Holy Cross High School is proud to announce current English teacher, Andrew Shea '06 has been appointed to the role of Director of Academics, effective July 1, 2020. Mr. Shea will be responsible for the growth and health of the school's academic program. He will support all teachers as the usage of technology in the classroom expands. He is also working on a task force with school leadership on a plan to reopen the school in the fall.
"This is a great opportunity," said Mr. Shea. "I will always see myself first and foremost as a teacher in the classroom. I look forward to improving how learning happens at our school. How can we improve student experience? How can we hold students more accountable? How do we improve the academic experiences that we have? I'm very excited."
"Holy Cross is at its best when it pushes itself to answer the question of "what can we become?" said Dr. Thomas C. Pellegrino. "Andy Shea helps us answer that question in a variety of ways. He is an excellent teacher who also brings creativity, instinct and inquisitiveness to the table on which we are building the Holy Cross of the future. Students and parents will see and feel the immediate impact of his contributions in their curricular content as well as the means of delivering that content. Our exceptional faculty will be gaining an advocate who brings knowledge, passion and thoughtfulness to his role."
"Throughout my first year as principal, Andy, in the role of English department head, consistently demonstrated a proclivity to push beyond the typical expectations of prescribed roles and quickly emerged as a leader," said Principal Tommy Pompei. "He is a passionate, reflective, and insightful educator whose natural instinct is to build the capacity of all those around him, both colleagues and students alike. This tendency rose to an even greater level as we transitioned into our distance learning through our Canvas LMS and Zoom work with our kids this spring. Andy was by my side through the entire experience working as a superior teacher for his own kids while extending himself as the online learning lead for his peers. I am proud and excited for my partnership with Andy, and the students and families of Holy Cross should be thrilled for what the future holds with him as a critical member of our leadership team!"
Mr. Shea's road to the classroom began on Oronoke Road with one of his former teachers. (Former English Teacher) Elaine Muldowney made an indelible impact on him both at Holy Cross and long after he graduated. Before he began his sophomore year of college, he visited his former mentor.
She asked me if I had any interest in teaching in the classroom," he said. "I said 'no.' She invited me to observe her English 9 Honors class. I did and got my feet wet with teaching."
That experience drove Mr. Shea to Providence College as an English major. He also received his master's degree through PACT (Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers), a two year program while working and teaching at St. Mary Catholic High School. He later took a teaching job at Gonzaga High School in Washington, DC.
In the summer of 2017, Mr. Shea moved back to CT with the intention to pursue musical opportunities outside of the classroom when he received a phone call from another familiar face, his former creative writing teacher and current English department colleague, Sean Kienle."
"He asked me if I had an interest in teaching English at Holy Cross," he said, "I said 'no' at first, but Sean has a way with my soul. A few hours later, it was a maybe. The day before school started, I signed a contract, and I have been happily at Holy Cross for the past three years."
In that time, Mr. Shea reconnected deeply with the Crusader community. "I've enjoyed sinking my feet further into what Holy Cross is and what it could be with each passing year. As a student, I was Student Body President my senior year. I was always involved with athletics, student government, and service here. Holy Cross gave me a lot of opportunities as a student to grow as a leader and a lifelong learner. When I returned as an adult, it was great to see how similar Holy Cross is in our sense of community and our values. I love to teach alongside and continue to learn from the educators who helped to shape my identity as an educator. However, it has also been great to see how the school has changed. Our student body has changed for the better. We are even more committed to our mission here."
As a teacher, and now in this new position, it will be exciting to help reimagine how we can make this place even better."
"As with the hiring of Mr. Pompei last year, adding Andy to our team is a key step forward in advancing Holy Cross's already powerful educational mission," said Dr. Pellegrino. "I am thrilled to have Andy take on this role. The fact that Andy is a Holy Cross graduate only underscores the fact that Holy Cross produces profoundly good people who care deeply about education."