New administrators bring commitment to Catholic education


PROVIDENCE – As preparations are being made for a new academic year, several schools throughout the diocese will welcome new administrators whose commitment to Catholic teaching will continue the longstanding tradition to provide students with a values-based, quality education.

Christian Brother Thomas Gerrow has become the new president at LaSalle Academy, after coming to LaSalle last year to work with his predecessor, Brother Michael McKenery, to facilitate a smooth transition. Brother Gerrow brings 16 years of experience as president of St. John College High School, Washington, D.C. to his new position.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from LaSalle University, Philadelphia, a master’s degree in secondary school administration from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, and pursued additional graduate studies at universities throughout the United States.

“My goal is to maintain the educational excellence that has been the hallmark at LaSalle,” Brother Gerrow said. “I look forward to working with our community to meet today’s challenges.”

Building on her own positive educational experience in Catholic schools, Vittoria Pacifico-DeBenedictis emphasized that as she takes over the leadership of St-Mary-Bay View Academy, she hopes to “continue to shine a light on the school as a beacon and example for all other Catholic, female schools.”

“Traditions are important to preserve and highlight and I intend to place Bay View in the spotlight on not only a local level, but capitalize on our national connections. My goals are to unite all constituencies … in order to build upon the solid foundation here at Bay View and continue to move the Academy forward into the 21st century with excitement, energy and vigor,” she noted.

The new Bay View principal received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Regis College, Weston, Mass., a master’s degree in school administration from Emmanuel College, Boston, and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She has served as the principal of St. Francis of Assisi School, Braintree, Mass., for the past 11 years.

Daniel Richard, the new principal of St. Raphael Academy, Pawtucket, emphasized that he is “excited about fulfilling the Lasalian mission” at the school. He formerly served as commander of the Junior ROTC program at Woonsocket High School.

“I’m looking forward to the start of the school year and working with the St. Ray’s students and faculty,” acknowledged Richard, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Westfield State College (now University), Westfield, Mass., and a master’s degree in education from Long Island University, Brookville, N.Y.

Taking over the reigns as principal of The Prout School, Wakefield, is David Carradini, who previously worked at the HUD Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in Washington, D.C.

Carradini graduated with a degree in history from Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., a master’s in divinity from the Yale Divinity School, and degrees in philosophy and theology from the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain.

“The Prout School’s commitment to the Catholic faith and to the International Baccalaureate program creates a singular opportunity for educational advancement in Rhode Island and all New England,” Carradini said. “I am humbled and glad to have been chosen to lead The Prout School as it moves to the next levels of academic excellence.”

Doreen Engel, the new administrator at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy, Central Falls, formerly served as director for Special Education in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Anna Maria College, Paxton, Mass., and a master’s degree in education with a concentration in special education, from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

“My goal is to help Seton Academy live out the reality that as Catholics, we are one church; a universal church that celebrates the beauty and richness of a multi-cultural heritage,” Engel said.

Janet Rufull, the incoming principal at Blessed Sacrament School, Providence, emphasized that she is honored to be “part of a school that has such a rich history of empowering children both spiritually and academically.

“The lives of so many people have been touched by Blessed Sacrament School and I look forward to being a positive energy to keep that tradition alive and prospering,” Rufull continued.

The veteran educator, who formerly taught fifth grade in the East Greenwich Public Schools, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rhode Island College, a master’s degree in special education and a certificate of advanced study, both from Providence College.

Louise Kodzis, the new principal of St. Joseph School, West Warwick, formerly served as the Educator Quality Specialist in the Chariho Regional School District, based in Hopkinton. She received a master’s degree in secondary school administration from Providence College, a master’s degree in science education from Rivier College, Nashua, N.H., and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

“My goal is to further develop St. Joseph School as a first class academic and spiritual learning community that prepares students for college and career and where students' welfare always comes first,” Kodzis emphasized.

When the students arrive at St. Joseph of Cluny Sisters’ School, Newport, they will be greeted by the school’s new principal, Erin Mary Finn, who formerly served in a similar capacity at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School, Brunswick, Ga.

Finn plans to “follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before and light the way for the second decade in the 21st century.”

According to Finn, “Cluny will see in 2012-2013, increased technological advancements, flexible pre-kindergarten programs for 3 and 4-year-olds and a continued spiritual community lifted up by the presence of the Cluny sisters.”

Michelle Losardo, the new principal of Msgr. Gadoury Primary Regional School in Woonsocket, formerly served as a pre-kindergarten teacher at the school. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Rivier College, Nashua, N.H., and a master’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in early childhood studies from Rhode Island College.

“I hope to continue to build upon the strong sense of community among the faculty, families and students, and help the children discover and utilize their God-given gifts,” she said.