Tag: new york (page 1 of 3)

Three New Principals Glad to Be Coming ‘Home’

This post is from Catholic New York, make sure to check them out for more excellent work like this!

Anna Ramirez-Adam is returning home, Kate McHugh is staying home and Lawrence Cooke feels at home after a 30-year detour.

Ms. Ramirez-Adam, Ms. McHugh and Cooke met with CNY as three of the 25 new principals at schools in the archdiocese for the 2016-17 school year.

Ms. Ramirez-Adam and Ms. McHugh will be principals in Manhattan at St. Elizabeth’s School and The Epiphany School, respectively. Cooke will be in the Bronx at Immaculate Conception.

“They all have the academic credentials to do well,’’ said Steven Virgadamo, associate superintendent for leadership. “We looked for highly credentialed individuals who not only have educational experiences but life experiences and have demonstrated leadership potential. They not only see themselves as educational leaders but as ministers of the Church.”

Ms. Ramirez-Adam is returning to the school and parish where she took religious education classes and made her first Holy Communion as well as began her teaching career. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the City College of New York and holds a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

Ms. Ramirez-Adam taught at St. Elizabeth’s for seven years and at SS. Philip and James School in the Bronx for seven years before serving as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in Florida for 27 years. She was principal at St. Joseph’s School in Palm Bay for 10 years and St. Catherine’s School in Sebring for five years.

“It’s very exciting for me to go back and continue to strengthen the education at St. Elizabeth, help these children grow into life-long learners and realize religion is not just a subject but is our faith,’’ Ms. Ramirez-Adam said.

Ms. McHugh, who has a bachelor’s in chemistry from the College of the Holy Cross, earned a master’s in chemistry and general science education from New York University and a master’s in education with a major in administration and supervision, Catholic leadership program, from Fordham University.

She started as a science teacher at The Epiphany School in 2001 before serving as dean of students, 2004-2007; guidance teacher, 2005-2008; and vice principal, 2007-2016.

“I went to Epiphany, and my husband went to Epiphany. We were in the same class,’’ Ms. McHugh said. “Our siblings all went there. Starting in September, both of our children will be attending Epiphany. It’s always been a part of our lives, and it’s really exciting to start another chapter of that relationship with the school.

Ms. McHugh is a founder of Epiphany’s Stars for Service community service program and alumni committee.

“One of the biggest pieces of school’s success is the family feeling,’’ she said. “I think everyone comes together to worship, to study and to socialize. It’s really a second home for so many people. For that, the children stay and the teachers stay.”

Cooke was in sales management, marketing, consulting and business management before becoming a teacher in 2007 at St. Joseph’s High School, a girls’ school in Brooklyn. He volunteered at St. Joan of Arc parish in Queens as a catechist, men’s prayer group facilitator and lector.

“I always wanted to be in education. I just took a 30-year detour in business,” Cooke said. “I’ve done volunteer work with my church and youth organization related to the Catholic church over the last 20 years.’’

Cooke believes his background in business, teaching and volunteering at his parish has prepared him for his new position.

“Now I’m a lead teacher and a lead spiritual adviser,” he said. “I’m very excited about it. This is not a job. This is a vocation and one I had worked very hard in my life to do. This is where I want to be and my placement at Immaculate Conception is a privilege and a calling. It’s where God has placed me.’’

Pope Francis at World Congress on Catholic Education

Steven Virgadamo shares some of Pope Francis words from an address to the delegates  at the World Congress on Catholic Education held in Rome on November 18-22, 2015.

At the World Congress on Catholic Education, Pope Francis suggested that education cannot be reduced to just the transmission of ideas and that we must find new ways to help young people develop their capacity to think, to make, and to love.

He went on to say……

“A good educator risks teaching his students how to walk on their own.” And…

“You cannot speak of Catholic education without speaking about humanity, because the Catholic identity is precisely that God became man. Educating people in the faith isn’t just about giving catechesis but instead about helping young people to understand reality and discover transcendence. For me, the biggest crisis in education from the Christian perspective is this closing off transcendence. We have closed ourselves to transcendence.

With regard to whom Catholic schools must serve, he said….


“The most needy have to experience a rigorous value based education as these children have experienced something better off kids haven’t: suffering. They have something that youths in more rich neighborhoods don’t have. It isn’t their fault. It’s a sociological reality. They have the experience of survival, and also of cruelty, and also of hunger, and also of injustice. Their humanity is wounded. The reality is you understand better from the peripheries than from the center, because in the center you are always covered, you’re always defended.”

Thank you for reading!

Steve Virgadamo

Royal Palm Academy

Royal-Palm AcademySteven Virgadamo has been retained to conduct a search for the next Head of School/President for Royal Palm Academy in Naples Florida. Interested candidates should see the position profile below.


At Royal Palm Academy, students don’t just walk from the drop off line to enter school – they run.  Students from PreK through grade eight are eager to come to Royal Palm Academy, where they know that teachers listen to and cherish them for who they are and who they want to become. Anchored by the Catholic values that inspired its founding, the school provides a nurturing environment that strives to educate the whole child: spiritually, academically, socially, and physically.

Through small classes and differentiated instruction, teachers – many of whom hold advanced degrees-meet the needs of each and every student.

At this time, the school seeks a new Head, effective July 1, 2016 to lead with grace and vision. The successful candidate will be a capable and proven leader who is passionate about education of the whole-child and committed to leading a community of elementary and middle school-aged students.


Since its inception, Royal Palm Academy has been committed to partnering with families in the total education and formation of their child(ren). This tradition has become an essential part of the school’s culture. RPA is fully accredited PreK-8 by:

  • Florida Catholic Conference
  • Florida Council of Independent Schools
  • Florida Kindergarten Council
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • National Association of Independent Schools


 Royal Palm Academy offers students boundless opportunities to explore their interests and passions.  Differentiated curricula at all grade levels challenge and support students in all their endeavors.  By the time they graduate, students have developed a solid academic foundation, independence, and the critical and creative thinking skills to not just attend, but to excel at the best high schools in the community.


Royal Palm Academy equips students to succeed in life through as comprehensive method of education that fosters excellence in four key areas of leadership:

  • Intellectual
  • Human Character
  • Spiritual
  • Apostolic

RPA students consistently score in the top 15% nationwide in the Stanford 10

As part of its mission to educate the whole child, Royal Palm Academy provides a comprehensive enrichment programs, offering opportunities for students to explore the visual and performing arts, Spanish language and culture, and athletics and movement.

Art classes allow students to express creativity and innovation.  They develop a wide range of fine motor skills through projects designed to help them discover the intersection of art and all their other subjects.  Using two-and three-dimensional media, students explore the visual world.

Through a focus on the performing arts, students gain comfort with public speaking and performance.

Students are introduced to another culture and language through Spanish instruction at Royal Academy. In the lower school, students’ interaction with Spanish is introductory, through song and movement.  A focus on vocabulary and grammar enhances their understanding of and facility with the language in the upper school.

Students hone their physical abilities, motor skills, and general through frequent athletic opportunities.  In the lower school, students take movement class and can play various club sports. Students continue to grow athletically in upper school through weekly physical education classes and the opportunity to compete in interscholastic sports.


Royal Palm’s enviable location in Naples, Florida provides easy access to full range of recreational and educational resources.  Naples is a city on the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida that’s known for high-end shopping and golf courses.


The Next Head of Royal Palm Academy School will find a school on the move.  Over the past few years the enrollment has grown, a capital campaign completed and a gymnasium constructed. The Leadership Board is eager to continue that growth.  The school’s reputation has grown as well, and it now draws an increasingly geographically wider population of parents and students.

The parents at Royal Palm Academy are very involved in the school and very positive about its direction.  They provide significant volunteer services and serve on the governing boards and the Search Committee. They also speak highly on the Catholic education their children receive and value the dedication of the teaching staff. The next Head will need to continue to support the Catholic mission of the school, both as the lead administrator and through her/her life as a model to students.

Projects that lie ahead for the new Head of School will include working on the facilities needs of the school and increasing enrollment


The next Head of Royal Palm Academy will need to:

  • Be a Catholic in good standing;
  • Be an experienced, resourceful Catholic educational leader with proven motivational and leadership and institutional advancement abilities;
  • Be a listener, collaborator, and communicator with all constituents;
  • Love children and life in schools;
  • Understand the particular challenges of leading a Catholic school;
  • Maintain close relations with the diocese and participate in Catholic educational programs;
  • Be skillful in setting out a vision for the school’s next phase of development;
  • Be eager to work closely with involved parents.


Interested candidates should submit the following materials confidentially as separate PDF attachments in one email to: svirgadamo@msn.com

  • Cover letter expressing interest in the Royal Palm Academy – Head of School position
  • Current resume
  • Statement  of  Catholic educational philosophy and practice
  • List of five references with name, phone number, and email address of each (references will be contacted only with the candidate’s permission).

School Choice is a both Civil Rights and a Human Rights Issue

new-york-rightsFor decades, the Friedman Foundation and other advocates of school choice programs have made their case to city and state officials. They have rightly argued that allowing parents to use public funds to send their children to private schools helps minority students overcome the challenges to learning that exist in many urban public schools.

Steven Virgadamo has long advocated that School Choice in the United States is a fundamental civil rights issue and in some cases could be argued to be a fundamental human rights issue.

In the United States those who can afford to reside in a particular zip code or pay the private school tuition have a very real choice. But what about the urban poor or reside in a poor performing school district and cannot afford to relocate to a zip code with a high performing school district and cannot afford the cost of a private school. Education is an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Education reform is needed in the United States and throughout the poor countries in the world.

Later this month this argument may be taken to the United Nations as a United Nations expert committee meets to discuss the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, an international treaty adopted in 1965. This group — the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) — could use the occasion to consider how countries can protect education rights, combat prejudice and promote tolerance by providing public funds for school choice.


Thank you for reading!

Steve Virgadamo

Catholic Leaders Appeal on Climate Change

osvald-graciasCatholic leaders from around the world met yesterday to discuss climate change and come to a conclusion on what to do. As we all know climate change is a very sensitive issue and a very real problem. The Catholic Church is very much invested in becoming a part of the solution and aiding where they can. Catholic leaders also aren’t afraid to speak their mind on the recent proceedings. The Church aims to approve a “fair, legally binding and truly transformational climate agreement” when they all meet at a United Nations conference in Paris, France sometime next month.

The representatives of the Church met in Vatican City to sign the appeal. They represented 5 contingents and where all on the same mission that they said Pope Francis inspired them to push for. The demands of the Catholic Church are designed to put the common good ahead of national interests and curtail environmental destruction and climate change. The main points of the Catholic Church’s vested interest in this issue comes at the foundation of social injustice from around the world as they have compiled solid evidence that people everywhere are affected by these changes.

The Church’s proposal includes putting “an end to the fossil fuel era” by cutting out the harmful emissions that loom over cities in towns and darken the skies. The Church urges the world to allocate their efforts to research and provide “affordable, reliable and safe renewable energy access for all.”

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Mumbai, India was quoted at the conference yesterday in saying, “It’s not a wish or a recommendation but something that is going to tie the hands of governments, we hope.” Cardinal Gracias went on to say that the Church has a strong duty and there are “ethical considerations” to confront with a united group. Cardinal Gracias was extremely pleased that for the first time in history the Catholic leaders from all regional and national bishops conferences presented a joint appeal.

Catholic leaders from around the world added to the appeal that their very way of life is being threatened. Rising oceans, air pollution, and unsanitary conditions have plagued different regions for far too long and now is the time for change.

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, a former vice president of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was also quoted at the conference with his own thoughts on the urgent matter. He exclaimed, “It’s very important to have a variety of actors like the church who take a stance, because the changes that are required involve much more than decisions at the political and economic level. They involve a cultural change everywhere around the planet. The church can be a very important player in that context.” Professor van Ypersele went on to address the people most affected in the world with this touching sentiment, “a common rule is that the poor are the most vulnerable, while they are also the least responsible for the greenhouse-gas emissions.” He would describe this as a “double injustice”.

This is our world, our one world, and things need to change or we are destined for the same fate.


Thank you for reading!

Steve Virgadamo

Forming Saints and Scholars


Steve Virgadamo

A School Leader in the 21st century is one of the most exciting and significant roles undertaken by any person in society. Principals are responsible and accountable for the development of children.

Catholic school principals answer to a higher authority in that they are executive level managers in “Our Father’s Business.”  Each Catholic School executive is accountable for the formation of the child and are called to focus on the following in considering the formation of each saintly scholar:

Intellectual Formation

  • Acquire critical thinking skills
  • Learn to communicate clearly, logically and creatively

 Human Character Formation

  • Grow in core values that enable positive leadership
  • Develop essential character strengths including discipline, responsibility, and a sense of personal dignity

Spiritual Formation

  • Strengthen a personal relationship with Christ
  • Learn the fundamentals of Catholic traditions and teachings
  • Discover a meaning in life that inspires the pursuit of excellence

Apostolic Formation

  • Develop a generosity through acts of self giving and sacrifice
  • Form a sense of social responsibility and learn to share talents as a member of a global team
  • Exercise leadership by serving as mentors and role models

By focusing on these important student outcomes, a successful Catholic School leader will provide a school with a culture of academic rigor and an environment in which each student can encounter and grow in a relationship with the Risen Christ!

Thank you for reading!

Steve Virgadamo

School Choice Remains Both a Civil Rights Issue and an Economic One


Expanded educational alternatives are needed to provide our next generation with access to a quality education and create the skilled workers that are essential to American competitiveness in the global economy. We cannot continue to ask children and families stuck in chronically failing public schools to wait any longer. Quite simply, parents and children deserve a choice. We must be able to fulfill our obligation to provide parents and their children with educational alternatives. By giving parents the power of choice, we are ensuring that students will have the opportunities they deserve for a bright and successful future.

 The need for improved school choice has never been more evident. Today, thousands of students are trapped in chronically failing schools in our most economically depressed communities and dense urban areas.   Educational Savings Accounts, Charter Schools, and Voucher programs are just some of the potential avenues to reform our failing government run school system. We must focus on urban education reform and work to provide a solid foundation for our children to achieve their dreams. School choice is a no-brainer because we know that kids win when parents choose and every student counts.

With strong leadership and a commitment that never strays from putting the best interest of our children first, change can come.

Thank you for reading!

Steve Virgadamo

The Catholic Information Center

catholic-information-centerWelcome to the Catholic Information Center. The Catholic Information Center is one of the front runners for brining new life into the Catholic Church and new Evangelisation. The center is located in Downtown Washington and has become a staple for the community and the Catholic following. This community of believers as you will hear from the video are not just locals, there are people that travel far and wide to walk through the front doors of this wonderful center and seek guidance, forgiveness, and hope.


This video highlights some of the main reasons why the CIC is so popular and so beloved by so many people. The Catholic Information Center is located right on K Street in Downtown Washington D.C. providing the center a pivotal spot to bring in new followers and attract more attention. The CIC is also widely regarded as having the best Catholic book stores in the country. With more literature than you know what to do with you will never be without the word of the Lord.

Enjoy the video and please come back soon for more videos and more information.

Thank you for viewing!

Steve Virgadamo

Daily Catholic Mass – Fr. Miguel

father-miguelHello all, and welcome back to my website. I wanted to somewhat change the way I add to my blog posts section of this site by adding in some videos for extra information. I plan to start sharing new videos and old ones that highlight the Catholic faith and any news going on within the sector. Below you will find a video of a full Catholic daily Mass performed by Father Miguel. Please enjoy the video and be sure to check back regularly for more videos.


Thank you for viewing!

Steve Virgadamo

Top 10 Relics of Jesus Christ PT: 2

Thank you for viewing!

Steve Virgadamo