MIAMI — The Roman historian Lucius Plutarch once said, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” Recently a prominent group of devoted educators rekindled the fire in the Miami affiliate of the National Alliance of Black School Educators.
Now with a solid foundation the group is reaching out to other educators and organizations with an education agenda in order to improve academic curricula and create school campuses that “fire up” the minds of children on a daily basis.
The successful Inaugural Membership Drive Event of the Miami-Alliance of Black School Educators, held at Miami Lakes Educational Center, was attended by nearly 150 educators and community partners Sept. 20.
The highlight of the night was the ceremony honoring Freddie Woodson, retired deputy superintendent of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Woodson served as deputy superintendent from 2008-2012, but was a beloved teacher and administrator for 38 years.
The honoree had a heralded career as a professional football player with the Miami Dolphins, sports broadcaster, insurance agent with Equitable of New York Life, and stockbroker with H. Heintz and Company.
In his parting address, “Freddie,” as he is warmly called, said “In addition to all the astonishing things I have enjoyed, I am thrilled to have expanded my family with people like you. You will live within heart forever. Truly, as Gandhi so poetically said, ‘If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden’.”
Woodson was joined by his wife Bettye Woodson, an accomplished educator in her own right, and a host of colleagues and friends, who dined in style and witnessed him receiving proclamations from Miami-Dade County School Board Vice Chairman Lawrence Feldman, the NAACP, and the cities of Miami, Miami Gardens and North Miami. Francis Francois presented the proclamation from the NAACP; Rose Martin presented the proclamation for the city of North Miami.
The re-organizing officers all participated in the Inaugural Membership Meeting with Beverly Carter-Remy, president, fficiating.
John Dixon, executive director of the Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust, welcomed and introduced special guests such as school board members or their aides, district, regional administrators and retired administrators, and friends of Miami-ABSE.
Greetings from the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) were extended by Theodore Russell, northeast representative of the Board of Directors, who said, “Education is the greatest civil right and individual has.” He also extended the invitation for others to join him at the 2012 National Conference at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tn., Nov. 14-18.
The theme of the conference is Teaching & Learning: What is Working in America’s Classrooms that Impacts the Success of Children of African Descent. For more information on the Conference visit nabse.org
The Broward Alliance of Black School Educators Executive Board led by Carletha Shaw, president, attended to show their support for the newly re-organized Miami affiliate.
President Shaw quoted statistics from the 2012 Schott Foundation for Public Education Report entitled: The Urgency of Now.
The report revealed that only 52 percent of black male and 58 percent of Hispanic male ninth-graders graduate from high school within four year; and 78 percent of white males complete in four years.
The full report can be viewed at blackboysreport.org
Shaw also stressed the importance of everyone becoming champions for improving the education of all students, especially those of African descent.
The history of NABSE and the Miami Affiliate was recounted by Valmarie Rhoden, life member of NABSE. John Johnson outlined the Purpose and Function of the Miami Affiliate; while Desiree Perkins and Elaine Adderly, respectively, spoke about the membership dues and calendar of meetings.
President Carter Remy thanked Tom Frederick, professor at Union Institute & University, for being an Institutional Partner. Colleges or universities interested in becoming Institutional Partners, or businesses interested in becoming Corporate Partners can email President Carter Remy at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Inaugural Membership Drive Meeting closed with President Carter Remy extending thanks to Patrick Dorce and Empress Addi & Rara Rock featuring The Little Saints who provided entertainment for the event; as well as the principal of Miami Lakes Education Center, James Parker; Delio Diaz, executive director of the Dade Association of School Administrators; the United Teachers of Dade, the Broward Affiliate, local media; Wesley Clark & Son, photographers; and Mecca, spoken word artist.
It was an evening on which a clarion call went out declaring that even during challenging times of reduced financial resources and high accountability standards, all should get involved in rekindling the minds of children, because “education is everybody’s business.”
*Pictured above are Fred Woodson, Beverly Carter-Remy and T. Russell Hopewell