When Julio Vázquez graduated from Franklin High School, he was incorrectly classified as a slow learner, having moved to the United States from Puerto Rico at age 13. Later, he received a master’s degree in education, became a Rochester city school teacher, a not-for-profit executive and Commissioner of the Department of Community Development for the City of Rochester. But as a young man he was overlooked and underestimated. Mr. Vázquez has spent much of his life working to make sure young people receive a quality education so their prospects are unlimited.
Mr. Vázquez worked as a community member and Spanish teacher to improve the quality of bilingual education in city schools. In addition, Mr. Vázquez held several positions at the Ibero-American Action League before becoming its President and CEO. During his tenure as president, the agency doubled its budget and programs, with one key focus early childhood education. Mr. Vázquez also helped create the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School, which he serves as co-chairman and CEO. The school offers a strong academic program, an extended school day and year, education in English and Spanish and programs on weekends and in summer for those needing extra help. “He is very passionate about education and even more about the right environment for children to thrive,” said Miriam Vázquez, former principal of Eugenio Maria de Hostos and a sister of Mr. Vázquez, one of 13 children.