Julissa Piña, the new principal for Key Biscayne’s primary public school, says she knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was five years old.
Starting this week, she’ll get to take her education vision to the 930 children at the K-8 Center. She succeeds Michelle Coto, who was reassigned at the end of the last school year following parent and teacher complaints.
Part of a large family, she said education has been a lifelong passion.
“My real joy is making a difference with children,” she said. “When you get a good foundation, your goals become a lot easier.”
She said her biggest challenges will be gaining parent trust as the school system continues to emerge from COVID-19 and implementing a new curriculum. She said she has already held several meetings with parents and is developing volunteering opportunities and setting up liaison meetings.
She also said she will work hard to improve communication, which is one of the areas parents had complained about with the prior school administration. For 2022, Piña said there will be a focus on the 70th anniversary of the school on the island.
Pińa attended Nova and Barry University and focused on reading and leadership education. She comes from Coconut Grove Elementary and more recently Rockway Elementary in West Dade.
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.