There will be some new windows and newly painted walls, but the biggest change at Our Lady of Assumption this year is a new principal.
Anthony Puleo started his position on Wednesday, September 8. “It’s been a little hectic getting everything ready,” Puleo said, sitting in his office on the Friday before classes begin. “We’ve been doing some summer cleaning and getting everything shiny and new for the kids.”
A lifelong Bronxite, now a Morris Park resident, Puleo is no stranger to the Catholic school system. He attended St. Clare’s School on Hone Avenue before attending Fordham Preparatory School, Iona College and Fordham University.
Puleo taught Catholic middle school for 17 years, where he covered nearly all topics in fourth grade through eighth grade.
For four years he was assistant principal at Villa Maria Academy, and spent the last year teaching social studies at Our Lady of Assumption.
“I’m really excited to start as principal here,” he said. “We have a great school, and faculty and staff are very dedicated and hard working.”
The school has about 340 students from pre-K to eighth grade. Last year it received national recognition as a Blue Ribbon school.
Puleo said during his tenure as principal he hopes to improve Math scores and integrate technology into the school’s curriculum.
“We’re going to make technology a part of the students’ everyday lives,” he said. “We’re going to be doing a lot more online research, papers and presentations. We want computers to be part of their lives because so much requires computer literacy these days.”
According to Fr. Donald M. Dwyer of Our Lady of Assumption Church, Puleo was chosen out of eight candidates because of his experience and history with Catholic education.
“We were lucky to land him,” he said. “He’s an experienced Catholic educator, and a father and husband. He’ll make a good role model for the students and he’s a man of many talents.”
Puleo is replacing Katy Feeney, who headed up the school for three years. According to Fr. Dwyer, the Diocese of New York asked Feeney to help bolster attendance at a struggling Catholic school in Ulster County.
Puleo said after attending a seminar with 15 new Catholic principals this summer, he does not have many concerns about the new position.
“It was helpful to have a network and Fr. Dwyer has been very supportive,” he said. “He really has the best intentions for the kids at heart, and he wants them to have the best opportunities available to them.”
Puleo is excited to take over as principal so he can have a direct affect on the lives of all the students at the school — more than he worked with as a Social Studies teacher.
“I love working with children,” he said. “One of the greatest things is seeing that expression of ‘wow’ when they begin to really learn something new.”