As the new school year approaches, 13 Catholic academies and schools will have new principals. Many of them will be guiding faculties with first-time teachers.
In Bay Ridge, two new teachers are returning to schools they themselves attended. These teachers are not just returning as alumni, but are looking to make a difference at their previous stomping grounds.
Brendan Moloney, a graduate of St. Patrick’s Catholic Academy, Xaverian H.S., both in Bay Ridge, and St. Joseph College, Clinton Hill, will be joining the St. Patrick’s faculty as its new sixth grade homeroom teacher and English teacher for grades sixth through eighth.
Michelle Cipriano, who attended Fontbonne Hall Academy, Bay Ridge, and St. Joseph College, will be the new freshman religion teacher at Fontbonne.
Moloney got started early this summer and created the summer reading list for his new students.
“I actually fell in love with literature and reading when I was a student here at St. Pat’s, and then at Xaverian, I really started to love the idea of teaching,” he said. “So to be able to bring those loves together is the perfect fit for me.”
His first task was working with the summer reading list to which he added a few of his own favorites, such as “Lord of the Flies.”
“I also added some contemporary reads such as ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘The Maze Runner,’” he said.
“Mrs. Gina Keenan always inspired me, she was my English teacher here at St. Pat’s and now she is switching over to social studies. She taught us some of the classics such as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘The Outsiders,’ and ‘The Catcher in the Rye.’ Those were some of the reads I fell in love with and inspired me to teach those classics to others.”
School starts Sept. 6 and Moloney admits to being a little nervous, but he also says he is excited and looking forward to get going.
The only male on the St. Patrick’s faculty, he has been advised not to smile until Christmas in order to maintain order in the classroom.
“We’ll see how long I can last with that,” he says with a smile.
Cipriano returns to her alma mater and will share some of what she has learned on her international travels.
“My senior year of high school I was at an open house for a fashion business school and I hated it, but the professor who was giving the tour talked about how it is all about inspiring your students and that is when it hit me that I wanted to teach,” she said.
“I was looking around all summer and finally heard about a position at Fontbonne and knew that was home. After having my interview, I knew I was in the right place.”
Cipriano will be teaching freshman religion and hopes to draw on her experiences at two World Youth Days to inspire her students.
“Not being that much older than they are, I can offer a unique perspective to them and share with them my own world experiences.
“I picked up the textbooks earlier in the summer and I have been reading those to familiarize myself with the work, but I also want to include a lot of projects and hands-on work so it is not just reading straight from the book.
“I know there will be an adjustment and I know that I have to lay down the law, but I am very excited for the opportunity.”