Haitian Heritage - Profiles in Leadership

Administrator Uses Own Experience as Immigrant to Connect With Students
Posted on 10/24/2019
Dr. Sandra Moreau Oliver

Dr. Sandra Moreau Oliver lives by a simple but important motto; “be the best that you can be.” As an Assistant Principal at Pioneer Park Elementary School, that mindset of striving for excellence is evident in her administrative approach. 


She is devoted to inspiring all students, especially the struggling learners and those with language acquisition barriers. She is committed to helping them set goals for success in the classroom and beyond.


“I chose the field of education because I am passionate about helping others and motivating learners,” Moreau Oliver said. “I believe that everyone has true talents and gifts that are yet to be discovered, and education is the key to helping someone discover their talents and gifts in order to succeed.”


Born in Haiti, Moreau Oliver moved with her family to the United States at an early age. They settled in Miami, and she went on to graduate from Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education, and a master’s in Teacher of English as a Second Language (TESOL). 


She completed leadership courses at Florida Atlantic University and earned her doctorate in Child and Youth Studies with a specialization in Administration from Nova Southeastern University.


Moreau Oliver started as an ESOL teacher at Pine Grove Elementary School in August 1999. She has held various positions in the District throughout her career, including ESOL Coordinator, Capacity Development Specialist, and Reading/Math Coach, before rising to her current position in 2014. 


Fluent in Haitian Creole and French, Moreau Oliver understands the challenges faced by newcomers to the United States, given that she was placed in classes for English for Students of Other Languages (ESOL) when she came to the U.S. as a child. That allows her to relate to the experiences of students in similar circumstances, their struggles in school, and the challenge of assimilating to a new culture. 

 

“Being a second language learner was difficult,” Moreau Oliver said. “Teachers placed me in remedial classes although I was a year ahead of my class back in Haiti. They eventually placed me correctly and I was able to demonstrate my knowledge.” 


Getting that boost put her on the path to academic and career success. As a beginning teacher, Moreau Oliver was nominated for the School District’s “I Make a Difference Teacher Award”, in addition to receiving a nomination for the Palm Beach County Administrators Association Assistant Principal of the Year Award for 2017-2018. 


She is currently a member of the Palm Beach County Administrators Association, the Literacy Leaders of Palm Beach County, and the Florida International University Alumni Association. Her administrator duties and full schedule hasn’t stopped her from setting her sights on future aspirations. 


“My goals include becoming a school principal in the near future as well as accomplishing some other personal, professional, and entrepreneurial goals”, Moreau Oliver said. “I would also love to write children’s books and have them translated into multiple languages.”


Moreau Oliver and her husband are the proud parents of six children, five of whom are college students. Among the many values she has passed down to her children, a love of their Haitian culture, language, and country are of prime importance. 


“I am very proud of my culture. I grew up in a family of nine children, and my parents always had high expectations for us,” Moreau Oliver said. “We were all expected to be successful in school and in life, and I want the same for my children.”


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