In the principal’s office: Meet new Catholic school administrators

Mills DSC09436 - In the principal’s office: Meet new Catholic school administratorsDonald Mills

Assistant Superintendent

Where do you live?  

   I live in Oswego with my wife, Lorie, and our dog, Sadie.

Where did you go to school?  

   I grew up in Bath, N.Y., and received a bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J.

Where did you teach/lead/work prior to your new position?

   I served as principal of Immaculate Conception School in Fayetteville (2017- 2019), principal of Immaculate Conception School in Ithaca for the Diocese of Rochester (2013-2017), Ithaca High School (2009-11) and Niagara Wheatfield High School (2007-09); assistant principal at Williamsville South High School near Buffalo (2002-07); and science teacher at Cumberland Regional High School in Seabrook, N.J. (1991-2002) where I was nationally recognized as the runner up for for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (1996) as well as a recipient of the Access Excellence Fellowship (1996.) I also worked in 2012 as a financial advisor for AXA Equitable in Syracuse.

Why did you choose to become an educator? 

   I became an educator to help all children to learn, especially in the area of the biological sciences, which is a passion of mine.

Why did you choose to teach/lead in a Catholic school?

   To work in an environment where I can also live my faith and be a positive  influence on the faith and learning environment of the school.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role? 

   Assisting all our schools to grow and be the best Catholic schools they can be.

What challenge are you hoping to tackle this year? 

   Revising the principal supervision/evaluation process, assisting schools with using data to make informed instructional decisions and goals, marketing decisions, etc.

Summer/fall reading recommendation? 

   “Make Today Matter” by Chris Lowney

What subject or hobby would earn you a gold star? 

   Water gardening/koi pond. My wife and I put in a large pond this summer, mostly by hand.

 

Brillante DSC09666 - In the principal’s office: Meet new Catholic school administratorsDebra Brillante

Principal of Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School, East Syracuse

Where do you live? 

   North Syracuse

Where did you go to school?

   I earned my B.A. from SUNY Potsdam, M.S. from SUNY Oswego, and CAS from Le Moyne College.

Where did you teach/lead/work prior to your new position?

   I taught at St. John the Baptist Academy, was the Principal at St. Mary’s Academy in Baldwinsville, was Assistant Superintendent for the Diocese of Syracuse, Superintendent of Elementary Schools (K-8) for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Assistant Principal for Academics at Christian Brothers Academy.

Why did you choose to become an educator? 

   I think I always wanted to be an educator.

Why did you choose to teach/lead in a Catholic school? 

   Working in Catholic schools has provided me with opportunities to share my faith, openly and passionately, so that I could be authentically who God created me to be. I have been blessed to teach and lead in places where I have always felt surrounded by the holy presence of God.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

   I am looking forward to spending each of my days with the students, faculty, and staff at Bishop Grimes.

Summer/fall reading recommendation?

   Todd Whitaker’s “What Great Principals Do Differently – 18 Things That Matter Most”

What subject or hobby would earn you a gold star?

   Drawing and painting

 

Coppola DSC09609 - In the principal’s office: Meet new Catholic school administratorsLisa Coppola

Principal of Blessed Sacrament School, Syracuse

Where do you live?

   I was born and raised in Syracuse. I have been married for 19 years and have four beautiful children: Olivia, Victoria, Isabella, and Noah.

Where did you go to school?

   I attended Assumption School for pre-K and kindergarten and Our Lady of Pompei until 8th grade, later graduating from Henninger High School. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Administration from Onondaga Community College, Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Geneseo, and a Master of Science in Teaching from Le Moyne College with certifications in Elementary Education, Special Education, and TESOL.

Where did you teach/lead/work prior to your new position?

   I have been at Blessed Sacrament School for 25 years, as a first grade teacher for 13 years and as an active parent volunteer for 11 years while I was at home caring for my children. My volunteer duties included PTA President, Holiday Auction Chair, and coordinating a variety of school events.  I am also the Parent Representative to the Board of Trustees at Bishop Grimes, President of the Bishop Grimes Parent Organization, and co-chair of the Bishop Grimes Dinner and Auction.

Why did you choose to become an educator?

   I was inspired to become an educator by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Murray. She was a gentle and kind woman who always made learning exciting and fun. Mrs. Murray introduced me to the world of reading. There were so many wonderful stories that she shared with us each day. My favorite book was “Snow Day.” I still have the copy she gave me.

Why did you choose to teach/lead in a Catholic school?

   After college, I began working at The Gingerbread House while working on my Master’s. I loved being in an environment that was filled with God. I decided to apply to the Catholic Diocese. I walked through the Blessed Sacrament School doors and I fell in love with the school. I knew this is where I belonged. That was 24 years ago and here I am.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role? 

   As I begin my 25th year, I hope to continue the rich tradition of  teaching students to Love God, Love Family, and Love Learning!

Pipher DSC09782 - In the principal’s office: Meet new Catholic school administratorsWilliam (Bill) Pipher

Principal of All Saints Catholic School, Endicott

Where do you live?

   Endwell

Where did you go to school?

   I graduated from York College of Pennsylvania with a Master of Business Administration degree. I also hold a Masters degree in Childhood Education from Binghamton University. I am currently working towards my Certificate of Advanced Studies in School Building Leadership at Le Moyne College.

Where did you teach/lead/work prior to your new position?

   Prior to assuming this leadership role, I taught at All Saints for seven years in grades 2-6.

Why did you choose to become an educator?

   Working in education represents the most fitting, rewarding, and important challenge that I can think of. I love being a part of students’ lives every day.

Why did you choose to teach/lead in a Catholic school?

   There is such a wonderful atmosphere of community, giving, and spirituality in the Catholic schools. It is a great feeling to walk through the doors every day.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

   I am looking forward to working with multitudes of families, students, community members, and school staff on a daily basis.

What challenge are you hoping to tackle this year? 

   In my first year, I am looking forward to learning the nuances of the job, establishing and nurturing working relationships with key stakeholders, and exploring opportunities for long-term growth.

Summer/fall reading recommendation?

   “Make Today Matter” by Chris Lowney

What subject or hobby would earn you a gold star?

   I like to travel and stay active with my family.

 

Ferrorone DSC09856 - In the principal’s office: Meet new Catholic school administratorsNancy Ferrarone

Principal of Immaculate Conception Elementary School, Fayetteville

Where do you live?

   Liverpool

Where did you go to school?

   St. John Fisher for undergraduate studies, Nazareth College for graduate studies, SUNY Oswego for Advanced Degree Administrative Work.

Where did you teach/lead/work prior to your new position?

   I taught in Rochester City Schools and Fairport Central Schools, and served in Administration at Brewster Central Schools and Spackenkill Union Free School District.

Why did you choose to become an educator?

   The joy I see when students learn new things and overcome challenges.

Why did you choose to teach/lead in a Catholic school?

   It was the direction that God led me in.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

   Getting to know and become a part of the school and parish community.

What challenge are you hoping to tackle this year?

   Getting to know the community and the community getting to know me.

 

Seymour DSC09718 - In the principal’s office: Meet new Catholic school administratorsTina Seymour

Principal of Cathedral Academy at Pompei, Syracuse

Where do you live?

   Camillus

Where did you go to school?

   West Genesee, then Le Moyne for my Bachelor’s, Master’s and CAS

Where did you teach/lead/work prior to your new position?

   I owned a small business after college and then I had a second child and decided to become active in the education world. I taught in public schools for several years part time and then full time for a couple years. Soon after, I came to Cathedral Academy at Pompei. I have been teaching at Cathedral for the past 7 years in my different positions such as a 4th grade teacher, Kindergarten teacher, Art teacher & Title 1 Teacher.

Why did you choose to become an educator?

   I love to learn and work with children. I am very passionate about learning new things and growing individually and as a team.

Why did you choose to teach/lead in a Catholic school?

   I believe “I am where I am supposed to be.” I have taken many different paths in my life and the day I stepped foot in Cathedral Academy at Pompei, there was a sense of peace and purpose. There is so much need and love in my school and God is amazing!

What are you looking forward to most in your new role? 

   I love to celebrate our school’s diversity and work with my staff as a team to accomplish growth and success. I look forward to being a positive role model and demonstrating that we are all in the right place and we all make a difference in so many children’s lives; academically as well as spiritually. We are all God’s children!

What challenge are you hoping to tackle this year?

   Language barriers in our school are problematic. I am hoping to open the doors of communication with our families and community. We need to encourage family involvement with students and help them understand the importance of their presence.

Summer/fall reading recommendation?

   “The Energy Bus – 10 Rules to Fuel your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy,” by Jon Gordon

What subject or hobby would earn you a gold star?

   I love to be active and try new things. A hobby that I love is golf and although I can hold my own, time has not allowed for much fun play as I would like this summer but there is always this fall I hope or next year!

Bryan DSC09571 - In the principal’s office: Meet new Catholic school administratorsWilliam Bryan

Principal of Most Holy Rosary School, Syracuse

Where do you live?

Liverpool

Where did you teach/lead/work prior to your new position?

Onondaga Community College, Associate Vice President of Student Development; Penn State Worthington Scranton, Director of Student and Enrollment Services; Minnesota West Community College, Dean of Student Services; Nassau Community College, Dean of Students; Lindsey Wilson College, Dean of Student Services; Pratt Community College, Dean of Student Services; Garden City Community College: Director of Admissions; College Coordinator/Assistant Director of Admissions; Director of Residence Life; St. Mary Elementary/Jr. High School, Principal.

Why did you choose to teach/lead in a Catholic school?

   Sharing the belief in my faith with young people.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role? 

   Helping make a difference in the lives of young people.

Summer/fall reading recommendation?

   Anything political or sports-related

What subject or hobby would earn you a gold star?

   Sharing leadership concepts related to athletics and applying those to life’s challenges.


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