Name change for Miami Lakes Educational Center?

Education By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, August 2, 2023

     A committee may consider whether to rename Miami Lakes Educational Center in honor of retired Miami-Dade County School Board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman.

     A community meeting held July 27 at the school drew 17 people who spoke for and against the renaming proposal.

     Miami Lakes Educational Center social studies teacher John Moffi wants to keep the school’s name as is, but also acknowledged Tabares Hantman’s dedication to public school education and the community. 

“This school does not live without Mrs. Hantman. … We stand on the shoulders of giants and she’s one of them,” Moffi said. 

     Moffi was one 14 speakers against a change. Others suggested naming any new school built in the district for Tabares Hantman, or dedicating a MLEC wing to her. 

     Carmen Pardinas of Miami Coral Park Adult Education Center was in favor of the commemoration. 

     “She was always an advocate in providing a wide range of programs throughout the school system to meet the different needs of our students and of our community,” Pardinas said. 

     Those opposed cited the cost of changing the school’s logo, signs and uniforms, the erasure of the school’s 25-year identity and what it represents to the community. 

     “It’s the only true high school that says Miami Lakes … Miami Lakes Educational Center represents our community as a whole. I don’t think you should change it,” said Hector Abad, chair of the Miami Lakes Education Advisory Board. 

     Tabares Hantman retired in 2022 after serving 26 years in the district which she chaired 14 terms. 

     The next step requires the formation of a committee composed of the school board Chair Mari Tere Rojas; District 4 board member Roberto Alonso; someone chosen by Alonso; North Region Supt. Dr. Yesenia Aponte and a representative from the Miami Lakes community. No meeting was scheduled as of July 28.