By Eileen Jevis | Staff writer

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a continuation of a story from our previous edition, introducing members of the new leadership in our diocesan schools.  

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

Emily Regan is the new principal at St. John the Evangelist School in Binghamton. Regan earned her bachelor’s degree in Special Education from SUNY Plattsburgh and a master’s degree in Elementary Reading from SUNY Cortland. Regan also has an advanced certificate as a literary coach from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., and a certificate of advanced study in building administration and district administration from SUNY Cortland. Her long career in education includes over 20 years at the Chenango Forks School District and principal at Thomas J. Watson Sr. Elementary in Union-Endicott. After officially retiring from Union-Endicott, she continued as a substitute principal. Regan said God presented her with the opportunity to join the Catholic Schools of Broome County as principal of St. John the Evangelist School. “I’m so very blessed that God is not done with me yet,” she said. “He has a new assignment for me and I couldn’t be happier.” Regan encourages students and families to start the school year with a renewed excitement and a desire to learn and grow as a school community. The school’s theme this year is “Be the saint God created you to be.”

Sara George has been appointed as the new assistant principal at Bishop Ludden Jr./Sr. High School in Syracuse. George received a bachelor’s degree from Utica College of Syracuse University and a master’s degree in Media and Education from Syracuse University. Before becoming an administrator, George was a sixth grade teacher at Most Holy Rosary School. She also taught for one year at Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School. George said she is truly blessed to be given the opportunity to serve as assistant principal at Bishop Ludden. She said she could feel the years of tradition and positive energy as soon as she walked in the door. “I look forward to supporting the teachers and staff while being a proactive part of the educational community,” said George. “Bishop Ludden offers so many amazing opportunities to their students, especially in the International Baccalaureate Program.” George is excited to implement the Ludden Leaders Program aimed at helping middle school students excel. “The sky’s the limit and I know we are going to continue to come up with great ideas to enhance our community,” she said. As the new school year begins, George encourages students and parents to “take a deep breath and start fresh. We’ve been through so much over the past few years and the only way to grow and learn is to have an open mind. We have so many great things in store for the students and families. It’s imperative that we only look toward the future and all of the bright beginnings that lie ahead.”

Jim Abrams returns as principal to St. James Elementary School in Johnson City, the school where he began his teaching career 40 years ago. Jim and his wife were married at St. James Church in 1986.  When Jim arrived at St. James in the beginning of July, he anticipated the interim position might last just a few months. “I quickly realized how much I wanted to be in this school long term and was so excited when I was asked to stay on through the end of the school year,” said Abrams. Jim earned his bachelor’s degree at Le Moyne College and a master’s degree in social sciences from Binghamton University. He also earned a Certificate of Advanced Studies in School Leadership from SUNY Cortland. Prior to his service at St. James, Abrams taught for six years in Broome County Schools and 13 years at Whitney Point Central Schools. 

Now that the school year is about to begin, Abrams is looking forward to opening day when the students come through the doors refreshed and ready to meet any challenges that may come their way.  “I also look forward to getting to know and learn from the faculty and staff here at St. James. Schools are dynamic environments that continue to draw me in and inspire me to continue to grow intellectually and spiritually.”

Abrams’ advice for students and parents this year? “We will all make mistakes and face challenges along the way,” he said. “Remember that we have a loving God that walks with us on this journey; a loving Father who wants nothing more than for us to turn to him.”

While enrollment in the Catholic schools of the diocese continues to increase, so, too, does the commitment of the administrators, teachers and support staff who work diligently each day to provide students with a quality education while empowering them to live their faith with compassion, integrity and respect.

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