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.

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

  • The Duval Executive PASS program facilitators extend their thanks to all the school principals, business mentors, and leaders at Duval County Public Schools for the valuable work they did together in this first year of the Executive PASS initiative in Duval. The facilitators met this summer and debriefed about the partner leadership collaborations and initiatives that were developed to support students and staff. They look forward to continuing their Duval Executive PASS support throughout this new school year.
  • New Miami-Dade Executive PASS partnerships include: Miami Senior High – new partner Sol Gonzalez, Miami Dade College-InterAmerican with Principal Benny Valdes; Coral Gables Senior High – new partner Sol Gonzalez, Miami Dade College-Inter American with Principal Adolfo Costa; Alonso and Tracy Mourning Senior High – new partner Stuart Rohatiner of Gerson, Preston, Robinson & Company, P.A. with Principal Lisa Garcia; John Ferguson Senior High – new partner Jennifer Bravo, Miami Dade College-Kendall with new Principal Rafael Villalobos; Jose de Diego Middle – new partner Dr. Donnie Hale Jr., FIU-The Education Effect with Principal Dr. April Thompson-Williams; Lillie C. Evans K-8 – new partner Gina Greenidge, FIU-The Education Effect with new Principal Dr. Isolyn Hillhouse; South Dade Senior High – new partner Javid Mortazavi, Mass Mutual with Principal Javier Perez; Booker T. Washington Senior High -new partner Sandra Martinez, Miami-Dade College-Wolfson with Principal William Aristide.

Kudos to...

  • John “Jay” Drag who has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Operations for Charter Schools Associates. The company oversees 17 schools throughout the state. Mr. Drag is a graduate of the 2014–2015 Commissioner’s Leadership Academy Institutes.
  • Principal Wallace Aristide and the staff at Miami Northwestern Senior High for the outstanding article which appeared in the Miami Herald. The school is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its initial graduating class.
  • Council Board member and Governance Committee Chair, Lori Hartglass who will be honored by the Daily Business Review. She will be among a group of 20 South Florida attorneys, current and former judges, public servants, and veteran litigators honored at DBR’s second annual Women in Law event. The event will be held on Oct. 14. Lori Hartglass is a partner at Arnstein & Lehr.

Spotlight On: Rena Epstein...
Rena Epstein is a very special lady who turned personal tragedy into a means to help others. After the untimely passing of her sister, Deborah Natansohn, she created the Deborah L. Natansohn Memorial Scholarship. At the time of her passing in October 2006, Ms. Nathansohn was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Seabourn Cruise Line, and was about to embark on a new adventure as a mentor with the Council’s Executive PASS program.

In 2007, Rena and her family established the Deborah Natansohn Foundation to promote efforts to further the advancement of women in society and business through mentoring programs, educational partnerships, scholarships, and community outreach. Since the inception of the Foundation, it has supported programs sponsored by the Council for Educational Change.

Initially, the Foundation provided scholarships for deserving principals to attend Leadership Academies. These statewide events were intended to enhance the leadership skill of participants. In 2010, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) changed the focus of these academies and attendance was prescribed. At that time the Foundation switched its focus to provide on-site mentoring for the principal and her Leadership team.

Results of this program have been tremendous. In all instances, there has been an improvement in principal leadership capacity that has led to increased student academic performance. In one instance, the third grade retention was eliminated, as all students were deemed proficient. Mentors also assisted the principals to access additional grants (totaling over $200,000) for a number of academic programs. One principal used her grant dollars on a cafeteria make over to ensure healthy eating habits for the students. This year, funding is being provided to mentor first year Principal LaFerne Cross and the Leadership Team at Oriole Elementary School in Broward.

Rena Epstein and the Deborah Nathansohn Foundation are proof positive that even small contributions can yield remarkable results.

Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children...
When school began this year, students at three schools were delighted with new programs being offered thanks to the generosity of the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children, which provides educational resources to nominated schools. The funds help the schools acquire technology, books, arts materials, and educational products designed to improve reading skills and proficiency in math and science.

The selected elementary schools in Florida are Annabel C. Perry K-7 Center in Miramar, Myrtle Grove K-8 Center in Miami Gardens, and Reynolds Lane Elementary School in Jacksonville. For students at AC Perry, the grant money helped the school to buy interactive tables, where up to six students at a time can collaborate on projects, as well as to buy whiteboards and slates. Myrtle Grove invested their money to strengthen its Reader’s Theater literacy program, which uses nursery rhymes, poetry anthologies, play scripts and musical instruments for theater productions that seek to improve fluency and vocabulary. Reynolds Lane purchased LEGO educational projects and nonfiction classroom libraries. LEGO products are designed to improve children’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

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

Council for Educational Change Board....Florida's Educational Think Tank
Charles B. Blumenkamp, Chair • Dr. Elaine Liftin, President and Executive Director
Founder, Leonard Miller
Andrew L. Ansin* • Philip F. Blumberg • Columba Bush* • Charles E. Cobb Jr.* • Scott A. Curtis*
Diane Davis • Edward W. Easton* • Dorothy Eisenberg • T. Willard Fair* • Edward T. Foote, II*
Karen Fryd • Karnardo Garnett, Esq. • Dr. Robert W. Graham, III • Steven T. Halverson* • Lori R. Hartglass
Cyrus M. Jollivette* • Jonathan I. Kislak • Joseph E. Mahoney, Jr. • Daniel W. Mahurin* • Gene E. Marshall
Brad Martin • Beth G. Martinez* • Jeffrey Miller • Sue Miller • Robert Moss • Anabel I. Nemrow
Arthur Noriega V • Harold E. Patricoff • Fred Pezeshkan • Andrew S. Rosen • Peter S. Rummell*
Steven J. Saiontz • Ned Shandloff* • Steven J. Uhlfelder • Scott Ulvi • Steven Wasserman
Joe G. Weaver • Lynne Wines* • Dr. Paul Zimmerman    *Life Trustees
SEP 2015 Update.pdf200.1 KB