About Mayor Cunningham


Karyn Cunningham was elected as Palmetto Bay's Mayor on November 6, 2018, and won a second term in November 2022. A native of Miami-Dade County and a graduate of Miami Palmetto Senior High, Mayor Cunningham graduated Cum Laude from the University of South Florida in 1985 and holds certification in Elementary Education and Psychology. She received her Urban Education Certification from Florida International University in 1987. Karyn and her family have lived in the Village of Palmetto Bay since 1995. She has one daughter, Megan.    

Mayor Cunningham is an accomplished teacher, community activist, and advocate for education. She began her career teaching First Grade and retired from Miami-Dade County Public Schools in 2021 after 36 years. During her time as a classroom teacher, Karyn worked closely with the PTA to bring additional programming and activities to our school community. In 2004, Karyn took her career outside the classroom by serving with United Teachers of Dade as a Teacher on Special Assignment. At UTD she has served in many capacities during her twenty years. She specializes in review of public policy, advocacy, community engagement, communications, and membership support.

Mayor Cunningham served as Village of Palmetto Bay Councilwoman for Seat 1 from 2014-2018.  During that time, she spearheaded many initiatives focused on residents and quality of life in Palmetto Bay. Some of those initiatives included:

  • Passive Park Initiative- allowing the Village to take steps in acquiring parcels of land for the expansion of parks within the Village.  The acquisition of these properties will enable us to increase our tree canopy which not only enhances the beautification of our community but increases home values as well.  
  • IBus Park & Ride- which established the first of its kind pilot program using the Village’s IBus to transport commuters to the county’s Metrorail System on the busway as part of reducing vehicular traffic and reduce our carbon footprint by removing as many automobiles as possible from our roadways - positively impacting current traffic conditions.
  • Safe Schools Initiative- which directs our Village police officers to make their presence known at our public and private schools by completing their official reports on school property to have a higher profile for our students, teachers, and their families.
  • After Hours with Karyn- which allows residents to meet with me for coffee and discuss their ideas, issues, and vision for the Village. 
  • Mayor is In- Offering open office hours to provide residents the opportunity to meet with her- no appointment necessary!
  • Saturday in the Park- a monthly opportunity giving residents the opportunity to meet with to discuss their ideas about how to improve our cherished parks and green spaces.
  • Annual Kids Town Hall- giving our youngest residents the opportunity to have their voices be a part of governing. Through the Kids Town Halls changes were made to park amenities at Coral Reef Park and Palmetto Bay Park and engage our teens in important environmental issues and solutions. 
  • Annual Principals' Breakfast- A strong advocate for schools, Mayor Cunningham has partnered with the Village to host an annual breakfast uniting public and private schools in the community to provide education networking opportunities and sharing of best practices among PTA/PTSAs, local administrators and businesses.
  • Local Business Initiatives- Palmetto Bay is home to many local mom and pop businesses. To recognize those local businesses, the Village has worked in partnership with our Economic Development Council, our Palmetto Bay Business Association and Chamber South, to develop real strategies for our businesses, especially our “Mom and Pops” to rebound and thrive.   
  • Annual Pine Rockland Cleanup- Working with student groups and other organizations, Mayor Cunningham has hosted annual clean ups of our environmentally fragile areas to raise awareness of the importance of these sensitive environments in our community.

A graduate of the Greater Miami Chamber’s Leadership Miami Class of 2012, Mayor Cunningham believes that the best way to serve a community is to serve humanity. During COVID recovery she was actively involved with local organizations, such as Christ Fellowship, Feeding South Florida and Be Strong, to provide essential relief though bookbag and food drives to the community. She is actively involved on the boards of many local not-for-profit organizations. She is the past Vice-President and current Board Member of The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment and is the Co-Chair of the South Dade Coalition for Chamber South where she served as a Board member from 2016-2018. In addition, she serves on the Advisory Board of Common Threads, The Yaegar Foundation, The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center Board, Community Health of South Florida Capital Fund Advisory Board, the Palmetto Bay Business Association, Friends of Chapman Field Board, The Edge Helps Foundation, and is the Vice President of the Miami Area Salvation Army Advisory Board.

 Mayor Cunningham, who was featured in the 24th Edition of the Book of Leaders (2021) , published by Miami Today, highlighting Miami's top 52 South Floridian achievers who "are shaping the development of Greater Miami”, also serves on the Florida League of Cities Board of Directors and Transportation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, the Green Corridor Pace District, MDCPS Citizen Oversight Committee (representing the Miami Dade League of Cities), the Miami Dade League of Cities Executive Board and was appointed to the American Flood Coalition Member Advisory Board. Most recently, in March 2023, Mayor Cunningham had the honor of being inducted into her high school alma mater's, Miami Palmetto Senior High Hall of Fame alongside fellow inductee Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Cunningham serves as the Vice President of the school's Alumni Association. 

Contact Mayor Cunningham directly on her cell phone at 305-799-0695 or via email.