About Us

About Our Administration

Welcome to Van Nest Academy, our exceptional K-8 school in the vibrant borough of the Bronx, led by the founding principal, Carol Ann Gilligan. Her passion for education and profound belief in the potential of every child have shaped our school into a nurturing and inclusive haven for learning and growth. Her steadfast dedication to children and the community has become a guiding light, igniting a love for learning and empowering the next generation of leaders. We are proud to have her as the leader of our school, driving us toward excellence and shaping a brighter future for all.

She is aided by Assistant Principals Ann Reynolds (right), Melanie Marino (left), and Casey Kenny (middle). Working together, they play a crucial role in serving the community by providing support, guidance, and leadership to students and teachers. Their dedication to fostering a positive and inclusive educational environment greatly impacts students' lives, helping them grow academically, socially, and emotionally.

Our Mission

Mission Statement:

The Van Nest Academy is a community of HEROES* and life-long learners who work together to develop our students into exemplary, free-thinking citizens, positively impacting our society for a brighter future…...globally, nationally, locally, and personally.

H-helping others

E-engaging in learning

R-respecting all people and property


E-everyday responsible

S- safe, first and always

Vision:We at VNA are dedicated to cultivating a community of proficient readers and writers across ALL content areas, by creating increased opportunities for students to consistently validate opinions, both orally and in writing, read rigorous text closely, use academic vocabulary in multiple settings, cull data and relevant information from multiple sources to draw valid conclusions, and, in a methodical manner, make their thinking visible.

We will also shape generations of problem solvers who confidently dissect real world tasks, both independently and collaboratively, and who can cohesively express themselves in a high school, college, and career setting.

Our Instructional Focus

VNA Instructional Focus:

IF we plan for and provide daily, rigorous opportunities for students to conference with one another and their teachers about their reading, writing, and problem-solving, reinforcing that they communicate their progress and justify their thinking to others,  THEN students will be more engaged in their learning in ALL subject areas and have a full stake in their own improved academic performance.


VNA Equity Focus

IF we, as a school community, take every opportunity to celebrate, and not merely tolerate, our diverse ethnic backgrounds, to celebrate the individual identities (race, language, ethnicity and gender) and take time to learn the stories of all students, staff and families,

THEN we will see an increase in the trust, unity, motivation and resiliency in our students, as measured by decreased OORS incidents, improved student satisfaction on the Learning Environment surveys and improved scores on the Success Highways Metrics.