Dear Friends and Family,
I am so honored to be the Head of School of such a unique and amazing institution. Alverno Heights Academy was founded by the Sisters of St. Francis in 1960 and was later sold to Immaculate Heart Community in 1978 until the school became independent from the order in the 1990s. The charism of both of these religious orders is alive and well at Alverno. Alverno is more than just a progressive, independent, college preparatory school for girls. It is a place where girls live out our mission and are “empowered to become exactly the person they want to be.” I began working at Alverno in 1990 as an English teacher. Throughout the years, I have assumed many roles: chair of the English department, drama teacher, Dean of Students, Director of Activities, Assistant Head of School, and now Head of School. In that time the one constant has been the girls. They are truly the heart of our school.
These amazing young women, under the tutelage of a devoted and committed faculty, thrive academically, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Diversity in many different forms is celebrated at Alverno; academic, religious, socio-economic, and ethnic/racial. Alverno is known for its rigorous, yet inclusive academic program which serves the needs of all types of learners – from the extremely gifted (as evidenced by our Academy for Gifted Girls) to those who may struggle academically in a more traditional college preparatory setting. Our teachers use differentiated instruction in order to meet the academic needs of all of our students. Alverno is a Catholic school and embraces the teachings of Gospel. However, we welcome and respect students of all faiths to be part of our student body and recognize that everyone is precious in God’s eyes.
Alverno believes in empowering girls. Our governmental system is one way this is achieved. It is based on the United States government. Our students have a say in what happens at the school through the democratic process. They elect a President and Vice-President who run as a ticket. They have elected representatives in Congress and each class is a state which is part of the Alverno Student Union. Students have a voice at Alverno. If they want to see change, they must write a Bill or Resolution and send it through the proper channels all the way to the Supreme Court. Our Christian Service program is an integral part of all that we do continuing the mission of our founders. Our students collectively perform an average of 10,000+ hours/year in a school of just under 200 students. Amazing!
Because Alverno is small our girls are given individualized attention. Students are known by name by teachers, staff, and administration. Because they are so much a part of all that happens at the school, they connect to the school in a special way. This not only applies to the students, but to the faculty and staff. The average tenure of faculty and staff is 10+ years. We have many alumnae on our staff, faculty, Board of Trustees, and Board committees. Graduates of Alverno attend some of the best colleges and universities in the nation and when they come home to visit during the holidays, many come back to Alverno because we, too, are part of their family.
As you can see, I am very proud of our school and our students. For those of you who are already part of our community, welcome back. For those who would like to know more about our awesome school, we would love to have you come to visit. When you do, be sure to stop by and say hello.
Julia V. Fanara, M.A., M.Ed. P ’01, ’03, and ’05
Head of School of Alverno Heights Academy