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Nativity Preparatory Academy, a local tuition-free privately-operated urban middle school for students in Grades 5-8, has appointed James Smith as its new president. Smith will be responsible for school operations, advancement and fundraising, marketing and communications, and its graduate support program.

Smith joins Nativity following 19 years with the YMCA of Greater Rochester, most recently as director of development and community engagement. Previously, he served as district executive director of the Carlson, Lewis Street, and Maplewood YMCA branches. Smith has served on the Nativity Board of Trustees for the past three years, and has been actively involved in supporting its mission to provide a premier education for urban youth.

“James’ infectious enthusiasm will serve our mission well as we work to build community relationships and spread the word on the success of Nativity and our students,” said William Carpenter, chair of the board of trustees. “His personal and career focus for the past 20 years has been on development, mentorship and empowerment for youth and families. We are delighted to welcome him aboard.”

Based on a nationally renowned educational model, Nativity Prep is entering its 12th year of providing a Catholic middle school education for underserved Rochester inner-city youth. Small by design, with a current student capacity of 80 students, Nativity welcomes a diverse background of faith traditions with the unifying purpose of caring about education.

“I am honored to step into my new role and to work alongside Nativity’s dedicated board of trustees, amazing staff, brilliant students and their families to help unlock their full potential,” Smith said. “My hope is to continue building bridges of collaboration where businesses, organizations, other schools and community leaders find transformational alignment around lifting up the strengths that beat in the heart of this great faith-based school community.”

An extended school day and academic year, along with a strong enrichment program, offers students and families an immersive experience. Dedicated and caring administrators, faculty and staff personally mentor and support students well after graduation.

A graduate of SUNY Brockport with concentrations in child development and psychology, Smith has strong community connections and is a lifelong resident of the Rochester region. He and his wife, Kylee and their family live in Greece.

Nativity Preparatory Academy
15 Whalin Street
Rochester, NY 14620