The 2012 Elayne Weisburd Excellence in Education Awards

Olga Figueras, Acting Principal, Miami Beach Senior High School, Christopher Bargado, Winner – Gussie Bowen, Karen Rivo, Chairman, CMB Quality of Education Committee and Charmaine Williams, Miami Beach Senior High School.

Friday, May 13th, 2011, began like any normal South Florida Spring Day for the Judging Committee made up of Chamber City of Miami Beach Quality of Education Chair, Karen Rivo; Chamber Education Council Chair, Maia Mediavilla from Atlantic Broadband; Maria Guadamuz, AAA Locksmith; Sheila Duffy Lehrman, Tropic Survival and Bob Balsam, Miami Beach Convention Center, proudly managed by Global Spectrum. They came to the Chamber’s Boardroom to judge the 8 nominees from the Miami Beach Senior High’s feeder pattern schools: Dorothy Brochey, Nautilus Middle School; Benjamin E. Groff, South Pointe Elementary; Sharon Heath, Fienberg Fisher K-8 Center; Jacqueline Adler, Biscayne Elementary; Anat Schwartzbaum, North Beach Elementary School; Onil Rodriguez, Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center; Gussie Bowen, Miami Beach Senior High School and Olga Bichachi, Treasure Island Elementary School.

It turned out to be an exceptional day: they had already read the applications filed by each of the educators, signed and approved by the administrators at each school. They had an idea of what each of the teachers was like and what they had done at his/her school to deserve the nomination. But they had no idea what kind of passion for education each of these outstanding people had in their hearts.

It was only the beginning of our Annual Elayne Weisburd Excellence in Education Awards Event. The judges chose their winner and this year, they also designated a special judges’ award, sponsored by Bob Balsam, Global Spectrum, to be presented at the Awards Luncheon held Friday April 27th at the Palms Hotel & Spa, sponsored each year by FPL. Sponsors have been so much a part of this event annually and this year was no exception; the Chamber could not have produced this event without the generous contributions of the Palms Hotel and Spa, Mangos Tropical Café, Office Depot, Pasha’s, Lucky Strike and the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company.

What a great day it was, School Administrators, Educators, Business partners and Community members gathered together to honor the best of our Miami Beach Senior High School’s Feeder Pattern. Dr. Martin Karp spoke to the crowd and Mayor Matti Bower, a staunch supporter of local education addressed the assembly. Everyone was excited to see Sharon Heath honored with the Special Judges’ Award for 18 years of dedication to the special needs students at Fienberg Fisher K-8 Center and Gussie Bowen from Beach High honored with the Elayne Weisburd 2012 Excellence in Education Award.

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