Friday, April 29th was a day to celebrate Education in Miami Beach. Our community gathered at the Palms Hotel and Spa to award the most passionate and innovative educator/s in Miami Beach. Each year at this time, the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce gives an award to an outstanding educator chosen from one of the nominated teachers from each of the schools in Miami Beach Senior High School feeder pattern: Miami Beach Senior High School, Treasure Island Elementary School, North Beach Elementary School, Ruth K. Broad K-8 Center, Nautilus Middle School, South Pointe Elementary School, Fienberg Fisher K-8 Center and Biscayne Elementary School.
In the welcoming remarks at the annual luncheon, Mayor Matti Herrera Bower said, “The support of the Miami Beach Chamber’s Education Foundation has been very important in assisting our local schools and students by creating scholarships for them.” Bower continued “We are thankful for these efforts.”
Elayne Weisburd was introduced by Mayor Bower, and gave special recognition to Gerald Schwartz, past-chair of the Education Committee, for creating the Elayne Weisburd Excellence in Education Award, which has touched so many lives. Elayne Weisburd said, “It was his [Schwartz] idea to create an award recognizing the important role of the business community to promote education for the future of our Miami Beach students.”
Judges from the Community: Chamber Chairman, Jason Loeb, Sudsies Dry Cleaners; Miami Beach Education Foundation Volunteer, Madeleine Romanello, Douglas Elliman, Florida; Dr. Leslie Rosenfeld, City of Miami Beach; City of Miami Beach Quality of Education Chairman, Karen Rivo, Miami – Dade County Public Schools; Miami Beach Community and Adult Education Center Principal, Shirley Velasco; and Miami Beach Chamber Education as Business Council Chairman Maia Mediavilla, Atlantic Broadband, took time to read the nomination packages, interview the nominees and make the decision for the 2011 winners. This process gave them an opportunity to see the outstanding caliber of teachers our Miami Beach children are exposed to in our schools on a daily basis.
The 6 nominees were: Gwendolyn Sue Foote, Nautilus Middle School; Maria Teresa Garrido, South Pointe Elementary School; Danielle Klahr, Fienberg Fisher K-8 Center; Celestino Lopez, Biscayne Elementary School; Jacqueline Lozano, North Beach Elementary School; Carol L. Smith, Treasure Island Elementary School; and the 2 winners were Dr. Mercy MacDowell, Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center; and Paul Rehage, Miami Beach Senior High School.
Helping to support this annual program were sponsors FPL, Office Depot, Sudsies, the Palms Hotel and Spa and Tremont Towing. Present at this year’s luncheon were Mayor Matti Bower, Special Guest of Honor Elayne Weisburd and her family, and award founder Gerald K. Schwartz, Past Chairman, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. Also present were special guests from the school district: Dr. Maria de Armas, Jose Dotres, the Guest Speaker, and Gerald Blumstein from Dr. Karp’s Office.