Mayor steps into principal’s shoes

Meryl Kornfield, Co-Editor-in-Chief

When Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner walked into Miami Palmetto Senior High School on October 30th, she was not acting as a student, a parent or a community leader . Although she has played all of those roles in the past, on October 30th Mayor Lerner was principal-for-a-day. She met with student leaders, toured classrooms and learned about the various programs of Palmetto.

“I want to get a better sense of what the school needs are and the vision of the new school,” Mayor Lerner said. “Our greatest assets are our student leadership and creativity.”

At the principal-for-a-day luncheon, Mayor Lerner and Dr. Allison Harley met with a representative from NBC 6. Immediately, Mayor Lerner asked if the local media outlet would be involved with the construction of a new TVP studio.

“This experience [taught me] don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Dr. Harley said. “There are resources out there that are untapped.”

Mayor Lerner also had lunch with members of student council. They discussed improvements to the school and the importance of elected leaders to take action.

“Hearing her speak about her experiences, I could relate with how being a leader in a community meant much more than just accomplishing formal responsibilities,” student council president George Liu said.

Mayor Lerner and Dr. Harley hope to engage alumni awareness and improve parental involvement during the renovation. Other administrators expressed concerns with Mayor Lerner about the number of students leaving the Palmetto feeder to attend magnet schools.

“There are neighborhood kids going to other schools for magnets,” said dean of discipline Steven Batten. “Yet, we have two magnets at Palmetto.”

Returning to the school brought back memories for Mayor Lerner, who graduated from Palmetto in 1970. At the time, Palmetto was a different place, with fewer opportunities; many students had to leave campus in order to participate in extracurricular activities.

“I was a candy striper at South Miami Hospital and I was the president of an off-campus Jewish sorority,” Mayor Lerner said.

Since that time, Palmetto has grown. The creation of more clubs and programs such as Cambridge and iPrep has given students the chance to develop diverse passions.

“That is why people should go to this school,” Dr. Harley said. “You have kids counting caterpillars, pulling weeds, practicing in Drama, working on tablets.”