Cathy came to St. Jean's after spending the last five and a half years at La Salle Academy, one of the oldest all-boys’ Catholic high schools in the country. On the imminent verge of closing when Dr. Guerriero arrived, the school has now been turned around to its former glory and stability. Dr. Guerriero and her team architected this dramatic turnaround of La Salle that included four consecutive wait-list freshmen classes in five years, a quadrupling of extracurricular activities and college partnerships, the creation of eight flagship academic programs that have anchored the school’s comeback, as well as a return to overall academic rigor and excellence. All of this was facilitated, in part, by Dr. Guerriero successfully fundraising over nine million dollars for the operating budget alone, and in just under six years as President. In April of 2019, Dr. Guerriero also wrote, redrafted and then closed on a significant, four-year union contract for her faculty, the first in the school's 170-year history.
“My career and God’s plan have taken me places that I have not ever dreamed about, and I dream big. This move to St.Jean's is one that God had given me very little heads’ up on, to be honest. That said, I believe that everything I have done up to this point has led me here, in this season, in this time,” Dr. Guerriero said. “It is now time that we stand a post for these hard-working young women - and women everywhere - and provide for them the resources that they deserve. As a woman, as an educator, as a leader, but also as a mom... I see St. Jean's as evidence of the real "Me Too" movement in action: for women, by women, with women.
Dr. Guerriero continued: "Come join us, all of you. Led by our Principal, Sr. Maria Cassano, our Pastor John Kamas, our board chair Edward Little, and this whole amazing alumnae community, this place has managed to stay open in spite of tremendous odds. These kids have little or nothing but they have heart and drive. This place is their shot. They have everything they need to succeed right here on East 75th Street."
Cathy received her undergraduate degrees from Wagner College on Staten Island, where she was a National Merit and a Presidential Scholar, Homecoming Queen and a two-sport athlete. She attended the Wag on a full, Division I basketball scholarship. Cathy also played four years of Division I softball for Wagner, as both pitcher and first baseman. Cathy had played both sports in high school, receiving all-state, all-city and all-borough honors for years. Dr. Guerriero received the Pegasus Award (#1 softball player in New York City) and the Margaret Wigaser Award (#1 student athlete in NYC) her senior year in high school.
Cathy has worked in a variety of management, political, and educational positions throughout her career as well, including one of her favorite jobs in the Ombudsman's Office for then-Governor Mario Cuomo. She worked at the Archdiocese of New York for just under a decade, where she worked directly for His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan, as both the Director of Strategic Planning and the Director of the Papal Visit for Pope Benedict. After spending over 20 years working on and around New York politics, including years as a policy analyst for the NYC Comptroller, Dr. Guerriero then ran for Public Advocate in New York City, a city-wide elected position, in 2013. Candidate Guerriero lost in her first run for elected office, despite having been endorsed by just under 100 unions, and over 200 additional community and faith-based organizations. She remains active in politics and in education, her two professional passions.
Dr. Guerriero lives on Staten Island with her daughter Annarose and is surrounded by her large Italian family who have lived on the Island for six generations. She has been her daughter’s CYO Basketball coach for the last three years at their home parish of Sacred Heart on Staten Island, where the fightin’ 4th Grade Spartans look to win it all this upcoming season. For fun, Cathy runs and works out, doesn't sleep, and also makes riceballs (her third passion) on a regular basis. Dr. Guerriero also makes a mean cupcake in her capacity as Class Mother (four years running) at Annarose’s school, Transfiguration Elementary.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees at St. Jean Baptiste, I am thrilled to extend a warm welcome to Cathy Guerriero as our new President. Cathy was a phenomenally successful President and Principal at La Salle Academy. Anyone who has met her knows she is literally a force of nature. Dr. Guerriero brings a wealth of experience and real dedication to Catholic education. She will be a perfect partner to our Principal, Sister Maria Cassano, our administrative staff and to our great faculty as she joins us in our 90th year," said Edward Little, Board Chair, St. Jean Baptiste High School for Girls.