School Principals From Marion, Palm Beach and Hillsborough Counties Receive Prestigious Award For Their Turnaround Leadership Skills

Miami, FL. [Nov. 19, 2015]

The Council for Educational Change is proud to announce that West Port High School Jayne Ellspermann from Marion County is the recipient of the 2015 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award. Jayne was one of three School Principals chosen as Gold Medallion Finalist of this highly coveted award in the State of Florida. Carver Middle School Principal Kiwana Alexander-Prophete from Palm Beach County and Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy Principal John Haley from Hillsborough County were finalists.

As winner of The Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award, Ms. Ellspermann received a $10,000 check during an award ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. Ms. Prophete and Mr. Haley received a $5,000 check each.

The Council was the vision of the late Leonard Miller, co-founder of Lennar Corp. Leonard believed that all children could succeed if they receive a quality education. The Council works with school principals and business executives to help strengthen leadership in public schools across Florida. Over the past 13 years, the organization has invested more than $30 million dollars and touched the lives of more than 1.6 million students in over 900 schools.

Ms. Ellspermann’s accomplishments highlight her strong leadership skills. Her visioning has led West Port High School to experience a steady increase in student achievement over the past three years. Despite changes in assessments, passing scores, and criteria the school has exceeded its academic goals. Her successful strategy has focused on staff development and academic feedback. The school went from declining enrollment to a waiting list of students wanting to attend to West Port High, with enrollment jumping from under 1400 to nearly 2,700 students in the past five years.

“Strong leadership results in successful schools, quality of education and a much better prepared workforce,” said Dr. Elaine Liftin, President and CEO of the Council for Educational Change. “Jayne is a good example of a leader with a vision and the skills necessary to implement a winning strategy. She truly embodies the spirit of the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award.”

Ms. Prophete is a Gold Medallion Finalist of this annual award for her distinctive ability to get the community engaged in order to improve the quality of education at Carver Middle School. Her mantra “A Principal should not work in isolation,” has led her to recruit and involve partners to support the school community. The partnerships have been instrumental in the increase of student achievement, school improvement and student social success. Engaging partnerships is why Carver has made such a significant turnaround in less than three years. “Kiwana is a true leader because she is able to successfully communicate her vision to all major stakeholders and have them embrace it to bring about change to the benefit of the students,” Dr. Liftin said.

Mr. Haley is a Gold Medallion Finalist for his demonstrated capacity to motivate students to excel in academia. One of his most successful accomplishments is the establishment of the House System. The student body is divided equally into three houses, and each student is placed into a house. Each house is again divided into smaller mentor groups that hold a mentor teacher and students from all 3 grade-levels. The students compete for points to earn the coveted House Cup. The competitive nature of the activities has created a huge incentive for the students and has helped boost the school’s reading gains from 48 percent in 2012 to 69 percent in 2014. “As a good leader, John has created a ‘Wall of Accountability’ - where scores from district and state exams are regularly posted – in order to create a visual for students to see where they are and where they need to be,” Liftin said. “His creativity and leadership skills are a great asset to the community.”

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. Its mission is 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 in order to bring positive changes to the school. The Council also has a three-year matching grant executive partnership program in which 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: