ARCHIVE - Meet Paul

Paul Gessner

Paul T. Gessner

Head of School


Paul Gessner is a lifelong educator from Milwaukee who discovered his calling to educate young people through service to his Church as a Religious Education teacher. He studied History and Secondary Education at Cardinal Stritch University where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Both areas of study. Upon graduating from college, Paul had a very successful career in Milwaukee Public Schools’ Rufus King High School as a History teacher. While teaching, he pursued a Master of Science Degree in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University and earned promotions at Rufus King as both a Curriculum Generalist and School Administrator. It was this experience that solidified his belief that all children could learn at high levels. His love of the International Baccalaureate (IB) college-bound program was born after seeing countless numbers of young people excel in higher level courses with a little patience, lots of love, and high levels of structured teaching of critical thought, the importance of service and self-awareness, and their connection to the world around themselves.

In 2012, Paul was approached to lead St. Joan Antida High School (SJA) as Head of School with the charge of bringing the same opportunities that existed for the children he served at King to the young women of SJA. As a life-long practicing Catholic, he enthusiastically accepted this task and led SJA to become the only all-girl IB World School in the State of Wisconsin and 12th in the United States. Under Paul’s leadership, SJA also became the only all-girl IB World School in the United States and 2nd in the World to offer the IB Career-related Program in Engineering. This ensured the success of the IB program was directly linked to SJA’s commitment to the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering Program that already existed at the school.

Paul passionately believes that it is our job as educators to dream for our young women before they know what to dream for themselves. Mission-driven, he looks for every way to empower our young women to discover their God-given potential and become true leaders in our global society. Paul sees every young woman who enters SJA as a student as having limitless possibility. Providing a pathway for her to find a direction and purpose to that possibility is what we are charged to do.

Favorite subject in high school: U.S. History and American Government

Paul can be reached at:
(414) 274-4718