New leader takes reins of Rochester Catholic schools - Catholic Courier
A man in a suit smiles while standing among shelves of books.

Frank Arvizzigno is the new superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Rochester. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

New leader takes reins of Rochester Catholic schools

GREECE — Throughout his years as an educator, Frank Arvizzigno has always tried to follow one simple rule of thumb.

“Whenever you make decisions, you want to make sure you’re doing what is best for the students,” he said.

Arvizzigno, who for the last nine years served as principal at St. Lawrence School in Greece, recently was appointed superintendent of the Diocese of Rochester’s Catholic schools, effective Aug. 1. Although his new responsibilities will be different from those he’s handled in the past, he has no plans to abandon his long-held guiding philosophy.

“If you always have the students’ best intentions in mind, I think that’s a sure win,” said Arvizzigno, 43.

Former superintendent: Diocese of Rochester’s schools are in good hands

Arvizzigno’s predecessor, James Tauzel, said he leaves his post knowing the Diocese of Rochester’s schools are in good hands. Arvizzigno is a great leader who knows the importance of Catholic education, said Tauzel, who had served as superintendent since 2019.

“More importantly, he understands our Catholic schools in the Rochester Diocese and embraces the great strides we have undertaken in recent years to move our schools forward, altogether,” said Tauzel, who accepted a position as an assistant principal in the Pavilion Central School District in Genesee County. “He will bring his positive attitude and great decision-making (skills) to the role to ensure that our schools continue to do great things in the years to come.”

Arvizzigno will be a good leader because he views education as more than just a career, added Father Lee Chase, pastor at St. Lawrence Parish.

“It’s not just a job. Education is a vocation for him,” Father Chase remarked.

Arvizzigno loved teaching, and he also was principal at a Catholic school in Greece

Education was an obvious choice of vocation for Arvizzigno. Several of his family members are teachers, so after he earned his bachelor’s degree from DeSales University in Pennsylvania, he returned to his home state of New Jersey to try his hand at substitute teaching. He’d always loved working with kids, but wanted to see if he loved it enough to commit to a career in education.

“I kind of just did it to see if I would enjoy it,” Arvizzigno recalled. “I absolutely loved it and eventually moved into Queens in New York City, and I substitute taught there.”

As a substitute, Arvizzigno taught all grade levels from kindergarten through high school. He earned a master’s degree in education from St. John’s University in Queens and later became a full-time math teacher at a school in Queens. After the principal, assistant principal and several teachers at his school suggested he would make a good principal, he earned a master’s degree in educational administration from the College of St. Rose in Albany.

After nine years as a math teacher, Arvizzigno and his wife, Erin, began talking about moving their family out of New York City. He applied for principal positions at several schools in upstate and western New York.

“I ended up getting an interview here at St. Lawrence, and I just loved visiting the school and meeting everyone on the interview committee, and we made the move,” said Arvizzigno, who now lives in Penfield with his wife and two daughters.

“I hired him, and I’ve never regretted that, not once,” Father Chase said.

Priest: Arvizzigno is ‘top-notch Catholic Christian’

Arvizzigno has been dedicated to St. Lawrence School since 2014 and has been an excellent role model for his students, Father Chase added.

“He is a top-notch educator and administrator, but he’s also a top-notch Catholic Christian,” Father Chase said, explaining that Arvizzigno leads the student body in prayer each day and attends Mass alongside the students.

“He knows the name of every child in that school, and their parents. When the parents come to pick the students up, he’s outside talking to parents,” Father Chase said.

Arvizzigno is proud of the strong sense of family within the St. Lawrence School community, which is something he’s worked to strengthen during his time at the Greece school. He’s also proud to have played a role in expanding the academic intervention services available to St. Lawrence students and encouraging teachers to find ways to offer more opportunities for students to receive small-group and individual support.

New superintendent plans to increase collaboration, share good news

Arvizzigno said he has loved his time at St. Lawrence and the “absolutely wonderful” students, families and faculty members he’s met there, yet he’s excited to meet and work with teachers, students and families in other schools throughout the diocese as well. He’s looking forward to working with and guiding principals and helping teachers access the support and professional development they need to succeed.

He also wants to focus on spreading the word about the great things the Diocese of Rochester’s Catholic schools are doing and to find ways to connect Catholic-school communities to each other so students, teachers and principals are able to work collaboratively as one community.

“I think he will do wonders for our whole diocesan Catholic-school system,” Father Chase said.

Tags: Catholic Schools
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