On January 12, 2010, Haiti was rocked by a devastating earthquake killing over 250,000 people and creating thousands of orphans. In April 2010, Nashville First Baptist Church sent Jim Bryson and two others to scout opportunities to assist with the Haitian orphan crisis. During this trip, Bryson became convinced that education was the long term solution to so many of Haiti’s problems, and so in the fall of 2010, The Joseph School (TJS) was envisioned — a school providing education along with leadership training to raise a generation of leaders.
With such a vision, came years of planning. In 2011, The Joseph School gained its 501(c)3 status in the U.S. and began relationship building in Haiti. In January 2014, [Joseph School] La Fondation was established, in Haiti, for legal credibility and to ensure its Haitian staff would have the opportunity to experience educational and professional opportunities around the world. In May, 2015, its Board of Directors commissioned Bildad Michel, a Haitian native, to spend the summer in Haiti finalizing the logistics of opening the school; and on August 8th, the Board unanimously voted to open the school.
On September 24, 2015, The Joseph School opened with 30 first grade students and ten Haitian staff members operating in a rented two-story house. Along with educating and feeding its first generation of students, TJS began leading mission trips to address the economic needs of its community. Within a year of impact (August 2016), the Haitian Government gifted TJS with 70 acres of land to expand its school and community efforts. After receiving the land, TJS began constructing its first phase of a permanent campus, which included a gated wall and six-classroom building for grades first through third. In January 2018, The Joseph School student body — then composed of 90 students and 33 Haitian staff members — moved to the new campus.
Since then, The Joseph School has grown to two classroom buildings accommodating 150 children, 20 teachers and 25 Haitian staff. Each year, TJS will welcome another 30 students, supporting them from first grade to the thirteenth (graduation); in hopes and preparation that they will become the community leaders needed to change Haiti.
The Joseph School
161 Rosa Parks Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37203