The head of a multilingual charter school in Doral won the Council for Educational Change’s annual Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award on Thursday, the first time in its 14-year history that the award has gone to the principal of a charter school.
Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School principal Jeannette Acevedo-Isenberg was honored at a luncheon at the University of Miami’s Newman Alumni Center in Coral Gables, along with two other finalists. The award recognizes principals who have participated in the Council for Educational Change’s programs, which partner business leaders with school administrators to come up with strategies for improving schools.
In the case of Downtown Doral Charter, the public-private partnership goes even further. The school was created in 2015 in partnership with Codina Partners, a local real-estate development firm, and Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The non-profit charter school is managed by the school district but the land was donated by Codina and the school has received additional funding from the company.
Under Acevedo-Isenberg’s leadership, Downtown Doral Charter received an “A” rating in its first year of operation and had the highest math scores in the district. The school offers dual-language immersion programs in Spanish and Portuguese and provides tutors for children who are struggling to learn a second language.
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Acevedo-Isenberg said the secret to the school’s success is passion.
“Everybody in my staff has the same passion that I do,” she said. “Every decision we make is based on the children.”
Acevedo-Isenberg also cited involved parents and support from Codina and the Council for Educational Change as important factors in the school’s achievements. “We’ve been able to use all of our resources and bring the community into the school,” she said.
Marianne Simon, the principal of Reynolds Lane Elementary in Duval, and Tabitha Griffin, who heads Belleair Elementary in Pinellas, were the other finalists for the award.