Adrian Alfonso ‘98 | *Board Chairman, Executive Committee Member
A tax principal in the public accounting firm of Kaufman Rossin. He has more than 20 years of experience providing accounting, business advisory, and tax services to clients, including corporations, high net worth individuals, and family‐owned corporate and partnership entities. He specializes in providing professional services to high‐net‐worth families and real estate investment entities. He received his Executive Master of Science in Taxation and a Bachelor's in Accounting from Florida International University. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Florida and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and past president of the Cuban American Certified Public Accountants Association. He has served on the CCHS Alumni Executive Committee and was appointed twice by Governor Rick Scott as Chairman for the Early Learning Coalition of Miami/Dade & Monroe.
Robert Grillo '87 | *Technology Committee Chairman, Executive Committee Member
Robert Grillo is Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Florida International University. Robert has been a leader in the I.T. industry for more than 20 years. His passion for leading FIU’s Division of Information Technology is fueled by a commitment to delivering the most innovative technological advancements to the university community. Robert has fostered partnerships and collaborations with local organizations and businesses to bring technologies to the South Florida community, with particular emphasis on STEM programs. Robert has a B.A. from Florida International University and a Masters in Finance from Nova Southeastern University. Robert has received several awards and recognitions, one of them being 2018 HITEC (Hispanic IT Executive Council) Top 100 winner. He graduated from Columbus in 1987 and his son Alejandro is a 2020 alumnus as well.
Thomas Kruczek | *Executive Committee Member
Following an extensive nationwide search, the Board of Trustees announced that Mr. Thomas Kruczek would be appointed Columbus' second president.
With a thirty-plus year career that has successfully encompassed higher education and the business world, Tom is a proven leader and mentor with extensive experience in management, strategic planning, finance, and marketing. In addition to serving as the President of Notre Dame College for the last five years, Tom led South Florida based Lynn University’s College of Business & Management as Dean and served as the Executive Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship at both Syracuse University and Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. A strong fundraiser and networker, Tom has played a central role in the funding and establishment of numerous programs and facilities at four colleges that he has served, including a role in the $15 million College of Business building at Lynn and establishing the Caring Hearts Fund for students faced with financial emergencies at Notre Dame.
Jose Muñoz '90 | *Building & Grounds Committee Chairman, Executive Committee Member
Jose Muñoz is the CEO of BCC Engineering one of the largest Transportation and Civil Engineering firms in the Southeast United States and Puerto Rico. He has over 30 years’ experience in the engineering and construction industry and his firm has been responsible for the design of many of the largest infrastructure projects in Florida, including the SR-826/ SR-836 Dolphin-Palmetto Interchange. He graduated from Florida International University with a degree in Civil Engineering and is a licensed Professional Engineer in several states and General Contractor. Jose was one of the early founders of the Columbus STEM program and has continued to support it ever since. He is continually focused on the future of the engineering industry and is dedicated to promoting careers in STEM and engineering at the high school and college levels. Jose graduated from Columbus in 1990 and his son Max will graduate this year, Class of 2022.
John Adams '82
A leading strategic consultant in the area of construction and development, John Adams is the Managing Director of Strategic Redevelopment Group, a development company specializing in acquisition and redevelopment of commercial and investment grade real estate. Recently, John and SRG have been involved in projects including Dixie Belle Shops (Pinecrest), Miami Seaquarium Dolphin Harbor & Penguin Encounter, and SeaVee Boat manufacturing facility (Medley). John attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and received a Bachelor of Science from Florida International University's School of Engineering. In 2016, he helped to start the Internship Program at Columbus and has since hosted over 100 students. John was a 3-sport athlete (football, basketball, baseball) at Columbus and is a member of the Columbus Athletic Hall of Fame.
Br. Herbert Baker, F.M.S.
Br. Herb was born in New York and entered the Marist Brothers formation program in 1962. He first taught at St. Helena School in New York from 1967 – 1972 and then he taught and
coached at Pace High School in Miami from 1972 – 1980. He also taught and was the head baseball coach for two years (1980 – 1982) at Biscayne College, now St. Thomas University.
For 35 years (1982 – 2017) Br. Herb has served Christopher Columbus High School. He taught AP and Honors American History for 33 years and was the head baseball coach from 1982 – 1996. During his tenure as coach, Br. Herb and his team won many district, GMAC, sectional, and regional championships.
In 1991 he became the school’s Athletic Trainer, a position he holds to this day. Under his leadership, Br. Herb has developed an outstanding Training and Sports Medicine Facility where he and his team manage the overall health and wellness of Columbus’ student-athletes. His exceptional work has led to Columbus being named a “Safe Sports School 1st Team” by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Recently, he spearheaded an effort in collaboration with Nicholas Children’s Hospital and the U.M. School of Nursing & Health Studies to provide mandatory comprehensive examinations, including EKGs, to all student-athletes (the first high school program of its kind in Miami-Dade County).
In addition to all his responsibilities at Columbus, Br. Herb still found time to be the Director of the Columbus Marist Brothers Community for 18 years.
Graduated from University of Florida’s School of Business in 1964 where Jim was also a starting linebacker and defensive captain his senior year. From 1965-2010, Jim ran a State Farm franchise. This private business ownership allowed for time to pursue a passion for coaching. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s he coached football, basketball and baseball at Boys and Girls Clubs, Coral Gables and South Miami Khoury leagues and Epiphany Elementary. Currently, with the assistance of his daughter, Jill, manages Bernhardt Property Management.
In the 1990’s, Columbus was going to stop the 9th grade baseball program. Jim attained permission from the school to continue the program. He coached and ran program for one year and it is still running strong today. During this time, Br Angelo, Columbus Principal, stated the school’s administrative structure will be changing. Part of this change was to incorporate a board of directors. In 1998, Br Angelo asked Jim to help start the board and to serve as chair of the new executive board which he did for the first three years. Served as past chair of the Boys and Girls Club Executive Board of Miami-dade. April 24th 1993, admitted as an affiliated member of the Marist Brothers of the Province of Esopus.
Daniel Brea ‘95 | Marist School Life Committee Chairman
Danny is currently an Independent Financial Advisor with Total View Advisors. He has over 20 years’ experience working with high net worth individuals, working professionals, business owners, and executives. Danny received a Bachelor’s degree in International Finance and Marketing from the University of Miami. Shortly after graduating, he returned to the University of Miami and obtained a Masters in Business Administration with a specialization in Personal Financial Planning. Prior to becoming an Independent Financial Advisor, he was a Senior Wealth Manager at BNY Mellon Wealth Management.
Danny is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, a designation he obtained in January of 2006. He was also recognized in Poder Hispanic Magazine in their “20 Under 40 Latinos Going Places” list in June of 2013.
Pat Call | Academic Committee Chairman
Pat Call has served Christopher Columbus High School for over 40 years as a teacher, administrator, and guidance counselor. The Massachusetts native, started her career at Columbus in 1977 when she started as an Advanced Biology Teacher and subsequently became the Science Department Chairperson. Serving as Academic Dean from 1992 to 2013, her leadership enabled the school to implement a more comprehensive program of studies and start a dual enrollment partnership with Florida International University. Pat holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education in Counseling from Fitchburg State University and has earned post graduate credits at Nova Southeastern University. She is a proud member of the Columbus Hall of Fame.
Cristina Capote is the principal of St. Brendan Catholic Elementary School. She graduated from FIU with a bachelor’s degree in education and continued her studies at Nova Southeastern University where she earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She began her career in 2000, working for the Miami Dade County Public Schools and then in 2003 returned to the Catholic school system as a teacher at St. Brendan Elementary School. Shortly thereafter, in 2007, she became the Assistant Principal of the school. Her role as AP prepared her to assume the position of Principal in 2013. Under her many years of stewardship St. Brendan Elementary has grown to become one of the largest Elementary school’s in the Archdiocese of Miami. With academics remaining as one of her primary focuses, she has integrated technology at the center of all classrooms to promote a more engaging method of teaching and learning. In 2021, she led the school into achieving STREAM Certification from the Florida Catholic Conference.
Michael Carricarte '86
Michael Carricarte is a highly regarded seasoned veteran in the insurance industry with more than 30 years of experience in the Latin American and Caribbean Market. Michael and his family founded Amedex Insurance Company along with its medical network USA Medical Services, which generated more than $300 million in medical premiums and serviced over 1 million clients in 42 countries. When these companies were sold to Bupa Worldwide, Michael stayed on board supervising the transition and also led Pan-American Life Insurance's International Major Private Client Division as President. Today, Michael is the President and CEO of the new and robust AMEDEX ASSURANCE COMPANY which focuses on Term Life Insurance, combined with first level service and advanced technology. Michael is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Owner/President Management Program.
Santiago Eljaiek ‘91
A 1991 Columbus graduate, Santiago is the founding and managing partner of Marin, Eljaiek, Lopez & Martinez, PL., a full service law firm with offices in Coconut Grove and Orlando, Florida. He serves as the head of the Transaction Department for the Firm and focuses his practice on commercial and residential real estate, mergers and acquisitions, asset based and structured lending and general corporate agreements. He is a member of the Florida Bar, Business Law and Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Sections, Dade County Bar Association and Cuban American Bar Association. He received his Bachelors of Science, with honors, in Business Administration and Management from the University of Florida and received his Juris Doctorate degree from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida. Santiago also serves as outside general counsel for a variety of profit and not-for-profit Corporations and Condominium Associations. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Kristi House and is a member of the CCHS Alumni Executive Committee. Santiago attended Columbus from 1987 – 1991. He is married to Patty Eljaiek, and they have three children, Sofia Cristina, Daniela Patricia and Lucas Santiago.
Dr. Joseph Fernandez ‘80
Dr. Joe Fernandez graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in Sports Medicine, Arthroscopic and Reconstructive Surgery at the American Sports Medicine Institute with Lawrence Lemak, M.D, James Andrew, M.D., and William Clancy, M.D. Dr. Fernandez is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America.
He has been in private practice for over 15 years and is the Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics for Baptist Hospital of Miami. Dr. Fernandez is a sports medicine specialist who specializes in sport related injuries and arthroscopic surgery. He lectures all over the world on topics related to sports injuries of the knees and shoulders. He has been a tournament physician for the Key Biscayne Lipton, NASDAQ, and Sony Erickson since 1995. He has been a master instructor in shoulder surgery for the Arthroscopy Association of North America, and routinely treats world class professional, college and high school athletes.
Nelson Fonseca '91
Br. Daniel J. Grogan, F.M.S.
Shirelle Jackson is currently the Senior Associate Athletic Director of Student/Athlete Development at the University of Miami. Shirelle also oversees the Hurricanes’ track and field and cross country programs. She has worked within the athletic department field for the last 19 years. She graduated with a B.A. from Bowling Green in 1994 and a master’s degree in counseling from Central Connecticut State in 1998. She is currently a doctoral candidate in higher education leadership at Nova Southeastern in Davie. Shirelle is very active within her community and has received several award such as, NCAA Helper-Helper Division I Community Service National Championship award, panelist and speaker for the Women in Sports Forum 2016 and 2018, and even received the Women Leaders Nell Jackson
Administrator of the Year Award for her efforts engaging student-athletes, department staff and campus partners with an inclusive environment. Shirelle two sons are graduates of Columbus High School Justin, Class of 2017 and Jordan, Class of 2021.
Cesar Llano ‘81
Cesar Llano graduated from Columbus in 1981 and received his undergraduate and master degrees in architecture from Tulane University. He has a career in real estate investments that spans over thirty years that includes acquisitions, financing, development and construction. He currently serves as Director of Capital Asset Improvements for COFE Properties, LLC. Prior to COFE he served on the executive team of two major residential real estate developers. He has served as a Board Member of the Latin Builders Association and Committee Member of The Builders Association of South Florida; two prominent local building industry organizations. He is also a former Board Member of the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority. Cesar is married to his wife Vivian and has three children; Vivianne, Andrea and Cesar ‘17.
Daniel Llerena '01 | Finance Committee Chairman
Juan Carlos Mas '84
Anthony Petisco '00
Anthony F. Petisco is a First Vice President and Financial Advisory Branch Manager for the Wells Fargo Advisors, Coral Gables (Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company). He has been helping clients in the financial industry for the last 23 years and received his B.A. in Political Science from Florida International University in 2003. Anthony currently serves on the Miami Dade Community Council 10 board. He has previously served on the Columbus High School Alumni Association Executive Committee and is a former Vice-Chairman of the Miami Dade Community Council 12. Anthony graduated from Columbus in 2000.
Martin Pico '87 | Development Committee Chairman
Rafael Roca '88 | Marketing Committee Chairman
Rafael J. Roca is the Division President for D.R. Horton’s Southeast Florida Division and just recently celebrated his 30-year anniversary with the company. DR Horton (DHI on the NYSE) is the largest publicly traded homebuilder in the country for 21 consecutive years. Rafael has climbed the corporate ladder and filled various roles throughout his career in Southeast Florida division. The area Rafael covers is Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin County.
Rafael is the immediate past president of the Gold Coast Builders Association (GCBA) as well a long-standing member of the Builder’s Association of South Florida (BASF). He will soon be joining the Board of directors for the Latin Builder’s Association (LBA) which he has been a member of for over 20 years. Rafael has been named one of Southeast Florida Business Journal’s Top 250 Real Estate Power Leaders for nine consecutive years.
Born in Miami and raised along with two brothers and two sisters to Cuban-born parents, he learned early that hard work is the only way to move ahead. He graduated from Christopher Columbus High School in 1988, where he currently serves on the School Board, before that he spent 11 years on the Alumni Association Committee of which 6 of those years he served as President. He attended Florida International University’s School of Engineering, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Construction Management in 1995 while maintaining a full time job at the time. Upon graduation Rafael went on to get his Certified General Contractor’s license, where he has been the qualifier for DR Horton since his early years with the Company.
Rafael has been happily married since 1996 to his lovely wife Elena and together they have five wonderful children, three boys (all of which have since graduated from Christopher Columbus High School) and two girls (which both have attended Lourdes Academy) and four grandchildren. Rafael’s passions include boating in the Keys, skiing in Vail or just enjoying a good glass of wine. But most importantly for him, it’s about spending time with his family and closest friends that he cherishes most.
Danny Rodriguez '08
Danny Rodriguez is the Cofounder and President of BLUE Missions, a non-profit organization that connects rural communities to clean water and sanitation while inspiring a generation of global citizens through service-driven travel. After traveling to the Dominican Republic to work on a water project as a 16 year-old student at CCHS, Danny felt a calling to do more to address the global water crisis. During his time at FIU, where he obtained a BBA specializing in Finance and International Business, Danny co-founded BLUE Missions in 2010, which has provided clean water and sanitation to over 30,000 people across 130 rural communities throughout Latin America. Over 2,500 high school and college students have traveled with BLUE Missions to assist in the construction of these projects opening their eyes to great needs that exist on our planet and helping them realize the power they have to change the world. Since its inception, BLUE Missions has raised over $5,000,000 to advance their mission of ending the global water and sanitation crisis in our lifetime. Danny graduated from Columbus in 2008.