Soledad Montañes was only three months old when her family emigrated from Montevideo, Uruguay to Elmhurst, Queens with a medical visa. Her parents moved to the United States because Soledad was born with a rare eye condition and needed medical care that was not available in South America. Her parents' relentless pursuits to give their daughter a fair chance instilled a high level of determination in Soledad that is made evident in her career path as an educator.
As a child growing up in Elmhurst, Soledad didn’t realize how lucky she was to grow up in such a diverse neighborhood, but knew she was fortunate for being able to see. The strength and diversity of the community, however, quickly made its mark and Soledad fully immersed herself in all that made Elmhurst such a unique neighborhood to grow up in. As a product of the New York City Department of Education, she attended public school in District 24. Throughout her upbringing, she made friends with people from all over the world, which would later invigorate her love for traveling across the globe and ability to embrace different perspectives.
After graduating from Newtown High School, she accepted a position to work in the World Trade Center thanks to an internship in her senior year. Soledad worked 9-5 and attended college at night, with the hopes of landing a career in corporate America. September 11, 2001, changed the trajectory of her life, and she quickly realized that she wanted to make a difference. Soledad reflected on her upbringing and returned to her roots to make a positive impact on her community.
Soon after, Soledad obtained her undergraduate degree from Queens College and started her career as a teacher in Leonardo Da Vinci, I.S. 61 back in District 24. She taught English Language Arts & Adult Education E.S.L. classes in the evening for over ten years years while simultaneously earning two master's degrees in education. One of which was to become a school building & district leader.
In January 2016 she was appointed Assistant Principal for P.S./I.S. 226 in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. There she supervised the middle school in a Prek-8 with a goal to innovate and create a socially emotionally intelligent learning community. Over the last six years, she collaborated with administrators, teachers, and students to transform the middle school experience for students. Student perception survey & assessment data showcased favorable results, which confirmed that she was ready for the next stage in her career.
Shortly after joining A.L.P.A.P., an institute for aspiring principals, Soledad accepted the role to become Project Director for a new middle school opening September 2022 in District 24. Now, returning home to serve the community she grew up in, she is excited and eager to get to work. As a seasoned educator, she is also able to utilize her upbringing as an immigrant public school student, her professional, and personal experiences to develop the kind of school she dreamt of as an adolescent. Soledad is committed to providing all students equitable access to achieving the American Dream.
She credits her family for instilling core values, her upbringing in Elmhurst, and life experiences for shaping her. Every decision she makes, she considers the people she’s crossed paths with, leveraging diversity, and celebrating inclusivity. Come June 2022, It will be an honor to her to be appointed Interim Acting Founding Principal for M.S. 419. In collaboration with her committee she is focused on fostering a safe space for students to cultivate a strong sense of self and voice. In this new position, she is looking forward to providing opportunities for community members to develop their own skills and help them achieve their full potential as active global citizens.
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