From the classroom to administration, Anibal Soler, Jr. ’00 is driven by a passion for leadership and success in education.
Today, he has continued to excel with students, faculty, school administrators, and even a U.S. president, during his more than 19-year career in education.
Currently associate superintendent of strategic alignment and innovation in the Buffalo Public School District, Soler has been recognized as a leader and innovator in education, particularly in the Latino community. Most recently, the Rochester, N.Y., native received a Hispanic Heritage Award from Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in honor of Soler’s contributions to the local Hispanic community.
A few years ago, when Soler was principal of East High School, the largest urban high school in Rochester, he was named a Latino Educator Champion of Change by the Obama administration, an honor that recognized Soler for inspiring and empowering students in inner-city schools. As a Champion of Change, he had the rare opportunity to meet President Barack Obama at the awards presentation. Soler says his Daemen education set the stage for his success.
“I remember late Professor Patrick Hartwick demonstrating such a passion for teaching, engaging the students, and sharing his talent and knowledge,” recalls Soler. “He inspired me to pursue a degree in art education and instilled an understanding that teaching is all about service to others. I have carried that philosophy with me ever since.”
In addition to helping to lead the Wildcats basketball team, Soler served as a resident assistant at Daemen. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in art education, he began his career as a middle school art teacher in the Rochester City School District. Recognizing his passion for education, the school district later promoted Soler to instructional technology teacher, academy director, and, ultimately, principal of East High School.
Having earned a master’s degree in educational administration from St. John Fisher College, Soler returned to Western New York with his wife, Tracy – the couple first met at Daemen – and took a position as principal of North Park Academy. From there, he was promoted to associate superintendent for Buffalo Public Schools, where he is responsible for adult education, athletics, community schools, and the area’s My Brother’s Keeper program, a national initiative to assist boys and young men of color.
Soler also oversees the Buffalo School District’s Strong Community Schools initiative, which aims to close learning gaps and strengthen parent and community engagement in the schools. In this role, he leads the initiative for 21 schools in the city servicing more than 12,000 students.
Outside of his current position in Buffalo Public Schools, Soler is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Rochester. Plus, he and his wife are raising four children under the age of 12 in West Seneca, N.Y., including an 11-year-old son, 8-yearold twin girls, and a 3-year-old daughter. For Soler, it’s all part of the passion instilled in him at Daemen.
“When I was asked to be Daemen’s Convocation alumni speaker this year, which was a great honor, the college had its largest incoming class ever, a testament to the excellence in education it offers,” concludes Soler. “What I learned at Daemen, and the advice I would offer to students now, is to take advantage of all the resources and opportunities before you – academic advisors, career advisors, contacts, networking, and so forth. It was truly a privilege to graduate from Daemen.”
Editor’s Note: At the time of publication for this issue of Daemen Today, Anibal Soler, Jr. was named superintendent of the Batavia City School District. His appointment is effective in early 2020.