Photograph by Vignale on Facebook
Miami Shores Resident Named US Director
Meet Dana Vignale
In an effort to give our administrators more facetime in front of students, we are re-publishing some of our stories, including this one first published in February 2019.
Teachers arrived this morning amid an air of curiosity after receiving an unexpected email last night, requesting their presence in Smurfit at 7:40am. Once assembled,
Jim Connor stood before the anxious educators and revealed why they were all gathered: the decision had made made to name Dana Vignale (VIN-YALLI) as the new Director for the Upper School starting in the 2019-2020 school year, following the departure of Donald Ball. But that was not all. More changes were unveiled. Jill Robert will become the Assistant School Director.* She is currently the MST Department Chair. Joanne Aronson will move into the role of Math, Science and Technology department Chair.
it was the right thing to do at the right time”
— Jim Connor
After a search that included on-campus visits from four top candidates, the search committee, amid much debate, narrowed it down to two. Ms. Vignale was offered the position this weekend. Referring to filling the Assistant Director position internally, without a full outward-looking search, Connor assured the teachers that Ms. Robert, having taught at all three divisions, as well as being a leader here, brings a unique “One School perspective” to the Upper School administration, which will bolster the team’s ability to to enhance instructional and curricular capabilities, as well as foster more mentoring for new faculty members.
“I am eager to bring my extensive experience and expertise to the Upper School Director position at Miami Country Day School,” Ms Vignale told the search committee in a her profile submission back in November. Her strongest desire has been to “lead an independent school within my immediate community.”
Her career, she claims, has followed a trajectory that looks more like a “jungle gym” than a “ladder” as she has traversed educational roles in a more untraditional manner, from classroom teaching to charter school leadership to working in public school administration to studying at the Klingenstein Graduate Program for Private School Leadership at Teachers College Columbia University.
In a note to colleagues following the quick morning meeting, Mr. Connor wrote that her “leadership portfolio is impressive but the greatest gifts she will bring to us are her passion for schools and all who serve them, her warm and inclusive interpersonal instincts and skills, a love of challenge, and a desire to be strongly connected to students and teachers on a daily basis.”
A graduate of FIU and Columbia University, teacher at Gulliver and MAST, as well as a member of the Miami Shores Education Advisory Board, she is a long-time resident of Miami with 17 years working and leading in public, charter and private schools. Ms. Vignale is “well aware of the many great local education options” and hopes to help position MCDS as the “premier school choice in South Florida.”
Watch for more stories and an in-depth one on one interview with Dana Vignale in the coming weeks.
*Correction: We had first printed that Jill Robert will become the “first” Assistant Director of the Upper School. In fact, that is not correct. Pam Locker was the last person to fill that position, until her death in September 2012.