July 31, 2014
For immediate release
Sonya Cotero Arriola has been selected by the Board of Directors of Sacred Heart Nativity Schools (SHNS) as new president. She is the third president in the schools’ history and her service began August 1, start of the schools’ 14th academic year.
She follows Laura Macias who served last year following the departure of founding president, Jesuit Father Peter Pabst.
Mrs. Arriola has extensive experience working with economically challenged students in situations similar to those served by SHNS. Her undergraduate research focus was on Latino college students, followed by three years of post-graduate work on Latino adolescent immigrants and predictors for their academic success.
For the past eight years, she has worked with first generation college-bound, low-income students at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose. She has bilingual and bicultural competency.
Mari Alba, chair of SHNS Board of Directors, said, “Sonya is a great fit. She also was a first-generation college-bound student. We believe she will be an excellent role model for our kids. We believe that Sonya can help the school address challenges of an institution that relies on the generosity of donors to make a significant difference in our community, as well as implementing necessary educational tools that can help our students continue to succeed.”
Arriola said, “SHNS has the ability to transform lives — not only those of our students, families and communities for generations to come. By providing access to Catholic education and supporting students through their academic journeys, we can break the cycle of poverty.
“I am humbled by this appointment and grateful for the opportunity to be of service to the SHNS community, the Society of Jesus, and the Catholic Church,” she said.
Arriola graduated with honors from Stanford University in 1996 and received her Masters in Education from Harvard University. She completed two additional years of post-graduate study at the University of California, Berkeley. She resides in San Jose with her husband and two children.
SHNS is comprised of Sacred Heart Nativity School for Boys and Our Lady of Grace Nativity School for Girls, two urban Catholic Jesuit middle schools that seek to “break the cycle of poverty through education.” SHNS operates in partnership with the Society of Jesus, the Diocese of San José, and Sacred Heart Parish.