Nativity Jesuit Academy in Milwaukee is pleased to announce that Vanessa Solis will assume the role of principal effective July 1, 2018. Solis grew up in Chicago’s La Villita (Little Village) and entered school knowing only Spanish. Despite that challenge, she received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds two master’s degrees: one from the University of Notre Dame in Educational Leadership and one from Cardinal Stritch University in Urban Education. Solis is a licensed principal in Indiana and Wisconsin.
“As a Latina who grew up in a neighborhood very similar to the neighborhood where our students live, I am immensely honored to be leading Nativity Jesuit Academy’s devoted and talented educators as we provide an extraordinary education to our city’s future leaders,” said Solis. “Having faced similar economic, social and language challenges, I know that every student who walks through our doors has unlimited potential.”
“One trait that always impresses me about Vanessa is her sense of gratitude,” said Sue Smith, President of Nativity Jesuit Academy. “She is aware of the opportunities that have brought her this far in life and she works hard every day to make sure that our students have the same opportunities. Vanessa has an unwavering commitment to our students and their families.”
Nativity Jesuit Academy is currently expanding to better serve the needs of Milwaukee’s growing Latino community, evolving from an all-boys middle school to a co-ed K4-8th grade academy. Solis’ first role at Nativity Jesuit Academy was an inaugural position: teaching the school’s first ever K4 class in the fall of 2014. Solis visited the homes of incoming parents and organized workshops that focused on creating partnerships between families and teachers. She also worked to share valuable community resources and lay the groundwork for the elementary school to grow. Solis transitioned to Director of Elementary School in 2016 and worked tirelessly to create a strong ‘one school culture’ that united the middle school and the new elementary school.
Nativity Jesuit continues to post strong outcomes. Last year, 100% of alumni graduated from high school and 100% were accepted into college. Nativity Jesuit Academy has a daily attendance rate of 98% and student return rate of 98%. As one of the highest-performing Nativity schools in the United States, and the only one in Wisconsin, Nativity Jesuit is poised to serve 260 students and families next year. This represents an enrollment growth of 45%.
“I am particularly excited to be serving Nativity Jesuit Academy and its families during this period of growth and change,” said Solis. “We continue to build on and celebrate our Latino culture and live out our Jesuit, Catholic identity.”
Nativity Jesuit Academy is a K4-8 co-ed Catholic, Jesuit, urban school serving young men and women. Nativity Jesuit Academy prepares students, in partnership with their families, for Christian leadership and service in high school, college, and life.