Starting over

A new principal takes over at All Saints

Even though he lives in Glen Ridge these days and spent years as a resident of Montclair, Joseph Moran is no stranger to Bayonne.
Moran, the new principal to All Saints Catholic Academy elementary school, went to St. Peter’s Prep and knew a lot of people from Bayonne, although he admits that Bayonne was much “grittier” back then.
A resident of Glen Ridge since 1999 – where he is currently a member of that town’s Board of Education – Moran has been an administrator for public schools for the past 11 years, including principal of a middle school in Middlesex County. He is the father of three, one a Glen Ridge High School graduate, the others progressing through the school system. As importantly, Moran has served as a teacher and educational administrator for the last 20 years, preceded by several years in business.

“While the scores are good, they are not where we would like them to be.” – Joseph Moran
“I know the perspective from a lot of different areas of education,” he said during an interview two weeks before the school doors officially open for the new school year.
Moran, who grew up largely in Montclair and attended elementary school there, takes over from Sister Eileen Wust, who left at the end of June for a new post in Linden. This means that Moran will be learning a lot about All Saints over the first few months, getting a feel for its routines as he gets to know teachers, administrators, students, and parents.
As a principal, he handled a middle school of about 350 kids, which is slightly smaller than the 500 students All Saints has, but tackles many of the same social and educational issues.
He said that while there are differences between Catholic and public school education, most of the mission is to provide students with a good education.
“All schools should be teaching students morality,” he said.
One big difference between public and Catholic school, he noted, is funding.
While funding for public schools is being curtailed to some extent, Catholic schools rely on non-traditional funding sources, something which – as principal – Moran will have to consider when implementing programs.
Fortunately, All Saints has strong support from the community, especially parents who are involved in a good way in making the school’s programs successful.
“They are there to help out,” he said.
One of the issues coming in will be how to improve math scores for All Saints’ students.
“While the scores are good, they are not where we would like them to be,” he said. “This is different from other schools where I’ve been, in which language arts was the problem.”
Moran said one solution may be integrating math into other lessons, such as literature, arts, and music, as well as introducing some mathematics earlier, such as geometry in beginning grades.
One concern in all schools has been the concept of bullying, and this will be something that the school will be addressing.
The state of New Jersey has imposed the strictest anti-bullying law in the country, he said.
Moran said while students are receiving a Catholic education at All Saints, the anti-bullying campaign is a lesson that he is familiar with and something that he will continue to promote.
He said he understands that he has come into a unique situation, where five formerly weak Catholic schools were combined into a single strong school. He believes that the school has proven it can survive.
Sponsored by Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Saint Andrew, Saint Henry, Saint Joseph, Saint Michael, Saint Vincent de Paul, and Saint Mary Star of the Sea churches, All Saints Catholic Academy was established as a result of a meeting in 2006 between the pastors of the churches, who recognized that Bayonne could no longer sustain four parish schools.
All Saints will start school this year on Sept. 7
For public schools, first day for grades kindergarten through 12 is on Sept. 7, but morning pre-k classes in all schools start on Sept. 8, and afternoon pre-k starts on Sept. 9.
Holy Family Academy will have freshman orientation on Sept. 8, with full-day classes starting on Sept. 12. Marist High School will hold its first classes on Sept. 9.
Al Sullivan may be reached at

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group