New World School of the Arts

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New World School of the Arts
New World School of the Arts logo.jpg
25 NE 2ND Street

United States
TypePublic magnet, college
EstablishedAugust 1987
School districtMiami-Dade County Public Schools
Teaching staff30.00 (FTE)[1]
Grades9–12; college BFA candidates sophomore-senior
Enrollment489 (2018–19)[1]
Average class size19
Student to teacher ratio16.30[1]
Schedule7:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Color(s)Cyan, magenta and yellow      
MascotFightin' Pigeon
WebsiteNew World School of the Arts

New World School of the Arts (NWSA) is a public magnet high school and college in Downtown Miami, Florida. Its dual-enrollment programs in the visual and performing arts are organized into four strands: visual arts, dance, theatre (comprising programs in theater and musical theatre), and music (comprising programs in instrumental music and vocal music).

The New World School of the Arts was a pioneer in dual-enrollment education, arising out of an experiment between Miami Northwestern High School and Dade Community College (now Miami Dade College). NWSA was formally created as an outcome of that experiment by the 1986 New World School of the Arts Act of the Florida State Legislature as "a center of excellence for the performing and visual art",[2] with the stated intention "that specific attention be given to the needs of artistically talented high school students who are occupationally oriented to the arts."[2]

The school is jointly administered by Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College, and the University of Florida. The administrative structure includes an executive board with representatives from each of the partners as well as community seats and a foundation board.

The school awards an Associate of Arts degree from Miami Dade College, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees from the University of Florida, and a high school degree from the Miami Dade County schools.

Admissions into the high school are through the Miami Dade Visual and Performing Arts Magnet Program, requiring an audition and/or portfolio (see High School Admissions).

New World High School is rated #149 in the national rankings for best high schools, #17 in rankings for best Florida high schools and #42 magnet schools in accordance with the 2018 U.S. News & World Report. In 2009, NWSA was 82nd in this ranking.[3] Both the college and the high school are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


The vision of PAVAC (Performing and Visual Arts Center) was to integrate Miami Northwestern High School and provide high-quality arts training for students in Dade County. The original PAVAC director (1975) was Jackie (last name unknown), with Dr. Everett Abney serving as principal. At that time, Ms. Samiento served as an art teacher and Charlie Austin as music instructor. Later, Samiento took over as director when Jackie relocated out of state.[citation needed]

In the early days of PAVAC, Irene Fox was the Modern Dance instructor and Shelley Fox (recommended by Carrie Meek) was hired as the ballet instructor-choreographer. After Irene Fox left the program, Shelley Fox continued to recruit students from Dade County Public Schools. She developed a high quality ballet program and performing company.

The PAVAC program provided students with busing from their local high school to Miami Northwestern for the afternoon arts classes. The PAVAC Dancers performed at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, at locations on Miami Beach, Florida state conferences and festivals, and on local TV stations. The highlight of the program was the premier of Richard Strauss' original ballet Death and Transfiguration at Miami Dade Jr. College North. At that time, the PAVAC ballet program was the only department that successfully integrated Miami Northwestern High School.

Kendell Bently-Baker, inspired by the academic success of that program, and attempting to take greater advantage of the facilities and faculty of Miami Dade College (MDC), then known as Miami Dade Community College, proposed the creation of a dual-enrollment school of the arts: morning academics were to be at the student's home high school; in the afternoon students were to be bussed to one of the two MDCC campuses for classes in art or the performing arts.[4] Upon high school graduation, the student received a diploma from the home high school and college credits for the art classes, awarded through MDC.

In summer 1982, county auditions were held for 10th–12th graders. In fall 1982, two dual-enrollment PAVACs opened, one at the North Campus of MDCC, "PAVAC North", headed by Kendell Bently-Baker; the other at the South Campus of MDCC (now called the Kendall Campus), "PAVAC South", headed by Richard Janaro and Margaret Pelton. Marcy Samiento continued to serve as DCPS coordinator.[5] At that time, many Miami-Dade high schools served only 10th–12th grade.

The first PAVAC dual-enrollment graduates were in 1983. The Miami Northwestern High School program continued as before the creation of PAVAC,[6] and is currently among the PVA (performing and visual arts) magnet programs in the Miami-Dade County school system.

In 1984, Marcy Sarmiento, Kandell Bentley-Baker and Richard Janaro were asked to plan a successor school to PAVAC. Knowing they would need approval from the Florida Legislature they enlisted civic leader and lobbyist Seth Gordon to join them. Gordon was later elected to serve as the first chair of the Executive Board of the school and served in that capacity for six years. They studied other arts schools in the country, visiting LaGuardia High School, Juilliard and the North Carolina School of the Arts.[7] A bill creating the "South Florida School of the Arts" passed the Florida House of Representatives on May 30, 1984.[8] Soon afterwards, the New World name was chosen as part of larger plans for urban and cultural development which included the eponymous New World Symphony Orchestra, and to avoid confusion with the Florida School of the Arts.[9] The Florida legislature passed the "New World School of the Arts Act" in 1986.[10]

The NWSA opened its doors in fall 1987. The continuing students at PAVAC's North and South transitioned into NWSA, as did many of PAVAC's faculty. NWSA issued its first high school diploma in 1988 to the former PAVAC students. NWSA enrolled its first freshman college students in 1988. In order to award a BFA, it partnered with Florida International University (FIU). On January 12, 1994 University of Florida replaced FIU in this partnership.[11][12] The first graduating class of the college was in 1992.[13]

Later the high school expanded to include 9th grade.


Current administration
Provost: Jeffrey Hodgson
Principal: Contessa Bryant
Dance: Mary Lisa Burns
Music: Daniel Andai
Theater: Alan Patrick Kenny
Visual Arts: Gustavo Plascencia

The combined administration of the high school and college consists of a provost, under which are four deans and a principal. The Principal oversees the high school and high school academics, and Deans oversee each of the four strands, Dance, Music, Theater and Visual Arts, for both the high school and the college. There is an executive board of directors for the school, as well as a foundation board to direct the NWSA Foundation.


Richard A. Klein was hired away from being the principal of the LaGuardia High School to be the founding provost of NWSA. In April 1994 the executive board reduced Richard Klein's contract to one year and began looking for a replacement.[14] D. Hansen became interim provost for the 1995-96 school year, replaced by Bennett Lentczner, who served until 1999. Several provosts have served since then. Since the 2009 school year, Dr. Jeffrey Hodgson has been provost.


Alan Weiss was the founding principal. Since then, principals have been: Mandy Offerle, 1989–1993; Ellery Brown, 1993 until retirement in 2007; Dr. Frederic Conde, 2007–2010; Lisa S. Noffo, 2010–2012; Evonne Alvarez 2012–2018; Jason Allen, 2018 - 2020; Contessa Bryant 2021-Present. .

Dean of Dance[edit]

Daniel Lewis was the founding Dean of Dance of NWSA. Daniel Lewis retired for the 2011 school year. The current Dean of Dance is Mary Lisa Burns.

Dean of Music[edit]

John de Lancie was the director of Philadelphia's famed Curtis Institute of Music before becoming the founding Dean at New World. He submitted his resignation in December 1991 but rescinded it that same month, then resigned definitively in September 1992.[15][16][17] He was replaced by Willie Anthony Waters, principal conductor of the Greater Miami Opera. Waters was replaced in August 1993 with Balint Vazsonyi, who was asked to resign in September 1994.[18]

Since then the position has been filled by: Tallulah Brown, 1994–95; Karl Kramer, 1995–97; Roby George, 1997–98; Mark Camphouse, 1998–99;[19] Dennis Prime, 1999–2002; Jeffrey Hodgson, 2002-2009; Jim Gasior, 2009-2012; and Milton Ruben Laufer 2012-2014.[20]

The current Dean of Music is Daniel Andai,[21] an alumnus of NWSA Music Division. He was appointed in summer 2014.

Dean of Theater[edit]

Dr. Richard Paul Janaro agreed to serve as acting Dean of Theater at the school's inception. Jorge Guerra Castro became Dean of Theater in 1988, and Dr. Janaro assumed the role of Assistant Dean of Theater.[22] In 2002 Patrice Bailey took over from Castro, however she retired in 2022 and has since been replaced by Alan Patrick Kenny.

Dean of Visual Arts[edit]

The founding Dean of Visual Arts was Ed Love. Since then, the deans have been: Mel Alexenberg, 1990–2000; Louise Romeo, 2000–2005; Maggy Cuesta, 2005–2019; John Slepian 2019–2020; Gustavo Plascencia, 2020–present.


The school's main building is located at 25 NE 2nd Street, Miami, and holds other classes on the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus.

Much like the school today, all of its classes were held in different buildings in downtown Miami when the school opened, including the main building of MDC Wolfson campus, as well as space at the Christ Fellowship church at 500 N.E. 1st Avenue, where drawing classes were held on the top floor. The school's current main building (a former AT&T communications department building) was first used for the 1990-1991 school year, as an electrical fire destroyed the school's original administration headquarters. The main building (the 5000 Building) houses most of the high school academic classes there, as well as both the high school and college administration units, dance studios, theaters, and art studios. The MDC Wolfson Science building (the 2000 Building, located at 300 NE 2nd Avenue) houses the science facilities. All music classes are held across the street from the MDC Wolfson Building at the aptly named Music Building (the 4000 Building, located at 401 NE 2nd Avenue; also houses MDC's Literary Center).

High school admissions and enrollment[edit]

Admission to New World School of the Arts is determined by a performance audition or a portfolio review. For detailed information, see the audition requirements for each division on its website. It serves as both a college and a high school; it is the only high school conservatory in Miami-Dade County. NWSA continued the PAVAC model of admission based entirely on audition. This differs from other Miami-Dade County Public School (MDCPS) magnets which are not VPA (visual and performing arts) magnets, which have a mixed model of entrance eligibility requirements and lottery. Also unlike the other MDCPS magnets, but like other VPA magnets, it does not have the "sibling rule", a policy of giving priority if a student's sibling is already attending the magnet school.[23]

In 2011, 1,268 students applied for admission to New World, competing for 140 available spots. This gives New World an 11% admissions rate, making it one of Miami's most competitive public high schools.[24]

Total enrollment for 2009–10 was 828, with 473 in the high school and 355 in the college.

School demographics for 2009–10 were 35% male and 65% female; 42% Hispanic (of any race), 36% White non-Hispanic, 19% Black, 3% Asian, and less than 1% other.[25]

Notable alumni[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "NEW WORLD SCHOOL OF THE ARTS". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  2. ^ a b 1986 Florida Statutes, 204.535 New World School of the Arts
  3. ^ "USNEWS ranking". Retrieved July 17, 2018.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Miami Herald, July 5, 1984, Dade Arts Students Pay Price of Fame.
  5. ^ Miami Herald, June 24, 1982. Special Arts Program is planned.
  6. ^ Miami Herald, June 1, 1986, Northwestern PAVAC Gets Chance To Rebuild
  7. ^ Miami Herald, December 25, 1986, Young Artists Get a Chance at New School.
  8. ^ Miami Herald, May 31, 1984, Bill Creates Expanded Arts Center for Gifted Students. Florida House of Representatives passed bill for South Florida School for the Performing and Visual Arts on May 30, 1984.
  9. ^ "florida school of the arts". Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  10. ^ Florida Statute 240.535 (1986). Revised 1989, section 240.535, to create the NWSA Foundation and to establish the Governor's summer arts program. Current section 1002.35 of the Florida Statutes. Archived February 4, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Miami Herald, January 12, 1994, New World Committee Supports Switch to UF.
  12. ^ Miami Herald, January 13, 1994, FIU Leaves New World Partnership.
  13. ^ Miami Herald, May 4, 1992, "Arts School Graduates 1st College Class"
  14. ^ Miami Herald, February 23, 1994, Backstage Drama Unfolds at New World School
  15. ^ Miami Herald, December 16, 1991, De Lancie is Quitting New World Music Dean Cites Lack of Funding
  16. ^ Miami Herald, December 21, 1991, Miami New World Dean Rescinds Resignation
  17. ^ Miami Herald, September 17, 1992, New World Dean Quits
  18. ^ Miami Herald, September 16, 1994, Embattled New World Music Dean Facing Dismissal
  19. ^ "Mark Camphouse". Mark Camphouse. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  20. ^ "Bio". Milton Rubén Laufer. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  21. ^ "Daniel Andai - Online". Daniel Andai. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  22. ^ Miami Herald, July 4, 1988, New World School Names Theater Dean
  23. ^ "Miami-Dade County Public Schools - Division of School Choice & Parental Options". Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. Retrieved April 21, 2010.
  24. ^[dead link]
  25. ^ "New World School of the Arts : Student Information". Archived from the original on September 4, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
  26. ^ “Music | New World School of the Arts (NWSA).” Accessed June 7, 2022.
  27. ^
  28. ^ a b Casimir, Leslie (January 30, 1994). ""11 at New World Win Talent Search Honors"". The Miami Herald. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  29. ^ Orenstein, Hannah (April 17, 2017). "12 Things You Didn't Know About "13 Reasons Why" Actor Brandon Flynn". Retrieved April 20, 2017. He went to high school at New World School of the Arts.
  30. ^ Armand, Charles. "Samantha Robinson IMDB Biography". IMDB. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  31. ^ "The Love Witch Cast & Crew". Anna Biller Productions. Archived from the original on September 9, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  32. ^ "Miami Film Festival 2015: Posthumous Director Lulu Wang Talks Classic Hollywood and Growing up in Miami".

External links[edit]