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Thursday, April 18, 2019
CONTACT:  Daisy Gonzalez-Diego
Miami-Dade County Public Schools

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:




Ben Sheppard Elementary

Dr. Eduardo J. Tagle

Dr. Henry Perrine Academy of the Arts

Carla D. Rivas

Joella C. Good Elementary

Lizette G. O’Halloran

North Dade Center for Modern Languages

Dr. Maria A. Castaigne

Sunset Elementary

Dr. Marlene Leyte-Vidal

Southside Elementary

Annette DeGoti



Coconut Palm K-8 Center

Dr. Carmen Jones-Carey

Frank C. Martin K-8 Center

Felicia K. Joseph

iPrep Academy Pre-K-12

Alberto M. Carvalho

Cutler Bay Middle

Ignacio Rodriguez

George Washington Carver Middle

Shelley F. Stroleny

Hammocks Middle

Deborah Leal

Herbert A. Ammons Middle

Maria Costa

John F. Kennedy Middle

Bernard L. Osborn

Jorge Mas Canosa Middle

Elio Falcon Jr.

Lamar Louise Curry Middle

Jean R. Baril

Lawton Chiles Middle

Stephanie M. Tudor

Southwood Middle

Raul F. Garcia

W.R. Thomas Middle

Wendy A. Barnett

West Miami Middle

Katyna D. Lopez-Martin



Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts 6-12

Martin T. Reid

Cutler Bay Senior High

Lucas J. Delatorre

Design and Architecture Senior High

Ana C. Alvarez-Arimon

Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High

Dr. Allison Harley

International Studies Preparatory Academy

Dr. Alina M. Diaz-Blanco

John A. Ferguson Senior High

Rafael A. Villalobos

Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial High

Tony G. Ullivarri

Miami Norland Senior High

Reginald E. Lee

New World School of the Arts

Jason H. Allen

Westland Hialeah Senior High

Giovanna M. Blanco

Cutler Bay Senior High

Lucas J. Delatorre



Air Base K-8 Center for International Education

Raul Calzadilla Jr.

Arvida Middle

Nancy S. Aragon

Howard D. McMillan Middle

Hilca Thomas

Miami Lakes Middle

Maria Medina

Paul Bell Middle

Ingrid G. Soto

Ponce de Leon Middle

Mr. Hebert M. Penton

Redland Middle

Gregory A. Beckford

Riviera Middle

Jorge A. Rivas

Rockway Middle

Josephine Otero

Shenandoah Middle

Bianca Calzadilla

South Miami Middle

Fabiola V. Izaguirre



José Martí MAST 6-12 Academy

Jose Enriquez Jr.

Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer

Dr. Miguel A. Balsera

Young Women’s Preparatory Academy

Concepcion I. Martinez



BioTECH @ Richmond Heights 9-12

Danny M. Mateo

Center for International Education: A Cambridge Associate School

Lisa L. Pizzimenti

Coral Reef Senior High

Thomas P. Ennis

Hialeah Senior High

Heriberto Sanchez

Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High

Lisa B. Garcia

Maritime and Science Technology Academy

Dr. Derik R. McKoy

MAST @ FIU Biscayne Bay Campus

Dr. Mathew J. Welker

Medical Academy for Science & Technology

(MAST @ Homestead)

Lisa S. Noffo

Miami Lakes Educational Center

Lourdes Diaz

Miami Springs Senior High

Edward R. Smith

North Miami Beach Senior High

Randy A. Milliken

Robert Morgan Educational Center

Reginald J. Fox

South Miami Senior High

Gilberto D. Bonce

TERRA Environmental Research Institute

Jose L. Sirven



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.


For the most up-to-date information, please download the Dadeschools mobile app to your iPhone or Android device.  Follow us on Twitter @mdcps and @miamisup and on Facebook at MiamiSchools and AlbertoCarvalho

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