the law and growth initiatives, while building and developing partnerships.

January 2013 Update

January 2013

Spotlight On…
Board Member: Maribel Ferrer

Maribel Ferrer is one of the two new Board Members for the Council for Educational Change.  She is the Media Relations and Community Engagement Vice President for JPMorgan Chase, Southeast U.S. and U.S. Hispanic. She manages media relations for JPMorgan Chase in Florida and Georgia and leads Hispanic media relations for the bank. Before joining Chase earlier this year, Ferrer managed Hispanic communications programs and initiatives for Fortune 100 companies as co-lead of Fleishman-Hillard’s FH Hispania.

December 2012 Update

December 2012

Spotlight On…

At the Tenth Annual Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award Event, three outstanding Gold Medallion Winners were each awarded $10,000.

November 2012 Update

November 2012

Good News…

  • Congratulations to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and the entire Miami-Dade County Public Schools district on winning the prestigious Broad Prize for Urban Education. The prize is the largest education award in the country. The award recognizes school districts that demonstrate the strongest student achievement and improvement at the same time as reducing the achievement gap for poor and minority students. The district will receive $550,000 for college scholarships for 60 high school students that graduate in 2013.

October 2012 Update

October 2012

Good News…

  • Best wishes to Board member Lori R. Hartglass in her new position as a partner with Arnstein & Lehr in Miami-Dade.

September 2012 Update

September 2012

Exciting News:

  • The Council for Educational Change will host the first session of the prestigious Commissioner’s Leadership Academy in Tallahassee October 16 – 17. The Academy is funded by the Florida Department of Education to promote leadership among high performing principals who will have the opportunity to enhance their skills and build capacity within their schools and districts. Additional corporate sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Publix Super Markets Charities.

August 2012 Update

August 2012

Spotlight On:
The Council for Educational Change is proud and pleased to once again partner with the Helios Education Foundation who are generously sponsoring a new project to develop state-of-the-art school-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) instructional leadership. The project, STEM: Strong and Steady, will serve an initial group of teams at 10 Hillsborough middle schools: Adams, Bartels, Davidsen, Madison, Martinez, McLane, Orange Grove, Stewart, Webb and Wilson. Ten additional middle schools will join the project over its three year duration. It will be implemented collaboratively by the Council and Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS).

July 2012 Update

July 2012

Way To Go…

  • Congratulations to Doug Davidson, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Tammy Banhan of New York Life who were honored at the Booker T. Washington Elementary Outstanding Volunteer event on June 1st.  Mr. Davidson serves as the business mentor for the Booker T. Washington PASS© partnership.
  • On May 26th, 2012, two robotics teams from South Miami Senior High School attended the ION Mini-Urban Challenge National Robotics Finals Competition in Washington DC.  The teams finished tied for first place, both with perfect scores of 500 points.  The winner was decided by a tie-breaker based on the fastest time.  In addition, the first place team won the “Best Technical Presentation” award. The top two teams from five regional competitions throughout the U.S. qualify for the National Finals, which were held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  South Miami Senior’s teams had both qualified by finishing 1st and 2nd in the Florida Regional Competition. The two teams won a combined $11,500 in cash prizes.
  • Staff from the Council for Educational Change attended the four day training sessions sponsored by the Florida Department of Education on the Common Core Standards. The trainings were held for school leaders throughout the state in preparation for the implementation of the standards statewide. The standards will replace the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards and will raise the bar of academic achievement in Florida.
  • Renee O’Connor, reading teacher at Miami Norland Senior High’s letter was published in the Miami Herald praising her Principal, Luis Solano. “I couldn’t be more fortunate to be inspired by a leader who deeply believes all students can achieve. It’s clear that strength at the helm can encourage teachers, accelerate change for our students, maximize our classroom impact, foster positive relationships and improve student outcomes.”

June 2012 Update

June 2012


Best wishes to Council Board Member Scott Curtis on his promotion to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Raymond James Financial Services. He will become President of the business unit that provides technology and support services for independent brokers across the United States.

May 2012 Update

May 2012

Fantastic News…

  • The Council for Educational Change is delighted to announce that one of the candidates we nominated was selected as the recipient of a $250,000 college scholarship sponsored by the Leonore Annenberg Scholarship Fund, a partner of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Natalie Antunez, a junior at Hialeah High School and her family were surprised when Council staff and Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho came to the school and made the announcement. Natalie has a 5.8 grade point average, while taking a rigorous academic schedule of Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment classes.

April 2012 Update

April 2012

Spotlight On
Valerie B. Ward, principal of Scott Lake Elementary in Miami, FL is retiring after 35 years of service with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS). Ms. Ward was the recipient of the Council for Educational Change’s $10,000 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award in 2009. She has been affiliated with the Council since 2001, as principal of Biscayne Gardens Elementary - a PASS© program school.  After a successful PASS partnership, Biscayne Gardens Elementary became a PASS demonstration school in 2005.

February 2012 Update

February 2012

Executive Director’s Message

It is with great enthusiasm that we announce our 10th Anniversary as the Council for Educational Change. We have been able to accomplish so many things in our first decade. Taking the lessons learned from the 100 million dollar South Florida Annenberg Challenge and putting them into practice in schools throughout the state was no small feat. We have, however, been able to impact the lives of over 1,275,000 students in more than 750 schools. From the lessons learned of the Annenberg Challenge, we know that the key to improving the academic performance of the students is the school leader… the school Principal.

January 2012 Update

January 2012

Happy New Year!

As a New Year begins, we want to thank all of our partners—businesses, philanthropists, districts, schools, the Florida Department of Education, the Florida Council of 100, Florida TaxWatch, the Florida Legislature and everyone who helped to make 2011 such a meaningful and productive year for educational improvement through Council programs in Florida.

December 2011 Update

Happy Holidays from the Council

 December 12, 2011

2011 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award Winner Announced:
Enid Valdez, Principal of Piper High School in Broward County, was named the winner of the 2011 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award, with its accompanying prize of $10,000. Under her leadership, the percentage of students graduating rose from 61% to 87%, the number of Advanced Placement courses offered to students rose from four to 12, and a Dual Enrollment program where students receive college credit for courses taken, was initiated. Ms. Valdez is a participant in the PASS© program, with her CEO, Jordan Zimmerman, of Zimmerman Advertising.

November 2011 Update

November 16, 2011

Partnership News:

  • Students from Holmes and Crestview Elementary Schools, in Miami-Dade, were treated to a “Day of Taste” at Jungle Island sponsored by the American Institute of Wine and Food, with support from Whole Foods and FIU’s Culinary School.  Days of Taste® inspires children to learn about food, discover how ingredients taste, and how they become part of our lives, from farm to table. After an overview, students and staffs toured Jungle Island and were treated to a 'tasting' of freshly prepared snacks, juices, and a healthy, lunch.  Event Director Phyllis Festinger was delighted and stated the program's mission is to teach young students the importance of living a healthy life and making wise food choices.  Sabrina Montilla is principal at Crestview and the CEO is Beau Parrillo.  Atunya Walker is principal at Holmes where Jeffrey Miller and Karen Fryd are the CEOs.  Dr. Patricia Dixon is the PASS© Coordinator.
  • Jeannie Floyd, principal at Lauderhill Middle and Susan Leigh-Leon, principal at Coral Springs High in Broward hosted their feeder-pattern schools to a “Day of Partnerships”.  Each school invited all their partners, potential partners, and representatives from municipalities to speak with the principals and share examples of how they can be supportive.  Dr. Patricia Dixon, Executive PASS© Coordinator, shared the importance of active involvement of the principal and the value of having the support from the business community.  Marcia Barry-Smith is the CEO at Lauderhill and Regina Juszczak is the CEO at Coral Springs.  Both CEOs are from BankAtlantic.
  • Students and parents from Holmes Elementary were treated to an exciting afternoon by NBA Players Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat and Keon Dooling of the New Jersey Nets.  The players, through their non-profit foundations, joined together to talk with the students about setting goals in life and the importance of hard work, as well as steps to follow their dreams. This memorable afternoon was enjoyed by all.
  • Welcome new Executive PASS partnerships:  Gratigny Elementary — Principal Dr. Aaron Enteen, partner Richard Rome of Lightspeed Tech;  Holmes Elementary — Principal Atunya Walker, partner Karen Fryd of South Florida Youth Foundation;  North Miami Senior — Principal Michael Lewis, partner Dao Jun Hauptman of John Hancock Financial Network; Colonial Drive Elementary — Principal Lilia Chappotin, partner Diane Hickman of Learning for Life; Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy — Principal Jose Enriquez Jr., partner Malou Harrison of Miami Dade College - North Campus; Miami Edison Middle — Principal Keith Anderson, partner Bernard Cottle of Integrated Learning Trust; Miami Edison Senior — Provost Dr. Pablo Ortiz, partner Henry Petithomme of Youth Power Movement; North County Elementary — Principal Melissa Mesa, partner Noah Kahn of John Hancock Financial Network; Pine Villa Elementary — Principal Dr. Latonia Harris, partner Danny Alonso of John Hancock Financial Network.

October 2011 Update

October 7, 2011

Statewide Conversation — a Tremendous Success:

In partnership with the Florida Department of Education, CEPA-TaxWatch and funded by JPMorgan Chase, the Council for Educational Change sponsored a statewide conversation regarding the current “hot topic” of implementing results-based, high performance principal standards in Florida. With the passage of Senate Bill 736, performance based pay became a reality in the state. While few would disagree on the importance of this legislation, implementation is a difficult problem confronting the 67 school districts, with the probability of 72 different plans being submitted to the FLDOE.

September 2011 Update

September 9, 2011

Attention Principal Leaders!

You could be the winner of the 9th Annual 2011 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award with a cash prize of $10,000. If you are a Principal who is currently or has formerly participated in any Council program/activity, you may be eligible. Visit for details and complete your application today.

August 2011 Update

August 5, 2011

Champions of Education:

You too can… Donate Now!
Have you visited our website recently? If you have, then you already know that we have partnered with PayPal to accept donations directly on the Council for Educational Change website. If you have not seen our website lately, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. So, the next time you’re on the internet, please visit us at and click the “Donate Now” link and make a donation to support our mission…

Our most sincere appreciation to the Council for Educational Change’s Difference Makers in Education: E. Pace Barnes, Richard Baron & Associates, Sybiel B. Berkman Foundation, Richard and Billy F. Birnie, the Irving and Joan M. Bolotin Fund, Joan and Vincent Carosella, Tom Cerra, Mel and Iris Chasen, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Dalton, Paula Friedland, the Robert & Mary Graham Family Fund, Barbara Havenick, Edward F. and Carole H. Iwanicki, Norman Jaffe, Evelyn A. Lunsford, Gene Marshall, Leonard Miller, the Mark & Nedra Oren Family Fund, the Patricia & Emanuel Papper Foundation, Linda Potash, Carolyn Rosen Miller Family Fund, the Silbiger Family Foundation, Stanley Tate, and the Wien Family Fund.


July 2011 Update

July 11, 2011

Florida Leadership Academy:
The ninth annual Florida Leadership Academy had a Best Practices and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) focus. It was sponsored by the Council in conjunction with the Florida Department of Education, from June 19 – 22 at the Embassy Suites - USF in Tampa. Approximately 250 people attended sessions conducted by educators who have successfully improved student achievement at their schools. Teams including the principal, assistant principal, and lead teachers developed action plans which will be implemented during the 2011 – 2012 school year. District administrators also attended to provide support. Special thanks to our corporate sponsors: Akerman Senterfitt, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Carnival Cruise Lines, Etraffic Solutions, Inc., Publix Super Markets Charities, as well as our exhibiting sponsors; Acaletics, American Reading Company, Curriculum Advantage – Classworks, ExploreLearning – Gizmos, Great Books, PASCO – SPARKscience, Pearson Digital, Write Score, and Voyager.

June 2011 Update

June 8, 2011

Doing Great Things:

  • Council for Educational Change President and Executive Director, Dr. Elaine Liftin has been appointed to the State of Florida’s Race to the Top Teacher and Leader Preparation Committee. The group is charged with revising the current Florida Principal Leadership Standards to fully align with the research. The committee consists of postsecondary representatives, teachers, principals, district administrators, and school board members.

May 2011 Update

May 11, 2011

And the Winner Is . . .

  • Each year Miami-Dade County Public Schools recognizes its outstanding community partners. The theme this year was 'The Gift of Time'. This theme could not have been more appropriate because it clearly defines what these partners do each day... so unselfishly... providing of themselves... the true essence of TIME. Two of our PASS© Partners were announced as finalists in the School-wide division for this distinguished recognition: Dr. Gerald Glass, PASS Partner at Bunche Park Elementary, and Jeffrey Miller, PASS Partner at Hialeah Elementary.  Representing Dr. Glass was Francisco Zangerolame and Freddy Royero represented Mr. Miller. The overall 2011 WINNER was Automated Health Care Solutions...Dr. Gerald Glass! Congratulations Dr. Glass!!  These two CEOs thoroughly involve the employees at their companies in their respective schools.

April 2011 Update

April 8, 2011


  • President Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush visited Miami Central Senior High School to celebrate the school’s academic turnaround. Previously, the school had been one of the state’s lowest performing schools, but for this year has earned a grade of “C” on Florida’s accountability measures. Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said “We need to make sure that every child in Miami-Dade is ready for the global economy of the 21st century.”  Miami Central’s Principal, Rennina Turner is a participant in the Council’s Executive PASS© program. She is partnered with William Clark of the Miami Central Alumni Association Inc., and Julio Llanes of BankAtlantic. The foundation of the school’s turnaround efforts began with 2008 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award winner, Doug Rodriguez. Board Member Jeffrey Miller attended, representing the Council.

March 2011 Update

March 4, 2011

Wonderful News:

  • The Council for Educational Change has received $50,000 from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. These funds will be used to promote a statewide awareness of the National Standards for High Performing Principals. State leaders will be encouraged to recognize principals for their outstanding performance, as it is felt that those who successfully implement these standards will demonstrate school improvement and academic gains for students.

February 2011 Update

February 7, 2011

PASS© and Executive PASS©:

  • The Council is proud to announce that the PASS partnership between Village Academy and the Kobacker Foundation will continue.  The CEO is David Pollay, the principal is Guarn Sims, and the coach is Dave Goldstein.