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Diocesan superintendent of schools to retire in July, ending 40-year career in Catholic education

CLIFTON - Frank Petruccelli, diocesan superintendent of schools for 27 years, has announced that he plans to retire next month after a 40-year career as a Catholic educator and administrator.

"Frank has been a steady inspiration for his advocacy of Catholic schools as one of the best means of evangelization that we have in the Catholic Church. He is respected by his peers and those he served in our Catholic schools," said Bishop Serratelli after Petruccelli told him of his plans to retire. "The long hours that he put in every single day were a sign of his commitment to the Paterson Diocese. He will be missed both personally and professionally. I wish Frank and his wife, Ginger, many years of happiness and health in his retirement."

Petruccelli, a parishioner of St. Anthony's in Hawthorne, has four children and six grandchildren. He has been superintendent of diocesan schools since 1981. He has also served as assistant superintendent of diocesan schools and as an administrator at Paterson Catholic. He has served in the diocese since 1968. This year he celebrates 40 years of service in Catholic education.

He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University, in Madison. He has a two master's degrees from Seton Hall University and a doctorate in education from Seton Hall University, South Orange. He holds N.J. State certification as a teacher, supervisor and principal K through 12 and superintendent of schools.

In a letter he sent to school principals in the diocese announcing his retirement, Petruccelli wrote, "After a great deal of prayerful consideration and deep personal reflection, I have decided to retire as superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Paterson effective July. My 40 years of service in Catholic education has been a labor of love. It has been a blessing to serve in the Diocese of Paterson mainly because of the people who have touched my life in so many meaningful ways. 'Thank you' is one of those wonderful phrases people use to express a special gratitude. But there's often a lot more to it than those two words can say. 'Thank you' means that you've done something special that I'll never forget. My time in the diocesan Schools Office has been very special, but not without its challenges. These challenges have served as excellent learning experiences for me. All the people I have worked with have taught me so much. I wish to thank you all for that opportunity. I was lifted by the spirit of so many outstanding
members of our school community who inspired me by their positive attitudes, generous spirits, and open hearts. The Lord uses the apostle Paul to remind us, 'In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.' Today I express gratitude and give thanks for the blessing and opportunity to have been able to serve you as Superintendent of Schools."

"When I told Bishop Serratelli about my decision to retire, his great kindness and understanding gives me a permanent memory of my association with him. May the Lord continue to bless each of you with an abundance of his love, peace and happiness," Petruccelli wrote in his letter to principals. "I leave you with deep respect, admiration and confidence that, with God's help, Catholic school education will flourish in the years ahead. No doubt our paths will cross again from time to time and I will look forward to meeting up with you. I do hope to assist with several projects over the next few months."

For his commitment to education, Petruccelli has been honored by the Phi Delta Kappa Honor Society and has received the Distinguished Catholic Educator Award and the Knights of St. Gregory Papal Honor. He served as chairman of the N.J. Council of Superintendents. He is also a member of the N.J. Advisory Committee for the Gifted and Talented, the County Superintendents' Educational Committee, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and Chief Administrators of Catholic Education, and the Governor School Nomination Committee. He served on the NCEA task force on diversity. He initiated the Commissioner of Education's non public school teachers' award and recognition program. He is a trustee of the Simon Family Scholarship Foundation and a member of the Tri-County Scholarship Fund board. He has written a number of articles on Catholic education and has given workshops on a number of educational topics.

Sister Dorothy Banashak, diocesan assistant superintendent of schools for secondary education and government programs, has been named interim superintendent of diocesan schools during the search process for a new superintendent.


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