Press Release

The Council for Educational Change to Honor A School Principal from Duval, Miami-Dade and Pinellas Counties With Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award
Florida principals to be honored at a Nov. 17 luncheon at the University of Miami in Coral Gables

Weston, Fl. [Nov. 14, 2016] A school principal from Duval, Miami-Dade, and Pinellas Counties are Gold Medallion finalists for the prestigious Council for Educational Change’s Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award. The award recognizes and rewards principals who have participated in Council programs, and whose leadership skills have improved the academic performance of their students.

The Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award luncheon will take place on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the University of Miami’s Newman Alumni Center in Coral Gables. Beloved Board Member Sue Miller, who recently passed away, will be recognized by Board Member Ambassador Charles E. Cobb Jr.

The Council for Educational Change, a statewide nonprofit organization, delivers programs that strengthen the leadership team in schools across Florida with the goal of improving student achievement. The Council was the vision of the late Leonard Miller, co-founder of Lennar Corp. Mr. Miller believed that principal leadership is the catalyst to ignite school improvement. His leadership, vision and expertise inspired the Council’s Principal Leadership programs, including CEO/Principal mentoring partnerships. Under this program, successful business executives mentor and coach school principals to develop programs that encourage students to graduate career-ready and equipped with skills and abilities to obtain meaningful employment.

“About 40 percent of student achievement is tied to the leadership of the school principal,” said Dr. Elaine Liftin, President and Executive Director of the Council for Educational Change. “When we pair an Education CEO with a Business CEO, the leader-to-leader partnership produces an incredible outcome for children.”

At the luncheon, business partners Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York; Frank Scruggs, partner of Berger Singerman LLP; and Alex Villoch, President & Publisher of the Miami Herald Media Co., will be recognized for their pivotal role in establishing the foundation from which the Council has been able to grow successful school leaders. The Braman Family Foundation and Debi Braman Wechsler will be recognized for their invaluable commitment to improving the quality of education in our public schools.

The three Gold Medallion finalists who have demonstrated strong leadership skills and worked closely with their business partners are Principal Marianne Simon of Reynolds Lane Elementary in Duval; Head of School Jeannette Acevedo-Isenberg from the Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School in Miami-Dade; and Principal Tabitha Griffin of Belleair Elementary in Pinellas. The First Place finalist will receive $10,000 and the other two award recipients will each receive $5,000.

Ms. Simon’s leadership skills raised Reynolds Lane Elementary grade from an F to a C in just two years; the school’s math gains were the second highest in Duval County. Ms. Simon increased student achievement and academic growth by improving the culture of the school. Once this was achieved, she turned her attention to instruction. Daily walk-throughs of classrooms allowed her to deliver specific feedback to teachers and gather information on professional development requirements. Teachers felt supported and empowered to attempt new methods of reaching their students. Ms. Simon says that part of her success comes from working closely with business partner Russell Newton, among other Council-facilitated business partnerships.

Under the leadership of Ms. Acevedo-Isenberg, the newly created Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School developed an award-winning dual-language immersion program. Part of her strategy includes providing tutors for children struggling with second language acquisition. In addition, she coordinates periodic observations in which teachers observe high-performing colleagues and share best practices along with monthly data chats. By reviewing data, hosting discussions and tailoring instruction to meet the needs of each student, teachers improve student achievement. Ms. Acevedo-Isenberg works closely with her business mentor Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, of Codina Partners, as well as other Council-facilitated business partnerships.

Ms. Griffin’s leadership skills raised Belleair Elementary two grade levels, from a “D” to a “B,” by aligning standards and instruction, examining school data and applying the statistics to make instructional decisions. She helped teachers provide specific interventions to remediate deficiencies for students who are not performing on grade-level standards. She hosted regular data-driven chats and worked with teachers to focus on students who were not proficient. Ms. Griffin’s partnership with Nielsen helped develop a strategic plan focused on increasing parent engagement, stimulating teacher and staff morale and improving student achievement.

The Council is proud to honor principals who produce results. When they are successful, our students are successful. Over the past 13 years, the Council has invested more than $30 million in leadership programs across Florida, and touched the lives of more than 1.6 million students in over 900 schools.

The generous sponsors of the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award luncheon are the Carnival Foundation, Cobb Family Foundation, Miller Family Foundation and Richard & Susan Finkelstein.

For more information contact: Paola Iuspa-Abbott, 305.726.5848 or paola@topofmind-pr.com

PLEASE, THINK OF THE COUNCIL FOR EDUCATIONAL CHANGE ON GIVE MIAMI DAY, Nov. 17.

https://givemiamiday.org/

About the Council for Educational Change

The Council for Educational Change is a statewide, 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to focus on LEADERSHIP to improve student achievement and address critical issues in education.  Leonard Miller founded the Council for Educational Change in 2003, as the successor organization of the South Florida Annenberg Challenge. Based in Weston, the Council is led by a Board of Trustees. Some of its accomplishments include the creation of the Executive PASS© program, which forms a partnership between a business leader and a school principal to share business strategies to bring positive changes to the school. The Council also has a three-year matching grant executive partnership program in which a CEO mentors a school principal and commits up to $100,000 to develop and fund strategic plans to create a culture of excellence and success. For more information visit: http://www.changeeducation.org 


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