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Miami-Dade Schools Board Member Recognized as Urban School Board Member of the Year

  • LOUISVILLE, Ky.--The 2019 Urban School Board Member of the Year is Lawrence Feldman, who has worn nearly every kind of hat in his more than 45 years of service to Miami-Dade County Public Schools.  

    Beginning his career as a special-education teacher, he has served in the years since as an assistant principal, principal, region director and school board member.

    A fun fact: Facing retirement, Feldman wanted to stay one more year as principal to see his first class of eighth graders “graduate” from the neighborhood elementary turned K-8 school he oversaw. Feldman offered to do so for just $1, earning him the nickname the “Dollar Principal.”

    He was turned down and then opted to run for the Miami school board and won, becoming an advocate for student safety, wellness and high-level learning during his tenure. He has served 11 years, was vice-chair for four years and chair of the board in 2016-17.

    Feldman is the 2019 recipient of the Green-Garner Award and was honored at the Council of the Great City Schools’ 63rd Annual Fall Conference.  The award is the nation’s highest honor for urban education leadership, named for Richard Green, first African American chancellor of the New York City school system, and Edward Garner, businessman and former school board president of the Denver Public Schools.

    In his acceptance remarks, Feldman praised the work of school boards, superintendents and, indeed, all educators. Larry Feldman holds his Green-Garner Award and oversized check.

    “There is nothing that is more important than what we, each one of us, do every single day. We fight against ignorance, we fight against the naysayers, we fight against budget [troubles], but we never give in,” Feldman said. “…We have those courageous conversations amongst ourselves, pushing each other to do more with less, to do more for every child.”

    Calling his staff and family members to the stage, Feldman gave them credit and said everyone doing his or her job results in teamwork in support of schoolchildren. At the end of the day, he said, he and his staff can say, “You know what? Another child graduated. You know what? Our children are reading better, they feel good about school.” That, he said, is the reward of an educator.

    Feldman has also contributed to improving urban education nationally. He is the immediate past chair of the Council’s Board of Directors.

    The Green-Garner Award is sponsored by the Council, Aramark K-12 Education, Cenergistic and Scholastic Inc. and is bestowed upon a school board member one year and a superintendent the next. As winner, Feldman will present a $10,000 college scholarship to a deserving Miami-Dade graduate in the spring.

    Queen Smith Award 

    Eric Hale, a kindergarten and first-grade teacher at David G. Burnet Elementary School in Dallas, was the winner of the Queen Smith Award in Urban Education. The $5,000 award is named in honor of the late vice president of urban programs for Macmillan/McGraw Hill Publishing Company.

    Hale was one of twelve teachers selected to participate in Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s inaugural class of teachers charged with identifying and proposing solutions for challenges facing Texas educators. He also serves as a Distinguished Teacher Ambassador for the Dallas school district and played substantial roles advocating for landmark Texas Public School Finance reform in Spring 2019.

    Urban Impact Award

    The Council of the Great City Colleges of Education, an affiliate group of deans working with urban school leaders, presented the Dr. Shirley Schwartz Urban Impact Award to Omaha Public Schools and the University of Nebraska at Omaha for establishing the Career Advancement and Development of Recruits and Experienced Teachers (CADRE) Project. The 14-month graduate program for first year teachers creates a framework for growth and development for both new and veteran teachers, with nearly 100 percent of CADRE participants remaining in education.


    Queen Smith award winner Eric Hale.     Urban Impact award winners Omaha Public Schools and University of Nebraska at Omaha