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.

Mr. Landon was the PASS CEO for Ethel F. Beckford/Richmond Elementary School. During his association with the school, its grade rose from a “C” to a B and ultimately, to a double “A”. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Zoo Miami at the time, and was instrumental in incorporating scientific principles from the zoo into the curriculum at the school. The interest generated at the elementary level led to the creation of a zoo focused magnet program at Richmond Heights Middle School.

Kirk Landon was the former chairman of American Bankers Insurance Group which donated millions of dollars to schools, arts groups, health institutions, and numerous other charitable organizations. At American Bankers, he created a school for the children of his employees. In 2004, he donated $5 million to Florida International University, which was the largest single individual donation in the university’s history.

He served on numerous boards including: Chairman and Director of the Miami Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, independent director of Lennar Corp., Zoo Miami, and the Miami City Ballet, Among many of the prestigious awards he received were; Humanitarian of the Year from the University of Miami Transplant Institute, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Alvah H. Chapman, Jr. Humanitarian Award.


  • Executive PASS principal, Guillermo Munoz was named the Miami-Dade County Public School’s Principal of the Year. Mr. Munoz is the Principal of Homestead Senior High, but began his participation in the program when he was at his previous school.
  • Council Board Member, Lori Hartglass has been named one of the South Florida Business Journal’s Influential Business Women of 2015. This program honors her strong record of leadership, performance and innovation in her industry, plus meaningful community involvement. She will be profiled in an upcoming special section in the Business Journal. On May 21, the 2015 Influential Business Women will be recognized at an awards luncheon.
  • Justine Padron, a student at Jose Marti MAST 6–12 Academy (an Executive PASS school) is heading to the Canadian Rockies after winning the Local 10 (ABC) Eco-Hero challenge.

Update on Council Programs…
Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children

Two elementary schools in South Florida and one in Jacksonville will each receive a $50,000 grant from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children, which provides educational resources to underfunded 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-6 Center in Miramar, Myrtle Grove K-8 Center in Miami Gardens, and Reynolds Lane Elementary School in Jacksonville. The announcement comes at the right time for the Annabel C. Perry Elementary School, which is expanding to seventh grade in the 2015 - 2016 school year. The grant money will help the school buy interactive tables, where up to six students at a time can collaborate on projects, as well as buy whiteboards and slates.

Myrtle Grove plans to invest the grant 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 plans to invest the funds in LEGO educational projects and nonfiction classroom libraries. LEGO products are designed to improve children’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Since 2009, Florida has received $1.11 million in Leonore Annenberg School Fund grants to assist in funding STEM literacy initiatives, media centers, science and technology labs and more. The Council’s close ties to the Leonore Annenberg School Fund have facilitated the grant application process for these schools.

PASS and Executive PASS….

  • Good things are happening at Coral Gables High School in Miami-Dade. JROTC conducted its program accreditation inspection and earned a passing grade of 95.8 overall. Scoring a 95% or better also earns the title of “Honor Unit with Distinction”, a title maintained since 2004. The JROTC Drill Team placed second overall at the State Qualifier. The Cavalier Battalion will send 16 of its 18 teams to compete at the State Competition in Lakeland. The Women's Ensemble received Straight Superiors at the Florida Vocal Association District 16 Music Performance Assessment, and Cavalier Singers received Superior Ratings in Sight reading as well.
  • Belleair Elementary in Pinellas had a very successful Beautification Day! Thanks to their partner, Nielsen for the support in helping to purchase the plants and providing much needed manpower. About 50 people (parents, students, and spouses) came out to assist with the effort. Now when you walk up to Belleair, you might think that you are at Busch Gardens because of the beautiful landscaping!
  • On April 22, the principals and business partners in the Pinellas County Executive PASS program met at the Stavros Center to celebrate the success of their partnerships. The participants shared amazing stories of the exciting accomplishments at each of their schools.
  • Jeffrey Rubin, CEO of It’s Sugar has a unique activity with his partner school, Carver Middle in Palm Beach. The students who are participating in the school’s AVID program are creating a new candy which will be sold in his stores. It will be an interdisciplinary unit where all areas of the school will participate in creating, marketing and all other aspects of the creation, development, and sale of the candy. Proceeds from its sale will benefit the school.
  • The UCP Bailes PASS program has partnered with KaBOOM! and Disney in order to make play central to a child's ability to grow into a productive adult. Over 200 volunteers arrived at an empty site and within hours, they transformed the space into a vibrant neighborhood-gathering place. The new playground at UCP Pine Hills will bring hundreds of children in Orlando one step closer to having the play-filled childhood they deserve. The building of this new, safe and fun play space, will help create a more playable environment for children at the UCP Pine Hills campus, making it easier for them to get the balanced and active play they need to learn, grow, and thrive.

New Executive PASS Partnerships
…in Duval

  • Andrew A. Robinson Elementary – Principal Latrese M. Fann and business partner Jay Higbee of FAAR,
  • Andrew Jackson High – Principal Evan Paul Daniels and business partner Mark Lamping, Jaguars,
  • Annie R. Morgan Elementary – Principal LaShawn Streater and business partner Lance Windley of DHG,
  • Brentwood Elementary – Principal Carolyn Laws and business partner Gino Caliendo, Hyatt,
  • John E. Ford K-8 – Principal Paula Renfro and business partner Jerry Mallot of JAXUSA Partnership,
  • Northwestern Middle – Principal Arvin D. Johnson and business partner Fredrik Eliasson of CSX Corporation,
  • Reynolds Lane Elementary - Principal Marianne Simon and business partner Russell Newton, Jr. of Timucuan Asset Management

…in Miami-Dade

  • Eneida M. Hartner Elementary - Principal Dr. Derick McKoy and business partner Marivel Andreu of Celedinas Insurance Group,
  • Benjamin Franklin K-8 Center – Principal Mary Ann Gil-Alonso and business partner Jodi Kinner of Scholastic, Classroom and Community Group.

Dates to Remember…
May 13 – South Florida Executive PASS Networking Session, Miami
May 14 – Tampa Bay Area Focus Group Meeting, Tampa
May 19 – Legacy of Leadership Roundtable, Miami


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
MAY 2015 Update.pdf190.87 KB