Sister Maria Cassano
I am a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal (CND) and a native of the Bronx, New York. I graduated from Villa Maria Academy in the Bronx. As a young woman, my CND teachers had a significant impact not only on my education but on my life. Their warmth, support, encouragement, and excellent teaching drew me to recognize that God was inviting me to become one of them. The CNDs who were my teachers were totally committed to following in the steps of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame, who believed strongly in the need to educate young girls and women in the mid-17th century newly formed community of what is now Montreal.
I attended Marymount Manhattan College for one year and then entered the CND. At the end of two years of preparation, I professed my vows as a sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame. Since we were being prepared to be teachers, I moved to Staten Island and attended Notre Dame College where I received my BA degree with a major in English and a minor in music.
My teaching career began at Notre Dame High School in Schenectady, New York, an all-girl’s school, where I taught music. During the summers I studied at Teachers College, Columbia University, to earn my MA in Music Education.
After six years, I was assigned to Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island where I spent the next 25 years. During those years I taught music to grades K through 12. The opportunity arose for me to study school administration which also attracted me. I received my Professional Diploma from Southern Connecticut University and was appointed Principal of Notre Dame Academy. After eleven years I became its President. At the end of my term, I enjoyed a year of sabbatical in Washington, DC.
I then received an assignment to become Assistant Principal at St. Jean Baptiste High School in New York City. I also had the opportunity to experience a non-CND school, St. Catharine’s Academy in the Bronx, as Assistant Principal, and served there for four years. I received a request to return to St. Jean Baptiste as Principal and am now beginning my eleventh year as Principal.
I enjoy the arts so Manhattan provides the perfect opportunity to visit museums, go to concerts, walk through different neighborhoods, and experience the amazing diversity of the city and its people. I enjoy reading, eating Italian food, watching TV and traveling. My wish list of travel spots includes driving across the USA and traveling through Europe.