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Summary

My expertise is in program and curriculum development, strategic planning, and faculty collaboration in order to guide schools through the process of developing highly effective teachers and school leaders.   I am well versed in the New Florida Standards, and rigorous instruction using methods from Marzano and International Learning Sciences.  I have trained many teachers and administrators to use these new standards and strategies to effectively impact instruction and achievement. I also use my extensive experience and talents to work with instructional staff and educational leaders to advise them on ways to turn around failing schools using data analysis and personal experiences that have produced successful results in the past.

 I have mentored many educators to allow them to grow into leadership positions, including principals. As an established professional educator in the state of Florida, I have demonstrated that I am an effective problem solver, communicator as well as a personable leader. I enjoy developing innovative and creative approaches that allow schools to run effectively.  I also believe that I am a memorable and passionate speaker.  I am a dedicated, loyal, and trustworthy employee and team player.

Work History

Curriculum Director

Championship Academy of Distinction
Jun 2016PRESENT

Work closely with the school leaders and the management company to ensure that systems are in place that foster data driven instruction.

Work directly with curriculum leaders to support the curriculum and instruction. Facilitate data collection and analysis as well as a response to data and interventions.

President & Educational Consultant

Phoenix educational support services
Jan 2016Present

A wide-variety of services to provide support to educational institutions in order to ensure compliance, increase efficiency, and increase academic excellence through increased student achievement.

The mission of Phoenix Educational Support Services is to facilitate schools in developing a curriculum and establishing a conducive learning environment that maximizes the educational experience for students, parents, community stakeholders as well as the educators and faculty. 

Our goal is to rebuild education from the ground up.  This is possible through an educational approach that takes learning back to the basics and including an inquiry and exploratory approach to education.  It is our experience that this philosophy makes learning applicable and develops life-long learners.

Some clients include:

- True North Classical Academy

- Championship Academy of Distinction Hollywood

- Championship Academy of Distinction Davie

- AcadeMir Family of Charter Schools

- Excelsior Charter Schools of Miami

- Working with Governing Boards to establish unique & innovative charter schools

For more information, please visit www.phoenixeducationalsupport.com

South Florida Area Director

Charter School Associates
Apr 2013Dec 2015

As an established education professional with over 10 years of experience as a school-based leader, I was promoted to oversee the day-to-day operations of 9 charter schools in South Florida. I work with charter school principals to ensure compliance, assists with professional development opportunities and data analysis in order to maintain a strong data-driven curriculum in a positive and productive work environment.  Melissa Aguilar also spearheads strategic advertising and marketing for all schools while facilitating the growth of academies through the development of strong community and business partnerships.  I am experienced in hiring quality staff and have strategically trained and molded highly effective teachers into curriculum leaders, assistant principals and principals of successful and high performing charter schools.   I have 5 years of experience in writing, preparing and defending charter school applications to multiple school boards throughout the state of Florida.  I assist in annual compliance audits and in the development and implementation of school improvement plans.  I continue to grow professionally through professional development opportunities.  I am knowledgeable in the Common Core Standards as well as the New Florida Standards, Response to Intervention and effective instructional strategies, especially those developed through Learning Sciences International and Marzano.  I have assisted in preparing the teacher evaluation system as well as the leadership evaluation system approved and used in multiple charter schools across 5 different counties in Florida. 

Principal at The Charter School at Waterstone

Charter School Associates
Jul 2008Jun 2013

I was assigned by the school's governing board to take over The Charter School at Waterstone in order to improve the school's culture and build community partnerships while facilitating  an increase in academic achievement.  The Charter School at Waterstone quickly climbed the ranks and was named one of South Florida's top performing charter schools by the Florida Department of Education.  I also focused on program development that would differentiate The Charter School at Waterstone as being unique and elite amongst other neighboring schools.  Using my experience and knowledge as leverage, I played an integral part in the planning, development, advertising and marketing of Everglades Preparatory Academy, 6-12th grade preparatory and career academy charter school in Homestead, Florida.  While running The Charter School at Waterstone, I would assist other charter schools operated under Advantage Academy of Miami, Advantage Academy of Hillsborough and Advantage Academy of Pinellas.

Principal at Summerville Advantage Academy

Charter School Associates
Jun 2007Jun 2008

Under the governing board of Advantage Academy of Miami, I was appointed as the principal to open Summerville Advantage Academy K-5 Charter School.  I was actively engaged in all aspects of opening a new school which included recruitment of staff, staff development, school marketing and recruitment of students, development of the school's curriculum, schedule, and daily functions.  Opening Summerville Advantage Academy with the foundation of such a successful inaugural year allows the school to maintain full enrollment and a robust waiting list to date.

Assistant Principal at The Charter School at Waterstone

Charter School Associates
Jul 2005Jun 2007

As the first assistant principal of a new charter school, I took a serious roll in developing a positive school culture by establishing activities and routines that are still in place and have become a tradition in the school's history.  I enjoyed working alongside talented instructors to develop the school's curriculum and establish the first data teams to analyze trends, execute interventions, and adjust instruction to meet the needs of the students.  The Charter School at Waterstone earned a "B" rating in its first year of operation, due in part to the establishment of the data and instructional teams established.

ESE Teacher and ESE Program Specialist at Miami Dade County Public Schools

Miami Dade County Public Schools
Mar 1999Jul 2005

I began my career as a teacher of student with varying exceptionalities.  My  excellent classroom management and effective instructional strategies earmarked me as a promising teacher with leadership capabilities.  My efforts and talents as a first year teacher were recognized when I was nominated as Centennial Middle School's Rookie Teacher of the Year.  I was a finalist for the Rookie Teacher of the Year for Region 6 and Miami Dade County Public Schools.  I fell short of being the County's Rookie Teacher of the Year, yet was honored to be the County's Rookie Teacher of the Year Runner-up.   As a second year teacher, I was moved to teach 8th grade Reading and Language Arts due to the increase in high-stakes testing.  I was appointed to be the ESE Lead Teacher and before the end of the year, the data demonstrated that I was an effective educator boasting great learning gains and increases in student achievement in FCAT Writes/Writing and Reading.  In my third year, I developed and executed a department-wide discipline plan as the new ESE Department Head while still maintaining high-quality instruction yielding academic growth with a challenging group of students.  In the years to follow I was promoted to be the ESE Program Specialist to Redland Middle School which serviced over 350 students in a variety of settings.  Under my leadership, Redland Middle School was recognized as having one of the most inclusive programs in all of Dade County with a spectrum of services from most restrictive to completely mainstreamed with an array of support.  This recognition provided Redland Middle School's ESE Department to be awarded with thousands of dollars in materials and professional development in order to maintain its inclusive program.    

Education

Educational Leadership

Nova Southeastern University
Jun 2002Jul 2003

Educational Leadership Certification with a focus on management, curriculum and instructional leadership.  I completed her internship in Educational Leadership at South Dade Senior High School under the leadership of Thomas Halfaker.

Master's of Science in Reading

Florida International University
Apr 1999Jul 2001

Masters in Reading Education with a focus on diagnostic reading assessments and strategic reading instruction, intervention and remediation.

Bachelor's of Science in Special Education and Learning Disabilities

Florida International University
Jul 1995May 1999

Bachelor's of Science in Special Education with a concentration in students with specific learning disabilities.  I successfully completed service learning hours in multiple SPED settings.  I also successfully completed 2 internships; one in a 3rd grade classroom for students with learning disabilities at Kendale Lakes Elementary and another in a 6th grade Social Studies and Reading class for students with varying exceptionalities at Paul Bell Middle School.  I was so successful during my internship at Paul Bell, that FIU worked with Miami Dade County Public Schools to end my internship early due to a teacher shortage.  I was then then hired by MDCPS as a teacher at Centennial Middle School teaching Science for student who were gifted and LD.    

High School Degree

Saint Brendan Catholic High School
Aug 1991May 1995

I earned my High School Degree with honors.  I was a member of the National Junior Honor Society, Campus Ministry, Future Business Leaders of America, Yearbook Editor and an active member of the speech and debate team.  In 1994 and 1995, I was a top ranked thespian in the state of Florida wining numerous awards and competitions at local and state levels.  In 1995 I became a nationally ranked thespian and was invited to compete at the National level in Chicago.

Tomorrow's South Dade Committee Chairperson

As the Chairperson for Tomorrow's South Dade Committee, I represented various educational institutions in South Dade as we work collaboratively to develop a vision for South Dade and the City of Homestead.  I have a passion for the community of South Dade as I have worked here my entire career and find it to be my "second home" and was honored to serve in this committee. 

Rotary of Homestead, Rotary International

Active Rotary Member, Rotary Board Member, and Rotary Secretary: I actively participate in fundraising for charities such as "End Polio Now", the Homestead Soup Kitchen as well as the annual Rotary Auction Committee that raises thousands of dollars for scholarships for students in South Dade. I am the Silent Auction Committee Chairperson.  I take great pride in serving in this organization.  Not only do we make a difference world-wide, we also play an active role in the city of Homestead, of where I have dedicated the last 10 years of my career and life.

Skills

Educational Managment

I am goal-driven.  My attitude and organizational skills allow me to, not only effectively manage, but provide support to school principals of 9 different charter schools in South Florida.

Staff Development

In my last 10 years as a school-based leader, I have mentored 7 Principals, 5 Assistant Principals as well as 7 instructional leaders. I believe in providing professional development opportunities for educators at all levels in order to establish ownership and growth in their profession.

Curriculum and Design

This is a passion for me! I love how education evolves and cycles through stages.  I am always looking for the latest, most effective and innovative ways to develop and implement curriculum to impact student achievement.

Data Analysis and Data-Driven Instruction, RtI and Interventions

I have provided consultative support to schools under Advantage Academy of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Brevard to review their data and develop action plans as well as assist in writing new charter applications.

School-based Leadership

I believe in servant leadership.  I believe in clearly communicating my expectations, providing feedback and support while being an active part of a team to develop and implement great initiatives.    

Instructional Leadership and Professional Development

I provide consultative services for professional development in the area of data, data analysis and data-driven instruction.

Establishing Community and Business Partnerships

I believe in the philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child.  Thus, I believe that the students benefit from seeing how what they learn has meaning and is applicable.  I believe in field experiences as a way of bringing the community into the schools as well as the students out into the community.  There is such value to education when it is evidently applicable in the real world. 

Establishing School Culture

This has always been a strength for me.  I have years of experience in multiple schools and settings with the focus of improving school and staff morale and developing a positive school culture. I have turned around departments and schools into functional and cohesive teams.

Certifications

School Safety and security

Vertus
Mar 2016Present

Active Shooter Survival Course for Educators (Recertification)

Grant Writer

Dr. Deborah Mcafee
Dec 2015Present

Grant writing to assist educational institutions in capturing funds in order to enhance education and student achievement.

Trained Lobbyist

Miami Dade County
Jan 2016Present

Trained to follow required lobbying policies in dealing with matters involving politics and government agencies/agents.

Florida Teacher Certification

Florida Department of Education
Jul 2012Jun 2020
Special Education and Educational Leadership

References

Alejandro E. Prado, Captain in US Army and former FIU SGA President 

305-439-1053

Jennifer Wilson Lardizabal, former Co-worker and Friend

786-325-0281

Jenine Finlay, Dean of Curriculum at True North Charter School

305-877-1914

Rafael Villalobos, MDCPS Principal

305-772-5929

Dr. Cristina Crus-Ortiz, Principal at Somerset Charter School

305-772-5929

Yesenia Cantillo, Chief Academic Officer CMO

786-251-2075