Two local high schools welcomed new principals at the start of 2020.
Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School brought Alexander Santoyo on board, and Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College welcomed Yaset Fernandez, both in the first week of
Santoyo was previously a principal at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Miami.
He said he was very excited to join the Trojans after the winter break.
“They were very welcoming,” Santoyo said. “I feel at home here even though it’s a new school for me. I’m happy to be here.”
Santoyo knew from an early age that he wanted to become an educator.
While living in Cuba, his mother pushed him to attend school and study. It was her top priority.
The family moved to the United States in 2000, when he was 24 years old.
Santoyo began teaching, advancing to assistant principal and finally to a leadership role at HML.
His LinkedIn profile says he earned a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration at Nova Southeastern University.
Santoyo’s goals for the school include increasing enrollment; it’s currently at 50 percent capacity.
He also wants the school to earn an A grade from the
Florida Department of
Education; HML is rated B.
There are 1,471 students enrolled in grades 9 through 12 who may attend some magnet classes and programs at HML.
The school is at 7977 W. 12th Ave. in Hialeah, east of Northwest 67th Avenue and south of the Gratigny
In Miami Lakes, the Jaguars at Miami Lakes Educational Center gave their new principal “a huge warm welcome,” Fernandez said. “I felt welcomed and part of a really special staff.”
Fernandez said he was attracted to the position at MLEC because of how unique and diverse the school is.
“It’s not a regular high school, it’s basically a small college,” he said.
Fernandez is also a Cuban immigrant.
His family’s business was construction, and though his father expected him to work in their trade,
Fernandez followed his heart.
A friend introduced him to a learning center in Hialeah Gardens where they tutored young children, and while volunteering there,
Fernandez said he fell in love with teaching.
For two decades,
Fernandez has taught, was promoted to assistant principal, then principal and was recently an administrative director for the School
District of Miami-Dade
While working at the ETO, Fernandez said he was in charge of 18 low preforming schools. His role was to improve the schools’ success rates.
Fernandez graduated from Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in educational leadership, both from Florida International University.
At MLEC, Fernandez replaced former principal Lourdes Diaz, who became an administrative director with the school district in its north regional office, the district said.
MLEC is an A-rated magnet school and technical training center for grades 9 through 12, at 5780 NW 158th St. and Northwest 57th Avenue.
In 2019, Magnet Schools of America gave MLEC the Merit Award of Excellence.