Sister Carol Cimino, SSJ, has announced that she will step down as superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Buffalo at the end of the current school year. "I think I've done what I was supposed to do here," said Sister Carol. "I think I've helped to grow some innovative programs in the diocese. I think we've stabilized the schools. We've got a crop of principals who are just second to none right now."
Soon after she came to the diocese in June, 2013, Sister Carol was faced with the challenge of closing ten schools. A strategic plan called Faith in Tomorrow was already well underway, but she played a major role in the logistics of how it would unfold. As hard as it is to close Catholic schools, she believes it helped position the remaining schools for the future through the creation of the STREAM program and through the creation of boards of limited jurisdiction to govern each school. "The schools had to be better," said Sister Carol.
Catholic schools in Cleveland, Newark and San Francisco are now preparing to follow the STREAM program developed in the Diocese of Buffalo. It integrates religion and art into the other elements of a STEM program; science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"Sister Carol brought a breadth of experience and expertise with her when she came to the Diocese of Buffalo nearly 5 years ago," said Bishop Richard J. Malone. "Her deep commitment to the mission of Catholic schools and the importance of Catholic identity has strengthened our schools in ways large and small. I extend my gratitude to Sister Carol for all that she has done for Catholic education within the Diocese of Buffalo. Her energy, enthusiasm and legendary humor will be much missed, but will be remembered with great fondness. I pray that her retirement years will bring her much joy and good health! "
The Diocese of Buffalo is assembling a search committee in the hopes of finding a successor during the winter months. Sister Carol has her own thoughts on what characteristics she would look for in the candidates. "First of all it should be someone who is Catholic, because you can't fake Catholic. It should be someone who is madly in love with Catholic schools and willing to direct total energy and attention to our Catholic Schools."
Sister Carol received her bachelor's degree in history from Nazareth College of Rochester, her master's in history from Syracuse University, a master's in administration and supervision from the University of Rochester and her doctorate in educational leadership from St. Mary's University of Minnesota.
Sister Carol was a consultant for 26 years and she isn't ruling out doing it again on a limited basis. She says she may even be interested in teaching again. Although she grew up in the Rochester area, where she took her vows as a Sister of St. Joseph, she plans to stay in the Buffalo area. "I think there's so much exciting going on here and I think there's a certain spirit and energy here."
After 53 years of full time work in education, she feels the time is right to step back. "I don't want to overstay my welcome. I don't want to overstay my effectiveness and I'm afraid that if I stayed on any longer, I might become ineffective and these people don't deserve that. My staff doesn't deserve that. These principals don't deserve that and certainly our schools don't deserve that."