MIAMI ( – The students at The Cushman School in Miami just welcomed in a new school year; but the principal at Cushman, Dr. Joan Lutton, is bidding farewell to thirty years in education.

Dr. Lutton will be retiring at the end of the current school year, but can still recall her first day on the job as principal.

“I came and sat at this desk that Dr. Cushman the founder had just vacated and I thought ‘Oh my gosh; I’ve got to run this school. It’s me.’ That was very scary,” Lutton said.

Her fear quickly faded, but her passion for education grew along with her school which has grown from 100 students to 500. Dr. Lutton sees every student’s education as a responsibility and every students’ success as a victory.

“That’s why you do the work to see what happened — that you made a difference in somebody’s life — that going to this school mattered to them,” she explained.

One of her graduates now attends West Point. Five students she taught are now teachers at Cushman. They said Dr. Lutton was a tough teacher, but now children say, she’s a lot of fun. She even makes an appearance each year in the spring play.

But that is not what students will miss the most.

Dwight Spencer has attended The Cushman School for the past two years. He said he’ll miss, “her just being around us and comforting us and giving us a positive attitude.”

Dr. Lutton said she’s also learned a lot during her time at The Cushman School. She said the most important lesson: “Every child has a gift and we need to try really hard to find that gift and not waste it. So that’s who I am,” she added, “I’m a person who cares about children.”

Comments (5)
  1. Rev. Dr. Mary Ellen Cassini says:

    Joan Drody Lutton is a treasure for education. Her dedication to children and helping them learn to be the very best they can be is unmatched. I have know her for over 30 years and during that time her commitment and vision have made Cushman School a sacred place. Families know their children will be nurtured while learning to master excellent skills so they can encounter the world with innovation and character. Blessings to her and the Cushman family.

    1. Mary McKay says:

      Congratulations on this exciting event.Know your family will be excited to have your undivided attention for many years.Have a great life.

  2. Susan Bardales says:

    I go to the Cushman School and I know that Dr. Lutton is a real caring person who does want to find a child’s gift. Also my mom works at Cushman with the academy that need special help. What I’ve learned from Cushman is that they also make you feel part of a real family.

  3. Gloria M. Adams says:

    I am just happy that Dr. Lutton was there sixteen years ago when my daughter, McKenzi Payne attended. She is now a senior at the University of Miami, graduating in May. I always and consistently give testament to the fact that although it was a great financial sacrifice for me at the time, the Cushman School provided McKenzi with the best foundation that she could have received in her early education. Kudos to Dr. Lutton. Happy retirement! You are a model for administrative excellence in education!

  4. Gloria Adams says:

    Addendum: McKenzi graduated from a Miami-Dade County Public School with the “Superintendent’s Diploma of Distinction”. The Cushman School, under Dr. Lutton’s leadership, forged her course for academic success. With so many children having passed through the portals of this institution, Dr. Lutton, when we see her at the pool or on the streets of this community, recognizes us! I am grateful for Dr. Lutton!

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