By Christina Leslie, Correspondent
Kimberly Cioci, the new principal of St. Paul School, Burlington, is looking forward to the school year, blessed with a caring staff, five new teachers and a philosophy of education she labels as “freedom.”
The Philadelphia native earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Fla.; a bachelor of science in elementary education from the University of Phoenix, Phoenix, and a master’s degree in education with a preK-12th grade administrative certification from Cabrini College, Radnor, Pa.
Cioci began her career in education in Florida schools. She served as a library teacher, kindergarten assistant, dance program director and director of admission and financial aid in a private school in Boca Raton, and as a science resource teacher in a school in the state’s Port St. Lucie.
In 2012, she returned to her Philadelphia roots and served in the Keystone State’s Archdiocesan Catholic schools. Cioci served as a technology resource teacher in DePaul Catholic School, Germantown; as a classroom teacher in Our Lady of Hope Regional School, and middle school religion and English language arts teacher in St. Barnabas Independent Mission School, both in Philadelphia. She has earned kindergarten through 12th grade principal certification from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Cioci and her husband, Anthony, are parishioners in St. Charles Borromeo, Cinnaminson.
Outlining her plans for the upcoming school year, Cioci explained her philosophy of education.
“I believe that education equals freedom,” she stated. “If a person is educated, all dreams can be obtained. … As an educational leader, it is my responsibility to be a catalyst of change for teachers to be better than they are, and to be a source of inspiration and encouragement.”
Her goals include “becoming involved with PTA events and keeping the traditions alive while getting parents involved. Increasing enrollment is important, and I want to start a school play,” Cioci said.
“We have a very good student to teacher ratio: one to 10, which is amazing,” Cioci continued. “The school has enrichment, physical education, Spanish, music, art, technology, library and up-to-date technology.”
Cioci also looks to expound upon the current ATP (activities, tutorial period) program, wherein each Tuesday students can take extra classes for six-week periods or be tutored on their current curricula. She plans to teach the students her basic Italian language skills, while her husband, who owns a photography studio in northeast Philadelphia, will share his talents with budding shutterbugs.
“It’s great to expose the children to new things and give them an exciting outlet,” Cioci said, but hastened to add her admiration of a quiet, reverent space in the Burlington school dedicated to worship: the school chapel, where each week a class attends Mass celebrated by clergy from the town’s St. Katharine Drexel Parish. It also allows students a more in-depth view of how a priest celebrates Mass and gives teachers a chance to answer questions about Mass if they arise.
“It’s great to have a quiet, holy place to visit during a school day,” Cioci said, “for them, for me and the teachers to reflect.”