The visionary behind The Mandelstam School is Carol Mandelstam. While a graduate student at the University of Miami, she did extensive research on the relationship between academics and physical education, and how each of these intelligences related to one another. Her research, despite the fact that at the time, her husband-to-be was playing tennis and soccer for the University, concluded that gymnastics was the core of all sports.
An assignment in one of Mrs. Mandelstam’s classes was to design your dream school. She envisioned a small elementary school, which considered the whole child, strong in academics, a Physical Education curriculum built around gymnastics in a large gym and an Arts program where children would learn not only the visual arts but also the performing arts in a Broadway-styled theater. After the purchase of the property, the vision was unfortunately put on hold when the City of South Miami Commission voted against allowing a school at the location. With a strong belief that their vision of the School would benefit the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of children and families in the area, their persistence and passion finally prevailed and after 10 years of litigation with the City, the Mandelstams were finally permitted to build a School.
Construction began at the School in 1993 and as the family began putting a staff and curriculum into place for their own School, a chance meeting with Gulliver Schools occurred. Gulliver was so impressed with the concept they entered into a lease on the property with Carod.Inc, an entity owned by the Mandelstams, whereby Gulliver would provide an academic program, while Carod would provide the physical education (gymnastics) and dance programs, a key element to the success of Gulliver South Miami Campus. This relationship lasted for 16 years, so although the owners are entering their 10th year as The Mandelstam School, they have been in the school business for 26 years. “We are thankful for our time with Gulliver,” says Rod Mandelstam. “ However, we are thrilled to finally have our vision fulfilled. Because of the small size of the School and its original curriculum, we are able to distinguish ourselves from the other schools in the area, and thereby provide the best that Miami offers.”