When Carol Mandelstam began her master’s thesis on the “perfect” school she never dreamed that the school would become the epicenter of her family. Her idea: a small elementary school, which considered the whole child, strong in academics, a Physical Education curriculum built around gymnastics in a large gym and an Arts program where children would learn not only the visual arts but also the performing arts in a Broadwaystyled theater. Nearly 30 years later, not only has the dream of a school become a reality but all three of the Mandelstam’s children have benefited from the stellar education offered at the school and come back to work with their parents in a variety of roles.
Daughter Deon is the Art educator at the school putting her Masters in Educational Leadership to good use in implementing the unique visual arts program. Allen, the youngest, is an Occupational Therapist specializing in sensory integration and gymnastics. Deen and husband Jim run the one of a kind Theater and Performing Arts program that has seen the world premieres of three original musicals including Mouse King, now in its third year at The Mandelstam Theater.
“When we started along this path I just hoped that our children would be able to attend the school.” Says Rod Mandelstam, co-founder. “I never imagined that it would come to touch so many lives.”
For the Mandelstams, the family business is not just work – it is a passion and a second home. They have created an educational institution that will serve as a model to the nation for its revolutionary inclusion of gymnastics as physical education. They are the engineers of a school that will continue to serve as the foundation of a community in need of a nontraditional philosophy when it comes to the education of our children.
Rod and Carol Mandelstam are the founders of The Mandelstam School in South Miami, FL. They, along with their three daughters, Deon, Deen and Allen work at the school on a daily basis to ensure that its philosophy will continue to benefit children in the community and hopefully one day, the world.