Principal Jim Abrams - Meet the new principals at diocesan Catholic schoolsJim Abrams

Interim Principal of St. John the Evangelist School, Binghamton

Where do you live?

Endicott.

Where did you go to school?

I grew up in the Broome County area, went to Maine-Endwell and then Le Moyne College for my bachelor’s degree in English; Binghamton University for my master’s; SUNY Cortland for my Certificate of School District Leadership.

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

Originally retired in 2015 and I’ve worked in interim positions three years in Vermont, one year in Chenango County in New York, and then this past year during the COVID year I worked for Catholic Charities of Broome County as a tutor in a boys group home.

Why did you become an educator?

Like most educators it was to help young adolescents to navigate what can be a very challenging time in their lives.

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

For me, what’s beautiful about this interim position is it’s really coming full circle; I started my teaching career with six years in the Catholic Schools of Broome County, so it’s kind of nice for me to make my way home in a way.

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

I think being among children and being among teachers—I don’t think there’s a better place for me, I know for me there’s not.

Principal Allyson Headd - Meet the new principals at diocesan Catholic schoolsAllyson Headd

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

Where do you live?

Syracuse.

Where did you go to school?

Holy Cross Elementary [DeWitt], followed by Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School, and then St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind.—Catholic all the way.

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

I was a Principal at a Catholic high school out in the Midwest.

Why did you become an educator?

Because growing up I always admired my Catholic school elementary teachers and my teachers at Bishop Grimes, so it was just a natural choice for me.

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

Because I owe a lot of who I am today and the success I’ve had to the Catholic education—Bishop Grimes and Holy Cross.

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

I’m just so excited to be able to give back to a community that I feel has given me a lot.

michael mcauliffe - Meet the new principals at diocesan Catholic schoolsMichael McAuliff 

Principal of Bishop Ludden Jr./Sr. HS, Syracuse

Where do you live?

I live in Marcellus with my wife, Kim (Senior Director of Advancement at Le Moyne College), and two sons, Max (senior at St. Bonaventure University) and Jack (sophomore at The Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford).

Where did you go to school?

I attended St. Jerome’s Elementary School in East Rochester and graduated from East Rochester High School. I received a B.S. in Physical Education, M.S. in Education and C.A.S. in Educational Administration from Cortland State University.

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

I began my teaching career at Tully Jr./Sr. High School teaching physical education. My first administrative position was Assistant Principal at Solvay High School followed by Assistant Principal positions at Central Square Middle School and Ray Middle School in Baldwinsville. In 2000 I was appointed Principal at Parish Elementary School in the APW Central School District from where I retired in 2016. I most recently served as Principal at St. Margaret’s Elementary School from 2018 to 2021.

Why did you become an educator?

I truly liked school as a student and since being a student isn’t a profession, I chose the next most logical career and became a teacher. I come from a family of educators: My sister is a retired teacher whose two children are in education and my brother is a Jesuit priest serving as the Principal of a school in Micronesia.

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

After retiring from public education in 2016, I did consulting work as well as supervised administrative interns at Le Moyne College. I missed teaching and learning so I began substitute teaching, but didn’t feel as though I was making connections. I worked a couple of interim administrative positions but still felt that something was missing. I saw an advertisement for a Principal at St. Margaret’s School, interviewed and was appointed in May 2018. I believe that leading a Catholic School allows me to combine academic excellence with spirituality and service.

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

Returning to the Jr./Sr. High School level where I began my career in education 36 years ago.

Principal Lauren Merola - Meet the new principals at diocesan Catholic schoolsLauren R. Merola

Principal of Trinity Catholic School, Oswego

Where do you live?

I currently reside in Syracuse but am planning to relocate to Oswego in the near future.

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

I attended Our Lady of Pompei School (kindergarten through eighth grade) and graduated from Bishop Grimes High School in 1985. Through SUNY Oswego, I earned my BS and MS in Education and a CAS in Educational Leadership.

Prior to my position as Principal of Trinity Catholic School, I served as Principal of Parkside School in Syracuse. As a classroom teacher, I worked in the Syracuse City School District, and early in my career, I taught in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse.

Why did you choose to become an educator?

My decision to pursue a career in education was based on a deep desire to make a positive impact in the lives of children and families.

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

At this juncture in my career, I decided to pursue a leadership position within a Catholic school because I fully understand and appreciate the tremendous value of a Catholic education.

In a very short time, I’ve learned that Trinity Catholic School is a very special place—a beautiful community of learning and faith. I have been incredibly impressed and inspired by the support that I’ve received from families, board members, faculty and staff.

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

I look forward to building relationships and collaborating with others to ensure that we continue beautiful traditions that have been established. It is my goal to maintain standards of academic excellence surrounded by faith and service to others in our community.


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