Niagara Catholic Board Chair Father Paul MacNeil is proud to announce that Director of Education John Crocco was the recipient of the OCSOA CASSA-EXL Award 2015, presented by the Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers’ Association (OCSOA) and the Canadian Association of School System Administrators (CASSA). Mr. Crocco received his award during the annual OCSOA Conference, which took place in Toronto April 15-17, 2015.
“Director Crocco is a tireless advocate for Catholic education, not only in Niagara, but throughout Ontario,” said Father MacNeil. “He is a dynamic and innovative leader, and on behalf of the Board and the entire Niagara Catholic family, I congratulate him on this very well-deserved honour.”
Mr. Crocco was selected for this very prestigious provincial award for the many ways he strives to promote Catholic education in Niagara and throughout Ontario, and also for the many innovative programs he has championed and supported throughout his years as a teacher, administrator, Superintendent of Education and as Director. Among the initiatives featured at the OCSOA Annual Banquet by Niagara Catholic Superintendent of Education Yolanda Baldasaro, who introduced Director Crocco, were:
- Accompanying students on social justice trips to Dominica and Grenada and his annual participation in the Niagara Catholic Pilgrimage
- Creating the Niagara Catholic International Co-operative Experience, through which students spend three months in a developing nation and receive seven high school credits
- Fostering partnerships with schools in Europe, Central and South America, China and South Korea, which have resulted in students visiting and studying in Niagara Catholic schools, along with Niagara Catholic teachers working in China as part of a Niagara Catholic program
- Engaging the Board and all partners in Catholic education in the design of its Vision 2020 Strategic Plan
- Supporting Niagara Catholic’s outstanding record of participation in the Ontario EcoSchools Program, as the first school board in the province to have 100 per cent of schools certified
- Engaging innovative programs and services such as the Elementary Chaplaincy Leaders, the Pope Francis Centre, mental health and addiction supports, classrooms in a working hotel, industrial mall and Niagara Parks Commission, French Immersion, High-Performance Academic Support, Elementary and Secondary Student Senates and celebrations of student and staff accomplishments
- Nurturing community relationships with organizations such as the Business Education Council, Niagara Regional Police Service, Niagara Children’s Safety Village, Early Years Niagara and Niagara Regional Public Health
- Membership on a number of provincial boards and organizations which benefit students, including the OFSAA Board of Directors, the Board of Directors of Curriculum Services Canada, Co-Chair of the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health and an executive member of the Council of Directors of Education
Mr. Crocco was honoured and humbled in accepting the award, which he accepted on behalf of the Niagara Catholic staff, administrators and Board, as well as his Senior Administrative team who nominated him. He acknowledged his family members for their ongoing support.
“They represent all of our families for providing us with the love, support, time, encouragement and the stability in our lives for our vocational mission,” Mr. Crocco said. He also extended appreciation and recognition to the OCSOA executive, and acknowledged his “platinum team” of Senior Administrative Council members at Niagara Catholic who live by OCSOA’s motto, “Call to Lead, Call to Serve.”
“These are the true recipients of this award,” Mr. Crocco continued. “They are a platinum medal team of leadership, knowledge, talent and friendship and represent the very best in Catholic educational leadership in Ontario. Our students are best served by all of us who are engaged in what we continue to accomplish together; for the students we know and the faces and names of students we may never know, but count on us every day to be and do our very best in Catholic education as the feet, voices and hands of Jesus.”
More than 400 colleagues and dignitaries were in attendance at the banquet, including the Minister of Education, Bishop Bergie, and Kathy Burtnik, President of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association and Niagara Catholic Trustee. As a recipient of the Award, Mr. Crocco will represent OCSOA at the annual Canadian Association of School Administrators Conference.