Dear Somerset community,

On behalf of our Board, administration, faculty, and staff, it is my pleasure to welcome you to Somerset Academy, Inc., one of the nation’s largest and most successful charter school networks.

My name is Bernardo E. Montero and I have been the Principal of Somerset Academy’s Chapel Trail campus since 2004. In 2014, I was appointed President of Somerset Academy, Inc., and in this capacity serve as a peer-leader to other administrators in the Somerset network to implement the mission, vision, purpose, strategy, and policies set by our Board of Directors.

Somerset Academy, Inc. was founded in 1997 in Miramar, Florida. Our inaugural Board of Directors envisioned the creation of a high-quality, technologically immersive, student-empowering, and familial engaging alternative to traditional public schools. With that vision in mind, Somerset Neighborhood School was opened in a two-room school house with 50 K-5 students and a small, committed faculty.

Community demand for the Somerset educational model proliferated in the wake of our founding. We grew over 300 times in size over less than 20 years. Today, we serve over 30,000 students across Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and Spain. We also offer high-touch virtual educational programs to student across the globe, expanding the Somerset family to reach communities in Europe and South America. While growing rapidly, we have been careful to deliberately evolve our high expectations, incorporate emerging technologies, encourage our students and alumni as active stakeholders, engage our parents in curating school culture, support the autonomy of our school leaders, and maintain a nurturing, tight-knit learning environment to honor our original vision and build on our history of success.

A noteworthy part of Somerset’s history of success is witnessed through context. Our schools serve mostly underrepresented minority communities and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. Recognizing the crippling academic achievement gaps in local, state, national, and global trends on the bases of race and socioeconomic status, we have worked especially hard - and with great success - to ensure that all of our students are equitably supported to succeed academically.

Our ability to support academic success for all students comes largely from our operation as a corporate accreditation. Somerset Academy, Inc. was the first charter school network in the United States to earn Corporate Accreditation from Cognia, formerly known as SACS-CASI AdvancED. This distinction recognizes the myriad of programs we offer to ensure a constant vision and purpose across our campuses. Our faculty and staff have access to a central educational leadership development program for aspiring administrators; our new teachers and leaders create valuable mentorship relationships through our New Teacher Academy through our partnership with Doral College. We centralize and share guidebooks and resources, organize monthly chats for our principals and curriculum specialists to share best practices, and facilitate participate in an annual conference to build a cross-cutting sense of community. Our students also benefit from our District operations as we organize annual, interscholastic competitions such as our Battle of the Books, Math Bowl, Somerset's Got Talent, and Somerset Spelling Bee.

As a result of our passion, commitment, and hard work, Somerset schools have achieved and have been recognized for educational excellence. The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the prestigious National Blue Ribbon to Somerset Academy Davie 2011 & 2017, Somerset Arts Conservatory 2016, Somerset Academy Miramar 2018, Somerset Academy Miramar Middle 2020 and Somerset Academy South Miami Middle 2020 for their outstanding academic achievements.  Somerset South Homestead earned the highest gains of any elementary school in the State of Florida while serving a predominately impoverished, minority population. Somerset Academy High School and Somerset Academy Arts Conservatory were are listed annually among the top high schools in the Nation by Newsweek, US News and World Report, and the Daily Beast. Somerset Academy Charter High in South Homestead and Somerset Academy Elementary in South Homestead received the "Mathletics" Award; Somerset Neighborhood School received the Gold Seal of Excellence Award from the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools; in 2010/2011 Somerset Academy Miramar earned the Florida Department of Education Title 1 Distinguished School Award for closing the achievement gap in reading and math and was ranked as the highest achieving Title 1 School in Florida before more recently being lauded for exceeding expectations in improving student achievement by the Florida Department of Education. Educational Excellence is not just a motto but the foundation of what we strive for daily for our communities and the families we serve.

In the years to come, Somerset will continue to flourish as more doors are open to students across the United States and abroad. New programs will be initiated to support our outstanding students, our alumni network will grow, our parents will be engaged, our school leaders will share best practices, teacher-to-teacher dialogue will proliferate, more professional development activities will be facilitated, and we will onboard more personnel to help achieve the goals set forth in our strategic plan.

It is my pleasure to invite you, a stakeholder in the success of Somerset Academy, Inc., to help us achieve our goals by helping us pursue our motto: Excellence in Education.

Sincerely yours,

Bernardo E. Montero EdD

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