The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce hosted Miami Beach teachers, school administrators, business people and community leaders on Friday, April 26, 2013 to celebrate distinguished educators within the schools of the City of Miami Beach feeder pattern at the Annual Elayne Weisburd Excellence in Education Luncheon. At the luncheon, held this year at the South Beach Marriott, the finalists for the Elayne Weisburd Excellence in Education Award were honored and the winner, Michelle Petrou from Treasure Island Elementary School, was announced. The finalists for this year’s award were selected by a distinguished within the City of Miami Beach Feeder Pattern was designated, and the winner was carefully selected from the pool of finalists. The finalists for the 2013 award were: Ana Garcia Careaga from Nautilus Middle School, Jason Bogart from South Pointe Elementary School, Hipolito Rodriguez from Fienberg Fisher K-8 Center, Lizeth T. Garcia from Biscayne Elementary School, Meme Ferre’ Succar from North Beach Elementary School, Maggie Vidal Santos from Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center, Sam Brown from Miami Beach Senior High School, and of course, Michelle Petrou from Treasure Island Elementary School—this year’s winner.
Once again, the Elayne Weisburd Excellence in Education Award Luncheon was a successful celebration of outstanding teachers in the Miami Beach Feeder Pattern, as well as a testament to the strength of the Miami Beach community. Ceci Velasco, Executive Vice President of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, served as master of ceremonies for the event, while Aaron Tandy, Executive Board of Governors member, welcomed the event’s attendees on behalf of the Chamber’s Board of Governors. Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower attended the luncheon and introduced the award’s namesake, Mrs. Elayne Weisburd, commending her as the first female commissioner for the City of Miami Beach. Elayne Weisburd dedicated her career to the City of Miami Beach and the education of our community’s leaders of tomorrow. Mrs. Weisburd addressed the luncheon, and commended the late Dr. Rosann Sidener for her transformation of Miami Beach Senior High School from a “D” school back to an “A” school. On the topic of the importance of education, Mrs. Weisburd stated, “Education is the most important aspect of life; it is our future because they are our children. They are our future, and their education is the most important thing in life.”
Dr. Leslie Rosenfeld, Organizational Development and Training Specialist for the City of Miami Beach, gave the keynote address to the luncheon attendees. She considers her role as mother of two children in the Miami Beach Public Schools the most important, though she has taught and served as an administrator within the system. Dr. Rosenfeld summed up the characteristics of a great teacher with the following: “a great teacher is a teacher that makes sure everyone is keeping up, a teacher that is not afraid to change their lesson plans, and a teacher that sets high goals.” Furthermore, she said, “as a parent of children that attend our schools, I know for sure that this is happening, but more than that, our teachers are exceeding those expectations and going beyond.” Dr. Rosesnfeld continued, “Our teachers are not ice cream makers; they do not get to select what ingredients go into their classrooms. We invite every member of our community into these classrooms, and our teachers work equally as hard with each student that comes into their classrooms to ensure that there is equal access and the same opportunities, and that every child has the same bright future ahead of them.”
All finalists were honored at the luncheon for their extraordinary commitment to the Miami Beach education community. Michelle Petro gave a short address following her announcement as the award winner. She said, “If you like what you do, it doesn’t seem hard,” and she thanked her three children, husband, Principal and colleagues for their constant support.
This wonderful event honoring the dedication of all teachers throughout the Miami Beach Feeder Pattern schools was made possible by generous sponsorship from Florida Power and Light, Lee and Marie’s Cakery Company, Pasha’s, Office Depot and the South Beach Marriott.