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New Palm Beach Schools superintendent, Panthers coach resigns, Florida Memorial honors former commissioner

Former Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan tours for the first time Florida Memorial University’s Commissioner of Excellence Collection on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021.
Carl Juste
Miami Herald
Former Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan tours for the first time Florida Memorial University’s Commissioner of Excellence Collection on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021.

Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Mike Burke discusses his new role. Also, the Florida Panthers coach resigns after covering up sexual allegations on a former team. Plus, how a former Miami-Dade County commissioner is being honored for 50 years of service.

On this Monday, Nov. 1, edition of Sundial:

Superintendent Mike Burke

Palm Beach County Schools officially named interim Superintendent Mike Burke as the district’s permanent superintendent last month. He served in the interim role for two months after Donald Fennoy resigned.

Burke was the district’s chief financial officer for more than 20 years. He’s the first superintendent without a background in education since 2011. He says he doesn’t see that lack of experience as a disadvantage for his new position.

“I think some of my experiences actually have prepared me more for what it takes to sit in this chair,” said Burke. “After saying that, I will tell you, not being the traditional candidate coming from the academic side of the house, I really value the perspective of our school principals, our teachers and my other folks on the team.”

Florida school districts have seen lots of arguments over mask mandates. Burke said he wants to ease those mandates, but the district has to meet three key criteria before opt-out masks can take effect.

First, vaccines need to be approved for children five to eleven years old. Next, the schools need less than an 80% positivity rate once the vaccines are available for that age range. And lastly, the district wants the community to have fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people. Burke consulted medical professionals to come up with these requirements.

Superintendent Mike Burke

Florida Panthers coach resigns

The Florida Panthers are on top of the National Hockey League's Eastern Conference with eight wins and one loss. As they see that success, they now face the allegations that their former coach allegedly covered up sexual assault allegations, more than 10 years ago.

Last week, head coach Joel Quenneville resigned. He’s the second-winningest coach in NHL history.

Quenneville was the head coach for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 when a player said he was sexually assaulted by a coach during the team’s playoff run.

Quenneville has denied that he knew about those allegations, but he apologized for his denial when he resigned.

Miami Herald sports reporter David Wilson had a chance to speak with some of the players about their coach’s resignation.

“At least the guys we’ve talked to about this specifically, it’s like being disappointed to find out your father did something wrong,” said Wilson. “They’ve really come to respect him, and you find out that he was involved in some way in this cover up. I think they’re all hurt to know that a guy that they really care about and really respect was involved in that.”

Florida Panthers coach resigns

Barbara Jordan exhibit at Florida Memorial University

Florida Memorial University is honoring former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan with an exhibit highlighting her life, legacy, and her 50 years of public service.

The exhibit’s curators reached out to Jordan’s family and colleagues to gather photos and awards over the span of her career. They even included letters that Jordan and her late husband, Eddie, gave each other when they were in college. Jordan said that many people visiting the exhibit stopped to read those notes.

FMU, which is one of the few historically Black universities in Florida, also granted Jordan with an honorary doctorate. She has close ties to HBCUs, especially since she graduated from one.

"We need to make sure that we do everything to call attention to how important HBCUs are in our community,” said Jordan. “They save so many of our young people who don't have an opportunity to go to other schools."

The university will also offer a masterclass using Jordan’s life and career as a fundamental blueprint for students studying politics. The exhibit is now open to the public for at least a year.

Barbara Jordan exhibit at Florida Memorial University

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Amber Amortegui is a senior studying journalism at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Born and raised in Davie, Fla., Amber is a native South Floridian who embraces one of America’s most diverse regions.