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Principal Suzette Fraginals

Before becoming the principal of Pinecrest Elementary School in 2021, Suzette Fraginals devoted her entire professional life to education. She launched her teaching career 18 years ago at Gilbert Porter Elementary before moving on as a founding staff member at Norma Butler Bossard Elementary. In 2013, she was promoted to assistant principal at Cutler Ridge Elementary, where she honed her administrative skills and served on many district-level committees. “Being able to build relationships and serve as a bridge between staff and administration was key,” she says.

Born in Cuba, Fraginals’s parents migrated to Kingston, Jamaica, when she was an infant. They remained in Jamaica for nine years before moving to the United States. She attended Miami-Dade County Public Schools and played on the girls’ basketball team, eventually graduating from Southwest Senior High School.

She met her “soulmate” Enrique Fraginals 24 years ago, and they married a few years later. They have three children together — Ethan (14), Aidan (11) and Olivia (9) — who all attend Palmetto-Pinecrest Feeder Pattern Schools.

Fraginals’s passion for education is evident when you speak to her, and there’s no question she was meant for this role. “I love everything about being a principal,” she exclaims. “I love working with children and teachers. I believe they are very important to our society. … I’m so very grateful to be here at Pinecrest Elementary, and feeling the love of the community, students and staff has really filled my heart with joy.”

What attracted you to the Pinecrest community?

What isn’t there to love about Pinecrest?! There are so many wonderful things happening here every day. The sense of camaraderie in the school building and the sense of love and support from the Pinecrest families and community is what makes our school such an amazing place.

What are you hoping teaching and learning look like in your school?

For effective teaching and learning to take place in classrooms, a sense of established relationships is key. Classrooms should emulate a feeling of mutual respect between teachers and students. I believe that meeting our students’ needs academically and socially will lead to good practices. The learning environment should always be student centered and a place where children feel safe to have a voice. Classrooms should be active and engaging — where students are learning from each other and having accountable conversations. Technology is being infused into the curriculum, and opportunities to enhance lessons and experiences are taking place. Data-driven instruction is also key for progress monitoring and being accountable for the learning that’s taking place. Finally, learning should be taken outside of the classroom where we can involve students in the community so they can make real-life connections. I believe learning takes place beyond the classroom doors.

What are some of your goals for Pinecrest Elementary School?

Coming from a pandemic, my goal for Pinecrest right now is to be able to bring the community back to the school site; to continue the partnerships with our stakeholders and amplify the feeling of school and home connections, making sure that we meet the needs of our staff; and to create a safe learning environment, while addressing students academically and social-emotionally.

What do you look forward to outside of work?

My favorite thing to do is to spend time with my family. There is nothing in this world that I love more than being a mom. My kids are very involved in sports, and my husband and I love attending all their sporting events. It’s important to me to be able to create a balance between work and home. My weekends are mostly spent at baseball and soccer games and tournaments.

What would most people be surprised to find out about you?

I love fishing! I’ve been fishing from a very early age with my father. I can rig my own bait and bring up my own fish. Our family loves fishing, spearfishing and diving. I also love playing sports with my kids and reading inspirational leadership books.

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Last modified: February 21, 2022