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Joan Reardon - 1952

Outstanding Alumna

The recipient of this award demonstrates strong leadership ability in her/his profession/career or in service to the college and/or community.


Outstanding Alumna

Chris Her-Xiong ’02 (MA)

We selected Chris because she exemplifies a remarkable Alverno woman: one who energizes and organizes her community to action. Then, with amazing passion and intelligence, she architects a path to community success built on her hard work, professional experiences, educational abilities and personal dedication.

In1976, Chris came to the U.S. as a refugee child with no English skills. She pressed on to receive a B.A. from Central University of Iowa and two M.A.s from Alverno College. A Ph. D. candidate in the leadership studies program at Cardinal Stritch University, she holds administrative and director of curriculum and instructional (K-12) licenses and teaching certificates.

With more than 22 years of teaching and directorship experience, Chris was one of the first Hmong teachers hired in Milwaukee and the first Hmong principal in the City of Milwaukee.

With a strong passion and purpose, Chris established a plan to reform education for the underserved Hmong students in the Milwaukee area. As the founder and executive director of Hmong American Peace Academy, Ltd., she negotiated with Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) with the help of community leaders.

In 2004, the two first-rated charter schools to serve K4-12 Hmong students opened. Next, she secured a contract for a second charter school. The International Peace Academy High School opened in 2008 as a college and career preparatory school, providing Hmong students with rigorous academic training. Today, the organization is growing and expanding its program services, serving more than 950 students and their families.

Chris is also the author of The Hmong: The People and Their History. Through her inspiration, energy, guidance and commitment, Chris worked to change educational equity for the underserved Hmong students in the City of Milwaukee.

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