Diocesan schools welcome new leaders; still vacancies to fill

By Eileen Jevis | Staff Writer

The nationwide teacher shortage has been in the headlines for months. In the Syracuse City School District, there are 300 open teaching positions, far more than any other district in Onondaga County. As school districts across the country scramble to find qualified instructors, administrators will be faced with the challenge of providing a quality education to their students through agility, coordination and a commitment to excellence.

The Catholic schools in the Diocese of Syracuse have filled six principal vacancies and are still conducting interviews to fill additional positions.  The administrators we talked to are excited to begin the school year and to reconnect with students, parents, teachers and staff.

Patrick Monachino graduated from Seton Catholic Central School (SCC) in Binghamton and is now the new principal there. He earned a degree in History and Political Science from the University of Scranton with a minor in Theology. Monachino attended Providence College in Rhode Island and entered the Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers program, a program designed for aspiring Catholic teachers and leaders. After earning a master’s degree in Education and History, he returned to Seton as a social studies and theology teacher until he was appointed assistant principal. In 2020, Monachino was appointed principal of St. James Elementary School in Johnson City. He was appointed principal of Seton Catholic Central School in July 2022. 

Monachino said that he looks forward to reconnecting with teachers, families and staff that are like a second family to him. “Spending nearly half my life at SCC has been among the most gratifying experiences of my life,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to building on the great work done by our previous principal, Matthew Martinkovic while taking SCC to the next level.” Monachino urges students to get involved. “We have so much to offer students socially, athletically and religiously,” he said. He also encourages parents to be involved in their children’s education. “We want to welcome everyone back to the building in our post-COVID world.”

Nina Walters, a proud graduate of Holy Cross Elementary School, has served in various administrative positions and as its school nurse for the past 10 years. Walters earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a minor in Biology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is currently pursuing a master’s Certificate in Catholic School Leadership from Creighton University.

“I am very excited and honored to be chosen as principal at Holy Cross,” said Walters. “My vision for the future is to unite both church and school and build a strong Catholic identity for the school.” Walters said one of her goals is to retain amazing teachers who are both excited and dedicated to Catholic education as well as the education of the whole child — body, mind and spirit. “Another goal is to build back the community atmosphere among families and students after COVID.” Her advice to her students is to begin the school year with renewed enthusiasm. “The children in our schools deserve a normal school year to build positive lifelong memories of their time in Catholic schools,” said Walters. “The school should be an extension of your family; a place where each child feels loved and respected and encouraged to be the very best that they can be.” 

Read more about the new administrative leadership of diocesan schools in the next edition of The Catholic Sun. 

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