Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Shelton prepares for opening

The Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Shelton held its first open house to introduce parents to its new principal and Board of Directors on Sunday, March 26 in the St. Lawrence Parish Center.

Just over a month after it was announced that three local Catholic schools would be consolidating into one Shelton campus, St. Lawrence School has begun to transition into its new identity as the Holy Trinity Catholic Academy.

Diocese of Bridgeport Director of Communications Brian Wallace said the St. Lawrence campus in Shelton, which will now host the students leaving St. Joseph’s and St. Jude’s Catholic elementary schools, was renamed by parents and current enrollment of 264 students.

“We’re very pleased that the parents have gone ahead and registered early. This school is coming together very nicely,” said Wallace.

Newly hired principal Dr. Gail Kingston brings more than 26 years of experience in school administration, including 16 years as a principal, to the Holy Trinity Catholic Academy.

“We selected Dr. Kingston because she is so committed to creating this new school and to giving everyone that invested in the new school a fresh start and to reflect the conditions in the existing schools,” said Wallace.

Dr. Steven Cheeseman, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Bridgeport, said Kingston will be an asset to the new school.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Kingston in a leadership position as we move forward to unify the three school communities into a vibrant new Catholic school,” Cheeseman said.

The school’s Board of Directors will consist of Arlene Clancy, Dr. James Keane, Ed Gavin, Fred Santore, Jim Woods, Kathleen Lozinak, Linda Batten and Liz Capasso. Wallace said the Board of Directors will play a vital role in the school’s future.

“I am especially grateful for each board member’s commitment to advancing Catholic education in the Monroe and Shelton area,” Wallace said.

Drastic change for parents

With a trend seeing Catholic schools across the country being forced into consolidations because of a decline in enrollment, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Bridgeport and Wallace both said they appreciate the willingness of parents to adapt to the changes.

“We’re very grateful because we understand that this is a tough time for parents because they loved the individual schools and they gave so much to them,” Wallace said. “The fact that they’re rallying around the new school and have enrolled the children shows a lot of enthusiasm.”

Caggiano said at a meeting in Trumbull earlier this year that consolidation could result in layoffs for faculty at all three schools. Wallace said that at this point in time, there is not a clear understanding on how the two schools closing will impact staffing.

“Enrollment will drive some of that; obviously the more students that are enrolled increases the need for more faculty,” said Wallace. “There are also a lot of openings in other schools due to retirements and people moving to work in public schools.”

Wallace said he’s confident that anyone who loses their job as a result of the consolidation, “will have opportunities to be incorporated into another school.”

Wallace said he expects that the new school’s faculty will be announced in early April.