Marina Sanchez-Rashid is ready to get the school year started and has worked hard to achieve her goal of becoming an educator.

“I have done every job that takes place in a school, custodian, office clerk, para-professional, teacher, assistant principal and principal,” said Sanchez-Rashid. “I will not ask someone to do something I would not do myself.”

As the new principal of Driftwood Elementary; Sanchez-Rashid is leading the school after serving as principal at Eagle Ridge Elementary in Coral Springs.

Sanchez-Rashid believes in the importance of putting children first and is eager to meet with students on the first day of school. She plans to move Driftwood from a “C” rated school to an “A” rated school.

“Being a part of this community excites me. I want to encourage parent and community involvement, to make parents feel welcome here,” said Sanchez-Rashid. Reaching out to parents from the first day of school is a priority, says Sanchez-Rashid. She has been meeting with teachers and staff members as well to get their input on making the school even better.

“I don’t have all the answers and I believe in the team effort,” she said. “I have an open-door policy and I want to hear from teachers and staff members. For me, being a principal is something I do 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Cuba-American Sanchez-Rashid emigrated to the U.S. with her family at the age of 15. She remembers the hardship of living under the Castro regime and is thankful to have had the opportunity to live in the United States.

Education has held Sanchez-Rashid’s interest since she was young. “I always wanted to be a teacher. As a child I would round up the younger children in my neighborhood and get them to sit in a classroom where I was the teacher. I have always wanted to be in education.”

She wants every child in her school to have a good shot at the American dream. “To be successful, I believe it is important to help one student at a time,” she said.