Mrs. Mary Kate Parton, Principal
Mary Kate Parton, Principal of David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center, is a twenty-four year veteran of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She graduated from the University of Miami with Bachelors and Masters of Science Degrees in English and Education. She completed a Post-Baccalaureate certification in Agriscience at the University of Florida and an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership at Barry University.
Ms. Parton began teaching English Language Arts at Miami Edison Senior High School and later transferred to John F. Kennedy Middle School to teach Agriscience. She was a District Rookie Teacher of the Year Finalist and named the Francisco R. Walker Teacher of the Year at John F. Kennedy Middle School. Ms. Parton was the Florida Agriscience Teacher of the Year, a National Agriscience Teacher of the Year Finalist and National Agriculture Teacher of the Year. Ms. Parton developed and presented several state and national curriculum workshops and is also the recipient of numerous educational grants. She was elected by her peers to serve as President of the Florida Agriculture Educators’ Association (FAAE).
Serving John F. Kennedy Middle School as Assistant Principal, Ms. Parton was named Miami-Dade County's Assistant Principal of the Year and received the Florida Commissioner of Education’s Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award as one of Florida’s top three Middle School Assistant Principals.
Ms. Parton was instrumental in the development and launch of the Biomedical Environmental Agriculture Technology (BEAT) Magnet Program, subsequently earning twelve consecutive National Magnet School Merit Awards, a coveted STEM School Designation, and selection as a National MSA Certification Pilot School. Ms. Parton’s considers her core mission to increase student achievement by creating positive educational experiences for all children.
Mary Kate is married to Gaylon Parton. The couple celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary in 2015.
Ms. Mitzi Parlor, Asst. Principal
Ms. Mitzi Parlor has over 21 years of experience as an educator. She received a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Florida State University and completed teacher certification credentials from Florida International University. A “Seller of Education” is how best to describe this Assistant Principal. Prior to employment with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Ms. Parlor was a Million Dollar Sales Manager with an internationally recognized company. Coming to the field of education she left nothing from her previous experiences behind—she now sells education. Her zeal to sell is propelled by product knowledge which equates to knowledge of her subject matter, which has a proven track record. While in her first year of teaching she was honored as Rookie Teacher of the Year and became Teacher of Year after three years (first year she was eligible). After several years in the classroom she was recruited by the Division of Language Arts/Reading District Office as a Teacher Trainer where she remained three years prior to becoming an assistant principal. As a Teacher Trainer, Ms. Parlor modeled and coached classroom lessons for teachers throughout the district using higher order thinking skills, to help prepare students for standardized tests. While working in the District office, she became a CRISS trainer and as an assistant principal she continues to train teachers in implementing useful learning strategies during instruction. As a successful sales manager, Ms. Parlor learned how to monitor subordinates and data in order to meet fiscal objectives. In education, she acknowledges that the same premise applies in preparing for Adequate Yearly Progress. Her strengths lie in her ability to work with and motivate people in order to make gains. Ms. Parlor has the philosophy that all can be successful if trained properly in accurate approaches.
Ms. Amy Christopoulos, Asst. Principal
Amy Christopoulos is a native Miamian and attended Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She received her Bachelor’s in Advertising from the University of Florida. Ms. Christopoulos enjoyed a rewarding career in advertising until the call to education became clear in 2004. As a third-generation teacher, she began her teaching career at Miles Elementary School in Tampa, Florida. While in Tampa, Ms. Christopoulos earned her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. In 2007, she returned to Miami-Dade Public Schools at Highland Oaks Middle School. Her experience in Science education has spanned from elementary to high school over the past ten years. Ms. Christopoulos was Science Teacher of the Year in 2009 and received the Service Teacher of the Year award from the Kiwanis Club in 2010. Ms. Christopoulos most recently was a curriculum support specialist for the Office of Professional Development and Evaluation. She provided innovative instructional support and engaging professional development to teachers within the district.
In 2008, she founded a grant funded mentoring program for at-risk middle school girls. Annually Ms. Christopoulos travels to Haiti and the Bahamas to bring school supplies and advance curriculum to private schools in need. She is currently the Executive Director of the Harry Tuttle Foundation that provides economically challenged students with hygienic items and school supplies. In her spare time, she enjoys sailing, photography, and agricultural self-sustainability.
Ms. Christopoulos is excited to have joined the David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center family and looks forward to assisting students in a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow intellectually to their highest potential in their educational career.
Dr.Charlene Olicker, Asst.Principal (PLC South Campus)
Dr. Charlene L. Olicker was born and raised in New York. She holds subordinate degrees from Queens College (B.A), Columbia University (M.S.), and Barry University (Ed.S). She received her doctorate (Ed.D) in Curriculum and Instruction from the Florida International University College of Education in 2005. In addition to working for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Dr. Olicker has also held adjunct teaching positions at University of Miami and Florida International University, and has served as principal of a charter campus, grades PK4-High School. She has presented locally and nationally on tailored curriculum design and delivery, and career focus academy models.
Dr. Olicker’s passion is curriculum, and her area of leadership interest is organizational theory and management. Her creativity can be seen in the maintenance of a culture of learning where information is brought to students in ways that they can grasp it, own it, and then demonstrate achievement. She has worked the full range of public education, and understands the trajectory that students embark upon at the moment they enter kindergarten. With the end of the journey—that is, high school graduation-- in mind, she is a resource for aligning current classroom content and skills with the next steps students will take toward their goalS.
Mr. Christopher Gonzalez, Asst.Principal