Chief Academic Officer, Miami-Dade County Public Schools

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With more than 25 years of experience in education, Marie Izquierdo is the chief academic officer for Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the nation’s fourth-largest school system.

A former social studies teacher focused on dropout prevention, Izquierdo began her leadership career as the assistant principal for curriculum at Ponce de Leon Middle School in Coral Gables, Fla., where she worked to dramatically improve student achievement. She then became principal of Henry M. Flagler Elementary, and, during her tenure, the school went from being a C-rated campus to a three-time A-rated school.

In 2009, Izquierdo joined the Florida Department of Education as regional executive director, working to boost student achievement in the state’s lowest-performing schools. Under her leadership, 79 percent of targeted schools improved both their school grade and percentage of adequate yearly progress; 38 percent of those schools improved by two or more letter grades; and two schools went from F to A.

Later, as deputy chief of staff to M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, she was instrumental in the passage of a $1.2 billion general obligation bond for renovating school facilities and purchasing new technology. Her efforts also helped M-DCPS earn the prestigious Broad Prize in Urban Education.

In her current role, Izquierdo spearheaded efforts that have yielded an historic 84 percent graduation rate and the distinction of 98 percent of schools being rated A, B, or C by the Florida Department of Education. She oversees the Education Transformation Office, which supports the lowest-performing schools and has helped to ensure there are no F-rated schools in the district. A fervent proponent of school choice, Izquierdo also leads the Innovation and Choice Office that has earned the district a staggering 302 National Magnet Merit Awards, the 2017 Donna Grady-Creer District Award for Magnet Sustainability, and the College Board Award for Equity and Access. She led the district’s Digital Convergence Initiative that has revolutionized teaching and learning in Miami-Dade and distributed more than 172,000 mobile devices to students.

Izquierdo has significantly expanded early childhood learning opportunities, career and technical education, and advanced academic programming such as Advanced Placement and dual enrollment courses. In 2016 she was named one of the Center for Digital Education’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers, and Trailblazers. She is an alumnus of fourth cohort of the Future Chiefs leadership development program and the Broad Academy, and was honored with the Women in Leadership Award from the American Association of School Administrators.

Izquierdo earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida International University.