Principal Mayra Barreiraand Assistant Principal Haydee Villanueva are bringing a breath of fresh air to the school administration
Rockway Elementary School is a solid “A” school .For the past 16 years the school wassuccessfully lead by Principal Debbie Saumell, who is also an alumni. Mayra Barreira, who has been recognized numerous times for her dedication and achievements, joined the school with great expectations. She received a warn welcome from staff, students and parents, and she is looking forward to continue working with all stakeholders.
Ms. Mayra Barreira began her career in education as a classroom teacher over 27 years ago. After teaching for several years, she knew the best way to make an everlasting impact was to become a school administrator, and her goal has definitely been accomplished through her years of service.
Ms. Barreira graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a Specialist in Educational Leadership, only two years after earning her Master Degree, Ms. Barreira was appointed as a temporary Assistant Principal at South Hialeah Community School and later she was asked to join a writing team to write a Saturn Proposal for the first school to be built in Doral, John I. Smith Elementary School. Without hesitation, she took on the challenge working tirelessly and opened John I. Smith Elementary School in 1996. The mascot of John I. Smith Elementary was dedicated to Ms. Barreira, previously Ms. Mayra Falcon, for her hard work and commitment to the school, naming it “Home of the Falcons”. In 2000 Ms. Barreira also received the prestigious recognition of being named Assistant Principal of the Year, Region Center III finalist. Ms. Barreira’s career as a Principal began in 2001 when she became Principal of Everglades K-8 Center and then in 2014 of Eugenia B. Thomas Community School to start the middle school initiative as the building was under construction and is now the Proud Principal at Rockway Elementary.
Professionally, she has received awards from Youth Crime Watch for her service and support to the organization, as well as a Distinguished Service Citation Award for 10 years of Service from the Rotary Club of Doral. Youth Crime Watch has also named Ms. Barreira Principal of the Year during the 2009-2010 school year, and principal of the Week during the 2012-2013 school year.
In June 2015 the City of Doral Mayor presented her with a Special Recognition Award for the many accolades and competitions her students and teachers have been awarded during the school year. She was named Principal of the Year for the Miami Springs Feeder pattern and was a Region III finalist and an ESE Principal of the Year finalist for the 2002-2003 school year. During the 2005-2006 school year, Ms. Barreira was named one of the Most Influential Leaders in Doral.
In the 2002-2003 school year, Ms. Barreira received the National PTS/PTSA School of Excellence, which is awarded for Parental Involvement. With all of these recognitions and awards, it is no wonder that all the schools she’s been assigned to have been an “A” schools. She believes in challenging her students while providing her teachers with the latest trend in education and promotes a hands-on, minds-on approach to learning.
Ms. Barreira believes that students are like sponges. When students are given information and shown how it can be applied, she believes that students are able to visualize it and compare it to something concrete, which allows them to apply the information and transform it to real life situations. “Students soak up everything around them that they see and hear. We must challenge them daily with Higher Order Thinking Strategies and Higher Vocabulary to help them excel. Therefore, we must ensure that our words and actions are always positive.” said Ms. Barreira.
Ms. Barreira also promotes Character Education and has instilled the “10 Foot Rule” at Rockway Elementary. The 10 Foot Rule states that when anyone comes within Ten Feet of a student, teacher, or staff member, that person should be acknowledged by making eye contact, being greeted, or offer assistance if needed. Barreira explains, “It build’s character for our students, as well as acts as a customer service mind frame to ensure that everyone feels welcome, wanted, respected, loved and part of the Rockway family.” For this reason, Ms. Barreira chose the theme “The Leader in you!” to represent this school year’s theme. Realizing that everyone has a little spark, fueled by ambition, initiative, and the courage to embrace new challenges, we want to ensure our students and staff realize that each one of them are leaders.
The PTA is an instrumental part of the school and invites all parents to join the PTA. She met with the PTA Board early in the summer and has already developed a calendar of events full of fun things for the students and staff. Barreira welcomes all parents to call her if they have any questions or concerns. In addition, she commends the parents for their role in staying involved in their child’s education as we realize that the Home + School connection is key.
After meeting with Ms. Barreira, we are confident that she will continue to build an everlasting relationship at Rockway Elementary. The students, staff and community are lucky to have her.
Assistant Principal Haydee Villanueva
A Miami-Dade County Public Schools educator for 24 years and mother of two,she received a Bachelors of Education degree from FIU, Masters in Elementary Education from St. Thomas University, and an Educational Specialist Degree in Administration from Nova University. This is her message:
“ I am very excited to work with such a dedicated staff, hard-working students, supportive parents and caring community at Rockway Elementary School. I feel honored to be the Assistant Principal at Rockway. I look forward to all of the challenges we will face together and to all the successes we will achieve together.”