Since 1933, Conchita Espinosa Academy (CEA) has educated children with a unique philosophy and methodology developed and first put into practice by its founder, Conchita Espinosa, in Havana, Cuba. Espinosa believed that every child deserves and has the right to a complete education in the arts and sciences. She dreamed of a school where students would develop passion and character and where they would have the opportunity to enjoy the precious years of childhood. Maribel Z. Diaz took her mother’s dream and enhanced it with her own. For over 50 years, she has dedicated her life to expanding this vision, further developing sophisticated arts and sports curricula, envisioning and implementing the Mastery Program, which encourages all students to develop a passion, and reinforcing the idea that the teaching-learning process is dynamic, interdependent and in constant change.
From the garage of her home, to the first campus in Little Havana, to the state-of-the-art 10-acre facility in southwest Miami-Dade home to the school today, Conchita’s legacy has carried on for generations. CEA has earned an outstanding reputation in the South Florida community for giving its students an excellent academic foundation, active involvement in the arts as part of their day-to-day lives, and a forward-focused preparation for life through the development of character in an environment of mutual respect and trust. CEA has continued into the 21st century as a strong community of learners that has grown from the Espinosa family’s talent and vision. The school remains in the hands of the Espinosa family, with two generations of leaders, Diaz and her daughters, Carol Diaz-Zubieta, CEA Director, and Dr. Ana Diaz-Zubieta, Licensed Psychologist and Conservatory Director, strengthening and working towards an educational ideal that, in Espinosa’s words, each day becomes “mejor, mejor y mejor.”
CEA is founded in Havana, Cuba
At 19 years old, Conchita Espinosa opens Kindergarten Musical Conchita Espinosa in Havana, Cuba.
Conchita and her daughter Maribel at a piano recital in Cuba
CEA is a K-6 school with over 450 students
What began as a musical kindergarten with seven students is now Conchita Espinosa Academy, a K-6 school with over 450 students and a fully-functioning Conservatory of the Arts. Conchita Espinosa’s most prominent piano students during this period included Jacobo Lateiner, who went on to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and teach at The Juilliard School in New York City; Bertha Schumann, who went on to play with the Berlin Orchestra, and Bertha Huberman. During this period, many master teachers taught at the Conservatory of the Arts, including Rosita Segovia (Spanish dance), Antonio Losada (theatre), Michel Fokine (ballet), and Dulce Anaya (ballet), among others.
Conchita Espinosa begins teaching piano classes in Miami
Conchita Espinosa Academy’s first piano and ballet performance in Miami
Conchita Espinosa Academy’s first piano and ballet performance in Miami at Citrus Grove Elementary, featuring Conchita Espinosa’s piano students and Martha Mahr’s ballet students.
CEA moves to Miami, Florida
History is repeated and Conchita Espinosa Academy reopens in Miami, Florida once more as a musical kindergarten with piano and ballet classes, in the garage of Espinosa’s home. In June 1963, CEA had their first performance at Miami High Auditorium, featuring Conchita Espinosa’s piano students and Martha Mahr’s ballet students.
First Festival in Miami-Dade County Auditorium
First Festival of the Arts at Miami-Dade County Auditorium. The Festival of the Arts has since been a biennial tradition at Conchita Espinosa Academy.
First Holy Communion as a CEA class
CEA moves to a larger campus on SW 1st St. and 15th Ave. This year marks the first group of students who celebrated their First Holy Communion as a CEA class.
Maribel Z. Diaz, Espinosa’s daughter and Director Emeritus, begins to teach at CEA.
CEA moves to the larger campus on NW 7th Street.
CEA moves to Little Havana Campus
CEA moves to Little Havana campus on SW 8th Street and 21st Avenue.
First CEA Graduating Class in Miami
Rosita Segovia joins Conchita Espinosa
Rosita Segovia joins Conchita Espinosa for the second time to found the Spanish dance department at CEA/CEC. In the coming years, Rosita Segovia will receive the National Endowment of the Arts choreography grant for her piece, Suite Paganini.
Ronn Daniels founds the tap department.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s many prominent artists and teachers passed through the halls of Conchita Espinosa Academy and Conservatory of the Arts, including Arthur Curtis (jazz and modern dance), Cuca Martinez (ballet), Gloria Gaithor (ballet), Judith Newman (ballet), Mariana Alvarez Brake (ballet), and Manuel Ochoa (choir), among others.
CEA moves to current campus
CEA moves to current 10-acre campus at 12975 SW 6th Street.
Conservatory of the Arts Building is added to campus
Conchita Espinosa is awarded the Richard and Dorothy Lear Memorial “Distinguished Educator Award.”
Conchita Espinosa receives the “Legacy of Excellence Award”
General Motors presents Conchita Espinosa with the “Legacy of Excellence Award” during Hispanic Heritage Festival. Conchita Espinosa receives “Conchita Espinosa Day” proclamations from both the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County.
S.W. 6th street is named “Conchita Espinosa Way.”
First Mastery Program, Conchita Magazine, is introduced.
CEA launches the Mastery Program with the Conchita Magazine. What began as a summer program, evolved into three original masteries: Conchita Magazine, dance, and choir. Today, CEA offers more than 20 mastery program classes to students in 3rd through 8th grade.
Conchita Espinosa receives the Medalla de Excelencia Nacional Cubana from the Instituto de San Carlos de Cayo Hueso.
Rosita Segovia Theatre
Rosita Segovia Theatre is added to the CEA campus.
Two additional basketball courts are added to CEA campus, in order to accommodate growing Athletics program.
CEA 10 and Under Soccer team win first championship
Early Childhood Building incorporated to campus
Early Childhood Building, which also houses the state-of-the-art “Martha Mahr” dance studio, is added to the CEA campus.
Senior Choir performs at Carnegie Hall
CEA launches 1:1 iPad program
CEA serves as a national model
CEA serves as a national model for the success of its technology integration program when Lynda Hastings, former Technology Curriculum Director, was invited to present at the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) 2014, an international conference that brings education leaders and technology experts together to exchange techniques and strategies for teaching and learning success.
Martha Mahr Studio Official Naming.
CEA returns to FETC
CEA returns to FETC, Technology Coordinator, Christina Rajo, presents a workshop on supporting an interactive curriculum based on her work in the classroom with iPad initiatives that launched at CEA in Fall 2013.
2016 and 2019
Girls’ Senior Cross Country Team win State Championship
Carol Diaz-Zubieta takes the role of CEA Director and Ana Diaz-Zubieta, Ph.D. takes the role of Conservatory of the Arts Director.
Track and Legacy Road Underconstruction
State-of-the-art track is added to campus.
Track and Legacy Road Installed
State-of-the-art track is added to campus.