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Miami Lakes Ed Center Named Top Magnet School in the Nation, 58 M-DCPS Schools, Students, Employees Win Top Awards at National MSA Conference

Miami Lakes Ed Center Named Top Magnet School in the Nation, 58 M-DCPS Schools, Students, Employees Win Top Awards at National MSA Conference

  • Fifty-eight Miami-Dade County public magnet schools recently were honored at the 37th annual Magnet Schools of America (MSA) National Conference with a Merit Award of either Excellence or Distinction for having demonstrated the highest level of achievement in Magnet schools nationally. This is more schools than any other district in the country – ever!

“The students, teachers and employees of Miami-Dade County Public Schools continue to shine and demonstrate their commitment to instructional and academic excellence,” said Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “Winning the prestigious Magnet Schools of America award is another example of Miami-Dade’s belief that all children have the potential to soar to extraordinary academic heights when they are exposed to curriculum that is cutting-edge and robust.”

Among them is Miami Lakes Educational Center, which earned the 2019 Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence for the highest commitment to Diversity, Academic Excellence, and Curriculum Innovation.

“This outstanding achievement honors and celebrates the dedication of Miami Lakes Educational Center’s teachers and administrators who provide students with a rigorous, well-planned education in a field of their choice, aptly preparing them for college and career,” said School Board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman. “Bringing this award home to Miami Lakes and to Miami-Dade County is a commendable accomplishment for these educators, who will be revered for many years to come.”

Miami-Dade County’s public schools, students and employees received numerous awards and recognitions for stellar work and high levels of achievements during the 2018-2019 year:

• Deborah Leal, Principal of Hammocks Middle School, received the MSA Region III (which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) Magnet Principal of the Year award.

• Antonio Santamaria, 5th grade, from Sunset Elementary, was honored with 3rd place in the elementary level of the National Magnet School Poster Contest.

• Ponce De Leon Middle School was honored as being one of the schools within the top 3 percent of magnet schools nationally.

• Evonne Alvarez, District Director for Schools Choice & Parental Options, was re-elected by her peers to serve a second two-year term as the MSA Region III Director on the MSA Board of Directors. Additionally, she was named chair of all seven regional directors.
M-DCPS Magnet schools receiving national Merit Awards are as follows:

– Air Base K-8 Center for International Education
Principal – Raul Calzadilla Jr.
– Arvida Middle
Principal – Nancy S. Aragon
– Howard D. McMillan Middle
Principal – Hilca Thomas
– Miami Lakes Middle
Principal – Maria Medina
– Paul Bell Middle
Principal – Ingrid G. Soto
– Ponce de Leon Middle
Principal – Mr. Hebert M. Penton
– Redland Middle
Principal – Gregory A. Beckford
– Riviera Middle
Principal – Jorge A. Rivas
– Rockway Middle
Principal – Josephine Otero
– Shenandoah Middle
Principal – Bianca Calzadilla
– South Miami Middle
Principal – Fabiola V. Izaguirre
– José Martí MAST 6-12 Academy
Principal – Jose Enriquez Jr.
– Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer
Principal – Dr. Miguel A. Balsera
– Young Women’s Preparatory Academy
Principal – Concepcion I. Martinez
– BioTECH @ Richmond Heights 9-12
Principal – Danny M. Mateo
– Center for International Education:
– A Cambridge Associate School
Principal – Lisa L. Pizzimenti
– Coral Reef Senior High
Principal – Thomas P. Ennis
Hialeah Senior High
Principal – Heriberto Sanchez
Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High
Principal – Lisa B. Garcia
Maritime and Science Technology Academy
Principal – Dr. Derik R. McKoy
MAST @ FIU Biscayne Bay Campus
Principal – Dr. Mathew J. Welker
Medical Academy for Science & Technology
(MAST @ Homestead)
Principal – Lisa S. Noffo
Miami Lakes Educational Center
Principal – Lourdes Diaz
Miami Springs Senior High
Principal – Edward R. Smith
North Miami Beach Senior High
Principal – Randy A. Milliken
Robert Morgan Educational Center
Principal – Reginald J. Fox
South Miami Senior High
Principal – Gilberto D. Bonce
TERRA Environmental Research Institute
Principal – Jose L. Sirven

See Also

M-DCPS was recognized as having 21 certified magnet schools, representing more than any other district in the country and sanctioned by MSA to be amongst the highest quality magnet schools in the U.S. Seven schools earned the highest certification level – Certified National ‘Demonstration’ Magnet School. They are as follows:

Air Base K-8 Center for International Education
Arthur & Polly Mays Conservator of the Arts 6-12
Coral Gables Senior High School
Coral Reef Senior High School
New World School of the Arts
Shenandoah Middle School
Young Women’s Preparatory Academy

BioTECH @ Richmond Heights 9-12
Center for International Education: A Cambridge Associate School (CIE)
Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH)
Dr. Henry E. Perrine Academy of the Arts
Frank C. Martin K-8 Center
G.W. Carver Middle School/Center for International Education
Herbert A. Ammons Middle School
International Studies Preparatory Academy (ISPA)
iPrep Academy Prek-12
John F. Kennedy Middle School BEAT Magnet Program
Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial High School
Medical Academy for Science and Technology (MAST @ Homestead)
South Miami K-8 Center
Sunset Elementary School

Magnet school programs offer unique courses of study focusing on students’ special interests, talents, and abilities and are available in five themes of study: International Programs; Liberal Arts; S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics); Virtual Learning; and Visual & Performing Arts. Since opening its first magnet program in 1973, magnet options have greatly expanded within Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Currently, more than 72,000 students are enrolled in more than 380 magnet programs offered at 114 schools districtwide. For more information, go to: or @miamimagnets on Twitter.

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