• Urban Educator logo

Miami School Board Member Named Top Educator

  • Marta Pérez has served on the Miami-Dade County school board since 1998 and has been an unwavering supporter of countless initiatives, particularly in the areas of ethics and accountability, parental involvement, wellness and student achievement. She was instrumental in leading the school board to adopt stronger ethics and accountability measures, including the establishment of the Inspector General position and the Ethics Advisory Commission, which resulted in the school board receiving the National School Board Association Magna Award.

    In recognition of her efforts, Pérez was announced the winner of the Green-Garner Award at the Council of the Great City Schools’ 32nd Annual “Urban Educator of the Year” virtual award ceremony. She is the first Cuban American to win the award. 

    Sponsored by the Council and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, the top prize is presented each year in memory of Richard R. Green, the first African American chancellor of the New York City school system, and businessman Edward Garner, who served on the Denver school board.

    Upon receiving the Green-Garner Award, Perez noted that it is important for elected officials to be diligent and ethical in their own governance and that school districts must focus on improving student achievement. “Throughout the years that I have been an elected official, I have championed these ideas,” said Perez.

    As the recipient of the 2021 Green-Garner Award, Pérez receives a $10,000 college scholarship to present to a 2022 graduate of the Miami-Dade County school district.

    Queen Smith Award

    Tiffany Cox, director of bands at Lake Worth Community High School in Florida’s School District of Palm Beach County,  was the recipient of the Queen Smith Award for Urban Education. The $5,000 award is named in honor of the late vice president of urban programs for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. 

    Cox presents regularly at local, state, national and international conferences where she advocates for equity in music education. She works tirelessly to support her students and to provide them with access to a world-class music education experience despite a lack of funding and resources. In her four years at Lake Worth, she has fundraised and received grant funding totaling over $200,000 for her band program.

    Urban Impact Award

    The Council of the Great City Colleges of Education, an affiliate group of deans working with big-city school leaders, annually presents the Dr. Shirley S. Schwartz Urban Education Impact Award to an outstanding partnership between a university and urban school system and is named in honor of the Council’s director of special projects who died in March 2009.

    The 2021 winner is the Stanford Graduate School of Education & San Francisco Unified School District Partnership, which facilitates the sharing of research and practice to advance student achievement at the San Francisco school district and beyond. The partnership matches researchers from Stanford University with district leaders to solve key problems of practice.