The community got a chance to meet the new leader of MAST Academy, with local leaders highlighting the importance of the Village’s partnership with the school.
Vice Mayor Frank Caplan also took the opportunity to pledge to work with MAST leaders on a tough issue: racial tensions that arose at the end of last school year.
Mayor Mayra Pena Lindsay introduced Dr. Derick McKoy at an August 28 Council meeting.
“We’re delighted to be able to introduce you to the greater community, and we’re delighted you’re onboard – we’re in great hands,” she said. “We really value our public-school system and our Miami-Dade Public School administration, and we value our partnership.”
Caplan, who as Mayor spearheaded the agreement that created the Key Biscayne MAST program, also spoke to the value of that partnership, especially in relation to racial tensions that emerged last year, which he described as “a pestilence in the school.”
“I’m relaying this information to you and our desire to verify, first of all, what’s going on; and, secondly, to determine what we ought to be doing about it,” he said. “We’re invested in MAST. We care. If there’s a role for us to play, we are inclined to play a role.”
Pena Lindsay said she is aware of a lot of discussion about the issue at the school district level.
“Both Dr. McCoy and the district are taking affirmative steps to address it,” she said. “It’s a bigger issue and a widespread issue, and they’re working on it aggressively.”
Pena Lindsay said McKoy’s background provides him plenty of experience with which to take the reins at MAST.
He has spent 30 years in education, starting as a middle school science teacher after graduating from Florida State University. He earned a Master’s of Science Education at the University of Miami and a doctorate with a specialty in school management at Nova Southeastern University.
McKoy has had several leadership roles, including time as an assistant high school principal, middle school principal and elementary school principal. During the latter, his most recent role, he collaborated with community agencies to create after-care programs for at-risk children.
Pena Lindsay added he also took part in a grant program during which administrators attended Harvard University courses and met with other urban principals from across the world.
She said she is confident McKoy will be an excellent ambassador for MAST Academy and the Miami-Dade Public School System as a whole.