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Messmer’s Brother Bob Smith resigns due to health concerns

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MILWAUKEE — Messmer Catholic School’s Brother Bob Smith has resigned from his position as president and CEO at the three-campus, K-12 1,600-student school based in Milwaukee as of Thursday, November 15th — due to health concerns.

In a resignation letter, Brother Bob Smith indicates the reason for his resignation is complications from a serious neck/spine surgery he underwent three years ago.

“It is with enormous sadness that we accept Brother Bob’s resignation,” said Dr. Shawnee M. Daniels-Sykes, SSND, chairman of the Messmer board. 

Dr. Daniels-Sykes said the board is assembling a transition team which will include an expanded board to assist with the transition. 

“Messmer is strong. We will get through this,” she said. “Our focus is, and always has been, on providing quality Catholic education for our 1,600 students.” 

Brother Bob, OFM, of the Franciscan order of Capuchins, was named principal of Messmer High School in 1987 and appointed president and CEO of Messmer Catholic Schools in 1995.

He led Messmer to national notoriety as a model for providing high-quality Catholic education to a diverse, urban population. 

In his resignation letter, Brother Bob Smith said, in part: 

“Three years ago I had serious neck/spine surgery that had some complications.  After recovery, I have had symptoms recently that made it necessary to revisit my surgeon, and after conversations with friends, family, my Capuchin Provincial, colleagues and members of our Board of Directors, I have come to the conclusion that it is in the best interests of Messmer Catholic Schools that I resign as President, Principal & CEO.  I have offered to assist in any way needed to ensure a smooth and orderly transition to support the strong leadership at all of our campuses.

This was and is a decision that did not come easily, and I do not look forward to further surgery.  At the same time, it is important that I follow the advice I have given many others, and in considering everything, it is best to make this change now.  Half of my life has been spent at Messmer and many staff, parents, alums and supporters will be lifelong friends. 

I ask all people of good will to support Messmer’ s board, administrators, faculty and staff as they lead this transition to keep this great system moving forward and to fulfill its vital mission.  Please keep me in your prayers as I take some time to rest, deal with surgery and renew before my next chapter in life.”

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