Dr. Jose L. Dotres
Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Dr. José L. Dotres is the Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the fourth-largest school district in the nation with over 40,000 employees and 330,000 students.
At the age of five, he arrived in Miami, Florida – an immigrant boy from humble beginnings who enrolled in M-DCPS as an English Language Learner, graduated from high school, and began a long and rewarding career serving students, parents, employees, and the larger school community within the school district that welcomed him as a child.
Having held multiple roles over the course of his career in M-DCPS and other educational organizations, Dr. Dotres is a proven educator with a wealth of experience. He has served in the capacity of Teacher, Principal, Region Superintendent, Chief Human Capital Officer, Chief Academic Officer of Broward County Public Schools, and most recently, Deputy Superintendent of Collier County Public Schools. Teaching the whole child and ensuring optimal conditions for teaching and learning are at the forefront of his decision-making.
He envisions positioning M-DCPS as a school district of choice for students and parents, and an employer of choice for the community.
Unleashing the potential of every child is the anchor of his professional journey.
Breakout Session Presenters
2023 Florida Teacher of the Year
Melissa Matz, a seventh grade mathematics teacher at Lakeside Junior High School in Clay County, was selected as the 2023 Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year from among nearly 185,000 Florida public school teachers. Ms. Matz will serve as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, elevating and celebrating the teaching profession by promoting the contributions of Florida educators.
After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, she attended the Great Florida Teach-In, an annual job fair hosted by the Florida Department of Education, where she was recruited to teach in Clay County. This began Melissa’s 18-year career positively impacting students’ lives.
Melissa Matz is passionate about teaching mathematics and inspires students to see math all around them. She builds confidence by creatively incorporating real world examples into her lessons and connecting math concepts to everyday life. Ms. Matz continuously monitors the progress of her students and celebrates small victories while working to meet larger goals.
Melissa’s love for teaching math goes beyond the classroom. She helped develop the district’s curriculum map for Algebra and 7th grade math and served on the math textbook adoption committee. As the department head, she developed a collaborative professional learning community that resulted in the highest standardized test scores in Clay County for 7th grade math for the past three years. After three years of teaching Pre-AICE Algebra, she saw a need to expand the math course selection to include pre-algebra. As a result, enrollment in the Pre-AICE/Cambridge program doubled in size.
Melissa is dedicated to both her school and her community. She raises awareness of water conservation as a member of the St. Johns Riverkeepers and shows her love of open water swimming with the Duval Ocean Swimmers. Ms. Matz also participates in Lakeside Ladies, a mentoring program that supports students as they transition to high school and helps connect them to the community.
Melissa is committed to building a rapport with each of her students, becoming their champion in and out of the classroom, and motivating them to give it their all.
2023 Broward County Teacher of the Year
Seema Naik is known for her love of science and her enthusiasm carries over to her students that she affectionately calls “scientists”. Seema innovatively incorporates hands-on STEM experiments that peak students’ curiosity and engages their reasoning skills.
Seema collaborates with colleagues to enhance Science and STEM education schoolwide. She facilitates professional development presentations at the school level and district level. Currently, Seema is one of the partner teachers working cooperatively with the University of Chicago and Code.org for a pilot study implementing computer science solving real world problems.
While serving as the School Advisory Co-chairperson, Seema worked tirelessly to involve the parents, community and business partners in education. She writes grants to fund materials for STEM instruction and the Robotics club. Seema Founded the school’s first-ever VEX Robotics Club and coached the students to a state, national, and world competitions. Since the inception of the robotics club, the team has earned numerous awards annually such as the State Champions, national competition, and first place in STEM research for VEX world competition. Recently, she participated in a panel discussion about online robotics platform. The panel was broadcast via video from Ireland around the globe.
Seema believes in cooperative, hands-on, and engaging opportunities in which students take ownership of their learning. Seema’s passion about the value of education inspires her to work above and beyond for her students.
2023 MDCPS Francisco R. Walker Teacher of the Year
Unethia Fox is a graduate of South Miami Senior High, the class of 1999. She attended Nova Southeastern University on an Athletic Scholarship graduating with honors in 2002. She began her career as an educator at South Miami Senior High and have enjoyed 20 years in the classroom teaching mathematics to students with special needs. Over the course of her time, she’s had the opportunity to work in many capacities. As special education math teacher, a coach, mentor, teacher leader and member of the PLST team. As well as coached several sports. She take great pride in sharing in the success of the young ladies over the course of their time as student athletes and in their current professional careers.
Over the years and she grew, her she continued on her educational path and completed a Master’s Degree in Mathematics Education from Nova Southeastern in 2006 and a Specialist Degree in a Special Education from Florida Memorial University in 2017. As she move forward on her journey, she hope it continues to be memorable and impactful in the lives of students. Currently, Unethia is the CAP Advisor, at Maritime and Science Technology Academy. She is a wife, mom, coach, mentor, and lifelong educator who enjoys sports and spending time with her family.
Gabriela Goitia Vazquez
2023 MDCPS Rookie Teacher of the Year
Gabriela Goitía Vázquez teaches English, English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), AP English Language and Composition and AP Spanish Literature and Culture at Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School. Following her graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Comparative Literature, she worked in the non-profit sector, becoming a Program Associate at Grupo Guayacán, Inc. in her hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico. She then became a City Year AmeriCorps Member at Miami Central Senior High School before becoming a full-time teacher. Ms. Goitía Vázquez currently serves as Miami-Dade County Public Schools 2023 Rookie Teacher of the Year.