Curran Leadership Academy Is Next Step for Future Principals

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George Eacobacci has considered becoming a school principal for a while and now the archdiocese is helping him take that next step.

The teacher at St. Francis Xavier School in the Bronx is one of nine fellows in Cohort X for the Curran Catholic School Leadership Academy and one of six who participated in the academy’s commissioning ceremony at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan June 20.

“This is exciting. I’m very happy and honored to join such a prestigious group,” Eacobacci told CNY of being selected for the academy.

The academy has been forming and mentoring current and future school leaders by selecting and providing candidates with the opportunity to attend graduate school. Eight members of Cohort X will study at Fordham University and one will attend the University of Notre Dame.

“I heard it’s a lot of work, and it’s worthwhile at the end,” said Eacobacci, who will study at Fordham. “I’m excited about the idea to take my experience, move it to the next step and lead a school in the future.”

Steven Virgadamo, associate superintendent for leadership formation in the archdiocese, is the academy’s executive director.

“This is one of the nights we look forward to each year,” Virgadamo said. “I call it the passing of the torch of school leadership from one generation to another. Each year is a new generation.”

The leadership program offers financial support to fellows who can pursue a master’s in school administration at Fordham, St. John’s University or Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic education. The graduates are then expected to serve in a leadership position at a Catholic school.

Elizabeth Campbell and Amy Rodriguez, members of Cohort IX who are studying at Fordham, were present at the ceremony to pass the torch to the fellows in Cohort X and said a support system and friendships have developed among Curran fellows.

“I’m a big believer in the Lord drives you to where you need to be,” Ms. Campbell said. “So when the opportunity presented itself and I was selected for it, I figured it’s where he wanted me to be.”

Although Ms. Campbell and Ms. Rodriguez had completed only the first year of the program, archdiocesan officials appointed them as principals for the 2018-2019 school year, Ms. Campbell at Holy Rosary School on Staten Island and Ms. Rodriguez at Immaculate Conception on Gun Hill Road, the Bronx.

“The Curran program has shaped me to put forth a vision of the Catholic Church and Catholicism in shaping the formation of my future students. I’m really excited,” Ms. Rodriguez said.

Ms. Campbell offered advice for the newcomers to the program.

“They have to keep up with the reading, and when you’re teaching full time and doing the graduate courses in the evening, you definitely have to organize what you need to do during the week so it doesn’t pile up the day before because it will get overwhelming,” she said.

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