As the new school year begins, Catholic schools of Brooklyn and Queens welcomed a new superintendent reports The Brooklyn Paper.

New superintendent, Deacon Kevin McCormack, a former principal, has nearly 40 years of education experience to share.

The education system has been through a lot of changes in the past years, and with it, so have students, according to McCormack, who said he is keen on keeping Catholic education up to date with contemporary values. And just as students headed back for their first day of school last week, McCormack toured a handful of schools in Brooklyn and Queens, to meet some of his new students and colleagues.

“Students need to be able to think critically,” McCormack stated. “They need to imagine a positive world, a world in which they can make a difference. Schools have to make sure they have that right. Kids need to know their history and we need to have them ask the right questions. Sometimes, people do not think critically. They’re not able to analyze, but, in our world right now, where there are so many voices out there, we need our kids to be able to distinguish what is valid, what is authentic and what is not.”

As superintendent, McCormack plans to lead the diocese’s efforts to work with school boards to design curriculums and fundraise for school maintenance, staff salaries, and learning programs.

Security at the 84 Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens is also a number one priority. After 29 school shootings just this year, many parents and entire communities are rightfully concerned. 

“We are updating our security systems all the time,” McCormack said. “We’re in close contact with our precincts and all first respondents. We have regular drills to prepare our kids, our faculty, our staff and our principals.”

The diocese is also trying to address the ongoing mental health crisis by providing students with weekly access to professionals.

And when issues of abortion access and marriage equality were proposed, the deacon emphasized that catholic schools will stick to a religious approach.

“The Catholic church has a very strong tradition of moral issues in the way in which they go about certain things and that’s that’s out there,” McCormack went on to add. “The schools are not shy about what we believe, but we also don’t take it out of context because our belief is set within the context of who people are. We invite people to grow as who they are and to realize that we don’t need people to be perfect, but we need people to grow from imperfection.”

Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at both London City University and Williams College majoring in Political Science, Art History, and Africana Studies.

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