Alumni Association Feature 1: Cindy Lerner

Nicole Markus, Print Editor-in-Chief

Former Pinecrest mayor, Cindy Lerner, is no stranger to hard work and fighting for what she believes in. When she attended Miami Palmetto Senior High School from 1964 to 1970, she was heavily involved in her schoolwork and volunteering.

“I was the kind of student that sat front row. I always wanted to be right up front, I didn’t want any interruptions or interference,” Lerner said.

Lerner was a volunteer in Palmetto service clubs and at South Miami Hospital as a candy striper. She worked hard to earn her position in the Hospital and was disappointed to learn that working with sick patients was not for her. Rather than give up her spot, as many in her position would, she worked out an agreement where she would take medication messages from room to room and to the pharmacy. 

Her hard work during high school paid off, and when she graduated from Palmetto in 1970 she moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University. She poured herself into her schoolwork while she was there, and then attended law school at Emory. After she graduated from law school, she moved with her husband to Gainesville so he could finish Veterinarian School. While closer to home than Tulane, she did not love Gainesville and decided to move back to her childhood home, Pinecrest. 

When Lerner moved back to Pinecrest, she got involved at the Guardian Ad Litem program. The program assists children in difficult situations to have a voice in the courts to try to help them fall into the best hands. Lerner worked there for 16 years, citing it as a major source of her start in activism and politics.

“It wasn’t until I got involved in juvenile court and practicing law that I really realized how many problems there were and deficits there were, and that is where the real advocacy welled up,” Lerner said. “I realized how much opportunity and potential there was to make a difference and to inspire change.” .

Her work at the Guardian Ad Litem program led to her running for the legislature in 2000. After working in the legislature for a few years, she was elected mayor of Pinecrest in 2008. Though known for many things during her time in office, two major things that she is known for are starting the Pinecrest People Mover and the Youth Advisory Council. 

The Pinecrest People Mover is a transit bus service that is free of charge for anyone who wants to use it, and anyone who wants to add a specific stop in Pinecrest can do so using either the North or Southern routes. While the People Mover can be used by anyone, it is most known for providing a pickup and dropoff service to Pinecrest parents who want their kids to have a safe route home from school.

“We have somewhere near 4,000 to 5,000 pickups and dropoffs a month between the middle and high school,” Lerner said. 

Lerner also started the Youth Advisory Council, a council of middle and high school students that work to solve issues in Pinecrest, learn about the aspects of Pinecrest government and get involved with volunteer projects and charities. While she is no longer mayor of Pinecrest, she still tries to attend any meeting or project she can, and is heavily involved with the council. 

With plans to run for different positions in the future, Lerner wants people to know that her dreams were fulfilled by hard work and passion.

“If you come up with an idea and you work really hard in making something happen, especially in your hometown and community like this but really anywhere,” Lerner said. “You can really accomplish anything you want to accomplish in life.”