Mr. Costa Wins the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award


Principal Costa with his $10,000 award after being announced the winner of the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership award on November 14th.

Patricia Passwaters, Editor in Chief

On November 14, 2013, Principal Adolfo Costa was honored with the $10,000 Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award. Established by the Council for Educational Change, this award was put in place to recognize educational leaders who have shown an increase in student achievement, the ability to empower and develop staff members, and a commitment to working with business and community partners to better their schools with programs like the Partnership to Advance School Success (P.A.S.S).

When asked how he felt when he received this award, Mr. Costa said, “It is an honor to be selected as the recipient of the Leonard Miller Award. To be selected the winner among all principals in the State of Florida is a great honor. The real award, though, belongs to the Coral Gables High School community.”

Back in 2008, when Mr. Costa became the principal of Coral Gables Senior High School, CGHS was rated as a C borderline D school. However, ever since his first day on the job, Mr. Costa began implementing changes to reach his goal of being rated as an A school.

“The first thing he did when he walked through my office door was ask why we didn’t have a college tour. He is always looking for ways to improve the students’ educational experience. Qualities he holds are hard to find in a principal,” Activities Director Ms. Suarez said.

With an approximate total of 3,400 students, 70% come from low income families that qualify for free or reduced lunch. Because of this, Mr. Costa added free after school tutoring sessions for those who can’t afford outside tutoring. Statistics show that the lower 25% has improved in their testing scores and the graduation rate has increased.

“I think it [tutoring] helps kids out a lot, and the fact that it comes from peers who are successful in the subject being tutored is even more reassuring,” senior Paulina Picciano said.

Additionally, Mr. Costa developed a partnership with Miami Dade College and Florida International University to provide students with the opportunity to take dual enrollment courses. He also extended the International Baccalaureate program by adding a theater and film strand.

“IB theater is amazing. I get the best of all worlds; I get bright and creative students,” Drama teacher Ms. Barrow said. “They are so talented, and think outside the box.”

For the past several years, he has also been strengthening the community bond by recruiting highly qualified, enthusiastic teachers who are not only of great caliber, but are also CGHS alumni. Dr. Scanlon, Ms. Zaldivar, Ms. Mo, and Coach Pollard are all examples of this effort.

“Dr. Scanlon loves what she teaches. Her class is like having an older, wiser friend gush over their favorite book,” senior Giulia Heyward said. “Her class is one of my favorite places in the school.”

It is seen from his various efforts that Mr. Costa cares about the well being of his students. However, he is not only focused on improving the quality of their education, but is also focused on improving their environment. Since he has been principal he has been able to fix the drainage system, renovate the basketball gym, and renovate the football locker room.

Mr. Costa has truly been a great influence on the school. Without his improvements, Gables would definitely not be what it is today. “I am honored and privileged to work alongside such a distinguished individual,” Assistant Principal Ms. Diaz said.

Click here to read more about Mr. Costa and his accomplishments.