On June 30th, the hallways of All Hallows High School in the Bronx will be much emptier—and not because of summer break.
Paul Krebbs, the president and former principal and a guiding force at the school, will retire that day after two decades at All Hallows and a career of more than half a century in Catholic education.
“There’s going to be a big hole to fill,” said Sean Sullivan, principal of the all-boys Catholic school. He described Krebbs as a visionary who was always at the ready with a new project and the wherewithal to see it through.
In fact, he said, when Krebbs came on the scene, All Hallows—on East 164th Street near Yankee Stadium—was struggling with financial and enrollment problems and was on the brink of shutting down. “He resurrected the school and we flourished under his leadership,” Sullivan said.
“He saw what an inner-city school could do and said, ‘We are going to do something to make this work,’ ” he said.
Krebbs was named president of All Hallows in 2003, returning to the school after serving as principal from 1982 to 1988, during which time he started the alumni association. In his years as president, enrollment increased more than 50 percent, going from 400 students to 610 students.
All Hallows has become financially stable and self-sufficient, and all the while managing to keep tuition among the lowest in the archdiocese at $6,100.
Improvements to the school grounds are continuous, with improvements including a refurbished gym and cafeteria and new lockers.
Sullivan told CNY, “He made my job a lot easier. The kids who are here are so appreciative. Enrollment keeps going up.”
In 2012 Krebbs was one of nine Catholic educators in the country to be honored at the White House as a Champion of Change for his contribution to society. Also that year, a section of East 164th Street was named in the school’s honor: “All Hallows Way.”
Martin Daly, class of 1970, All Hallows board chairman and senior vice president and director of News and Late Night Sales at CBS-TV, said, “It’s never surprising to call All Hallows and find Paul in the boiler room with the building engineer or supervising the installation of computers in the library.
“He works tirelessly and is very much a man devoted to the mission of Blessed Edmund Rice, the founder of the Christian Brothers,” said Daly. (The Irish Christian Brothers founded the school in Harlem in 1909 and moved to the Bronx location in 1929.)
Born in Larchmont, Krebbs lives there with his wife Mary Jane. They are parishioners of SS. John and Paul there.
He attended Rice High School in Manhattan and earned a bachelor’s degree in classics from Iona College in New Rochelle. He also attended Seton Hall University for a master’s degree in school administration. Before going to All Hallows, Krebbs worked in educational development for the archdiocese.
Reflecting on his career, he said, “Having attended Catholic schools, I decided to give it a try to see if I can make a difference in the lives of other people … It’s just been inspiring to see what good can be done.”