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Palm Beach  Society News  Pages 1 
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Black Tie International:
Council for Educational Change
 Julio Frenk, President of the University of Miami, Dr, Elaine Liftin, President and Executive Director of the Council for Educational Change, Steven Wasserman, Interim Chair of the Council for Educational Change

 Julio Frenk, President of the University of Miami, Dr, Elaine Liftin, President and Executive Director of the Council for Educational Change, Steven Wasserman, Interim Chair of the Council for Educational Change


Weston, Fl. [Dec. 1, 2016] Downtown Doral Charter Elementary Head of School Jeannette Acevedo-Isenberg in Miami-Dade County was selected as the overall winner of the Council for Educational Change’s prestigious Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award (LMPLA).  The other two Gold Medallion winners are Belleair Elementary Principal Tabitha Griffin in Pinellas County and Reynolds Lane Elementary Principal Marianne Simon in Duval County. Each of them received $5,000 and Ms. Acevedo-Isenberg received $10,000.


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 Council for Educational Change is a statewide nonprofit organization that 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 (PASS©-Partnership to Advance School Success-PASS and Executive PASS). Under this these programs, 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.


Under the leadership of first-place finalist Principal Acevedo-Isenberg, the newly created Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School developed an award-winning dual-language immersion program, which involves 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. Principal Acevedo-Isenberg works closely with her business mentor Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, of Codina Partners, as well as other Council-facilitated business partnerships.


Principal Simon and Principal Griffin were also honored with the LMPLA for demonstrating strong leadership skills and working closely with their business partners.


Principal 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. Principal Simon says that part of her success comes from working closely with business partner Russell Newton, among other Council-facilitated business partnerships.


Principal 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. Principal Griffin’s partnership with Nielsen helped develop a strategic plan focused on increasing parent engagement, stimulating teacher and staff morale and improving student achievement.


At the Nov. 17 award 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., were recognized for their pivotal role in establishing the foundation from which the Council has been able to grow successful school leaders. In addition, the Council recognized The Braman Family Foundation and Debi Braman Wechsler for their support and invaluable commitment to improving the quality of education in our public schools. 


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


For more information contact: Paola Iuspa-Abbott, 305.726.5848 or



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:  


Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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