BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Joseph Solanto has served as a board member for the Belmont Arthur Avenue Local Development Corporation since June of 1994. As a Belmont native, Joseph’s dedication and involvement with the youth of the Belmont community has been a lifelong achievement. After graduating from St John’s University in 1964 and achieving a Master’s Degree from Fordham University in 1966, Joe became involved with the Belmont Civic Association and the Belmont Athletic Association. Through his civic work, Joe realized the vital importance of a strong relationship between school and community. Soon after his community work, he began his academic career at the Thomas C. Giordano Middle School 45 in the Bronx as a Social Studies teacher. In 1982, Joe became the assistant principal of MS 45 and ultimately served as the school Principal from 1990 until 2005. During his tenure as Principal, Joseph broke the 1600 student body into several mini-schools to build a closer relationship amongst teachers, students, and parents. In addition, he was also instrumental in bringing a Beacon program into MS 45 to better serve the community in affording extended day activities and also pioneered the opening of a school health clinic.
Among his passions for community and people, Joseph has been an advocate for Italian Americans in education. He is a long standing member of the Forum of Italian American Educators (FIAME) and has also served as the organization’s President. Joseph has received several awards and nominations such as: Man of the year Award from the Arthur Avenue Merchant’s Association, Supervisor of the year from District 10, Leadership in Education Award from FIAME, the Community Service Award from Council of Belmont Organizations/Catholic War Veterans. In addition to his cultural achievements and because of his strong religious beliefs Joseph was ordained in 1983 as a Permanent Deacon of the Archdiocese of New York by Cardinal Cooke and served for many years at Holy Rosary Parish in the Bronx. Joseph currently works part time in the Office of International Priests at St Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York.