Holy Trinity Catholic Academy gets new leader

Shelton’s Holy Trinity Catholic Academy has announced its new head of school.

Lisa Lanni, who is currently the principal at St. Joseph’s School in Danbury, was selected to fill the position earlier this month and has already begun the transition into her new role.

Lanni will assume the head of school position in Shelton on July 1.

According to Lanni, she was contacted by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Cheeseman in January to see if she would be willing to consider the leadership position at Holy Trinity.

“I was asked to come to Holy Trinity School, which I think speaks volumes,” said Lanni. “It’s a school in transition that has had some bumps in the road, but there’s great potential and enthusiasm here. There’s so many people, from the parents to the faculty, that all want this school to succeed.”

Lanni added that aside from having the luxury of being paired with a dedicated staff, she is optimistic that her experience will help develop the school and bring it to a new level.

“I’ve had more than 20 years as a Catholic school principal and I think that I can help to make this school all that I know it can be,” said Lanni. “It’s a Catholic school, so first and foremost, Catholic identity needs to be present and prevalent wherever we go in our building, coupled with academic excellence, and to provide an environment for our students to thrive and succeed and be successful while working with all of the constituents.

“Together we will make this a community that all are proud of and want to be a part of.”

Holy Trinity’s new head of school explained that she plans to help improve the school via a “baby step method.”

“All things being equal, we need to work on a lot of these things at once. That means giving the teachers the direction they need so that they can implement and teach the curriculum, and learn from the students as the students will learn from them. It’s providing the students opportunity for daily prayer, for liturgical experiences, and for Mass. It’s important for us as the adults in the building to be role models of the Catholic faith for these students, embrace and communicate with the parents. Everything we do needs to be communicated so that we can all be on the same page and, in turn, achieve all of the same end goals.”

Despite having high hopes for her time at Holy Trinity Catholic Academy, Lanni said some struggles in Catholic school will never go away.

“Enrollment will always be an issue as schools become more competitive and standards are raised in both public and non-public schools,” said Lanni. “You are looking at a tuition-based school, and for many parents, that is out of reach. So it is the hope to be able to raise funds to help offset tuition, keep costs at a minimum and allow all parents that desire their kids to have a Catholic education to be able to have one without the burden of being able to afford it. It’s hard, but it’s our hope that we can increase enrollment.”

St. Joseph’s and St. Jude’s Catholic elementary schools closed their campus doors for good starting in the 2017-18 school year because of a steady decrease in enrollment as well as other recurring, related financial woes.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Bridgeport said combining the three schools would allow parents to enroll their child in pre-K and “reasonably expect that child to graduate eighth grade from the same school.”

“It is our hope that families will look to Holy Trinity Catholic Academy as a choice for their students’ early education and then once in the door be able to cultivate that and help the student grow into a part of the school’s family throughout the rest of their elementary school career,” said Lanni. “We need to set ourselves apart and provide for our students and their parents something different than the public schools, and for us that’s that Christ-centered education rooted in gospel values.”

Even though Lanni said she loves working with the students, they are just the beginning of what she enjoys about working within the schools.

“It’s all about them,” said Lanni. “My favorite part is them, but then it branches out to the parents and staff and building these relationships that contribute to the students’ growth.”